Science -- U camp lets kids be 'Myth Busters' and 'Energy Gurus'

Registration is now open for Science — U, the annual summer camp of the Penn State Eberly College of Science, which will be held from 22 June through 31 July, 2009. The camp, which serves children entering grades 2 through 12, comprises eight different week-long science programs with themes ranging from "Myth Busters," which allows students to investigate the experiments on the Discovery Channel television show, "Myth Busters," to "Energy Gurus," which gives students the opportunity to learn about real-world issues in energy conservation. 

Each of the programs has either a day-camp option, held during business hours on Monday through Friday, and/or a full-time residential option. The programs' curricula are developed and taught by Penn State faculty, who are assisted by local school teachers and Penn State researchers, graduate students and undergraduate students. The camp programs are conducted in classrooms and laboratories on the Penn State University Park campus. Registration is on the Web from a link at

The programs are designed to teach children about real-life science. "It's a fantastic opportunity for campers to learn about the science behind popular topics and real-world issues, while having fun at the same time," said Michael Zeman, director of the Science — U program.

For example, one of the camps, called "Busted! Myth Meets Science!" introduces students to the scientific reality and safety concerns behind the experiments on the popular Discovery Channel show "Myth Busters."

"This camp is a wonderful way for kids to learn, practice and understand the scientific method," said Zeman. "The campers will be challenged to design an experiment, determine the methods and find the materials they need to carry out the experiment, conduct the experiment safely and successfully, and discuss or display the results to other campers. Children also will have the chance to create their own video episode about the experiment."

Another camp, "Science — U Energy Crew," helps students to understand complex 'real-world' energy issues that concern scientists today. Students will spend time at the Penn State Energy and Materials Science Institute, where they will tour the Coal Utilization Laboratory, Boiler-Room Laboratory, Nuclear Reactor and Energy Star Solar House. 

"Campers will get the chance to investigate and uncover pieces of the puzzle behind efforts to conserve energy," said Zeman. "They will get to witness and experiment with a variety of different energy sources."

In addition to "Busted! Myth Meets Science!" and "Science — U Energy Crew," six other science camps are planned for the summer of 2009. Formerly known as the Action Potential Science Experience camps, the camps were created by the Eberly College of Science in 1999 as an outreach and service initiative to interest, challenge and excite diverse populations of children and to expose them to different areas of science. Each of the camps has a unique theme and is offered for a specific age/grade level. More information about the camps is on the Web at

The 2009 Summer Program:

"Catch the Wave: Adventures in Sound and Light" teaches children about the science behind sound and light. This camp is for children entering grades 2 and 3 and will be held from June 21-26.

"Science — U Energy Crew" allows children to explore energy and its forms, uses, and sustainability. This camp is for children entering grades 5 through 8 and will be held from June 21-26.

"Science — U Leadership Academy" is dedicated to developing leadership qualities in young scientists in an intensive, project-oriented environment. This camp is offered only as a residential program to students entering grades 11 and 12 and will be held from June 28 - July 3.

"Busted! Myth Meets Science" is the ultimate opportunity for children to be fearless, design experiments, ask questions, and disprove (or prove) misconceptions and myths about science. This camp is for students entering grades 5 through 8 and will be held from July 12-17 and again from July 19-24.

"Gee Wizards Science" enables campers to work in small and large groups to unlock the secrets and magic of science, while simultaneously learning about inquiry and the scientific method. This camp is for children entering grades 2 through 4 and will be held from July 19-24.

"Natural-Born Killers: Food-Borne Illness and the Microbial Menace" enables students to learn how microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa can be both beneficial as well as deadly killers. This camp is for students entering grades 8 through 10 and will be held from July 26-31.

"Crime-Scene Investigators: The Case of the Spurious Spaceman" allows students to become members of an investigative team that will learn how to collect evidence, map a crime scene, and conduct experiments to solve a crime.  This camp is for children entering grades 4 through 8 and will be held from July 5-10 and again from July 26-31.

"Stock-Market Madness" lets students discover the excitement of the stock market from Penn State's own state-of-the-art trading room in the Smeal College of Business. This camp is for students entering grades 10 through 12 and will be held from July 12-17.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010