ExploreHope Staff Stories: Step-Up

Soil test results at the Zeeland Wetlands! The goal was to analyze and have the same results across the groups because it being from the same location! We were practicing our analysis skills that day. We also tested Nitrogen and Potassium, not pictured.

Hello, my name is Evan Pepper, and I am one of the camp leaders for ExploreHope’s Summer Science Camps! I will be a Junior at Hope College this fall and am majoring in Secondary Special Education. This is my first summer working for ExploreHope, and it has been a blast so far! All the kids are amazing and have been so much fun to spend time with! 

In this post, I will be sharing my experience with Step-Up and their trip to ExploreHope this summer. During the time I spent with them, we gathered and analyzed soil from the field and worked on a separate literacy component to get the kids excited about reading over the Summer! One of my favorite activities in this camp was analyzing the soil we gathered from different locations and comparing the results. It was great practice and a fun way to provide many of the campers with their first-ever lab experience with multiple steps and fieldwork. Another great activity was our reading component, which was a literary analysis of A Wrinkle In Time! As a class, we read the book in many different ways, including popcorn reading and group reading.

One activity that the kids can do at home is just reading. Literacy is so important, especially for children. Creating a love of reading at a young age is so helpful for a child’s future! For example, we read A Wrinkle In Time and finished that book, then also provided the students with another book, Fish in a Tree, so that they will be able to continue reading when they leave camps. Another activity would be buying cheap soil testers from a place like Menards and testing the soil in a garden at home to see if it is good soil for the plants.

Again, this camp was great because we got to work on skills that will be useful for their future science classes as they continue through middle and high school. I am so happy that I was able to lead this camp, and also so proud of how much the campers were able to complete during the week! I love that we are able to provide these experiences to young students at ExploreHope summer camps.

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