Kids try out different science careers at Science Quest camp

Elephant toothpaste, soda explosions, homemade slime — Science Quest camp at the Dickinson County Nature Center is going to be explosive fun.

“Kids will learn to be different kinds of scientists,” said Bryanna Kuhlman, environmental education coordinator. “They will start as ecologists, and then they’ll be physicists and engineers, and at the end of the day they’ll be chemists.”

Photo of children pointing at the water

Kuhlman and naturalist intern Brittany Lende have put together a full day of scientific fun for ages 8-9 Tuesday, Aug. 1.

The camp will begin with a wetland walk in which kids will collect water samples and look through microscopes to search for diatoms, aquatic invertebrates, tardigrades and other creatures. They’ll even get to create a diatom cookie to snack on.

For the physics portion of the day, campers will get to see who can create the best cushion for their egg and then drop them from a tall ladder to see whose will survive the fall.

Finally, the little chemists will experiment with different materials to create chemical reactions. What will vinegar and baking soda do? How about Coke and Mentos?

“This gets kids excited about science,” said Lende, who is studying chemical engineering at Iowa State University in Ames.

Photo of a boy looking through a microscope

Kuhlman and Lende think that the camp will intrigue students enough to look into STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Math — careers. They hope this will especially intrigue girls, who make up only 24 percent of the workforce in STEM fields, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey.

“I’m excited about a lot of things for this camp; I’m excited to see kids explore science in a different way in a different environment. Even though we’re doing chemistry, we’re doing it outside,” Kuhlman said. “I hope kids take away a sense of curiosity into how they can create their own phenomena in the world.”

Science Quest camp will be 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1, and costs $50 for Conservation Foundation of Dickinson County members or $60 for non-members. Please bring a sack lunch. Snacks will be provided, and each registrant receives a free T-shirt.

Pre-register by July 18 on our event registration page.

For more information on summer camps and other Dickinson County Conservation Board programming, call 712-336-6352. You can also keep up with the latest happenings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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