EAC’s Discovery Park Campus hosts the annual EASI Summer Science Camp

EAC Photo: EAC’s Discovery Park Campus hosted the 2022 Eastern Arizona Science Initiative’s (EASI) Summer Science Camp last month with more than 50, fifth through ninth graders in attendance from school districts throughout Eastern Arizona.

Contributed Article/Courtesy EAC

THATCHER, — EAC’s Discovery Park Campus hosted the 2022 Eastern Arizona Science Initiative’s (EASI) Summer Science Camp last month with more than 50, fifth through ninth graders in attendance from school districts throughout Eastern Arizona.

The theme for this year’s camp was “Physics Moves the World!” and included a dozen activities that demonstrated the energy, forces, and movement of physics in the natural world.

The students participated in a wide variety of fun Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) related activities and lessons. For example, the “Designing Roller-Coasters!” activity, with JoKae Lambson, Safford Middle School Science Teacher, taught about the gravity and momentum of roller-coasters. Dr. Phil McBride, EAC dean of instruction and chemistry instructor, taught “Chemical Flight!” by conducting an activity creating propulsion and motion through chemical reactions. One project in the activity used antacid tablets and water to build pressure and launch Nerf darts from a glass beaker.

Students also created mini-waterslides under the direction of Heather Dillman from Fort Thomas High School. The activity focused on safety rules and included competitions between the students on the most marbles sent down the slides without hitting each other.

EAC anatomy and physiology professor, Tammy Gillespie, presented “I Love to Move It, Move It!” a lesson on the physics of human movement and action, with many examples and activities.

Marie Arrington and Carol Elders from Safford Middle School’s Technology Training Center shared “Wet & Wild!” where students used “Sphero BOLTs” – round programmable robots that can float – to determine what to add to the spheres to help them move through the water.

Tawnie Anger, from Pima Jr. High School, brought the fun in thinking with “Let’s Play with MATH!” which included card games and activities.

EAC biology professor, Dr. Nathan Cline, shared “Cold-Blooded Snakes!” In this activity, campers saw and learned about snakes and other reptiles, and got to make and take home their own “Bead Snake,” a fun personalized pet made from pipe cleaners and beads.

Dana Olson, from Fort Thomas High School, shared “Rat Race,” a lesson that had students design and build a race car using DVD discs for wheels, and a mousetrap for propulsion.

Paul Anger, Director of Discovery Park Campus and Director of the EASI Summer Science Camps, shared a lesson on “The Physics of Archery” where students learned the principles of archery and had a competition to determine the best archer of the camp. (Mackenzie Millar won the competition with a high score of 12 out of 15 – with one Bullseye!)

At the conclusion of the camp, students enjoyed a special presentation in EASI’s giant StarLab Planetarium with a lesson on astronomy and a look into the planets in our solar system. They also attended an exciting presentation by Dr. Cline to learn about, see, and even touch several different types of native animals including a tarantula, turtles, a king snake, a gopher snake, and even a Gila Monster.

EAC Photo: Mackenzie Millar was the best archer in the camp.

“It was a great time and everyone enjoyed it,” said Anger. “All campers received a ‘Physics Moves the World!’ T-shirt, backpack, prizes, and lots of take-home activities.”

Light breakfasts and lunches were served by the Safford Unified School District to make sure the campers were happy and ready to learn.

Anger expressed special thanks to the United Way of Graham & Greenlee County for providing funding to share these STEM lessons and activities with local youth at the camp and said, “We also appreciate our friends at Freeport-McMoRan who donate to EASI through the employee payroll deduction program, Safford Schools for the great meals, and Eastern Arizona College for hosting the camps at the beautiful Discovery Park Campus facilities.”

The annual Summer Science Camps are a great opportunity for youth throughout Eastern Arizona to meet together, have fun, and participate in great STEM lessons and activities from amazing local educators. “Our main goal,” concluded Anger, “is to strengthen interest in STEM and higher education opportunities, and inspire the campers to eventually pursue local careers that involve STEM.”

For more information on the Eastern Arizona Science Initiative (EASI), EAC’s Discovery Park Campus, or tour information for the telescopes at the Mount Graham International Observatory, contact Anger at (928) 428-6260 or email: discoverypark@eac.edu, or go to www.eac.edu/discoverypark.