EAC’s Discovery Park campus hosts the annual EASI Summer Science Camp

EAC photo: EAC’s Discovery Park campus hosted the 2022 Eastern Arizona Science Initiative (EASI) Summer Science Camp last month with more than 50 fifth through ninth grade students from school districts throughout Eastern Arizona in attendance.

Contributed Article/Courtesy of EAC

THATCHER, — EAC’s Discovery Park Campus hosted the 2022 Eastern Arizona Science Initiative (EASI) Summer Science Camp last month with more than 50 fifth through ninth grade students attending from school districts throughout Eastern Arizona.

The theme of this year’s camp was “Physics Moves the World!” and featured a dozen activities that demonstrated the energy, forces and movement of physics in the natural world.

Students participated in a wide variety of fun activities and lessons related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). For example, the “Designing a Roller Coaster!” activity, with JoKae Lambson, a science teacher at Safford Middle School, taught about gravity and the momentum of roller coasters. Dr. Phil McBride, EAC Dean of Studies and Chemistry Instructor, teaches “Chemical Flight!” by doing an activity that creates propulsion and movement through chemical reactions. One project in the activity uses antacid tablets and water to increase pressure and shoot Nerf darts from a glass cup.

Students also created mini-water slides under the direction of Heather Dillman of Fort Thomas High School. The activity focused on safety rules and included competitions among students to get the most balls down the slide without hitting each other.

EAC Professor of Anatomy and Physiology, Tammy Gillespie, presented an “I love to move it, move it!” lesson on the physics of human movement and action, with lots of examples and activities.

Marie Arrington and Carol Elders of Safford Middle School’s Technology Learning Center shared “Wet and Wild!” where students used “Sphero BOLTs”—round programmable robots that can float—to determine what to add to the spheres to give them help them move through the water.

Tawnie Anger, of Pima Jr. High School, brought the fun into thinking with “Let’s Play with MATH!” which included card games and activities.

EAC Biology Professor Dr. Nathan Klein shared “Cold-Blooded Snakes!” In this activity, campers saw and learned about snakes and other reptiles and got to make and take home their own “bead snake,” a fun a personalized pet made from pipe cleaners and beads.

Fort Thomas High School’s Dana Olson shared “Rat Race,” a lesson that had students design and build a race car using DVDs for wheels and a mousetrap for propulsion.

Paul Anger, Director of Campus Discovery Park and Director of EASI Summer Science Camps, shared a lesson on “Physics of Archery” where students learned the principles of archery and had a competition to determine the best archer at camp. (Mackenzie Miller won the competition with a high score of 12 out of 15 – with one Bullseye!)

At the end of the camp, students enjoyed a special presentation at EASI’s giant StarLab planetarium with an astronomy lesson and a look at the planets in our solar system. They also attended an exciting presentation by Dr. Klein to learn about, see, and even touch several different species of native animals, including a tarantula, turtles, a kingsnake, a gopher snake, and even a Gila monster.

EAC Photo: Mackenzie Millar was the top shooter at the camp.

“It was a great time and everyone loved it,” Anger said. “All campers received a ‘Physics Moves the World!’ T-shirt, backpack, prizes and lots of activities to take home.”

Snacks and lunches were served by the Safford Unified School District to ensure campers were happy and ready to learn.

Anger expressed special thanks to the United Way of Graham & Greenlee County for providing funding to share these STEM lessons and activities with local youth at the camp and said, “We also appreciate our friends at Freeport-McMoRan who donate to EASI through payroll for the employee payroll deduction program, Safford Schools for the great meals, and Eastern Arizona College for hosting the camps on the beautiful facilities of the Discovery Park Campus.”

The annual Summer Science Camps are a great opportunity for youth from all over Eastern Arizona to come together, have fun, and participate in great STEM lessons and activities from amazing local educators. “Our primary goal,” Anger concluded, “is to increase interest in STEM and higher education opportunities and inspire campers to ultimately pursue local careers that involve STEM.”

For more information about the Eastern Arizona Science Initiative (EASI), EAC’s Discovery Park campus, or information about touring the telescopes at the Mount Graham International Observatory, contact Anger at (928) 428-6260 or email: [email protected] , or go to www.eac.edu/discoverypark.

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