Outer space, explosions draw kids to Science Camp

Ha-Shilth-Sa, July 18, 2011

Science camp kids learn physics concepts from volunteer instructor Port Alberni city engineer Guy Cicon.

Tseshaht — 

Physics, biology, chemistry, astronomy—sounds like school.

But no, it’s not school. To a group of Tseshaht children, this is Summer Science Camp, and it’s their leisure time activity of choice and a way to spend the long days of summer doing something fun.

Twenty-two eager participants, ranging in age from 7 to 14, signed up for the five-day camp held in the Haahuupayak School gym.

Jane Jones, education coordinator for Tseshaht First Nation, said the camp was planned for 15 children, but organizers are pleased to have so many youngsters interested in learning about science.

“It’s good to sign up more in case some children have to go off to do other things,” said Jones of the increased enrolment.

Each day of the camp had a different science focus.

“The first day was earth science,” said Jones. “The children learned about lightening, cloud formations, tornadoes and how they are formed.”

Jones said she and fellow coordinator Connie Watts came up with the idea for a camp spotlighting science when they received funding for summer programming. That funding was used to purchase a diverse collection of science kits and other science-based educational materials.

“It gives the kids a chance to learn more about science while they are not in school,” said Jones. “It gives them hands-on small group attention.”

Other theme days included physics, where the campers studied simple machines, magnetism, static electricity, and renewable energy.

On biology day, realistic manipulative models gave the kids a tactile experience of the inner workings of the human body. Posters, slides, and books instructed on concepts ranging from genetics to zoology.

“Camp sounded like a lot of fun and I knew I would learn things,” said Amina Moussa, 9. “I want to be a DNA scientist when I grow up.”

Jones said the camp was well supported with volunteers from the local community. City of Port Alberni engineer Guy Cicon was on hand to help the kids with their gears and pulleys projects on physics day. North Island College instructor Ellen Chambers taught on chemistry day.

“Nancy Wandersee from NTC nursing worked together with summer student Victoria Dick on biology day,” Jones said.

On the day of our interview, Astronomy day was still a couple of days away, but future scientists Kadin Watts, 11, and Kayden Doiron, 7, couldn’t keep their hands off the remote control solar system. When asked why he came to camp, Doiron said “because it’s fun.” 

Kaleidoscope building, making lenses from gelatin, bending light, making sticky ice, creating an explosion in a test tube, changing the color of flowers, and exploring the moon were some of the other fun science activities that were on the agenda for the science explorers.

Science Camp wrapped up on July 22.

By Lorraine Foster