Summer of STEM: Step Up!

This summer we’re hearing from our amazing camp staff. Our Hope College students do the heavy lifting of planning, prepping, and teaching our hands-on camps all summer long! Each week, 2-3 student staff members will recap a camp they’ve led and share tips on how to keep the fun going at home!

Hi everyone! My name is Maddie Suhrheinrich and I am an upcoming senior at Hope College. I am currently studying elementary special education and am loving the opportunity to practice my classroom skills in Explore Hope Summer Camps!

During the past two weeks, I have led Step-Up’s Water Exploration Camp. Step Up is a program through Hope College that teams up with local middle school students to provide mentors and academic support. We explored the ideas of water quality in local areas, such as a stream in Zeeland and Lake Macatawa.

Campers learned about different factors of water quality. After collecting samples from the locations, they used hands-on water testing kits to test them. Once campers mastered their skills, small groups were able to create an investigation of their own! Each group posed a research question, collected and analyzed data, and produced a research poster they were able to share on the final day of camp. It was so exciting to see how their skills grew over the two weeks and how their creativity shined in their posters.

My favorite part of this camp was being able to visit different sites with the students to collect data. When at the sites, students would get into the water areas to collect samples. It was so fun to see all of their different personalities shine, as some were very eager to jump in the water and others were participating in a more behind-the-scenes matter. We had some good laughs, especially when one student’s shoes floated down the stream unexpectedly! I also loved being able to have time on the bus to sit and get to spend time with the kids in a non-academic setting. I felt a lot of our relationships were formed on these trips!

Another one of my favorite parts was watching each group of students present their research posters. It was so rewarding to see their hard work presented in a large way. Each group had a different poster where their personalities stuck out. I also loved watching the students who were not presenting support their fellow campers. And of course, it was fun to end with celebratory ice cream on their last day.

For anyone who is interested in completing an activity relating to water quality exploration, I have the solution for you! One of the main factors we tested was the pH of the water samples. To complete this at home with everyday household items, all you need is red cabbage and water! Blend 3-4 large leaves of red cabbage in a blender filled halfway with water. Afterward, strain the juice to make sure all of the chunks get out! Once you have this solution, separate it into different cups and add any substance of your choice to test the pH. Acids will turn red/pink and bases will turn blue/green! 

The past two weeks at Step-Up were such a rewarding experience. I was able to make valuable connections with my campers and assistant teachers and create so many exciting memories along the way. I am so grateful for the experience and the lessons I have learned to take with me in my future classroom!

Visit ExploreHope Summer Camps for more info. Although many of our camps are full, there are still openings for all ages. Scholarships are available for middle and high school students interested in environmental and engineering topics. Contact Lise at zinck@hope.edu for more information, including questions about transportation options.

Summer of STEM: Science of Star Wars

This summer we’re hearing from our amazing camp staff. Our Hope College students do the heavy lifting of planning, prepping, and teaching our hands-on camps all summer long! Each week, 2-3 student staff members will recap a camp they’ve led and share tips on how to keep the fun going at home!

Happy summer, everyone! My name is Annie Arthurs and I am a recent graduate of Hope College and an ExploreHope teacher this summer! Science camps create so many wonderful hands-on experiences for campers and allow children the opportunity to ask questions and make discoveries in a safe, fun, and vibrant environment. 

Making carbonite!

I recently had the privilege of leading our Science of Star Wars camp. The week was filled with laughter, excitement, and learning! Throughout our four-day camp we talked about mixtures and solutions, Newton’s laws of motion, light energy, and so much more!

Although the entire week was a blast, my absolute favorite part was watching our young padawans create their own carbonite using what we learned about heterogeneous mixtures! They even got to stick Han Solo (a green army man) in the carbonite! So cool!!

If you want to experience a taste of Star Wars camp at home, you can try making your own R2D2 escape pod using a few household items. 

The materials you will need are 

  • An egg (or two!)
  • Markers
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic straws
  • Paper
  • Coffee filters 
  • Tape
  • String 

The raw egg will be your own personal R2D2! Feel free to decorate the egg (gently!) with markers to make it look like a real droid. 

