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Maker Camp launched on Google today to bring virtual summer camp to kids around the country. The program is sponsored by MAKE magazine and consists of a 30-day curriculum run on the Google + platform.
Every weekday morning, a new project will be hosted by an expert camp counselor who will walk campers through the steps. Kids spend the morning learning from the “makers” and following their directions to build projects. After a midday lunch break, Maker Camp hosts hangouts with junior counselors who act as resources if the participants have questions or challenges. Each day brings a new theme. There is Maker Monday, Tinkering Tuesday, Weird Science Wednesday, Theoretical Thursday, and Field Trip Friday.
Today’s first project, titled “Rockets!” was led by Rock Schertle, a middle school science teacher. He conducted the session from the New York Hall of Science and demonstrated how kids could make rockets at home using vinegar, baking soda, and gravity.
“Not every kid has the ability to go to a summer camp, so we are bringing it to them,” said Sherry Huss, the director of Maker Faire. “Maker Camp gets rid of the physical challenge of needing to be somewhere at a specific time. The makers that we work with are so generous in spirit and in ideas, and we have received great feedback from parents who don’t know what to do with their kids during the summer.”
Maker Camp has partnered with educational institutions around the country to ensure the quality of the curriculum is high. Libraries and museums are on board, as well as organizations like National Geographic and NASA. Maker and Google have also created security features so the campers are monitored and safe online, and parents know what they are up to. Since today was the first day, the numbers are still out on how many kids tuned in, and the MAKE team will look at the platform again in 30 days to assess if any changes need to be made.