FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

ARE YOU HOSTING THE CAMP FACE-TO-FACE OR ONLINE THIS YEAR?

We are hosting our camp virtually this year due to pandemic. We have been preparing to teach online and believe that our kids need normalcy and continue to learn in summer, bond and exposed to emerging STEM and Computer Science topics in a fun and safe setting together with their peers and a great team of UH faculty members, graduate/undergraduate students as mentors and coaches.

WHAT IS THE ITECH-STEM PROJECT?

The main purpose of Innovative Technology Challenges for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (iTECH-STEM) is to develop an innovative program promoting/teaching computer science (CS) and technology (T) topics that are popular and emerging with STEM focus. The iTECH-STEM involves following Domains:

  • Digital Storytelling
  • 3D-Printing
  • Programming and Coding
  • Microbit Programming 
  • Game Design (New in 2021)
  • STEM Art (Not taught in 2021)
  • Robotics (Not taught in 2021)
  • Virtual Reality (Not taught in 2021)

ITECH-STEM summer technology camps is a part of larger project called ITECH-STEM and includes a series of linked activities such as Summer Technology Camp, STEM Scouts, and year-around Challenges.

WHO IS ORGANIZING THIS CAMP AND WHAT ARE THE GRADE LEVELS?

ITECH-STEM is sponsored by UH STEM Center and Cougar Initiative To Engage (CITE) hosted at UH Sugar Land and directed by faculty at the Department of Curriculum & Instruction.

WHO IS THE SUMMER CAMP FOR AND WHAT ARE THE GRADE LEVELS?

We believe in young kids’ ability. They can learn knowledge and skills associated with STEM once they are properly guided and supported. We enroll elementary students entering grades 3 to 6 in the Fall semester in this camp.

IS THERE A RESEARCH ASPECT OF THIS PROJECT?

Yes, we look at students’ STEM attitudes and their willingness to follow a career in STEM fields. ITECH-STEM is applying to grant programs to support young kids. We also contribute to research in this area.

WHAT ARE THE DATES?

In 2021, the camp will run from July 12 – 17, 2021 virtually. The camp will be Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 12 pm with optional lab time available between 12 – 2 pm. The optional lab time is included in the fee. Students may choose to join this session.

WHAT ARE THE CLASSES AND TOPICS COVERED IN THE ITECH-STEM?

We focus on following ITECH-STEM Domains in this year’s summer camp:

  • Game Design (New!)
  • Microbit Programming
  • 3D- Modeling & Printing
  • Coding with Scratch
  • Digital Storytelling/Video Production

The camp includes instruction on ITECH domains.  Our philosophy is based on project-based learning and hands-on projects. Students complete daily tasks and work on interconnected/interdisciplinary projects.

WHAT IS SMALL GROUP INSTRUCTION?

Your child will be assigned to a small group of 5 -7 students supervised and instructed by a Mentor. Mentors will instruct and help each student individually with their daily tasks and projects during each class period.

WHO ARE MENTORS?

We have undergraduate or graduate students serving as “Instructional Assistant and Mentors” (IAMs) at the camp. These students major in education, computers, science and technology fields. IAMs are responsible for the instruction and supervision of the students. Mentors will also be in touch with the parents of the students. A high school volunteer may be assigned to your students’ group as a helper/aid to IAMs depending on the availability.

WHAT IS YOUR STUDENT TO TEACHER RATIO?

We are proud to have a 3:1 student to teacher ratio in our small groups allowing us to teach students 1-0n-1 during the majority of activities.

HOW MUCH IS THE CAMP FEE?

The camp fee is $350 per child. There are discounts for siblings, teachers and UH Employees. The camp fee includes all classes and other camp activities. In addition, we are able to provide partial and full scholarships towards registration fee this year for students with financial needs.

WHAT ARE DISCOUNTS?

Siblings can receive $50 off for each sibling. Teachers can receive $35 off for each child. UH Employees are eligible for $75 for each child. Discount may be combined. You need to send proof of documentation (ID or pay-stub with registration form) for Teacher and UH Employee discounts. You can find out how much you will need to pay when you complete your registration form at http://www.itechstem.org/register

WHAT IS SCHOLARSHIP AND WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

Limited Scholarships are available for students with financial need. We understand that 2020 has been especially hard on some parents due to the pandemic. We provide up to $200 towards your registration fee as a partial scholarship and $350 towards your registration fee as a full scholarship. Parents need to provide the following documents when they apply for scholarships: Documentation showing participation in Free and Reduced Lunch at student’s school, income statement, and a short essay written by the student.

