KOKOMO, Ind. – How many kids can say they launched a rocket, built a mock of the solar system, or created their own computer games during summer vacation? Thanks to Indiana University Kokomo’s annual Science Rocks! summer camp, more than a dozen local youth can say they did.
For two weeks, campers received hands-on learning with state-of-the-art laboratory and computer equipment at IU Kokomo, taught by Science, Mathematics, and Informatics faculty. The camp combined fun with lessons in mathematics, energy, computer science, geology, chemistry, biology, ecology, and physics.
“I came to camp because I really love science,” said 12-year-old Aditi Sood, a Central Middle School student. “Every day these past two weeks, I’d wake up and think, ‘Yes, I’m going to Science Rocks! today!’ Biology is my favorite. The whole unit we’d covered both days was so interesting - from observing tiny cells under a microscope, which was mind boggling, to working with the EKG machine. I want to be a pediatrician, and Science Rocks! has helped make science even more interesting to me.”
One highlight Science Rocks! was the excitement of launching rockets built by the campers.
Although his rocket was caught in a tree when floating back to the ground, Malachi Peters, 13, a student at Taylor Middle School, enjoyed helping fellow students retrieve their launched rockets.
“This is my second year at science camp. I came back this year because I like making and launching the rockets and running after them,” said Peters. “Physics is my favorite part because it’s been so much fun to do. I’m looking forward to making telescopes, too, and going to the Observatory tonight to look at the planets.”
In addition to having fun at camp, some of the students found inspiration in what career path they want to pursue.
“I’ve been looking forward to coming to camp every morning just because it’s been so much fun,” said Sharon Ling, 11, who also attends Central Middle School. “My favorite part has been either biology or physics. I heard about all of the events they were going to do here at camp. A sixth-grade teacher inspired me to learn more about science, and after coming to the Science Rocks! Camp, I enjoy science even more.”
Another popular project was the opportunity to build computer games using the “Scratch” program
“Camp has just been super interesting,” said Will Huffer, 12, who attends Taylor Middle School. “Making my own computer game was so cool. I made a walking guy whose stomach kept swirling up. I took the program home and loaded it onto my computer. I’m really interested in science and wanted to learn more about science. I either want to be a scientist or maybe a computer game designer. If I become a scientist, I want to find a cure for cancer because my grandma has breast cancer.”
An interest in ecology drew Western Middle School student Rajiyah Townsend, 12, to attend the camp, where she has been able to learn more about the environment.
“I’ve really enjoyed learning about geology and keeping water clean,” said Townsend. “Attending camp has given me a better understanding of the different things we need to do to keep our environment clean and help support living things. I’m definitely going to come back next year so I can do this again.”
The campers didn’t seem to be the only ones enjoying Science Rocks! though. Christian Chauret, director of the Summer Diversity Program Science Camp for Middle School Students, noted instructors were enjoying working with the youth as well.
“We’ve had a great group of kids who have worked well with each other and seem to be having fun while learning,” said Chauret.Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.