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Science camp takes learning to a new level

Ten-year-old Tanese Neganegijig was looking for something different to do this summer. She found it at the Actua Sudbury Summer Science Camp, held at Elm West playground from Aug. 2-5.
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Actua outreach instructor Matt Chamberlain (right) helps camp student Julien Valcourt figure out how to use dentistry tools during Actua’s Sudbury Summer Science Camp at Elm West playground. Photo by Scott Haddow.

Ten-year-old Tanese Neganegijig was looking for something different to do this summer. She found it at the Actua Sudbury Summer Science Camp, held at Elm West playground from Aug. 2-5.

From building human body bones out of moulding clay to chemical reaction experiments to learning how dentists clean teeth, Neganegijig found plenty to keep her occupied at the camp.

“I like science and I am usually bored all summer, so this camp has been great for me,” she said. “I’m not bored anymore. This camp has been a lot of fun. We got to learn new things and we were doing things all day long. It’s like a fun school during the summer.”

Actua outreach instructor Matt Chamberlain (right) helps camp student Julien Valcourt figure out how to use dentistry tools during Actua’s Sudbury Summer Science Camp at Elm West playground. Photo by Scott Haddow.

Actua outreach instructor Matt Chamberlain (right) helps camp student Julien Valcourt figure out how to use dentistry tools during Actua’s Sudbury Summer Science Camp at Elm West playground. Photo by Scott Haddow.

Neganegijig has experienced a lot more than she could have ever imagined. She has a keen interest in science and the experiences at the camp might push her into a career in the field one day. “The instructors made learning a lot of fun and interesting,” she said. “We made cup phones, found out raisins float and how dentists put fillings into teeth.

“I really liked watching what happens when baking soda and vinegar are mixed together … it goes all over the place,” she added. “I learned a lot and I want to come back to the camp next year and learn more.”

Local youth had the opportunity to explore the world of science around them at the camp, which is supported by Vale and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The camp was delivered by Actua, a national non-profit organization that inspires youth through hands-on science, engineering and technology programming across Canada.

There were 12 to 15 kids at the camp, ranging in age from seven to 12. The camp was free for the children, thanks to sponsor money. The kids attending the camp were referred from the Friendship Centre.

“It’s a general science week and the kids learn about everything from geology to water to the environment,” camp instructor Gabby Bouchard said. “We do anything to do with science and our main goal is to connect the fun projects we do with the kids to different careers.

“It’s a big process to make the camp fun for the kids,” she continued. “We call the process funification. It’s really up to the instructors to make everything fun and interesting. You can make anything interesting if it is presented in a fun way. That’s the key for kids.”

The camp instructors found Greater Sudbury kids to be on the ball and willing to learn.

“The kids here are so sweet,” Bouchard said. “They’re keen to learn and have neat perspectives. We found a lot of the kids here know a lot about rocks already and I’m sure it has something to do with the fact there are so many rocks in Sudbury. It worked in our favour because we have a whole day for geology.”

As much fun as the kids have had, the instructors have also enjoyed the experience and have learned a few things themselves.

“It has been an eye-opening and mind-blowing experience,” outreach instructor Matt Chamberlain said. “I would have never expected this amount of excitement in the kids at these camps. They’re really into it. It provides a lot of encouragement.”

He said getting hands-on experience is important for the kids. “Some things don’t always click until the kids actually see it with their own eyes and do it with their own hands. It makes it a more real experience and it starts to give them skills they need to go into a working field.”

Actua is a science, engineering and technology youth outreach network. More than three million young Canadians have been inspired through their participation in Actua’s positive, hands-on educational workshops, camps and community outreach initiatives. Each year, Actua’s growing network of member organizations reaches more than 200,000 young Canadians in more than 450 communities nationwide.

For more on the company, visit actua.ca.

- Posted by Vivian Scinto




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