Summer Science Camp Offers Real-World Experiences for Students and Future Teachers
Local middle school students enrolled in a weeklong summer science camp will use their hands and minds in ways that are not often seen in traditional classroom settings. Additionally, master’s students leading the camp, who are studying to become science teachers at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education, will learn a new way of teaching science.
Middle schoolers from Nathaniel Rochester Community School 3 will learn about beach closures and what makes healthy water as part of this summer’s Get Real! Science Camp, running July 29 to August 2 in LeChase Hall on River Campus. The annual summer camp seeks to move the teaching of science away from merely presenting a bunch of facts to a more authentic, inquiry-based approach that makes science exciting and meaningful for everyone.
“The camp is designed to cultivate young students’ interests in science by taking on real scientific problems outside of the classroom,” says Camp Director Michael Occhino, a visiting assistant professor at the Warner School. “In addition to inspiring sixth- and seventh-graders through these hands-on learning experiences, master’s students will be transformed by their capacity to serve as creative science teachers while gaining teaching experience in an informal setting.”
The students, with guidance from future science teachers, will engage in science investigations of Lake Ontario’s water quality issues. Students and soon-to-be science teachers will spend two days wading in the lake to collect water samples and will then perform several tests in laboratories on the University of Rochester’s River Campus to determine water quality variables, like pH balance, dissolved oxygen levels, bacteria and algae, temperature, and turbidity. Students will then present their findings about the water quality to the community and share recommendations for improving the current beach conditions on the camp’s last day, August 2, from 11 a.m. to noon, in the Palladoro Methods Classroom of LeChase Hall. (The event is free and open to the public.)
The value of inquiry-based science education—or doing science to learn science—is affirmed as a solid method of teaching and learning throughout summer camp and the remainder of the 15-month science teacher preparation program, known as the Get Real! Science Program, which the Get Real! Science Camp is part of. The Get Real! Science Program, created nine years ago by April Luehmann, associate professor at the Warner School, is grounded in authentic experiences that include the summer Get Real! Science Camp, Science STARS (Students Tackling Authentic and Relevant Science) program, and more. Daily photographs from the Get Real! Science Camp and blog entries describing activities can be viewed on the Get Real! Science website at www.rochester.edu/warner/getreal.
About the Warner School of Education
Founded in 1958, the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education offers master’s and doctoral degree programs in teaching and curriculum, school leadership, higher education, educational policy, counseling, human development, and health professions education. The Warner School of Education offers a new accelerated option for its EdD programs that allows eligible students to earn a doctorate in education in as few as three years part time while holding a professional job in the same field. The Warner School of Education is recognized both regionally and nationally for its tradition of preparing practitioners and researchers to become leaders and agents of change in schools, universities, and community agencies; generating and disseminating research; and actively participating in education reform.
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