SCHOLARSHIP DOCUMENTS

FREE AND REDUCED LUNCH PROGRAM: Student applicants should be current recipients of the Free and Reduced Lunch program at his/her school. (A document proving free and reduced lunch status will be needed. You may need to contact your school to receive a document if you don’t have it already. A screenshot of “free and reduced lunch” status on an official school lunch payment website may be acceptable documentation)

INCOME: If you have a low income as defined by Federal Poverty Guidelines (…), you may qualify for financial assistance. You will need to provide a document showing your income.

STUDENT ESSAY: Students who are applying for scholarships will need to write a 100 words of short essay explaining why they would like to join this camp, how they would benefit from the camp, their academic performance in school, and their experience and interest in camp topics.

A committee will review submitted documents and let you know if you qualify for a partial or full scholarship for the registration fee.

HOW CAN I PAY?

We accept payment using major credit/debit cards. There is no fee for paying with a credit/debit card. We are unable to accept checks or cash. Registration form will redirect you a separate payment website once the form is completed. Your seat/space in the camp won’t be complete until you make final payment by the registration deadline on July 5, 2021.

CAN MY CHILD PARTICIPATE ONLY A FEW DAYS?

While we strongly encourage students to attend a full week of activities, in some cases, we could allow only a few days of camp participation. The normal camp activities are scaffolded and build upon each other from day 1 to day 6. If you need to start the camp a day late or leave early, please talk to the camp director after you register.

HOW ARE CLASSES/SUBJECTS ARRANGED?

We implement our unique curriculum which builds upon interconnected and interdisciplinary projects throughout the camp. That’s why we offer all four classes (Digital Storytelling, 3D-Printing, Programming and Coding, Microbit Programming) as a package and can’t allow children to choose between the classes. Students will be taking these classes similar to a mini school schedule where they take some classes on certain days and times. Classes will alternate each day to keep students engaged. A full schedule will be available during the orientation day for parents and students.

WHAT MATERIALS DO I NEED FOR MY CHILD?

Student will need to have access to a desktop or laptop computer. We are unable to provide any computers to our campers. Additionally, students will need a reliable internet connection, microphone, and webcam to participate in the camp.

DO YOU PROVIDE ANY MATERIALS FOR CAMPERS?

Yes, we will provide Microbits programming circuits to each camper. In addition, we have plans to provide a camp t-shirt to each participant.

ARE THERE OTHER ACTIVITIES BESIDES CLASSES?

Yes, students will take recess between classes (10 min- 15 min) during the day. In our face-to-face camps, we used to go outside for fun activities such as playing summer games and do fun STEM activities such as “watermelon explosion” or “flying drones” but this year we will find other activities that can be completed virtually during break times.

DO YOU HAVE REWARDS?

We are unable to provide physical reward this year due to pandemic. However, we will provide certificates to students who complete their individual tasks regarding their projects at the award ceremony.

WHAT IS THE AWARD CEREMONY?

We will hold a Virtual Banquet this year. We will gather on the last day of the camp to recognize the success and achievements of our students. They will get certificates and awards and also showcase their completed work.

WHAT CAN STUDENT TAKE HOME THIS YEAR?

Students will be able to take their technology projects home as well as keep their Microbits for home use. We will try our best to print 3d models designed by students and to make them available for pickup at a later day.

WHAT ARE OTHER POLICIES?

Parents and Students will need to sign on “Consent to participate in camp”, “Student Online Code of Conduct & Acceptable Technology Use Policy”, “Work Permission”, “Liability Form”, and “Media Release” when they register.

IS THERE ANY ORIENTATION SESSION FOR PARENTS?

Yes, we will hold an orientation session for parents on July 9  prior to the camp starts. Parents will be notified of details of orientation session after they register.

This FAQ is for the following summer camps: (Updated 4.1.21)

ITECH-STEM Elementary Schools (Gr. 3-6)
Girls Coding Academy -Middle School (Gr. 6-9)
Girls Coding Academy -High School (Gr. 9-12)

MENTOR FAQ

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WHO CAN BE AN INSTRUCTIONAL ASSISTANT AND MENTOR?

