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Friday, July 15, 2011

Beaker Bash Science Camp – Week 1 in Review

The turnout for camp is small in number but we had a great 1st week.  In our absence, the poor student garden had been overrun with weeds.  The campers and my adult helpers took care of that with determination.  Each person claimed a section for themselves, pulled weeds, fed them to the pig to make compost, watered existing plants, transplanted cabbages, and planted some seeds.  We were rewarded with a few cherry tomatoes and when we visited the school/community garden we collected enough blueberries to make muffins from scratch!  On top of that, we found a robin’s nest with an egg.  We’re watching it and wondering if the egg is one that didn’t hatch in the spring or some late bloomer.  As if that isn’t enough life science, we hit the jackpot when we discovered that our young apple trees are getting along nicely.  A golden delicious apple was hanging gingerly from a branch.  We agreed the best thing to do for the tree was to pick the apple so that the tree could focus its’ energy on growing big and strong instead of bearing fruit.
Plus, we each got to sample the fruit and it was just right!

In order to make some real world and math connections, we created our own little economy system of Beaker Bucks.  The kids decided to get paid for being on time, completing a job, and cleaning up.  They pay for things like lab supplies, snacks, and fines if they make a poor choice.  By the end of the week some kids had earned as much as $40 beaker bucks.  They make their deposits and withdrawals in a database that I created.  From time to time, they stop by the Beaker Bank to check their balance.  A popular purchase this week were the materials to make slime.

At the end of the week, Michael mentioned that he knows how to make a shoebox guitar and asked if we could do that.  My response was, “Sure!  How about if we focus on learning about sound next week?”  Everyone was on board with that and I’m excited to be able to build our experience at camp around student interests with no constraints of a curriculum that must be taught.

If you want to see some pictures of our 1st week, check them out on my website.

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