Sky's the Limit STEM camp participants walking through a prairie and climbing over large rocks

The Sky’s the Limit STEM Camp

The goal of The Sky’s the Limit STEM Camp is to broaden science opportunities for autistic youth by providing a summer camp that supports inquisitiveness in a non-threatening, non-traditional, and inclusive learning environment. We aim to provide nature-based, hands-on learning opportunities and encourage the pursuit of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) degrees and careers. The summer camp will embrace neurodivergence and the associated unique thinking and learning of autistic youth through flexible teaching strategies.

Attendees, accompanied by their caregivers, will participate in hands-on outdoor and indoor activities, such as science experiments, icebreaker activities, yoga, geocaching, driving a TerraRover, water quality observations, and much more.

This STEM camp is free and open to middle and high school aged (grades 6-12) autistic youth. The camp is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) GEOPAths program.

Select Fridays from June 21 to July 26, 2024
Welty Environmental Center in Big Hill Park
1201 Big Hill Court
Beloit, WI 53511

Sky's the Limit STEM camp logo, with cursive retro-styled blue text against a circular yellow background

View a recap of the 2022 camp
View a recap of the 2023 camp

Camp Details

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When will the camp be held?

The five-week camp will be held 1–4 p.m. on Fridays during June and July 2024. The dates will be:

  • June 21
  • June 28
  • July 12
  • July 19
  • July 26

What types of activities will students participate in?

Many of the camp activities will involve implementing the atmosphere (air), hydrosphere (water), biosphere (life), and pedosphere (soil) protocols from NASA’s Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) environmental education and citizen science program.

GLOBE is an international program with participants from over 36,000 students worldwide from 122 countries. GLOBE connects students, teachers, and scientists to better understand, sustain, and improve the environment, encouraging investigators to think globally while acting locally. Through GLOBE data collection and analysis, a deeper understanding of Earth’s system is reached as students participate in active learning to advance their skills in critical thinking, the scientific process, data analysis, and big picture thinking.

What should students bring?

Students should wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes, such as hiking boots or sneakers, and clothes that they don’t mind getting dirty. We recommend bringing sunscreen, insect repellant, a water bottle, a snack (please do not bring snacks with nuts), and a hat for shade.

Do students need to be accompanied?

Youth attendees must be accompanied during the entire camp sessions by an adult, such as a parent, caregiver, or therapist. Unattended students should not be dropped off. In addition, staff from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, School District of Beloit, Welty Environmental Center, and Beloit College will be present acting in a supportive role but will not be providing custodial care. The limited student attendance and abundance of adult helpers will ensure each student is engaged with through a personalized approach that respects their sensory needs and challenges.

How do students register?

Online registration is required. The camp size will be limited to 20 students. This 20-student cap ensures engaging effectively with each child and limiting potential overstimulation. A separate registration must be completed for each student.

Contact

Michael Notaro
Director and Senior Scientist
Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research
(608) 261-1503
mnotaro@wisc.edu

Photo provided by the Welty Environmental Center and approved for use.