We need undergraduate and graduate students to serve as “Instructional Assistant and Mentors” (IAMs) (Camp Counselors) at the camp. Current classroom Teachers can also be hired as Mentors.

WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS TO BE AN “IAM”?

IAMs ideally should have prior experience working with young kids. We expect IAMs to have intermediate computer skills and interest in STEM fields. Any experience in camp topics (Coding, 3D Printing, Digital Storytelling, STEM Art, Game Design) would be a plus!

DOES MY MAJOR MATTER?

Students majoring in education, computers, and technology will be preferred. However, students majoring in other fields may also apply.

IS THIS A PAID POSITION?

Yes, we are proud to be able to pay our mentors. A competitive pay (at or above student worker rate at UH) for your work will be available. In addition, certificates of appreciation will be available for our mentors upon completion.

WHEN AM I GOING TO HEAR FROM THE CAMP? WHAT ARE MY CHANCES TO BE ACCEPTED AS A MENTOR?

Within two weeks after you fill out the application form, we will invite you to an ONLINE interview. Hiring will be based on your qualifications, interview results, and application materials.

WHAT MATERIALS WILL BE NEEDED TO APPLY?

1. A current resume (including education, prior work/teaching experience, and at least 2 references)

2. A one-page statement on why you would like to be considered for this position

3. Unofficial copy of your transcript showing your current GPA.

CAN YOU WRITE A RECOMMENDATION LETTER UPON COMPLETION OF THE PROGRAM?

UH professors will be able to provide write recommendation letters to all mentors who successfully finish the program. Please inquire with camp director for details.

WHAT ARE THE HOURS FOR IAMS?

Mentors need to be available at least 5 hours a day from 9 am to 2 pm every day, Monday-Saturday during the camp week.

WHAT ARE THE PROGRAM DATES?

The program dates change every year. For this year’s dates, please refer to the application form, section 3, Camp Dates.

****Tentative Dates for SUMMER 2021 Virtual Camps*****

— (PILOT) June 1-5, 2021 (4-5 days) ITECH-STEM-BioTechnology Camp – High School

— (PILOT) June 7-11, 2021 (4-5 days) ITECH-STEM-BioTechnology Camp – High School

–July 12 – 17, 2021 (6 days) ITECH-STEM – Elementary School

–July 19 – 24, 2021 (6 days) Girls Coding Academy -Middle School

–July 26 – July 30, 2021 (5 days) Girls Coding Academy -High School

WHAT IS MY ROLE AS A MENTOR?

Mentors will be assigned a small group (5-6) of students depending on the camp. You will be responsible for instruction and supervision of the students in your group. Mentors will also be in touch with parents of the students. A high school volunteer/intern may be assigned to you as a helper/assistant depending of the availability for ITECH-STEM (Gr. 3-6) and Girls Coding Academy Middle School (Gr. 6-9).

WHAT WILL I TEACH?

You will be following an easy-to-implement curriculum created by UH professors. Lesson plans will be available. All student work will be hands-on and project-based. Almost all projects will involve use of computers and creating an actual product at the end. UH professors may teach short sections of classes. However, most of the class time will involve mentors helping students individually with the tasks and projects. Camp topics include ITECH Domains (Coding, 3D Printing, Digital Storytelling and Microbit Programming), Girls Coding Academy Middle School (Coding with Scratch, Microbits, Web/HTML, Intro to Python Programming), Girls Coding Academy High School (Python Programming and Game Design).

WHAT IS SMALL GROUP INSTRUCTION?

Mentors are expected to help each student with their assigned tasks and projects individually during each class period. You will be teaching only a small group of 5 to 6 students. You need to be able to help each student with their projects in your group during a class session.

WILL I BE TEACHING ALONE?

We use a co-mentoring (co-teaching) model for our small groups. There will be two mentors assigned to each group. You may teach together with your co-mentor different parts of the curriculum and assist each other with instructional activities.

ONLINE (VIRTUAL) INSTRUCTION

We will be using an online conference system to hold classes. Each mentor will have his/her online conference account to hold small group classes. We will utilize breakout rooms for individual mentoring whenever possible. Zoom will be our software.

DO I NEED TRAINING TO BE A MENTOR?

