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INL to host STEM Camps for grades 1-12

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Idaho National Laboratory is running STEM Camps for students in grades 1-12. The camps focus on teaching students age-appropriate science research methods and ways to solve real-world problems.

Camps are held:

  • June 12-15: grades six to eight and grades nine to 12
  • June 19-22: grades three to five
  • June 26-29: grades three to five
  • July 5-7: grades one and two
  • July 10-12: grades one and two
  • July 17-20: grades three to five
  • July 24-27: grades three to five

The camps run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., each day. Students will be dropped off and picked up at University Place in Idaho Falls.

Some of the activities will be held outdoors and in nearby locations for fieldwork.

"A lot of kids don't understand how everything's related. And even though the top topic of physics sounds like something really way out there, but throughout the week, hopefully, we show them different activities that make them understand that it's everywhere, it's part of them even, and hopefully that'll foster knowledge in just all kinds of fields, not just the sciences, but arts, music, health, you name it. They all have a physics component and hopefully, this will expose it to the kids and make them want to search some more," INL environmental educator Gregg Losinski said.

He added the goal of the day is to help kids find ways to follow their passions and how science can be a part of it.

"We bring in various professionals throughout the week and they share their areas of expertise with the students. And that always means a lot to have somebody who has worked for years in a certain field be able to relate to the students, how much fun it really is," he said.

Many of the middle schoolers who were in attendance say the event was as fun as promised.

"It's actually where you can do stuff," April Wang said.

One thing she said was really excited about was using a ruler to measure the height of a tree knowing the height of their teacher.

"He said he was five feet. So we made him into an inch and we counted how many steps we took. So it was like we stepped all the way back until it was like a ruler. And on a ruler, he was an inch. So when he was an inch, we counted our steps back to him. And then if you take like for me, it was 36, steps back and you measure a tree. However tall it is, it's pretty much five feet times that," April said.

She is looking forward to spending more time in camp and learning more.

Another student at the camp says the camp provides a sense of freedom with learning, especially when building a makeshift catapult.

"I've been kind of rebelling and doing my own thing, but it's been working well. I like the freedom that they've been allowing us to do our own thing, whereas other places might not and force us to follow the instructions," Eli Sampson said.

Sampson said the passion of the teachers is evident.

"I just love the atmosphere, is fun. It's kind of quiet and everyone's listening and it's not something I've seen a lot. But also the passion of the teachers and the YouTube videos they've been showing us and that's something I've been able to find very interesting."

Another student at the camp, Dylan Johnson, agreed with Sampson.

"They're just really great teachers, and I've been learning a lot just because I feel like they've been helping me a lot with it. And I've been having a great time here."

Johnson said his favorite part of the day was building rockets launched by rubber bands and learning how it worked.

"If you get a microscope, you will see very tiny, spaghetti noodles. This one together is in, so it will be stretching. So it's a very stretchy substance so you can stretch it. Although since that wasn't the way it wasn't made, it will go back to its original shape because the noodles will prefer to go to the normal shape because they're atoms and molecules trying to go back to the original shape."

Emanuel Lora says he enjoyed learning how the different states of matter affect things when learning about physics.

"They were talking about. All these types of states of matter. So there were definitely more than just three or four grains just to multiply, and it usually changes depending on the temperature and the pressure of it."

He says the camp has been fun for him and is still trying to figure out how to get his catapult to work.

Sunshine Sheppard says the camp has been super popular.

"As soon as the registration comes out, we try to make it as fair as we can, but it's kind of hard," she said.

She said the number of students attending the camp per week is higher this year than they have been in years past.

"We're trying to reach as many students as we can do the best we can."

She said the theme this year is physics and they try to change every year to help those who come again from a previous year to experience something different.

"We come up with something new every summer and the students actually get to go on a field trip."

The camp will see different grades during different weeks and end later in the summer of 2023.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho Falls

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8.


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