Spring Break in Columbia Gorge

April 13th, 2016

Written by Hollie CongerCREATE, EXPLORE, INVENT:

Three words that encapsulate Columbia Gorge’s Tech Experience Day Camp and Family Night, put on by OSU Juntos. The best part of the camp – it was free of charge for the whole family, thanks to a Roads Scholar Community Engagement Grant, Wasco and Hood River Counties, and the OSU Libraries and Press.


The two-day camp which took place this March during spring break at Columbia Gorge Community College, was facilitated by Juntos leaders, local 4-H educators, and the OSU Chapter of ChickTech – a non-profit organization encouraging women and girls to pursue science and technology careers. Juntos students and families had the opportunity to play with new technologies and learn new skills.

Middle School Maker Space was the theme for day one’s camp experience, which focused on combining art, technology, and photography. Household items were used to make exciting inventions that taught students about circuits, carbon dioxide, and the density of water and oil.


4-H and ChickTech volunteers set up stations for students where they could make Electric Name Tags, assemble Artbots (battery-powered drawing robots), and create a game using LED “throwies”. Students were taught how to make a keyboard out of a banana using Makey Makey, design non-toxic, heatless lava lamps, and create carbon dioxide bubbles of color using antacids. Even the snack came with a fun challenge – students built a structure from pretzels and bananas while blindfolded.

During the family night, parents learned a few new things themselves. Families created a collaborative invention they designed together that they could take home! Their reward: a pizza dinner!


Day two of the camp was designed for high schoolers where students had the opportunity to create their own virtual reality. Thirteen students worked with Kodak PixPro cameras to create their own 360 video after brainstorming ideas in small groups. They created storyboards for their videos and used the cameras to film short takes, uploading them to YouTube 360 video.P1040492

Using Google Cardboard, a device that works with a smart phone to display 3D scenes, students were able to view their videos. They also experienced virtual reality using Oculus Rift, a powerful computer program and headset. Students were thrilled with the outcome and excited to learn new skills.


“The overall experience turned out fantastic for me! It taught me how to develop new ways of virtual reality I had no idea was possible!” said one student.


To learn more about Hood River’s OSU Juntos community, contact Ann Harris at 541.386.3343 or ann.harris@oregonstate.edu.