EAC teams with EASI to host ‘S.T.E.A.M. is Life!’ summer science camp

Contributed Photo/Courtesy EAC: Biology instructor Aaron Burk shows EAC’s live Gila monster mascot, Shelia, to the students.  

By Lori Dugan

THATCHER — Eastern Arizona College and the Eastern Arizona Science Initiative (EASI) partnered once again to offer the “S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) is Life!” summer science camp for sixth through ninth-grade students last month.

Contributed Photo/Courtesy EAC: Students at camp make model rockets. 

The “S.T.E.A.M. is Life!” camp, hosted by the EAC Discovery Park Campus, shared a variety of lessons and activities with 48 students from throughout Eastern Arizona. This year’s camp took the students up Mt. Graham with EAC Biology Professor, Dr. Nathan Cline, to discover the plants and animals that inhabit the five distinct “Biomes” or life zones found on the mountain. Other activities included building model rockets with EAC Discovery Park Campus director, Paul Anger, exploring the local desert and riparian areas with Debbie Pearson from Safford Middle School, and creating colorful symmetrical “Mandalas” with Becky Howell from the Pima School District.

Students also enjoyed a disgustingly fun activity recreating the digestive system with Chris Cook from Thatcher High School, played math games with Julie Cook from Thatcher Elementary, and created unique 3-dimensional trees with the University of Arizona’s Graham County College of Agriculture’s Cindy Pearson with help from the National Civilian Conservation Corps. EAC biology instructor, Aaron Burk, shared his collection of live desert animals including snakes, tarantulas, lizards, turtles, and tortoises, including EAC’s live Gila monster mascot, Sheila.

After dark, students and families viewed Saturn and the stars through a telescope with Desert SkyGazers Astronomy Club President, Paul Shulz, and his wife, Ella. All participants received a camp t-shirt, backpack, prizes, and take-home activities.

“Special thanks to our friends at Freeport-McMoRan and the United Way of Graham County for funding the EASI Summer Science Camps through grants,” Anger said. “The annual Summer Science Camps are a great opportunity for youth throughout Eastern Arizona to meet, have fun, and learn S.T.E.A.M. from enthusiastic and knowledgeable educators with strong backgrounds in science and business.”

For more information about the Eastern Arizona Science Initiative’s activities, please contact Anger at EAC’s Discovery Park Campus at (928) 428-6260 or by email at paul.anger@eac.edu.

About EASI

The Eastern Arizona Science Initiative (EASI) is a collaboration of individuals from throughout Eastern Arizona, including local educators, administrators, and community members who have a united goal of attracting students to science in the hopes of motivating them to seek advanced college courses and careers in science. EASI also sponsors the annual Eastern Arizona Regional Science Fair, and quarterly workshops for Teacher Professional Development, all hosted by the EAC Discovery Park Campus. Parents can support their students and their teachers by encouraging participation in the events and activities shared by the Eastern Arizona Science Initiative.

Contributed Photo/Courtesy EAC: