UTC Introduces Summer Camp Blending Cooking with STEM

A new weeklong summer camp at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will use cooking to introduce the concepts of science, arts, engineering and math to young students.

Peas in a Pod Cooking Camp, set for June 6-10 at UTC, is a collaboration of the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the Challenger STEM Learning Center. The camp is designed to engage students with the innate science of cooking.

During the week, students will learn about honey production from a local beekeeper. They will explore civil construction concepts when making jelly. They will learn about the connections between food and cultures. They will even learn about the importance of insulation from the elements by making Baked Alaska pies.

“The connections between cooking and science are endless, and the goal is to help students delight in that discovery,” said Irene Hillman, director of the Center for Student Success in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. “Children are naturally creative little scientists, full of questions and always ready to explore.”

Peas in a Pod is the first in the Challenger Center’s Summer Creativity Camps, a series of five camps designed to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

“Creativity is at the heart of each of these disciplines as we inspire all learners in areas they may pursue in the future,” said Laurie Allen, executive director of the Arts-Based Collaborative and the Challenger Center.

The next camp, My Bright Ideas, will use experiences such as building models for each phase of the moon to explore different aspects of light. It is scheduled for four weeklong sessions in June and July.

While some believe STEM concepts may be too difficult for young students to grasp, the Creativity Camps use fun to deliver the lessons.

“These camps give students the ability to begin with their own curiosity,” Hillman said, “and supporting adults help them to connect their creativity to scientific concepts.

“Kids are encouraged to make a mess, make believe and involve themselves in the great world of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.”

The camps run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and cost $285 for each camper. Scholarships are available for those who meet certain requirements.