Driving around the bend, May Valley Elementary school seems to jump right out of the side of the mountain. The week of camp, it’s surrounded by green covered mountains and blue skies. This is the tranquil setting for a week’s worth of fun with the children of this community and the activities with the Ruff Ruffman Sensational Science Camp from PBS.
Over the course of five days, the children participated in hands-on activities, story time, and digital time to learn about mixtures, materials, friction, and structures. Although each day taught a different concept, the cadence and structure remained consistent so the children would know what to expect.
“I love watching the kids really communicate with each other and form friendships from across schools.” — Jordan, dad volunteer
On materials day, for example, the children had to construct an outfit for their new Ruff Ruffman plush that would protect him from either rain, cold, heat, or flying objects. Once the kids sketched out their plans in their workbooks, they started using the materials available to create an outfit to solve the problem.
They weren’t allowed to just say that it would work, they had to prove it! A big lesson the students learned was that with science, you often have to test your hypothesis many times before arriving at a working solution. A quick spritz with a water bottle showed whether or not Ruff was properly protected from the rain. A little bit wet on his ears? What can be done to fix that?
“It’s amazing watching how the kids learn. The interactive aspect of these workshops really lets them open their minds and explore.” — Cheryl, parent volunteer
This particular week, a group of student volunteers were visiting from neighboring Tennessee. Overall, they were impressed at how engaged the kids were and wished that their time in school had been spent more on doing interactive learning. Many of them had watched Ruff Ruffman growing up and found it fun to help younger ones learn using his videos.
“I had no idea that PBS focused so much on education. I would love to come back next year to volunteer at another workshop.” — Eion, aged 17, volunteer
All too soon, it was time to wrap up the fun week of camp. On the last day, the young scientists got to make up their own song about what they learned during the week and participate in share time with care givers. They also had time to explore the concepts more by revisiting activities they might not have had time to complete or that really intrigued them. The kids were already asking when KET would be headed back to their town!
If you are interested in learning how to host an event like this at your school, please read about our Facilitator Training opportunities and then contact us.