The University of California San Diego Extension is offering a variety of summer camps this year as a part of the Sally Ride Science Junior Academy. Kids of all ages — literally — are invited to join in on the fun.
The academy runs from June 24 to July 19 and offers STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) classes for children in elementary, middle and high school. Students can learn about everything from slimy sea creatures to culinary chemistry to virtual reality to the science behind Harry Potter. Typically, the academy has only offered classes for students sixth grade through 12th grade, but this year, they're expanding to provide workshops for students in fourth and fifth grade.
And for the first time, parents are invited.
"A Parent's Guide to Success in Science Education: How to Planet" is a free course that teaches parents how to support their children's science learning. It will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 28 and will cover topics like organization, study skills, building resilience, and technology.
"The impetus for the session was to attend to concerns expressed by parents about being able to support science learning, specifically frustration experienced around homework help," said Morgan Appel, the assistant dean of education and community outreach at UC San Diego Extension who will be teaching the class.
"A burgeoning body of research and practical experience offers that learning of any kind is a collaborative effort. To support engagement and persistence requires a collaborative effort between teachers, parents, and students. Much of this effort reaches beyond content into metacognitive skills that are important in K-12, postsecondary education and in the workforce."
The goal is to help parents better support their children's education and interest in scientific subjects, like the one Shirli Cohen, a bioengineer at the J. Craig Venter Institute researching infectious diseases, is teaching. Her four-week class, called "Space Tango: Quest Institute," lets students explore space, the International Space Station, and the heat transfer.
"High school students get the opportunity to actually design and run science experiments on the International Space Station," Cohen said. "So it's a really exciting class. Students are going to be learning a lot of skills in technical and electrical engineering and programming software engineering, and they'll put together all their knowledge to design an experiment."
While she enjoys talking with students about how heat transfer could impact astronauts abilities to get to Mars in a few years, Cohen said the most rewarding part about teaching for the academy is setting up students for success.
"Science literacy is really, really important for students," she said. "We're giving them the opportunity to explore so many different fields and things that are going to make them successful as they get older. And hopefully, they find something they're passionate about."
For more information about the Sally Ride Science Junior Academy and a full list of classes, visit sallyridescience.ucsd.edu.
Some of the classes offered at Sally Ride Science Junior Academy
- Introduction to Circuits
- Trash to Treasures: Upcycling at its Best
- Edible Science
- Android App Design
- Being Sherlock: The Art of Mystery & Science
- Electric Vegetables
- Tiny Houses
- Video Production
- Cyanotype - The Original Selfie
- Graphic Design