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EAC’s “Summer Camp of Champions” a great success

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EAC’s “Summer Camp of Champions” a great success

By Lori Dugan

THATCHER, AZ—Eastern Arizona College’s GEAR UP program held its first “Summer Camp of Champions” last week, hosting approximately 50 middle-school students representing seven school districts including Chinle, Red Mesa, Payson, Clifton, Fort Thomas, San Carlos, and Miami School Districts. The students who attended the camp were selected by each of the participating schools.

The four-day college science camp experience included workshops where the students learned about astronomers and the tools they use. In the session on optics and telescopes campers learned about different types of telescopes, from simple lenses to modern optical design. They also learned about the types of objects in the sky; their location, distance, dimensions, and what they look like. In another session, the students each had the opportunity to build a Galileo Telescope.

This year, 2009, marks the “International Year of Astronomy” recognizing 400 years of the telescope, and on Thursday, July 16, the students traveled up to the top of Mount Graham to be briefed on the history and function of the Mount Graham International Observatory (MGIO). The students were also given the opportunity to meet astronomers, scientists, and engineers from around the world.

A noteworthy highlight of the experience was when the students had the opportunity to interview Dr. Richard Green, who is the Director of the Large Binocular Telescope.

Students participating in the camp were divided into three groups working on the development of a virtual field trip of the MGIO. The students had the opportunity to name their individual groups at the beginning of the Science Camp and came up with the following: DELTA Vs with instructor David Morris, Gold Stars with instructor Paul Anger, and G-force with instructor Tawnie Anger.

Using technology, summer camp participants created an advertising segment based upon research gathered at the College and the MGIO that will be broadcast live to other classrooms throughout the United States and perhaps the world using interactive television as a delivery platform. The segment documents the summer camp experience and serves as an educational tool for middle school students. This product will align with Arizona and national science standards.

The Summer Camp of Champions is sponsored by the Eastern Arizona College GEAR UP project. For more information about the camp or about the project itself, contact Carter McEuen, GEAR UP Project Director, at 928-428-8234.