MCC Camp 1Youth at Mohave Community College’s STEM Camp were presented with a dilemma. MCC engineering instructor Dr. Russell Cox had a chess set that was missing one of the two knights. Solution? Print one.

Using computer technology and a device that uses plastic to print in three dimensions, the students fabricated a replacement chess piece. The game can go on.

A dozen students participated in MCC’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Camp for two weeks in June on the college’s Bullhead City campus at 3400 Highway 95. Some of the students studied engineering from Dr. Cox, while others learned how to design mobile applications from Matthew Butcher, a computer information systems instructor at MCC.

For the chess piece, students took digital photos of the remaining knight and created a 3-dimensional computer model. They created a new piece from that model with the help of modeling software. While it was not an exact replica, it was more than obvious that the knight was capable of cornering an opponent’s king.
In Butcher’s mobile app camp, Jacob Mieding, a 14-year-old from Bullhead City, improved a mobile game that resembled “Space Invaders” by adding a background graphic and sound.

“I loved the class. I am interested in electronics and interested in making my own apps,” he said.

He said he hopes to build on his newly acquired skills to make apps that are “helpful and useful.” He thinks apps that help students study or brain builders could be next, he said.

“In the mobile app camp, students showed tremendous skills in logic, problem solving, and a very keen ability to pick up complicated concepts in computer science and demonstrate them in a mobile app design environment,” Butcher said. “It was truly a pleasure to design apps with these students.”

Kenneth “Bud” Fox, an MCC instructor, had the difficult job of judging the students’ projects. More than the final product, he said he was excited to hear them describe their projects and the processes they learned to create them.

“These students are using new and evolving technology. It is fascinating to see them grasp these skills,” he said.

Joseph Scholl, a 16-year-old from Kingman, participated in both camps. For his mobile app, he created a simple task list that he admits is still a work in progress. Once users open his app, they are asked to either “create new thing,” “delete a thing,” or “view all things.”

“It was a lot harder than I thought it would be,” he said, as he “created new things” and deleted others before a group from Fox Creek Junior High School in Bullhead City.

From this simple beginning, Scholl hopes to add calendar functionality, such as the ability to include due dates, in addition to possible integration with other apps. He would also like to create an auto-responder app that would recognize when a user is operating a motor vehicle and automatically respond to a call or text when the user is unavailable. It is no surprise that his career plans include either engineering or law enforcement.

In the engineering camp, Scholl built small bridges. He found the bridge plans on the Internet and he tested the strength of design and strength of two alternative plastics available for printing.

Also as part of the engineering camp, Cox introduced students to many types of engineering, such as computer, electrical, structural, and chemical. They experienced virtual reality with the aid of a homemade “Google Box” and a phone app.

“I wanted to show how the scientific method applies to engineering,” Cox said.

For him, identifying the problem, working together to develop possible solutions, and having the courage to try again when the first solution does not work is as important as the final product.

In pointing to the students’ work he said, “All engineering came together here.”