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Rising fifth graders attend Young Scholars Camp at Shorter

June 9, 2018 GMT

Rising fifth grade students at all six Rome City Schools were able to spend several days team building and practicing their science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills while attending the Young Scholars Camp held at Shorter University this past week.

Young Scholars is an invitation-only four-day science camp where selected students take part in numerous hands-on science activities, many focusing on the students’ science standard for the upcoming year.

“Young Scholars is essentially an extension of our curriculum, while also previewing these students’ standards for the upcoming year,” said said LeAnn Goya, camp coordinator for the Young Scholars fifth grade camp. “We spend our days at camp getting them ready for the next grade level, building on what we just studied last school year and more. It’s important because these are activities students will not get to participate in during the school year because we are constricted by standards and time constraints.”

At the beginning of the day, the students are first presented with a scenario. They are given supplies as well as constraints to their project and work in groups to solve their problem and — by the end of the day — they will have a finished product.

Several activities the students participated in consisted of building circuits, creating the perfect recipe to create a Play-Doh like modeling compound, constructing a town as civil engineers and cleaning up an oil spill in an ecosystem.

“This opportunity is super cool for these kids, as well as a good opportunity for them to have an extension of the curriculum,” Goya said. “We are essentially building leaders here, which is the best part about this camp.”

Beyond the teachers and student volunteers, Young Scholars coordinators invite Rome High School’s National Honor Society members to advise campers. These students help take the kids from location to location, they help with clean up and set up and everything in between.

The rising fifth grade camp is the largest camp every year, hosting around 125 kids. Young Scholars Director Holly Amerman said the program is important in the socialization of these children their age.

“Beyond the socialization of the six schools, which I think is very critical, I really think the problem solving and critical thinking skills are the most important factor of these camps,” Amerman said.

“Sometimes, because we are more focused on the tests and standards, our students miss out on the fun part of learning, which is a critical part of their lives,” Amerman said. “They learn from these activities at these camps, and to me, the experience of failure, as well as the problem-solving stage is okay. This is an imperative part of life lessons for our students. It’s important to establish this at such a young age.”