Then, using the household materials listed above and anything else you think might be helpful, create your own pod to protect R2D2 from a tall drop. 

Once your pod has been created, test it! You can drop it from various heights and modify your pod to best protect your pod! 

This activity helps us to understand Newton’s laws of motion and of course, the Force! The biggest force in question is gravity when it comes to dropping our pods. We know our pods are going to go down; however, we can use what we know about force, mass, and acceleration to modify our pods and protect our drone!

Visit ExploreHope Summer Camps for more info. Although many of our camps are full, there are still openings for all ages. We hope to see you soon!

Summer of STEM: Super Science Sampler

This summer we’re hearing from our amazing camp staff. Our Hope College students do the heavy lifting of planning, prepping, and teaching our hands-on camps all summer long! Each week, 2-3 student staff members will recap a camp they’ve led and share tips on how to keep the fun going at home!

Hello and welcome to my ExploreHope Blog Takeover! My name is Kimmie Drake and I will be a sophomore here at Hope. I plan on majoring in Elementary Education with a focus in Integrated Science. I have always had a passion for science and was so excited that I received this opportunity to be a part of the team that leads camps throughout the summer. 

I had an amazing time leading the camp called Super Science Sampler for K-2nd graders. For those who cannot decide, why not try it all? With this camp there is a new theme everyday which gives campers a chance to experience five different camps throughout a week. For example, campers made bug catchers and learned about the parts of an insect, visited animals at the animal museum, learned about habitats, watched liquid nitrogen and dry ice experiments, and learned about states of matter. There was never a dull moment. 

One of my favorite memories of this camp was creating volcanic eruptions for our Prehistoric theme day. I can guarantee that these campers, if allowed, would have spent all day watching the volcanoes erupt. Lucky campers – this activity is super-easy to do at home!

All you need is vinegar, baking soda, dish soap, and washable paint or food coloring. Even if you do not have a volcano mold you could make one using playdough shaped around a plastic cup. Combine baking soda, food coloring and dish soap in a container – then add vinegar and watch the eruption! More instructions and tips for this simple and fun activity can be found here.

Another one of my favorite memories was going outside with the campers and hunting for bugs for our Creepy Crawlies theme day. Each one of the campers got their own bug catcher filled with dirt in it and used a spoon to dig around under bushes in search of bugs! They all wanted to find the most bugs as possible, especially roly-polies. They also collected grass, twigs and leaves to add to their bug catcher which they took home. 

Hunting for insects on Creepy Crawlies day!

Making these bug catchers at home is very easy! Find a plastic container and a spoon. Next, poke some holes into the lid or use Saran wrap and a rubber band for the cover. Then off to explore and find as many bugs as you can! Pop them in the bug catcher and count how many different types of bugs you found.

Super Science Sampler made Week 2 very enjoyable as I watched these campers discover the world around them! 

Visit ExploreHope Summer Camps for more info. Although many of our camps are full, there are still openings for all ages. Scholarships are available for middle and high school students interested in environmental and engineering topics. Contact Lise at zinck@hope.edu for more information, including questions about transportation options.

Summer of STEM: Science of Harry Potter

This summer we’re hearing from our amazing camp staff. Our Hope College students do the heavy lifting of planning, prepping, and teaching our hands-on camps all summer long! Each week, 2-3 student staff members will recap a camp they’ve led and share tips on how to keep the fun going at home!

Matching the witch or wizard with the wand!

Hi, my name is Gina Polito and I was lucky enough to lead the Harry Potter camp along with Haley Galloway. We had so much fun with our wizards as we are both huge fans of Harry Potter as well. I loved being able to geek out over Harry Potter with these smart and creative campers! I had so many fun and interesting conversations this week. I even ended up learning a lot from my campers.

This week in camp, we had our wizards sorted into houses, made wands, saw owls from the Outdoor Discovery Center, played Quidditch, mixed potions, and made our own magical mandrakes. 

