Thanks to a Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant, students in Tuolumne County get the chance to take part in two three-day summer camps focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM).

The first camp was held at Summerville Elementary this week for students who have completed third through fifth grades.

Wednesday, sixth-grader Leighton Williamson, 11, used paper clips, rubberband, popsicle sticks, and metal washers to turn an empty water bottle into a submarine.

Turning the propeller “winds the rubberband up which is the motor, and when I let it go in the water, the submarine moves,” said Williamson, who was one of 42 students participating in the camp.

Jude York, 11, a sixth-grader at Curtis Creek, modified his submarine to give it three propellers.

“I’m adding two more propellers to my submarine boat so it can have more force when I test it,” he said.

Outside the school, fifth-graders gathered on an outdoor basketball court to check on their solar-cooked smores.

“I think it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever tasted,” said Curtis Creek fifth-grader Luke Paris. “I made a solar oven out of popsicle sticks, aluminum foil, tape and cardboard. The sun reflected on the top aluminum, reflecting the sun's heat onto both pieces of the smore.”

Kaydem Guzman, 10, a fifth grader at Summerville Elementary School, tried a different approach.

“I am using the tin foil and the heat from the ground to warm the graham cracker and the sun to melt the chocolate and marshmallow,” he said.

Next up for the STEAM program is a three-day camp at Tenaya Elementary School in Groveland where 19 students are participating through Friday.

Teachers who were on hand at this week’s camp in Summerville included Lauretta Carr, Mikaela Harris and Kristin Wilson from Columbia Elementary; Andrea Walker from Summerville Elementary; Jessica Pretzer from Tenaya and Mary Bickley from Twain Harte School.