The best way to interest young people in science and engineering is to get them doing science at an early age, especially hands on outdoors. Here’s a look at the 2009 Science Adventures Summer Camps program, from Business Wire. From the article:
This summer, Science Adventures™ summer camps are introducing an innovative new program line-up to inspire a love of science and the environment. Science Adventures programs’ newest camp, Powerful Planet, offers fun and exciting lessons that teach the importance of energy efficiency and the need to manage our natural resources from wildlife to oil. Children use hands-on activities to explore science, and become better global citizens.
“This year’s Powerful Planet camp offers children the unique opportunity to become part of a global conversation and effort to understand and protect our environment,” said Andy Allan, Director of Program Development, also known as Andy the Science Wiz. “Science Adventures not only offers hands-on interactions that inspire a love of science, but keeps children on the cutting edge of discovery by introducing them to the relevant research being studied and developed today.”
Science Adventures programs are offered to students ages 5 to 12 years, at participating recreation facilities and schools. Children must have completed Kindergarten to enroll. Camps take science education out of the classroom to spark a child’s interest in the world of science and discovery. The 2009 summer camps, now open for enrollment, incorporate hands-on, interactive lessons designed to offer children new ways to learn through exploration, teamwork and engaging projects.
The importance of hands-on learning for elementary school students was highlighted this month in a Purdue University study conducted by the National Science Foundation. The study taught two groups of children about water purification, one by building a device, the other through traditional lecture and reading assignments. The children that learned the purification process through building the device scored 20 points higher on a test covering the subject. Melissa Dark, a professor that worked on the study, commented that the students who took part in the hands-on project learned more and showed deeper understanding of its science principles than the traditionally taught group.
Science Adventures program’s camp curriculum is developed by education experts and features activities that are fun, engaging and inspire exploration, imagination and creativity, while building skills such as self esteem and teamwork. Camps are led by expert instructors in small groups by age level, with each child completing their own projects. “Our camps differ in that we don’t do many group experiments. All children have a chance to build, experiment, and explore on their own,” said Allan.
Campers also have access to Science Adventures program’s exclusive online science club, Kid Zone. Kid Zone is an interactive members-only Web site that features at home science experiments, fun science facts, a downloadable membership card, science games, contests, and prizes.
Science Adventures Summer Science Camps begin the first week of June and are organized in four topical programs designed to engage and excite young minds. Each camp is one-week long with flexible options to accommodate families’ busy summer schedules, including half-day and full-day camps. Parents can enroll online at http://www.scienceadventures.com and may choose to register their children for all four weeks, or just one program. Day camp hours are 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. or 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. for half-day. Camp program schedules vary by geography.
2009 Science Adventures Summer Science Camp programs include:
Powerful Planet: Campers explore the planet’s most powerful forces, discovering how electrical energy can be turned into motion, experimenting with the elements of friction, learning how to use solar energy, gathering wind energy and much more. Lessons include building their own electric car, solar oven, wind turbines and other energy efficient gadgets. During this unit campers also investigate our impact on the environment as they turn eco-detective and conduct science experiments to solve the mystery of the missing turtles.
Gizmo’s Robot Factory: During this week, children discover the world of robotics through several hands-on projects. Campers design and build their very own walking robot while investigating what makes a robot tick. Lessons include taking a robot’s-eye view in 3-D, listening with electronic ears, and wiring a simple circuit. Campers explore the physics of simple machines, electric motors, and pneumatics as they unravel the extreme science of robotics.
Space and Rocketry: Blast off from planet Earth to explore the farthest reaches of the universe by launching your very own rocket! During the week, campers build their very own rocket and Mars rover. Campers investigate how fins stabilize a rocket in mid-flight, what air resistance and air pressure have to do with parachutes and when they must open. On launch day, campers put their rocket knowledge to the test and launch their rockets, which can exceed speeds of 70 mph and climb up to 300 ft. After flying high, campers learn to navigate the surface of Mars as they build their own motorized Mars rover complete with six wheels for surface mobility and an anemometer to investigate wind speeds.
Fabulous Physics Challenge: During this camp, mini-scientists explore how physics relates to their everyday lives from friction and skateboards to electrons and flashlights, investigating how science is all around us. Campers start the week learning about Sir Isaac Newton’s laws as they construct their own bowling alley and learn how weight and force are important to the stability of a flying disc. Campers go on to explore simple machines and build their own catapult basketball game, discover magnetic attraction and repulsion with a game of magnetic darts, and relate air pressure to the pastime sweeping the nation, Sport Stacking.
For more information on Science Adventures Summer Science Camp programs in your area, or to enroll, visit www.scienceadventures.com or call (888) 458-1812.