My favorite part of the week was the last day when we made our own Polyjuice Potion to drink while playing Harry Potter trivia. HUGE congratulations to Ravenclaw for winning the house cup and receiving the most house points! Another big congrats to Slytherin who won our Quidditch tournament!     

Wingardium Leviosa!

Did you know you can make your own magical potions at home? Fill a glass vial (or mason jar) with vegetable oil and add an eye of newt (beads), unicorn hair (fishing line), dragon’s blood ( red food dye), and mermaid scales (sequins).

This magical potion lets you test an object’s density! When you drop a new item in your potion, see which items float to the top and which sink to the bottom. The more dense objects will sink while the less dense will rise to the top! Now that’s the kind of magic ExploreHope Summer Science Camps are all about!

Earning top marks in Potions!

Visit ExploreHope Summer Camps for more info. Although many of our camps are full, there are still openings for all ages. Scholarships are available for middle and high school students interested in environmental and engineering topics. Contact Lise at zinck@hope.edu for more information, including questions about transportation options.

Summer of STEM: Crazy Chemistry

This summer we’re hearing from our amazing camp staff. Our Hope College students do the heavy lifting of planning, prepping, and teaching our hands-on camps all summer long! Each week, 2-3 student staff members will recap a camp they’ve led and share tips on how to keep the fun going at home!

Hello everyone! My name is Sean Hoey, and I am going into my fifth year here at Hope College. I am studying Secondary Education with a focus in Integrated Science (a fancy way of saying that I will be allowed to teach biology, chemistry, Earth science, and physics) with a minor in Biology Education. 

I am also involved in the baseball team here at Hope as a pitcher, help lead the HS youth group at Fellowship Reformed Church, and coach the Zeeland Red Bulls Special Olympics basketball team. This summer is my first time teaching at Summer Science camps and I am beyond excited to be here. 

One thing I am most excited about is creating relationships with all the campers and watching them learn and grow in just one week! If this first week was any indication as to how the rest of the summer will go, I am really looking forward to coming back to work each day. 

I led Crazy Chemistry and for campers in 6th-8th grades. This camp was five days of chemistry fun. Our first day, we focused on the concepts of atoms, the periodic table, and how we can identify them in the real world. The second day we learned about solution mixtures. We did a couple cool experiments relating to density and got to make giant elephant toothpaste! For our third day, we discussed the states of matter. The campers got to watch one of the professors here at Hope perform some awesome demonstrations with dry ice and liquid nitrogen (seeing their faces light up during the demos was incredible☺). 

On the fourth day our topic was acids and bases. We observed how colors can change depending on how acidic or basic a substance is, and maybe the most exciting moment of the week was building and launching acid/base rockets. The final day was full of research. We got to tour some of the research laboratories here to see what some students and professors are working on currently, and we got to do some research of our own by chemically testing some water from around campus. 

The week was filled with fun, laughs, building relationships, and exciting chemistry experiments, especially the liquid nitrogen and dry ice demonstrations. By using these different compounds we got to witness:

  • A banana hammer in a nail after it had been frozen solid,
  • An acid/base column that rapidly changed colors, and
  • A racquetball explode like a piece of glass – a favorite with all the campers!

Another great memory was setting off our acid and base rockets. We built small rockets out of film canisters. Inside, we put Alka-Seltzer tablets and some water, setting off a chemical reaction shooting the rockets almost 30 feet in the air! The campers had a blast seeing their rockets take off in the plaza area outside. 

Making acid-base rockets at home is easy! All you have to do is put some water at the bottom of a film canister, drop in a single Alka-Seltzer tablet, cap it, shake, place your rocket on the ground with the capped side facing the ground, and then watch it fly. Make sure not to shake it too long in order to avoid it launching in your hand. You can even add in a small amount of paint to make a cool pattern on the ground. The science behind this is that the Alka-Seltzer and water create a chemical reaction releasing carbon dioxide gas. This builds up pressure and the rocket takes off!

 

This past week with Crazy Chemistry was an awesome experience. I made so many memories that I will cherish forever. I can’t wait for many more to come the rest of the summer and in the future in my teaching career.

