Smart Home Competition – June 18-22, 2018

The very first day of SEAD Academy 2018 was a great one! We started by making introductions and learning about the engineering design process, which we then applied when designing our home based on the requirements we had been given. In the afternoon, we listened to a great presentation by Mr. Jeremy about additive manufacturing and had the opprtunity to see a 3D printing in action.

Thanks for another amazing summer!

As the last summer camp of the year comes to a close, we at SEAD Academy would like to thank you for another fantastic summer! Every year we have a blast and this year was no exception. Over the course of the last two months, our campers have completed four camps aimed to challenge both their creative and analytical minds.  We would like to a take a moment to share a little bit about the new tools and concepts our campers learned and view some of the results of all their hard work.

Our first camp this summer was our “Digital Art Techniques” camp, sponsored by the Texas A&M Department of Visualization. Our instructor and professional digital artist Bailey Rogers taught students how to work with digital touchpads as well as the ins-and-outs of Photoshop, from Hot Keys to layering patterns for a seamless final product.  Students designed everything from aliens to mermaids! We are proud and inspired by all the creativity that came from the process.

The “Smart Home Competition” followed as part of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program that aims to promote STEM fields for students through projects on Home Automation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and 3-D printing. Under the expert instruction of science and technology guru Mickie Byrd, our campers were given the knowledge and tools necessary to design and build an environmentally-friendly, model home that uses technology concepts related to the IoT to see who could create the most energy-efficient home. Our student teams worked together testing materials, designing layouts, creating LaunchPad code and AutoCAD 3-D modeling, as featured in this video. Although the competition was close, we would like to recognize Team Eco for clinching 1st place! 

Our “Game Design” camp introduced our campers to the concepts and code behind video games with instruction from the talented, young game designer Josephine Cornelius. Beginning with “sprites” or pre-made characters, our campers learned how to manipulate the sprites’ movements as well as add coin collections, health boosts and even enemies to their virtual designs. The capstone project required our campers to put their skills to the test to create their own game. A vote was held to decide the winners of three categories: Most Creative, Hardest, and Best Overall Game. Seeing the passion behind the projects really made this camp stand out!

Our final camp, “It’s All About That Glass”, taught by Debbie Jasek, co-owner of Brazos Glassworks, introduced our campers to the world of glass production. Students learned the  history of glass manufacturing as well as how to produce mosaics and enamel paintings. Using sand found almost 5,000 meters under the Ring of Fire off the Japanese coast, students were excited to create pieces of art and express their creativity. The results speak for themselves!

Every year it is our mission to help foster a love of learning in all our campers. By visualizing technical projects through an artistic lens, we aim to develop and nurture a creative yet disciplined approach to science and engineering. We would like to once again thank everyone who made this year possible, especially our amazing campers and their parents! See you all next year!


It’s All About That Glass – July 10-14, 2017

The first day of our Glass Camp was a success! Our students watched some videos on the history of glass as well as the modern way of glass manufacturing. We then headed to Brazos Glassworks for some hands on activities. Today’s activity was making custom glass enamel paintings. The paintings featured things like fish, dragonflies, and butterflies and looked great!

Day 2 at SEAD Academy included mosaics and slurred glass paintings. The campers learned the slurred glass painting technique that was featured with our instructor on the local news! They also learned how to create a mosaic and got to try their hand at it. These kids are having a blast creating all these glass pieces and we enjoy watching them work!

Day 3 was a fun and eventful day at our Glass Camp! Our students learned about how different chemical compounds oxidize into different colors to make stained glass. The students watched videos on how stained glass art is created and even took a field trip to the St. Andrews Episcopal Church to see some amazing pieces. In the workshop, our students finished up their mosaics and started some Texas shaped mosaics.

Today our SEAD campers got to create more enamels, but this time they got to use sand. Our students learned a little bit about Dale Chihuly and his art as well as glass blowing techniques before heading to the workshop. In the workshop, the students got to work with some sand that was found 4,940 meters deep in the Ring of Fire off the Japanese coast! The students were so excited to create some pieces with this sand and got really creative with it. We’re so proud of our campers hard work and love seeing how their art turns out!

Game Design – June 26-30, 2017

Day 1 of our Game Programing SEAD Academy was a great one. Our campers learned the first few steps in creating a game with the Unity software. Our instructors shared some “Sprites”, or premade characters and objects, with our campers and they were able to use them to begin to create their games. Our campers then learned coding phrases to add movement and bring their games to life. We’re very excited to see the progress our campers make in their games throughout the week.

Day 2 at SEAD Academy was filled with coding! Campers learned how to use coding to make their animations move forwards, backwards and upwards. In addition, they learned to add health boosts, coin collection, and enemies in the game world. Our campers were engaged and excited about what they were learning. We can’t wait to see their knowledge applied to their own worlds!

