Boom! That’s what campers expected to hear when their counselor gently dropped a lit match into a bag filled with baking soda and vinegar. The explosion never happened and the students let out a sign of relief. The counselor explained the contents of the bag were the basic ingredients of a fire extinguisher.
The campers are part of an After School Enrichment Program (ASEP) camp that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). STEM education is an integrated approach to teaching and learning that applies math and science principles to the solution of real-world problems.
There are many experiments for the students to take part in over the next nine weeks. They’ll engage their minds and busy their hands as they engineer with Legos, study bridges, explore astrology and space and put on a science fair.
Wayne Fisher, science specialist for CMS, observed the young scientists at Morehead. As he jumped from room to room, Fisher paused to speak with counselors, monitor experiments and get students to answer the top scientific question, “Why?”
Fisher organizes science activities for CMS and has watched the number of summer STEM options grow over the years.
“Summer STEM initiatives can help students avoid the summer slide,” Fisher said. “We have a number of programs and initiatives that bridge learning between school years.”
Down the hall, Alonzo Peake used bright red strips of tape to attach his newest invention to the wall. He sent a golf ball flying down a tube and hoped that it would release an elevator made of string and gears. After each unsuccessful run, he lifted his goggles and tinkered with the invention but couldn’t resolve where he went wrong.
Alonzo is beginning his career in science as a Camp Invention student at Morehead. He hopes to become an astronaut and zoologist, because he knows there must be a career out there that will let him do both. He understands the importance of learning science and hopes that he and the other students will one day, “do the things we want to do when we go to college and grow up.”
He already thinks of ways to apply the skills learned at summer camp to benefit his future career.
“I want to be a scientist,” Alonzo said. “Learning STEM will help me make a spacecraft to see a planet people have never seen.”
Learn more about locations and opportunities to participate in the ASEP STEM Camp and Camp Invention. During the school year, CMS offers STEM magnet programs for K-8 students at Morehead STEM Academy and high school students at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology.