DOBSON — At county elementary and middle schools, 178 students took part in summer learning camps in June, and more are enrolled this month as well.
Surry County Schools provided seven science technology engineering and math (STEM) camps in June at no cost to its students or their families.
Transportation was free, and the summer feeding program provided lunch each day, noted Sonia Dickerson, director of communications, teacher quality and instructional media.
The June camps were open just to students in the county school district. However, some of the camps going on this month are for the first time open to registration by kids from the surrounding districts, Dickerson pointed out. The events this month are a variety of paid scholastic and athletic summer camps.
As for June, Dickerson said 117 middle school students and 61 elementary students participated in one of the STEM camps that lasted five days.
The theme for the elementary STEM camp was sustainability and the design process.
During this week, elementary students at three locations (Rockford, Pilot Mountain and Franklin) engaged in projects such as designing and building a solar oven for cooking s’mores and designing food-packaging containers. Teachers Shaunda York, Mitchell Jenkins and Patty Holcomb led the camps.
• The Jr. Camp Med STEM camp focused on the fields of forensics and anatomy.
It was an extension of the Biomedical Detectives Project Lead the Way course at Meadowview Magnet Middle School and was open only to students enrolled in the magnet school, said Dickerson.
Students examined how use of forensic evidence solves crimes and about basic anatomy such as the circulatory, skeletal and nervous systems. Students explored possible career interests as they participated in a field trip to Northern Hospital of Surry County where, dressed in scrubs, they toured the surgical ward as well as other locations throughout the hospital.
Robin Narehood, a teacher at Surry Community College, also spoke to the Jr. Camp Med group about her previous work with the state crime lab. Facilitators for the week were Surry County teachers Tammy Taylor and Melissa Hamlin. The NC Biotechnology Center contributed $500 toward funding for Jr. Camp Med.
• Participants enrolled in Ecology & Environment STEM camp program explored their local surroundings as they tested soil for nutrient levels, tested water quality of a local stream and sampled the biodiversity of the forest floor. Each day’s activities focused around a daily theme. These were soils, streams, forests and energy. Leading the group was Janna Blakeney, of Pilot Mountain Middle.
• During this week of Entomology camp, students learned about the amazing world of insects. Taught by Jeff Edwards, Science Institute Coordinator, they explored insect classification and identification as student teams worked both collaboratively and competitively to build their own insect collections. Through hands-on experiments, students explored the effect temperature has on beetle metabolism and just how much strength lies in these tiny creatures. Students also learned about exotic insect pests and how the insects affect daily life.
• Students from across the district came together in both the real world and the virtual world to learn principles of game design using Minecraft. The student game designers collaborated to create an original game with story elements, challenges, puzzles, map design, 3D modeling, and more. Each design team designed and tested their game as well as games designed by other teams to provide feedback. Lucas Gillispie, director of digital and academic learning, led the Minecraft camp.
• Middle school students from across the district attended Coding Camp at Meadowview Magnet Middle School. These students enjoyed learning about various coding languages and then implemented their new skills to create their own apps and websites. Students also programmed robots and discussed how coding correlates across curriculum.
Students unanimously agreed that their favorite part of the camp was building and programming their own computers using Piper Computer Kits. These kits, funded through a grant from North Carolina Technology in Education Society (NCTIES), made the camp very successful. Alicia Ray, innovation facilitator, led the camp.
“As technology becomes more and more prevalent in our lives, learning basic computer programming is a smart idea,” said Ray. “During the coding camp, students used design, logic and problem-solving abilities. It was amazing to observe their ideas and creativity.”
• The Agriculture & Biotechnology camp was collaboration between Surry County Schools Agricultural Science Teachers and the Surry County Cooperative Extension Service.
Jamie Mosley, a science teacher at Gentry Middle, tied the two groups together to provide students with experiences on how much agriculture impacts daily life. Joanna Radford and Bryan Cave from the SC Cooperative Extension, led activities for camp students. Students from the three traditional high schools served as Junior Leaders for this program. During the field trip-packed week of exploration, students visited local farms to learn about agricultural practices and also visited Syngenta Research Facilities in Research Triangle Park to learn about the science behind agriculture.
“The farm experiences provided the students with adventure that was real, fresh, hands-on, and important to sustaining life,” said Mosley. “The partnership with our Extension Office is a treasure. At Syngenta, students learned the importance of chemical safety, not only to themselves, but also for the equipment and for their neighbor’s crop. The week was amazing.”
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.