Mount Union Holds Annual Summer Science Camp
June 18, 2014
ALLIANCE, Ohio – The University of Mount Union held its eighth annual Summer Science Camp for area youngsters recently. This camp was initiated by Dr. Scott Mason and Dr. Sheryl Mason in June 2007 and has since increased in popularity. Scott is a professor of chemistry and the director of the pre-health program, and Sheryl is an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Mount Union.
Last week, 45 rising fourth, fifth and sixth grade students from area schools attended the camp in Mount Union’s Bracy Hall.
The week-long camp featured an array of experiments and educational activities. Experiments included performing various chemical reactions with copper, extracting and then calculating the content of the fat in potato chips, comparing the effectiveness of various sunscreens of blocking ultraviolet rays and visiting the Huston-Brumbaugh Nature Center to collect and analyze water samples and to learn about pH levels and their environmental effects. The camp ended with students presenting a demonstration to their families. The activities focused not only on fun, kid-friendly experiments, but also on all of the parts of the scientific method and the importance of all of the different aspects of an experiment.
“The ultimate goal of the camp is to give the students a chance to perform real experiments using equipment that is more sophisticated than what they typically have available in their homes or schools,” Sheryl said. “We also strive to do a variety of experiments throughout the week, not just five chemistry experiments. This shows them that science is an experimental subject and that there are many types of scientific fields. We hope they become more excited, and maintain that excitement, to learn and do science.”
When asked why it was important to reach out to younger students, Sheryl Mason had a lot to say. She loves most how impressionable children are at a young age, which is one of the main reasons she enjoys helping Mount Union hold this annual camp.
“We have a responsibility to help children develop the necessary skills to learn, to promote their interest in learning and to improve their ability to learn,” Sheryl said. “We should strive to help them reach their full potential. Ideally we promote a lifelong interest in learning. We are particularly concerned with the lack of interest and ability to study science in our country, and are hoping to show the children how important, relevant, exciting and ‘do-able’ it can be. We have seen that they are very impressionable at this age, so we want to make the best impression possible, in terms of promoting their desire and ability to become well educated, especially in the sciences. Knowledge is a great thing.”