TechLab STEAM Camp

TechLab introduces kids to products, technology and programming to help them dream big.

For many kids, technology is just playing games on a phone or tablet. We want kids to think bigger.

Working alongside faculty from Anderson High School and across Austin Independent School District, we supply the latest tech and tech-art tools in an educational and safe yet fun and informal environment where campers can develop a passion for using technology to create and learn.

Each year, our camp will ask children to pretend to be scientists trying to solve a challenge. This year, campers will pretend to go out to the rainforst to study how to complete scientific and discovery expeditions to Earth's various rainforest regions.  While doing so, kids won't hear a lecture; they will ask the questions and they will use their imagination (and our tools) to find the answers.

In 2017:

   Participants entering grades 3 - 5 will complete activities in each of the following four learning areas.  Boy and Girl Scouts can apply what they learn towards advancements or Adventures.

  • Toy Design - design their own toys using TinkerCAD, simple machines, found objects and laser cutters to bring their creations to life.
  • Robotics - use engineering and programming to design and build robots that can solve exploration problems
  • Digital Media - use digital (point and shoot or SLR) cameras and Adobe Photoshop to edit photographs
  • Environment (E-STEAM) - grow hydroponic plants and learn about the amazing animals and plants the make the rainforest home.

Participants entering grades 6 - 9 can pick two classes listed below.  Boy and Girl Scouts can apply what they learn towards advancements or Merit Badges.  Please note, classes will cover some of the badge requires but not all of them.  Boy and Girl Scouts will have the opportunity to work with badge counselors during lunch time and after school time if they want to work towards a completion on the badge.

  • Remote Sensing
    • Discover and develop ways that a rainforest can be monitored and studied from above
    •  Develop a plan to help monitor and learn about a local forest using the scientific method or engineering design method.
    • Remotely study your forest

  • Model Design and Building
    • Use SolidWorks or 123D to prepare digital model plans  and practice producing the model on 3D printers
    • Review the safety, history, basic information and careers associated with model building and making
    • Use the new model building techniques to design a plan to live or research in the rain forest, especially in the tree tops

  • Electronics
    • Build different types of electronic systems as you create systems to address various tasks, including learning to use Raspberry Pis, basic device circuits, Snap Circuits or wearable electronics.
    • Learn how circuits are made, tested and how someone can make a career or hobby out of electronics
    • Review the basic safety and background to what is electronics

  • Photography
    • Produce and display visual art display using the classes' photographs using advanced composition and capturing techniques, including long light exposure and stop-motion photography methods
    • Learn to take professional quality photographs using DSLR Cameras and interchangeable lenses, and Photoshop
    • Review basic safety, history, skills, techniques, and tools used in Photography and careers in Photography

  • Programming
    • Learn to edit and enhance programs in three of the following different programming languages (based on skill level and group): Scratch, Blockly, C++, Java, or Python.   Learn to control robots, make apps or run microprocessors
    • Learn about history, safety and tools needed for programming
    • Review careers and what one needs to start learning now to become a top programmer

  • Engineering 
    • Use the Systems Engineering Approach to design your own invention while learning about Engineering ethics and careers.
    • Meet and talk with engineers who have worked on this planet and maybe off of it too!
    • Reverse engineer common electronics to create a machine that does something new
    • Learn the basic safety and thought processes behind Engineering

  • Exploration
    • Learn how expeditions are created, planned and completed
    • Learn about top expeditions to rainforest regions
    • Plan your own expedition working with professional explorers.

  • Robotics
    • Learn to develop robots with the First Tech Challenge Robotic system robot to address various challenges shared with us by our partners, First in Texas!
    • Learn about careers that use robotics and meet professionals who make and use robots everyday
    • Learn about the history, safety, basic skills and tools needed for working with Robots

What We Teach