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Mind-stretching fun: Sci-Tech offers a multitude of activities for a science-filled summer
By Kaitlin Pennell, staff writer
After a busy school year, summer may seem like a dreadfully boring three-month trek for some. Sci-Tech, a discovery center located in Frisco, offers camps and activities for children to prevent boredom from being at home.
In October 2009, Sci-Tech opened the doors to a new facility in Frisco, five years after the organization was established in Collin County. The center's first exhibit, "Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body," was a huge success with more than 16,000 individuals attending its opening. Unfortunately for attendees, Sci-Tech had to close its doors for renovations.
The center reopened in 2010 with a handful of new exhibits such as "Math Midway" and "Amusement Park Science."
The hands-on discovery center now offers summer activities and camps for children. Sci-Tech offers 13 camps under the theme of "Swashbuckling Summer of Science." An additional camp is provided by independently owned Newton's Lab.
"This year's summer camps are full of fun moments that are sure to appeal to every level of an aspiring scientist," said Alysha Herrera, registrar at Sci-Tech. "Kids are able to lose themselves in the connections between the things they already love, like candy and sports, and the exciting learning opportunities that our staff provides."
The Newton's Lab summer build-it camp allows children to explore the physical world by designing, building and creating their own contraptions. Participants will be able to build their creations by hammering, screwing and sawing materials.
Founded earlier in the year by Bob Gilkison, "Newton's Lab" partnered with Sci-Tech in hopes of educating children on the "magic of discovery," introducing the basics of machines and mechanics, and exposing them to how classic inventions work.
"[I want] to inspire the next generation of inventors," Gilkison said. "Our mission is to equip kids with the machinery of invention so they are not merely assembling objects, but rather creating them. Kids need the freedom to be able to daydream, follow a path led by curiosity and learn organically."
The camp is divided in three sections: "Go-Karts" for June, "Rockets" for July and "Gadgets and Gizmos" for August. In the Go-Karts section, campers spent the month building push-powered go-karts with real tools and materials. With Rockets, children are able to build their own homemade rocket ships using soda bottles. For the upcoming Gadgets and Gizmos section, children will learn about and create simple machines, such as levers, gears and pulleys.
Sci-Tech will also host summer camps with a pirate theme, providing children ages 5 to 11 with an opportunity to explore the various aspects of the discovery center with a variety of camp activities each day.
"In these camps, kids can design, build and test model boats; learn to create and read maps; learn how to navigate using stars; and will [take part in] a treasure hunt to top it all off," said Tamera Hurdle, Sci-Tech's operation manager. "The overall theme for Sci-Tech this summer is based off of pirates -- we will have multiple pirate days."
Registration for all camps is available through the end of August, although some camps have a waitlist depending on availability.
Hurdle said having children participate in science-oriented camps can help teach them topics not always addressed in other camps.
"I think they are a great way to help show children how much fun math and science can be," she said. "We will have speakers that correlate with each camp's theme visit at all the camps. We want kids to know about the many different careers that are available with math and science backgrounds."
In the future, Sci-Tech plans to open camps during Thanksgiving and winter breaks, as well as a one-day camp during a Frisco ISD in-service day. More information on Sci-Tech's camps and events can be found on its website, www.mindstretchingfun.org.
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