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Summer science camps focus on hands-on learning

 

Nick Goodson and Ethan Parker experiment to see what would let a hot-air balloon rise successfully during the recent Lincoln County Schools science camp.

 

AMANDA SEBASTIANO

Staff Writer

 

One hundred elementary school students across the county recently participated in Science and Technology Camp.

The annual camp focuses on various sciences and using technology to study them, while incorporating what the children learned in their Monday through Thursday lessons.

The group worked on various experiments, from Lego Robotics to testing sunscreen and concocting their own bubbles with wands made of pipe cleaners, Science Lead Teacher of County Schools Linda Yoder told the Times-News last week.

Life, Physical and Earth sciences were studied on various days of the week, as the young scientists learned about changing variables in their experiments, while keeping some the same and how that affected the outcome. They later analyzed their data and interpreted their results using Smart Boards and iPads.

Rising fifth-grader Flannery McFadden has attended the camp the last three years and thought back to some of her favorite moments during this year’s camp. One experiment stuck with her.

She made “Oobleck” in one of the groups she was in, a putty-like substance that changes consistency; the material gets its name from a Dr. Seuss story.

Five science teachers were present during the four-day camp, including Kelly Rudisill. She is a veteran in the program, and is amazed at how many new thing she learns alongside the students each year.

“This camp is important because it encourages children to be inquisitive, sparks curiosity and, hopefully, causes them to pursue knowledge,” Rudisill said.

Constancy, change and measurement were the main concepts the various activities centered around.

Yoder hopes the camp has and continues to strengthen local students’ interest in science, and that the activities will help keep their minds going over summer break.

Students in Rudisill’s classes were amazed to learn about something they couldn’t see – air. With technology surrounding them in every area of the G.E. Massey campground, the topic seemed an unlikely favorite. However, learning that air has mass and occupies space was a concept the youth had never before considered.

To show the power of what’s all around but not thought much about, Rudisill showed her groups how heavy books could be lifted by nothing more than an inflated balloon.

The idea to combine science and technology seems only appropriate as they work together often times; neither can exist without the other and both “open the window to a wider world,” Yoder said.

 

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