Sci-fi science camps beam into Jonas Samson

Instructor Andrew Hartman does a final check of Sonja Johnston's glider before sending it down the zip line to test its trap door.

By Rhonda Cooper

Jonas Samson Junior High School in Meadow Lake was the place to be the week of Aug. 8-12. The University of Saskatchewan’s third annual SCI-FI camp, run by four U of S students provided fun, hands-on projects for the 11 campers.

“We go to 15 different locations,” said Graham Epp, satellite camp coordinator. “At each one we run multiple camps for a total of 40.”

SCI-FI Science Camps were started in 1989 by undergraduate students in the College of Engineering. In its 22-year history, the camps have grown from a summer, on-campus activity to a year-round program with summer satellite locations. Its continual evolution includes the opening of the first Saskatoon camps for students going into Grades 1 and 2 and two new programs, space for Grades 5-9 and robotics for Grades 7-9 in 2011.

Instructors Heidi Connor, Peter Cowan, Andrew Hartman and Nancy Winder offered projects from a combination of science, technology and computer science fields.

“We picked our favourite projects for the kids,” said Winder. “We teach them some of the basic principles but mostly we concentrate on making the projects and having fun.”

Students from Grades 3-9 created projects such as gliders with trap doors, robotic Lego, a cricket complete with LED lights, and many more fun and intriguing items.

Some of this year’s participants are seasoned campers having attended the previous camps while others are brand new.

“I wanted him to quit being a house bug, so I sent him,” said Krista Gill, whose son Carter is attending his first SCI-FI camp. Having heard about the camp from some of Carter’s friends, Krista did some digging to find out about it and enrolled him.

“It wasn’t very well advertised,” she said. “He seems to be enjoying it.”

Gill is entertaining the idea of sending Carter again next year.

“I think it’s a good way to learn science,” she said.

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