Camp Day 5: Presentations and Spider Leg Hairs

Day 5 was our last day together (working) and thus had a laundry list of things to accomplish in order to be prepared (or close to prepared) for our presentations to the Level 1 and 2 Scholars at the Freedom School. We started the day by revisiting our work from Days 1 through 4 while adding in the data we collected in graphical form. The graphs led to a lot of GREAT discussion on what we found and where it may have come from. Some of our younger and/or more quiet campers really got their voices out there which was really great.

We then broke up into smaller groups so that we could tackle the three main aspects of our presentation. I took two campers to plan out our tri-fold board that we will be using to illustrate the course of our experiment. Luckily, we have some great pictures of collecting data up at Charlotte and then analyzing it in the labs on campus that we have plenty of evidence that our campers were, in fact, full blown scientists for the week. One of our youngest campers, who I was working with really got interested in the safety levels of the bacteria in the lake and river and so I’m really looking forward to him telling the younger scholars about what we found and how the river and lake compare.

After lunch we came back together to roughly script our presentations, again as small groups. During this time I got to show of my microscopy skills by showing a crushed spider we found in our water specimens on the stereoscope while attached to the TV. This was a huge hit with the kids, although it may have been too popular as it became a huge distraction. I think Michael got some pictures using the fancy stereoscope so if they worked I’ll have to post a picture up here as evidence of my skillz. All my work counting epithelial cells at a local toxicology lab really worked out so I’m glad the kids enjoyed seeing the spider as much as I did.

Overall, I think today went really well. It was the first day all week that we got to basically everything on the schedule. We felt a little rushed but I think that worked to our advantage of not having any particular conversation drag on like it did yesterday. I feel like, personally, I had another great day engaging M. I used some sports analogies to keep him focused and “in the game for all four quarters.” I felt less engaged in the afternoon, mostly because my group seemed to know what they wanted to talk about; I began more of a technology guru/resource for the campers to find out some information they needed as background to talk about our investigation and less of a team leader (which I didn’t necessarily have a problem with).

I know today isn’t technically the end of camp but it did feel like it to a certain extent. We know that 2-3 of our 6 campers won’t be there on Monday because of football commitments; and we have (all week) have attendance issues with all but 2 of the remaining campers. Our presentation has the potential to need to be pieced together to make up for missing campers’ voices. The past five days have literally been the most insane and demanding of my life but I also don’t think I’ve ever felt more accomplished and connected to my friends and “mentees” before. The finale (and some significant work) still awaits us but for now I’ve thrilled to not need an alarm tomorrow morning and get some good eating and breathing time.

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