explore kits ready to be shipped to participants

Hope College is offering a variety of virtual and on-campus science camps this month for elementary, middle school and high school students, continuing an annual summer tradition that began in 1997. Registration is underway.

The program for elementary students is a virtual camp featuring materials delivered to participants’ homes with hands-on activities led through three Zoom calls each week.  The camp runs July 7-31, following an earlier camp that ran in June.  The on-campus camps — 10 total — for middle school and high school students will take place on campus during the weeks of July 13-16 and July 20-23, and will run for two or four days each.

The on-campus programs for middle school and high school students are being run adhering to state and local guidelines and directives, including daily health screenings, proper physical distancing, the wearing of face masks and sanitation of equipment.  In addition, participation is limited to 14 students per on-site camp.

The elementary program, “Family Exploration Box Adventure: Art in Nature!,” is exploring color, texture, patterns and more with nature as the muse.  Participants are provided with an “Exploration Box” with materials for projects, with thrice-weekly Zoom calls providing an opportunity to investigate the science behind the art.  “Art in Nature!” is for children entering grades K-5 in the fall, and registration is $25 for supplies and the 12 Zoom sessions.  Participants may sign up through July 10.

There will be five camps on campus for middle school students (entering grades 6-8) and five for high school students (entering grades 9-12).  The middle school camps are “Animal Aids – Explore Bioengingeering,” “Crazy Chemistry,” “Crime Buster Skills,” “Exploring Ecosystems” and “Exploring Energy.”  The high school camps are “Advanced Raspberry Pi and Phython Programming,” “Experimental Design,” “Science Olympiad Headstart” and “Skills in Forensic Science.  Led by Hope education students, each camp will meet in the morning or afternoon for three hours.  Registration is either $45 or $90, depending on whether or not the camp is for two days or four days.

Additional information about the camps, how to register and the safety protocols is available at hope.edu/explore.

The science camps are coordinated by ExploreHope, an academic outreach program of the college that provides a variety of hands-on learning opportunities for area K-12 students during the school year as well as the summer.  The program originally planned — as in past years — some 50 camps running on campus beginning in mid-June, but has adapted the schedule and format in keeping with the efforts across the state and nationwide to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic we haven’t been able to provide the full summer of programming that we’d planned, but we’re pleased to have been able to offer the virtual camps for the elementary children and now the on-campus camps later this month for the older students,” said Susan Ipri Brown, who is director of ExploreHope as well as an assistant professor of engineering instruction.  “The camps are a popular summer tradition that we look forward to as much as the campers who participate do, and our priority is on providing a fun, educational and — especially— safe experience for all of them.”

ExploreHope has also been providing a variety of other virtual science experiences for area K-12 students this summer.  The others have included an elementary STEM Camp for fifth graders and virtual careers-exploration for middle school students, in June in partnership with Holland Public Schools; weekly virtual science activities for the college’s Children’s After School Achievement (CASA) program for elementary students; two weeks of virtual camps this month for the college’s Step Up program for middle school students; and a week-long college-preview camp for African American and Latinx high school students in partnership with the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute (GRAAHI) and the college’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion.