Local students engaged in hands-on science experiments during a one-day camp, Science in Everyday Life. The camp took place at New College Institute’s Fayette Lab, a fully-equipped exploratory science laboratory designed to promote engagement in the sciences for learners of all ages.
Students completed several experiments including lessons in biology and chemistry. Students extracted DNA from spinach. To do so, students blended spinach with everyday items such as dish soap, rubbing alcohol, and meat tenderizer. The mixture caused the particles of the spinach to break down, allowing students to be able to examine the spinach’s DNA with microscopes.
Lorellie Whitlow, a rising seventh grader at Laurel Park Middle School, said this was her favorite activity of the day because “it was so cool to see and examine the particles with the microscope.”
Maria Johnson, a rising tenth grader at Martinsville Middle School, agreed. “I liked to see how the cells were breaking down. I would like to do more hands-on science experiments like this in science,” she added.
“The camps that NCI offers are a great opportunity for students to stay engaged in the learning process over the summer months. These camps also feature hands-on activities that make the learning fun,” said Steve Keyser, NCI Coordinator of Educational and Community Engagement.
Another activity completed by the students allowed them to calculate the percentage of water found in popcorn. Using a hot plate and electronic balances, students measured the mass of kernels before and after popping them.
SaMya Williams, a rising eighth grader at Laurel Park Middle School, found this activity very interesting. “I enjoy investigating and understanding how things work. In the future, I would like to be a chemical or mechanical engineer,” she said.
This camp is one of several summer camps hosted by NCI this summer. Upcoming camps include Cell Much Fun on Tuesday, July 24th and Camp Chemistry on July 25th. At Cell Much Fun, students will explore the building blocks of biology by examining cell structure and cell division. Students will also learn how to operate lab equipment to see various body cells under the microscope and even learn to isolate and grow cells. At Camp Chemistry, students will learn how to operate lab equipment as well as the basics of chemistry, including the periodic table, bonding, energy forms, and observation of changes in physical and chemical properties. Both camps are open to students in 5th – 8th grade. If you are interested in registering, please contact NCI at (276) 403-5671.
Photo 1: At NCI’s Science in Everyday Life Camp, students examined DNA of spinach with microscopes.
Photo 2: A group of local students became scientists for the day, exploring concepts in biology and chemistry at NCI’s Fayette Lab.