Visit ExploreHope Summer Camps for more info. Although many of our camps are full, there are still openings for all ages. Scholarships are available for middle and high school students interested in environmental and engineering topics. Contact Lise at zinck@hope.edu for more information, including questions about transportation options.

Summer of STEM: Movie Making 2.0

This summer we’re hearing from our amazing camp staff. Our Hope College students do the heavy lifting of planning, prepping, and teaching our hands-on camps all summer long! Each week, 2-3 student staff members will recap a camp they’ve led and share tips on how to keep the fun going at home!

Hello everyone, welcome to my ExploreHope Blog Takeover! I’m John Kim, and I am one of the leaders for the Explore Hope camps this year. I will be a sophomore majoring in Science Secondary Education. Due to COVID-19, I wasn’t able to go back home (Thailand) this year but through this opportunity, I am blessed to share my love for science with our wonderful campers!

Did you know? Because video editing and filming are becoming a trend these past years, multimedia has become a recognized tool for education. For several of my projects and exams, I have created podcasts and videos to express my creativity!

I was the lead instructor for the Movie Making 2.0 camp this year. The big overview of this camp was to create a 5-8 minute mini-movie with 12 middle school campers in 4 days. Of course, throughout the making of the film, we all got to learn about scripts, storyboards, and different types of camera shots. With the use of iMovie and the camera provided by the Hope Communication Department, we planned, filmed, and edited our videos!

My favorite part of this camp was when the campers got into their groups and discussed their ideas for their mini-movie. I could see all the campers getting engaged and fired up for their film day! You can definitely see their passion when they bring their props from home!  As an instructor who has seen all the processes of these camper’s movies, I was excited for them. The finale of the camp was presented through a showcase of the completed trailers and films which the parents could join through Zoom.  

Make your own movie at home!

One of the activities that we did on the first day of the movie-making camp was creating a storyboard. This is an easy activity that you could do to organize your own movie! You could simply print out a storyboard template and start your story by drawing and writing down each scene. This would eventually lead to a story that could be visualized which helps when filming the desired movie scenes. 

This activity could be more interesting if you tell your parent/guardian or siblings to fill out the first board. It is going to be your task to continue the story by using your creative minds! Are you ready to create your own storyboard?

Visit ExploreHope Summer Camps for more info. Although many of our camps are full, there are still openings for all ages. Scholarships are available for middle and high school students interested in environmental and engineering topics. Contact Lise at zinck@hope.edu for more information, including questions about transportation options.

Summer of STEM: Nursing and Health Professions Camp

This summer we’re hearing from our amazing camp staff. Our Hope College students do the heavy lifting of planning, prepping, and teaching our hands-on camps all summer long! Each week, 2-3 student staff members will recap a camp they’ve led and share tips on how to keep the fun going at home!

Hi all, and welcome back to the ExploreHope summer camp blog! My name is Isabelle Bertolone, and I am a senior at Hope College. I am going into my final year of nursing school at Hope, and I have such a heart for nursing and all the wonderful things you can do in this profession.

I was STOKED to find out that I would be leading the Nursing and Health Professionals Summer camp through ExploreHope. There couldn’t have been a more perfect camp for me! And now, I get to share some of the best parts of the camp with you all!

The Nursing and Health Professionals camp provides an introduction to the world of nursing and other careers in health, highlighting all the opportunities there are for nurses as well as some of their primary responsibilities. Throughout the course of this four day camp, our 9-12th grade campers had the chance to take a full set of vital signs, perform a brain function assessment, put on and take off a full set of personal protective equipment (PPE), hear from nurses from a variety of different specialties, and more! Campers found pulse and respiratory rates, and can even tell you what the normal range is.

My personal favorite part of camp was watching the campers don (put on) and doff (take off) their PPE as they raced to see who could do it the fastest! Some other highlights include

  • Our aids race with a wheelchair, crutches, and a walker.
  • Swabbing different surfaces around campus and seeing what bacteria grow.
  • Watching the campers work through scenarios where they were the nurses, and I got to play their patient.

