Hot fun in school for summer
Nashua camp looks to make summer science learning sizzle
Sixth-grader Sam Bean checks the progress of rock candy that students made while studying food chemistry at Nashua School District's Summer Sizzlers Science Academy. (BARBARA TAORMINA/Union Leader Correspondent)
"You get to show what you can do," said Sam, who has been learning how sugar crystallizes into rock candy and how to design a catapult that can potentially outperform a slingshot.
Birch Hill Elementary School teacher Randy Calhoun, director of the Summer Science Academy, said the program has grown quickly over the past three years.
And that's probably because most of the kids in the science academy seem to be having a great time with science.
"We give students a lot of material and a challenge," said Deb Couture, a science teacher at Fairgrounds Middle School who also works with the summer science campers. "The students experiment and ask their own questions."
"We give a lot more weight to students' questions," said Calhoun. "Teachers are more facilitators than teachers."
And the kids, who are given the opportunity to follow their interests and observations, rise to the occasion.
"It's really fun because of what we do," said Isabella Vincent, 9, who was loading a ball into a trechuchet, a French version of a catapult.
"We are still teaching literacy, but the camp is a great way to expose kids to something extra," he said.
Calhoun said the teachers do an amazing job of drawing kids into subjects.
Sam Bean agreed with teachers and administrators that the Summer Sizzlers Science Academy is a good way to keep up in school.
But for Sam and other kids, there are even bigger payoffs from summer science camp.
"I'm meeting new friends, and we're doing things that are interesting and fun," he said.
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