Robots, Rubik’s Cubes, Survival Skills & More! - IU13
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Robots, Rubik’s Cubes, Survival Skills & More!

Summer is a time for exploration. Adventure. Creativity and curiosity. All of these were available in abundance during  IU13 Summer Enrichment Camps. New friendships were also part of each experience!

These camps, which are tailored for students in general education or gifted/enrichment programs, help students explore challenges in fun, exciting ways — promoting teamwork, flexibility, and social interaction between campers. Not to mention, camps promote the hands-on learning experiences that parents and kids love!

Over the course of nine weeks (June 17th through August 8th), IU13 offered a total of nine different camps for students in Grades 1-12. All camps were facilitated by IU13 staff from the Student Services program, and some of the camps also involved partnering agencies such as: National Inventors Hall of Fame/Camp Invention, Snapology of Lancaster, Lancaster County Parks and Recreation, and the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences.

Girls exploring creekHere are just a few highlights from this year’s camps:

Summer Chess Exploration: Choices, Pawn-chains, and Checkmates:

Words of wisdom shared with campers by the chess camp instructor:

  • “Don't lose sight of your goal.”
  • “What opportunities does that move create for me?”
  • “Each move you make is only half a move. Your opponent makes the other half.”
  • “Think about what to do when your opponent messes up a plan.”
  • “If you can't win, don't lose.”

Twisting, Turning, and Rubik’s Cube Learning:

  • Campers learned to solve 2×2 cubes, then moved on to solving 3×3 cubes.
  • Young creatives fashioned mosaics, landscapes, modern art, and even the Mona Lisa – all with just Rubik’s Cubes!
  • Students worked hard at solving digital breakout boxes, where hidden codes in a message revealed how to solve even more online puzzles. Campers also worked on brainteasers and puzzles, along with the added challenge of solving 100 cubes before the end of the day.

Robotics Space Challenge: Using LEGO® Mindstorms® EV3 Technology:

  • Campers learned about gear ratios and torque, then built robots that they used for the rest of the week to navigate through challenge courses.
  • Young inventors experimented with block coding to direct their machines along various pathways, avoiding obstacles on the way.
  • Students participated in a “Mission to Mars,” which included gathering rock samples, launching a rocket, and saving astronauts.

Survival in the Wilderness:

  • Campers learned about two unique items used to start a fire in the wilderness: steel wool and a nine-volt battery (and a bonus item: caution!).
  • Students enjoyed learning more about shelter building, directional tools, and Native American history.
  • Campers observed and explored the challenge of a wilderness hike, and all it has to offer: mushrooms, grape leaves, toads, and more!

Investigations in Science:

  • At the Lancaster County Environmental Center, campers hunted for invertebrates that thrive in healthy freshwater environments: mayflies, water penny larvae, stoneflies, gilled snails, and caddisflies. They also chased butterflies on land with nets in hand.
  • Park Naturalist Lisa Sanchez showed campers how to make “natural jewelry” with live crayfish by coaxing a crayfish to hook onto her ear.
  • Campers managed to capture creatures for study: crayfish, caddisfly larvae, and a water penny from the creek, as well as a red admiral butterfly, a damselfly, a cricket, and three cabbage butterflies on land.

Camp Invention® “Supercharged”:

  • Campers visited five different stations where they were given materials to create inventions that could solve various problems associated with unique scenarios. Challenges included: Farm Tech, Deep Sea Mystery, Innovation Force, DIY Orbot, and, of course, the games station combined learning with LOTS of action!
  • For Deep Sea Mystery, students created boats from leftover materials: Styrofoam, cardboard, popsicle sticks, glue, bottles, and scrap fabric.
  • Students created the superhero of their dreams, complete with DIY masks and capes, and any superpower of their choice.

Healthcare Career Exploration Camp:

  • Students expressed a few areas of interest post-high school: phlebotomy, counseling, and case management, while attending seminars about topics ranging from the health of young people to older populations.
  • Students learned about the work of a Med Lab Scientist by doing a Kirby Bauer Test, which tests the antibiotic sensitivity of bacteria.
  • Aspiring healthcare workers dissected a sheep’s heart, cutting through thick, muscular tissue all the way around, revealing the intricate design of long, open chambers, wide vessels, and thin filaments of nerve and valves.

LEGO® Robotics Inventors Club:

  • Campers built robotic pets, including a fish, “robodog,” and platypus.
  • Other inventions that campers enjoyed were creating a home security kit, using a pulley system to get a picnic basket to a treehouse, solving an environmental problem, and building a moving machine.

Jump In! Exploring the Science & Fun of H2O:

  • Campers were challenged with building boats for a race down the creek with found items, including cups, bottles, boxes, and plates. They raced their boats with worms, caterpillars, and crayfish as passengers on a wild ride down the rapids.
  • Nature journals allowed students to observe with great detail things they saw in the woods and creek. Using paintbrushes, markers, and pencils, they tapped into the stories they remembered, the problems they solved, and the impact of the content they studied.
  • Water, as a vital and refreshing resource, was the focus of everything campers enjoyed: games, wetland studies, creek exploration, and even an edible liquid aquifer full of delicious sweets.

As you can see, campers had an array of inventive, wild, and creative adventures. We look forward to seeing past and future campers next summer!

Click here to learn more about the IU13 Summer Enrichment Camps and other related programs.