Six members of this student club hosted a two-week virtual program in June 2020 for students in grades one through five.
Junior Soyoon Park, along with juniors Saavi Banerjee, Maya Buckley, Khoudia Samb, Elise Watson and sophomore Lucille Proul “decided to hold this virtual summer camp for these kids because a lot of other summer camps had been cancelled and they would be bored at home.”
Soyoon explains, “Our group spent weeks before the camp organizing a schedule that was informative yet engaging. Each day was a different branch of science with experiments to go along with each branch. By incorporating fun science competitions and Kahoots [an interactive educational technology platform], the children seemed to have a great time learning!”
Their first session hosted up to nine students, while five participated in the second session. Club members worked with Soyoon’s mother, who teaches at a local elementary school to reach their campers; they coordinated with their Bishop’s club sponsor Rachel Ching to set up a system for delivering supplies to the participants. Elise adds, “We did pull inspiration from our chemistry classes for fun and interactive experiences. I have Dr. Reynolds to thank for inspiring the glow stick experiment that we had the kids do over a couple of days.”
Like many Bishop’s students who have stepped into virtual tutoring roles these past months, the club members experienced how satisfying it feels to have students engage with and react to their activities. Elise remarks, “I was surprised at how shocked every kid was when an experiment worked. I expected a little bit of a reaction when the balloon lung would work or the storm cloud and dye experiment would make fake rain after a few minutes, but there were so many expressive and big reactions to almost every experiment that it brought me an unexpected amount joy.”
She continues, “The most memorable experience was the final challenge of making a foil boat to hold pennies. This challenge allows for a lot of creativity from the student and exposes them to the trial-and-error part of science experiments. Also, we made it a challenge and whoever had the most pennies won a prize. These incredibly smart and resourceful first and fifth graders all took their designs to the next level and I was impressed with the shapes and logic they used. One boat had about 82 pennies and I was so proud of them for being patient while we overcame issues with Zoom or science experiments and also for being open to learning at 10 a.m. on a weekday on an online platform. I was happy to see all of the effort they put into each experiment and this final challenge was memorable because I had seen their skills develop throughout the week and here is where they truly applied what they had learned.”
For Lucille, the most meaningful part of the experience “was finding out the children asked their parents more about the topics we discussed. It showed us we were changing how they thought of the world around them.”
Elise concludes, “COVID-19 may have stopped many activities and put a pause on our lives, but it did not stop us from helping our community and inspiring others. We found safe and efficient ways to confront the problems of not being in person. I could not be prouder of what we did this summer and hopefully, we can run a camp in person next year.”