The camp, sponsored by the Ashland County Community Foundation and American Augers of West Salem, is in its second year of attempting to address a national issue at the local level.
Studies show that our country will suffer a critical shortage of scientists and engineers in the near future because students often consider science-related classes as no fun, difficult and even (yes, you’ve heard the word) “boring.”
Curiosity certainly has been piqued this week for over forty seventh and eighth grade students from eight area schools who have been discovering that science, technology, engineering, and math can be - well, really fun.
Students have been separated by grade to offer them different hands-on activities and both groups have taken full advantage of the sprawling Career Center acreage. Seventh graders combed the woods on an Invasive Species Scavenger Hunt and both groups waded into a creek for a study of stream quality through identification of macroinvertebrates.
Indoor activities for seventh graders included building popsicle stick bridges for a "how-much-can-it-hold?" contest and an eighth grade "who-can-construct-the-largest-structure?" contest using toothpicks, spaghetti noodles, and mini marshmallows.
Along the way the students all have participated in team-building activities and enjoyed demonstrations on electricity and robotics. They also filled out questionnaires designed to help them identify their strengths and interests.
The expectation is that this will orient STEM students towards careers in the future and consider their course through high school, college, or technical school.
Several local teachers have donated their time – ACWHCC Engineering instructor Tom Close, ACWHCC environmental science teacher Julie Subler, ACWHCC Resource Conservation teacher Steve Hughes, and Mapleton science teacher Tony Bunt along with Jim Cox of Mansfield, program direction specialist.
The teachers have been aided by volunteer ACWHCC students and boys from Shelby Boy Scout Troop #406.
[This article was submitted by Sue Timmons]