Last week, Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) hosted their first session of summer camp! This was the first of four camps that VAEI is offering throughout the summer for fourth through seventh graders. Each camp is given a different scientific issue to investigate using materials and equipment similar to those used by scientists at Van Andel Research Institute. During camp, students are encouraged to be hands-on in the VAEI laboratory thinking and acting like real scientists as they investigate problems and present their findings.
Fourth and fifth grade students participated in Animal Survivor: Pill Bugs, Newts & Geckos, Oh My! where they studied animal adaptation and behavior. Campers learned about animal structural traits and what helps animals survive in the wild—they even tested what food their animals prefer. During their investigations students had the opportunity to handle resident creatures including invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles.
Next week, sixth and seventh grade campers will be investigating real-life environmental concerns in the Environmental Forensics: What’s in the water? camp. Students will explore how oil spills, chemical contamination, and other threats to water quality affect our environment. Through hands-on exploration, students will observe, hypothesize and collaborate with fellow campers about possible solutions to real-life environmental issues.
Each summer camp is instructed by VAEI’s fantastic team, all who have a passion for building future scientists through VAEI’s student programs. By bringing students out of the traditional classroom setting and into a laboratory, VAEI hopes to create classrooms where curiosity, creativity and critical thinking thrive.
There are a few more summer camp sessions taking place in the weeks to come and we cannot wait to meet the young bright minds who will be joining us!