But the PPE race stands out as my favorite 🙂

The Nursing and Health Professions camp was a great way to kick off the summer back at ExploreHope in person, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer brings! -Isabelle

Visit ExploreHope Summer Camps for more info. Although many of our camps are full, there are still openings for all ages. Scholarships are available for middle and high school students interested in environmental and engineering topics. Contact Lise at zinck@hope.edu for more information, including questions about transportation options.

2021 ExploreHope Science Camps

Our camp staff are ready for 2021 Summer of STEM!

24 years of Hope Summer Science Camps. 18 enthusiastic Hope College students. 6 weeks of fun-filled, exploration-based science. What does that add up to? The 2021 ExploreHope Summer Science Camp season is starting Monday, June 14th!

This summer, follow along as our camp counselors, all Hope College students, take over the blog and share a little bit about what motivates them to share hands-on science with kids. Check out some of our favorite camps and test drive a few of our most memorable activities at home! From fluffy slime to tabletop volcanoes, our counselors know all the tricks for a sci-tastic summer.

Visit ExploreHope Summer Camps for more info. Although many of our camps are full, there are still openings for all ages. Scholarships are available for middle and high school students interested in environmental and engineering topics. Contact Lise at zinck@hope.edu for more information, including questions about transportation options.

STEM@Hope! Summer Science Camps kick-off

Everyone loves to STEM@Home during the school year, but Summer 2021 can be your time to STEM@Hope with ExploreHope’s on-campus Summer Science Camps! The school year’s winding down, and that means your summer of STEM is about to begin. Hope Summer Science Camps begin on June 14 and run through July 30.

Whether you love dinosaurs or dissection, coding with Python and Raspberry Pi or Crime Science Investigation, ExploreHope Summer Science Camps is ready to make your summer STEM-tastic.

Not a science buff? Don’t fret – between Movie Making, Ukulele, and Art in 2D/3D, we’ve got a camp perfect for you.

ExploreHope is following Hope College protocols to keep campers and staff safe this summer while keeping our camps as fun and engaging as ever! Visit our Hope Summer Science Camp page to learn more about the camps we offer and to enroll. Sign up today!

STEM@Home: Supercool Dr. Deborah Jin

Dr. Deborah Jin. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Do you have your mother’s smile? What about your uncle’s bushy eyebrows? Some families pass down distinctive facial features, a knack for wise-cracking, or impressive singing skills. But Deborah Jin’s family was full of physics nuts – father, mother and brother! She lost no time in adding her stamp to the family passion, winning prizes for her undergraduate research in experimental physics.

You might be familiar with the “Newton’s Laws” kind of physics – the normal behavior of matter, known as mechanics. Ever knocked two marbles together and noticed how they both get knocked into different directions? That’s mechanics! But Deborah Jin was fascinated by quantum physics – how matter behaves at the atomic and subatomic scale.

Over the next few decades, Dr. Jin mastered superconductors, created ultra cold fermion gases in the lab, and developed a new field of ultra cold quantum chemistry. She died of cancer in 2016 at only 47, but accomplished an incredible amount in her lifetime, not only as a scientist but as a mentor and advisor to other women scientists. Dr. Jin is also remembered for her focus on collaboration between different physics fields.

Learn more about Dr. Jin at massivesci.com – and then follow in her footsteps! Dr. Jin’s first major achievement was supercooling fermion gas. Conduct your own experiments with supercooled materials using items you probably already have around your house!

Supercooled Water Materials:

  • Bowl
  • Distilled water
  • Ice
  • Salt
  • Thermometer that can read between 20 and 40 degrees F
  • Plastic cup
  • Dusty rag

Now, head over to education.com to make your own supercooled water. Then watch Steve Spangler Science use supercooled water to make instant ice!

Register Now for Hope Summer Science Camps!

Love exploring our world, inside and out? Do we have a summer camp for you! Hope Summer Science Camps has over 20 years of experience giving kids the hands-on science explorations of your dreams. Check out the Science Camps page on our website for safety updates, camp schedule, and registration links. We are excited to see you this summer!