Hump day at SEAD Academy involved doors, keys, and screens! Our campers learned the proper c-sharp coding language to add doors and keys to their games. One camper was excited that they learned how to program doors to open at different times throughout the game. After they added the doors, the campers were shown how to destroy objects within the game and seemed to have a blast using that feature! The enthusiasm of the kids is what made today a great one.

It’s day 4 at our SEAD Academy and the Game Design camp is coming to a close. Our campers put the final touches on their games before tomorrow’s tournament! They added bridges, lava, health bars, coin rooms and more! These games are turning out great and we’re really excited to see them in action tomorrow.

The last day of our Game Design camp was a fun one! Our campers spent the first few hours perfecting their games for the tournament. In the tournament, each camper was given the opportunity to play the other campers games.  After all the games were played by each camper, a vote was held to decide the winners of three categories: Most Creative, Hardest, and Best Overall Game. Every single game we saw was filled with creativity and passion and we enjoyed watching them shine!

The Smart Home Competition – June 19-23, 2017

Day 1 of the Smart Home competition could not have been more exciting! The campers met and connected with each other right away as they learned about smart home concepts and how to implement the engineering process to design their model homes. Today’s activities were all about testing housing materials to explore the best options for building their model homes. Campers formed teams and tested different wall materials, wall coatings, and window types using heat lamps to find the most effective building materials to keep a house cool. Our campers got creative as they started planning their building materials!

Day 2 of the Smart Home competition kicked off with an introduction to the “building codes” and budgets for the campers’ model homes as well as the cost of the materials that would be available for them to build with. After that, it was time to get creative! Everyone broke up into their teams and begun designing their Smart Homes. Once all the teams had developed their first draft of their blueprints, the teams began to experiment with programming the central computer that would eventually be the brains of their Smart Homes! The campers were introduced to LaunchPad coding, loops, pseudocode, and coding flowcharts. We wrapped the day up by experimenting with example codes and talking about some of the many applications of micro controllers.

Our campers learned so much on day 3! Our day started with an introduction to IoT (Internet of Things) so the campers’ homes could wirelessly communicate with their model city’s central hub. After our midday snack break, the campers were also introduced to CAD (computer aided design), and were shown some of the many fascinating applications of the technology and how it can be used to develop smart buildings and new technologies. The campers were also able to finish their blueprints on whiteboards at the actual 1:20 scale they are building their homes at, and finished coding up their smart homes!

Day 4 was all about building our model homes. The campers finalized the budgets of their homes, and got right to work. Students brought together everything they learned this week to construct the best smart home they can for the final competition tomorrow!

Day 5 began with a our campers finishing up their model homes. With their models complete, home electronics installed, and computers programmed, everyone’s model home was moved to the SEAD Gallery to prepare for their presentations. The campers were able to present their work to their parents and judges. Each team presented excellently and answered questions regarding their design process, 3D printing, CAD, and programming. We are so proud to have watched our campers learn and grow this week!

Digital Art Techniques – June 5-9, 2017

Day 1 – Today was a great first day at the SEAD Academy! Our campers were very excited to learn all about the basics of photo-shop. Today, we learned color settings for both digital and printed art, “Hot Keys” of photo-shop, and other features of the program. At the end of the day, each camper worked on their own Character project and we were truly amazed by the creativity of each student. Today’s characters include portrayals of our campers, Stitch, Garfield, and a man. We’re excited to see how much the campers will learn this week!

Day 2 at our SEAD Camp was terrific! At the beginning of the day each student shared an artist whose work they enjoy and it was a fun and educational experience. In the lab, campers explored photo-shop using their new knowledge of layering modes, custom brushes to create textures, and color dynamics. Today’s assigned project was to create a “monster” and, as always, we were stunned by the imaginations and talent of our campers. Some things the campers were excited to have learned today include: how to fill in shapes with color, how to use the opacity tools, how to shade on the pads, and how to properly use the “Hot” keys that were introduced yesterday.

Day 3 of our SEAD camp was filled with patterns and textures! Our campers learned how to use Photo-shop to add artificial texture to their work and fill their designs with pre-made patterns. Our instructor taught them how to adjust the pre-made patterns to look seamless and a natural part of their designs. Each camper was challenged to add textures and patterns to their pieces. We saw lots of intriguing patterns and textures today from our campers, some examples of which are: scales, fur, and tree bark.

We are reaching the end of the week at SEAD academy so day 4 was a work day for our campers. After a brief lecture about using the photo-shop program to edit and fix photos, the campers went back to work! All of our campers are creating amazing things with their new knowledge. We’ve seen aliens, wolves, mermaids, fighters, and tank designs! We are very proud of the creativity we are seeing here at the SEAD Academy.

Our campers spent the last day of camp working on their projects. At the end of the camp each camper was able to display their work for the other campers and their parents. Each project we saw was unique and displayed the incredible talent of each camper. We are so proud of all of the campers we met this week at SEAD Academy!


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