Oregon middle school students attend science camp at OSU

July 27, 2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. – What type of power would propel a sixth grader to Mars? Oregon middle school students attending the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science camp will find answers based on their new knowledge about energy from animals, photosynthesis and other metabolic processes.

Forty-eight Oregon students entering grades 6-8 will demonstrate what they have learned about Earth systems Aug. 4–15 at Oregon State University. Classes will help them understand the interrelationships of calories for energy, plant production, soils, the nature of living things, water and landforms and habitat components.

As part of the two-week residential camp, students will take a trip to OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport for lessons about how marine animals adapt to their harsh environment.

Back on campus, they will try out their own “tsunami-proof” structures, made of small pieces of wood, at the Hinsdale Research Lab wave tank. In another challenge, students will have 15 minutes to make a miniature raft to test their understanding of buoyancy and density, and will compete in a rally. They also will perfect their racing skills with vehicles propelled by mousetraps.

Bernard Harris, the first African-American astronaut to walk in space, will visit the camp on Tuesday, Aug. 11. In 1990, he was selected as a NASA astronaut and flew his first mission three years later. He founded the Bernard Harris Foundation in 1998 to develop math/science education and crime prevention programs for America's youth.

The summer science camp is offered at 30 universities across the country. The full cost of the camp's education program, field trips, food and lodging is covered by an $80,000 grant from the ExxonMobil Foundation and the Bernard Harris Foundation.

"In Oregon and across the nation, 4-H Youth Development supports a mandate from the United States Department of Agriculture," said Virginia Bourdeau, executive director of the camp. "We encourage middle school students to learn about science, engineering and technology and invite participation from those who are traditionally under-represented in higher education and employment.”

"We introduce students to a university campus and positive experiences with adult mentors, which we hope will help them seek education beyond high school," Bourdeau added.

The summer camp is a group effort of the OSU Extension 4-H Youth Development; College of Education, Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) program; Department of Science and Mathematics Education in the College of Science; and College of Engineering.

Follow the camp's daily activities on the Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp blog.

Students attending the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp:

Albany: Kevin Koos

Astoria: Zhoe Rub

Aumsville: Ruby Faz

Bend: Albert Kolodziejczyk

Boring: Madeline Welch

Burns: Ryan Cashen

Diamond: Corbin Hammond

Estacada: Emma Olds

Eugene: Benn Jesser, Hannah Yi

Gold Beach: Naomi Veloso

Hammond: Katherine Carey

Hermiston: Tristan Mitchell

Hillsboro: Joshua Cheng

Hubbard: MaCaila Sharp

Independence: Johan Bodnovits

Ione: Rachel Holland

Junction City: Quin Vandenberghe

Klamath Falls: Stephanie Rey-Paolini

LaPine: Jake Brown

Madras: Marina Sansom

McMinnville: Santiago Flores, Morgan Schoenthal, Alexis Vargas

Medford: Erick Peregrina

Milwaukie: Zachary Kimoto

Monument: Ellen Reule-Ramirez

Myrtle Point: Linnea Greenlund

Nehalem: Nathan Imholt

Pacific City: Sophia Solano

Philomath: Marcus Weaver

Pleasant Hill: Brandon Loop-Rodriguez

Portland: Sydney Monfries, Rachel Thompson

Rhododendrun: Hunter Rada

Salem: Alexis Grabowski, Adam Jaramillo, Jacob Schifferman

Scappoose: Tristan Scott

Silver Lake: Daniel Libolt

Silverton: Flor Lucaz

Springfield: Kriscia Rivas

Sweet Home: Julie Morgan

Trail: Brenna Blankenship

Tualatin: Leonel Contreras-Anez

Union: Johnny Kennon

Warm Springs: Tyra Thomas

Warren: Patience Marshall

Author: Judy Scott
Source: Virginia Bourdeau, Robin Galloway