Paper No. 7-1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
IMAGINE-NC SUMMER CAMP PROJECT: ENGAGING ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS THROUGH INQUIRY-BASED, HANDS-ON EARTH SCIENCE ACTIVITIES
High quality, inquiry-based, hands-on, out-of-school Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) opportunities for children in the rural communities of Eastern North Carolina are uncommon. To address this concern, the Aurora Fossil Museum Foundation, Inc. partnered with faculty from East Carolina University to develop a summer camp project that integrates geology and mathematics in hands-on inquiry-based learning opportunities through non-residential summer camps for elementary and middle school students in Eastern North Carolina (IMAGINE-NC). Activities include Awesome Aquifers (focuses on running experiments with a physical groundwater model and collecting water quality/quantity data from groundwater monitoring wells), Sizing Up Megalodon (focuses on studying fossils), Landforms (focuses on creating models using an augmented reality sandbox), Research Vessel (excursion on the Tar-Pamlico River to collect water quality data), and Data Analysis. Children interact and utilize a variety of geologic equipment including understanding groundwater flow, core sampling, and collecting water samples in the area waterways while on a research vessel. The objectives of the week-long summer camps are to improve students’ competence in earth science, nurture students’ enthusiasm for science, and increase interest in STEM-related career fields. The week-long summer camps culminate with a visit to a local open pit mine where employees of the mine discuss STEM careers with the camp participants. The innovations of this project include (a) collaboration between faculty from an institution of higher education (East Carolina University) and a non-profit science education center (Aurora Fossil Museum) to develop high quality, inquiry-based, hands-on activities for K-12 students, (b) integrating earth science and math in camp activities, (c) engaging students from rural communities in inquiry-based, hands-on activities, and (d) linking potential career options to summer camp activities.