Our Winter Wonderland Science Camp for 2015 was an exhibition in many of our new lessons and curriculum. We expanded on our 21st Century Life Skills curriculum to include formal lessons on essential skills such as finding Personal Strengths, show Grit, working in Partnerships, and having a Growth Mindset. As with all our long-term programs, this one ended in a public presentation that encourage collaborative project planning, improved communication skills, and confidence, among other skills. We also included new STEM themes as well, building on the success we had in our Fall 2015 Afterschool Programs in Falls Church.
The theme of the camp was Chain Reactions. The first day featured Immunology and Biological Chain Reactions. Children played as they learned, using balloons and bubbles to model interactions between invading pathogens and blood cells. A Guest Speaker talked about differences in thinking and systems around the world and inspired children to think outside-of-the-box about solving problems. Children showed off their creativity as they created HUGE paper snowflakes and started personal art journals. We finished the day with Mindfulness, making “fake snow” polymers that were fascinating to touch and feel and then spending a few minutes to find calm and self-reflect.
The second day was all about Physical Chain Reactions. The STEM theme was Acceleration, which students explored with their bodies and by using a lot of math. Chain Reactions filled the room and were a wonderful exhibition of creativity, imagination, and scientific thinking. Our 21st Century Life Skills of the Day built upon core skills and included Growth Mindset and Grit. Students needed a lot of grit as they tackled problems and they saw firsthand that they could “grow their minds” as they tackled difficult problems.
The last day of camp was a flurry of activity. Children expanded their minds with a hands-on activity and storybook about having a Growth Mindset. They spent the rest of the day finalizing their chain reactions and preparing and rehearsing for the final show. With grit and creativity, teams achieved their chain reaction goals during the show – prompting applause and cheers – as well as growth in essential skills such as communication and confidence.