Yes, it is mandatory to complete online training on “Preventing sexual abuse and child molestation” through UH system. Additionally, there will be training on how to work with young children, camp procedures, and on Camp Topics (Coding, 3D Printing, Digital Storytelling, Microbit, Python, Game Design), and on the camp curriculum prior to camp start date.

AM I GOING TO RECEIVE TRAINING ON THE CURRICULUM?

Yes, you will receive materials and lesson plans ahead of the camp. You are expected to study and be prepared. There will be a 1-2 days of online curriculum training prior to camp start date. Date and time will be announced later.

WHO WILL BE MY SUPERVISOR?

You will report to the camp director(s).

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF CAMP VOLUNTEER/INTERN IF HE/SHE IS ASSIGNED TO ME?

You can think of volunteers/interns as “teacher aides”. A volunteer’s primary role is to help you with instruction, working, and supervising kids in your group. As an IAM you will be the ultimate responsible person as a teacher and leader in your group.

CAN I BE ABSENT ON SOME DAYS?

No. We expect full attendance unless there is an emergency or a valid excuse.

FAQ for ITECH-STEM and CODE COUGARS summer camps:

WHAT IS ITECH-STEM/CODE COUGARS?

There are two summer programs happening in two separate weeks.

ITECH-STEM is a summer STEM Technology Camp designed for elementary students in grades 3-6. We teach Coding, 3D Printing, Digital Storytelling and STEM Art.

CODE COUGARS is a summer Girls Coding Academy. We teach Coding (Scratch, Python, Microbit Programming, Web/HTML/CSS) to middle school students in grades 6-8.

You can be an intern for both camps or just one of the camps.

WHAT ARE THE CAMP DATES?

Each camp will be for 6 days and will be completed within one week. The current camp dates are not finalized. However, we plan to hold the camps on the following potential dates. When you apply, please indicate your availability for each week:

ITECH-STEM: July 12-July 17, 2021

       Girls Coding Academy: July 19-24, 2021

WHO CAN BE AN INTERN?

We need High School students to volunteer interns at the camp. 9-12 graders can be interns in our program.

WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS TO BE AN INTERN?

Volunteer interns ideally should have prior experience working with young kids.  All volunteers should have basic computer skills and interest in STEM fields. Any experience in camp topics (Coding, 3D Printing, Digital Storytelling, and STEM Art) would be a plus!

WHAT APPLICATION MATERIALS ARE NEEDED TO APPLY?

You will need your GPA, current resume, and contact information of two references to apply.

WOULD INTERNS BE PAID?

Inters will not be paid as this is a volunteer position, but they will be given a certificate of appreciation at the end of the program.

CAN YOU FILL OUT MY VOLUNTEER SERVICE HOURS?

Yes, we will be glad to fill out your paperwork for your volunteer/community service hours.

CAN YOU WRITE INTERNS A RECOMMENDATION LETTER?

UH professors may write recommendation letters based on the performance of interns/volunteers. Please inquire with the camp director for details.

WHAT ARE THE HOURS FOR INTERNS?

Volunteers need to follow camp hours, 8:45 am to 2:00 pm every day for the duration of the camp.

DO I NEED TRAINING TO BE A VOLUNTEER/INTERN?

Yes, it is mandatory to complete online training on “Child Protection-Preventing sexual abuse and child molestation”. Additionally, there will be training on how to work with young children and camp procedures for volunteers.

WHEN WILL I BE RECEIVING TRAINING? IS THERE ANY ORIENTATION DAY FOR VOLUNTEERS?

While you can take your “Child Protection” training online on your own, we will have an online orientation/training session for all interns in July. The date will be announced later. Interns will be asked to join this orientation session/training prior to the start of the camp.

WHO WILL BE MY SUPERVISOR?

You will directly work with an undergraduate or graduate student, also called, Instructional Assistant and Mentor (IAM). The IAM will be your immediate supervisor. You will be assigned to a group of 5-7 elementary students led by an Instructional Assistant and Mentor (IAM).

WHAT IS MY ROLE AS AN INTERN?

Your primary role is to assist your IAM with instruction, helping and supervising kids in your group. IAM will be the ultimate responsible person and leader of your group.

CAN I BE ABSENT ON SOME DAYS?

You can be absent on some days as long as there is no regular pattern of absences. We do need regular attendance for the success of the camp.