Bottle rockets, honeysuckle and tents keep science from "boring" sixth graders

1 week 5 days 4 hours ago Saturday, October 07 2017 Oct 7, 2017 Saturday, October 07, 2017 4:12:00 PM CDT October 07, 2017 in News
By: KOMU 8 Reporter, Ally Wallenta
loading

COLUMBIA – Columbia Public Schools wants to make sure sixth graders aren't just learning science from a book.

"That is an incredibly boring way to learn science," said Columbia Public Schools Science Coordinator Mike Szydlowski. 

Many CPS sixth graders have packed overnight bags and hopped on a bus for a two-day camp. 

It has eight stations, with different activities at each one, including archery, hiking and exploring science subjects.

Students also learn how to cook different foods over an outdoor fire and how to create their own science experiments, including a bottle rocket.

Szydlowski said the stations are based off of student interest.

“We want to do something that we can’t do at school. If we can do it at school, we should probably do it at school,” he said.

Oakland Middle School sixth grader Gavin VanBuren is one of the few students from his school who has camped. 

“This is probably my fifth time camping, I’ve gone camping a lot. Back when I lived in Germany, we went and camped out by Munich,” he said.

VanBuren said, this time, camping is different because it includes science.

“The camp teaches us how to really do science experiments. With the bottle rockets, we have to learn independent variables and the dependent variables, and the control. Which is important when you’re doing science experiments,” he said.

This year, students were given a new task: to improve Missouri’s ecosystem. After learning about an invasive species, known as the Bush Honeysuckle, the middle schoolers removed some of the plant harming the forests.

“In 1975, there was not one honeysuckle plant in any forest in Missouri. Now, it’s all over,” Szydlowski said. “The only way to kill it is by what these kids are doing. They cut it about 6 inches from the ground and then adults come later and spray that stump with poison.” 

VanBuren said, “Chopping down honeysuckle is good for the environment. Plus, learning about ecosystems is boring sitting down on a chair.”  

Szydlowski said one of the students’ favorite parts of the camp is sleeping in tents with their classmates. 

“When I grew up, we camped all the time. Over 50 percent of our kids now, it’s their first time ever sleeping in a tent outside," Szydlowski said. “We want to give them that opportunity, while still connecting it to the curriculum.”

Szydlowski started the camp as a science coordinator in St. Louis after he realized the students didn’t get out in the woods enough.

“We have kids every time that will go on a hike and say it’s the first time being in a state park, even though we have a state park right here in our town,” Szydlowski said.

Instructors at the camp include science, math, language arts and physical education teachers.

The camp takes place at Country Day School Property in Columbia and, other than a $10-$15 cost for a t-shirt, Columbia’s science department pays for all of the students’ fees. 

Oakland Middle School was the first school to attend the camp on Sept. 21 and 22. Jefferson Middle School and Gentry Middle School will attend during the end of September and throughout October.

Three other middle schools, Smithton, West and John B. Lange, will be attending the camp in the spring. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Board of Education met Thursday and unanimously decided to vote 'no' on The Broadway Columbia's tax... More >>
1 hour ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 7:13:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Elm Street will open on Friday after five months of construction. Patricia Hayles with Columbia Sewer Utility said... More >>
1 hour ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 6:59:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that public defenders may not turn away clients without first getting permission... More >>
2 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 6:37:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA– A shuttle service responsible for bringing residents back-and-forth to campus is citing a communication breakdown for its slow response... More >>
2 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 6:25:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - On Thursday Missouri officials officially announced its proposal to attract Amazon's second headquarters to Missouri. Governor Eric... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 5:51:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Gov. Eric Greitens has appointed a Republican Missouri House member to serve as an associate circuit... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 5:31:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA -- The City of Columbia received recognition for its efforts in working towards LGBTQ equality. The city earned... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 5:20:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — An official from a company working to commercialize high-speed Hyperloop transportation says Missouri is among the... More >>
4 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 4:23:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
FULTON -- A South Callaway High School student is accused of sending out a threatening Snapchat. Police said the... More >>
4 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 3:54:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City woman had pleaded guilty to failing to pay taxes on at least... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 2:55:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A woman has admitted that she lied about her nursing credentials to work at a St.... More >>
6 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 2:33:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
FULTON – Ameren Missouri’s Callaway Energy Center is in the middle of a 55-day outage, where crews will replace fuel... More >>
7 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 1:42:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Students were speaking out in frustration Thursday about how professors handled Wednesday's active threat on the MU campus.... More >>
7 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 1:40:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Access to health care can be a matter of life or death. Callaway County's only hospital almost... More >>
8 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 12:47:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The question of whether to rename Robert E. Lee Elementary, in part because of its Confederate roots, will... More >>
8 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 12:44:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The attorneys general for 49 states and the District of Columbia reached a settlement with General Motors... More >>
8 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 11:57:11 AM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Sheriff's deputies said a teenager was shot in a home on Bethany Drive on Wednesday. The... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 10:43:00 AM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Police are investigating a home invasion on Clark Lane after victims said two men broke in and took... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 10:07:00 AM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 69°
9pm 62°
10pm 61°
11pm 62°
12am 61°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

8:31p
Great News
9:00p
Chicago Fire
10:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 10
8:00p
Arrow
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Superstore
7:30p
The Good Place
8:00p
Will & Grace
8:31p
Great News
9:00p
Chicago Fire
7:00p
Supernatural
8:00p
Arrow
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld