Education Blog

Summer @ the Lab 2015: A Reflection

By Aaron Mace, Camp Director / Program and Curriculum Developer 09.09.15

School has started and as we switch gears to look ahead to the fall semester here at the Media Arts Lab, I wanted to take a moment to look back at this past summer. Summer @ the Lab 2015 was our 7th Lab Camp. Having been the camp director from the beginning, I have seen it grow and change over the years into the wonderful place it has become.

For sure we had the best team names for our film challenge this year: The Shockwave Busters, The Retro Blasters, The Spirit Bandits, The Red Wild, The Moose Dreamers, The Fighting Panthers, The Thunder Crushers, and The Rocky Kings. The film challenge is a one-day activity that we do during the last week where we mix together the different age groups. First thing in the morning they are given a set of rules to create a film by. They have until 2:30 that same day to come up with a story, film it, and edit it. We screen them at the end of the day and the winners receive a prize.

Our 3rd and 4th grade group and the 7th and 8th grade groups got a chance to create Choose Your Own Adventure movies. They learned about interactive storytelling (the audience gets to decide what way the story goes) and took it away from there! Some of the groups chose to share their work on the internet via YouTube, and some of the groups chose to share their work on DVDs.

Normally our 9th and 10th graders create air pressure powered rockets during camp. However, it was way too hot the day they were supposed to go outside. Instead of rockets, we decided to create air pressure powered race cars. Engineering is a lifelong pursuit- I think we will have to work on our race car building skills. They also created musical instruments by programming a Raspberry Pi computer and constructing a box housing cups with light sensors. When you block the light coming into a cup it plays a note. It is like a piano where the strings are made of light!

The 5th and 6th graders took songwriting to a new level. They wrote and recorded new lyrics to classics folk songs like Oh Susanna, Amazing Grace, and Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dinah. Of course their lyrics were hilarious. They didn’t stop there though. They also used photos and photoshop to create music videos for their songs and created masterpieces. Check out the video for Gamblin’ Banana.

As we all know, camp isn’t just about learning new things. It is also about living life. 3 loose teeth became the property of the tooth fairy this year. New friendships started during the days and spilled over into after-camp playdates. New games were discovered and new inside jokes were started. There was even a summer romance (very tame, I assure you). All-in-all, Summer @ the Lab 2015 was a hearty six weeks of new experiences that will live on in our campers' back-to-school reflections, and beyond. Thanks for another great summer!