Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Summer Science Camp: How-To Guide

Last summer, I shared a number of acitivites that my friend/colleague/co-teacher and I used when running our summer science camps. 

In addition to the activities we used, I want to share a bit of our planning process with you and guide you through some decisions you'll need to make if you decide to run your own camp. 

And while summer seems so very far away, now is the time to start planning your camp, if you hope to run one this summer. 
Depending upon the dynamics of your school and your relationship with your administration, you'll know the best way to approach the situation.  We had spoken informally with the administration, so we knew there was interest and support, before we put together our "official" program proposal. 

We put together and submitted our proposals in January/February, so it's time to get going now
Things to consider before preparing your proposal:

We invited students entering grades 2 - 5.  We taught in a small school, so we felt we needed a several-grade range to gather enough students.  In a larger population, you could narrow that range.

You'll need to consider your population.  In some places, large numbers of students go to camp for several weeks.  Other places you want to make sure to avoid county fair time.

Sometimes you can take what seems like an obstacle and make it work for you.  The phys. ed. teacher at our school always ran a sports camp for a week right after school got out and it was hugely popular.  The first year we ran our camp, we made sure to pick a date that didn't conflict with his camp.  But the second year, we decided to try to piggy-back off his success - his camp ran in the morning and we ran ours in the afternoon.  We allowed time for a lunch break between the two and got permission for the kids to eat lunch at the school as long as they were with us.  We had quite a few students who participated in both programs that week. 

In the end, you'll have to pick something that works for you - there will be people who can't attend no matter which week you pick. 

We decided to run our camp for 2 hours each day, which was plenty for our age group.  And we went for the afternoon - the first year it was just what we decided, the second year it was because of the aforementioned sports camp.  Again, keep in mind your population.  If swimming lessons are held in the afternoon locally, plan for the morning. 

I'll have additional factors for you to consider in your planning tomorrow.

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