Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Breaking Everything Down to a Science...April Break Science Camp

This BVP Musings guest blog is brought to you by ES1 Science Teacher Sophia Lambertsen

“I’ve got a crazy question for you. Do you have time to talk right now?” Well, I was suited up in my yellow neon crossing guard vest, standing in the middle of Broad Street directing dismissal traffic, so really, my answer was no. But I can never resist a crazy question. That’s how this year’s April Break Science Camp was born.

When Mr. Chiappetta first proposed running a science camp during April Break, it sounded like a really good idea, and it felt like I had all the time in the world to make it happen. Now it’s April, and Science Camp starts on Monday. And it’s going to be awesome.

We are so excited to welcome the fourth graders, on their last vacation as elementary schoolers, to spend a week collaborating on inquiry-based lab activities, doing scientific research on scholar laptops, and meeting career scientists. Science camp staff and I can’t wait for our field trip at the end of the week, on the Friday of camp, when the science campers will work together to learn about the science of baseball and represent BVP on a trip to McCoy Stadium.

As I scurry around trying to get my hands on enough liquid nitrogen for nearly 50 fourth graders, order batteries and bulbs from every Radio Shack in Rhode Island (did you know most Radio Shack locations only stock 3 or 4 scholar-sized lightbulbs?), and touch base with our 10 visiting scientists, I’m overwhelmed by a feeling of inspiration.

I’m inspired by the close to 50 fourth grade scholars who have chosen to spend their April break learning science instead of playing video games or watching TV. 

I’m inspired by the ES1 office staff who have stepped up with enthusiasm to help with translation and logistics. 

I’m inspired by the third grade scholars who tell me they can’t wait to be fourth graders so they can come to science camp too. 

I’m inspired by employees of local businesses who, when they hear about camp, go above and beyond to help me out with discounts, expertise, and advice. 

I’m inspired by my colleagues and friends, both BVP-affiliated and not, who have volunteered to help set up inquiry kits, move bags of materials that are too heavy for me to carry, practice running through lab experiments to anticipate issues, and come up with countless “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” ideas.

It’s this type of teamwork that bridges the gap between “Today we learn” and “Tomorrow we lead.” The scholars at science camp will work as a team to get ready to rock their science NECAP in May, and I hope their choice to spend their April break as a week on, not a week off, inspires all of you the way is has inspired me. Check back throughout the week for photos and scholar quotes.

And I’ll give you the same advice I give my third graders. Try not to be too jealous of the fourth grade science campers. Maybe if you try your best, you’ll be invited to come next year.

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