Summer camps focused on STEM gain popularity

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 26, 2014)– It may be summer break, but parents say they want to keep their kids’ minds sharp when they’re out of school. There’s a growing trend of camps that offer fun and a chance to learn about the growing fields of science, technology, engineering and math, often called STEM.

The Microsoft Store at the Fashion Mall on the north side of Indianapolis is hosting free science and technology classes throughout the summer.

Children ages 8 to 13 can learn how to code and design video games as well as make smart movies and take digital photos.

The U.S. Department of Education predicts a 14 percent increase in jobs that require STEM skills between 2010 and 2020 and a 32 percent increase in software development jobs.

Local mother Mia Jones has two kids enrolled in the Microsoft camps. She sees trend in technology camps is a combination of summer fun and a focus on the future. She said often her kids know more about changing technology than she and her husband do.

“We’re hoping these are things that will help them where we can’t to spark some sort of interest in a job later, in a career later that they can be successful at,” Jones said.

“Being able to work in a computer environment is going to give them a leg up when they get back to school or start using computers on a regular basis in their education or even as they move into a professional environment ” said Troy Larson, the general manager of the Microsoft Store at the Fashion Mall.

The camps are free and parents can register their children online.

This week the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is hosting camp with former NASA astronaut David Wolf. At the CSI STEM Camp, children can learn about STEM through a variety of hands-on experiments.

The public is invited on Saturday to hear Wolf speak. The presentation is free with general museum admission.

Earlier this summer, Connor Prairie hosted a camp aimed at girls who are interested in STEM in partnership with Project Lead the Way.

The American Camp Association also has information about STEM camps across the country.

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