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Camp Designed To Keep Student Minds Active During Dog Days Of Summer

BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — School may be out for summer, but plenty of students are returning to Fairfield Elementary for a summer camp that is both fun and educational. The four-week camp, which began last week, focuses on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM subjects, as well as reading intervention for struggling readers. Over 230 pre-kindergarten through fifth-graders signed up for one or all four weeks being offered, said Wayne Trail Elementary technology teacher and camp coordinator Stacey Snyder. The camp costs $75.00 per week; however, students testing low in reading scores were personally invited to attend the camps and are not required to pay for it. Last week, students studied space and rocketry using a NASA curriculum. Younger students explored a star lab inflatable planetarium and older students made rockets and visited the Challenger Learning Center, where they took part in a simulated space launch. This week, students focused on art, making projects that look like blown glass and studying artists including Dale Chihuly, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. The week also includes a trip to the Toledo Museum of Art to work with glass. In week three, the focus will be animals and in week four, students will complete makerspace projects. Field trips will include visits to the Toledo Zoo and Imagination Station The makerspaces, which are areas for students to create projects using tools such as 3-D printers, computers, Lego pieces, wood, yarn, batteries and more, are incorporated into all camp instruction, but the last week of camp will be a more intensive makerspace week, Snyder said. “The makerspace projects promote that higher-level thinking,” she said. The summer camps also provide the additional time needed to redesign and work through problems. “Fourth-graders designed their rockets and launched them, then they had to redesign them to make them better,” said Snyder “So working through that whole engineering and design process is almost like a new concept that we don’t often get the time to do in a normal school day.” In addition to working on projects, intervention students receive two hours of literacy instruction each day during the four-week camp. The students are divided into grade level, and some will work with teachers they will have next school year, said gifted teacher Danielle Pickle, who is also helping with the camp. “I’m really excited about this because the camp helps build them up and keep them going in a fun way,” she said.

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