By Lauren Schiavone
Hometown Weekly Staff
Westwood’s future scientists and mathematicians were recently able to show their skills in a weeklong camp designed for hands-on STEM activities. Hosted by the Westwood Recreation Department, children were able to study topics in a way that felt playful and entertaining. On Friday afternoon, August 19, children headed to the Islington Branch Library for experiments, games and more; it was the culmination of a week in which the children were immersed in experiments and activities that make science extraordinary.
Children aged 5-10 were welcomed by Top Secret Science facilitators, and Friday’s game day was highly anticipated. Children did simple math and examined a “bill” of chores that doubled interest each day for a month. Getting children excited to use math in a practical sense, they added up items they would theoretically buy with their monthly income. There were also word searches that were worked on in small groups, which helped children to work cooperatively whilst creating more STEM-based conversation.
The most popular experiment for the day was a simple coin trick. Campers took a penny and placed it on their elbow. Flipping their arm, the objective was to catch the penny in the palm in their hand. The top secret? There’s science involved! Simply put: the inertia behind a still force and force in motion can control the object (the coin). Gravity pulls the coin down and the hand, moving faster than the coin, catches it. When practiced, it looks like an effortless trick. Campers “leveled up” by stacking coins once they got the hang of it and utilized the test with experiment to prove their hypotheses.
“Every day is a different subject in science,” commented instructor Megan Fuccillo. “We have chemistry, physics, lights and sounds day, and game day. We spend each day learning about a new topic. We talk about what kids know and we do an experiment and explain it.” The program offered a multitude of ways for campers to get involved in aspects of STEM, focusing each day on a certain subject.
“They make observations and predictions and then get to do [the experiment] themselves,” she added, focusing on the scientific method.
The Top Secret Science camp brought an abundance of fun to Westwood — and prepared the curious campers for back-to-school time.