Science in the City helps students explore world in summer camp

June 19, 2007

By hammersmith

[Source: Sadie Jo Smokey, Arizona Republic] — Three years ago the Phoenix Union High School District created Science in the City, a summer enrichment camp where students immerse themselves in science. The goal of the day camp, staffed by middle and high school science teachers, is to make science real and accessible. This month, more than 100 students entering the eighth grade are participating in the exploratory science program. The students, from Roosevelt, Phoenix No. l, Alhambra, Osborn and Cartwright school districts try their hands at technology and learn about many topics at science-related sites in the Valley.

Erin Lemons, 13, a student at Magnet Traditional School, said she likes science. So far this month, she’s learned how to identify cactus, trees and plants, learned about animals and even held a scorpion in her hand. “The deal was if a teacher did, I’d do it,” Lemons said. “I was so scared. I petted a tarantula, too. When I told my mom, she said I was brave.”

Each week groups of students visit a different site. They explore the desert environment at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve, Desert Botanical Garden, Southwest Wildlife, a rehabilitation and education foundation, and North Mountain Preserve. Students learn about the wonders of the human body at TGen, the Translational Genomics Research Institute; Arizona Science Center; Arizona Department of Environmental Quality; and South Mountain Community College. They learn about careers in science at Arizona State University and Phoenix College. “I can see that they’ve learned a lot already,” said Terry DiGangi, a Carl Hayden High School science teacher. “They’re seeing science in practice. They have an understanding of bioscience which is a huge field in Arizona.”