Summer Explorations blast off at MSSM

15 years ago
By Natalie Bazinet
Staff Writer

    LIMESTONE — Maine School of Science and Mathematics  recently concluded Summer Explorations, three weeklong summer residential camps specifically designed to provide fifth to ninth-grade campers, curious about math, science and technology, with opportunities to explore various aspects of these fields.

Image    Brian Amorosa, 14, explained a variety of energy conserving principals shown in his model structure to fellow campers.

    Over 200 campers were exposed to a unique blend of topics ranging from rockets to robots and swimming to s’mores; all in all, it lead to happy campers.
    “I think [the camp] helps kids discover passions about topics that are often breezed by or completely overlooked in a common classroom,” said Allison Dupre, assistant director of the camp. “[For example,] we have classes that focus on the weather, which is something you just don’t cover in high school.”
    Three of the most popular subjects are the CSI course, the robot course, and the lift off course. Finishing just behind those three is the physics of projectiles course, where students discover some principles of physics by launching tennis balls.
    The goal of the camps is for every camper to become more confident and excited about pursuing further studies and, ultimately, careers related to these fields.
    “When students come here, I would say that they find a great learning environment that’s very different from the average classroom. They get to do hands on activities and really enjoy themselves without their regular classroom pressures and normalities,” said Ben Reed, assistant director of the camp.
    Many campers at the MSSM summer camp enjoy their experience to the extent that they find themselves eager to become MSSM students.
    “I’d say about 50 percent of the MSSM students during the year were summer campers at some point, so they come here, they learn what it’s all about, and then they get so excited they convince their parents that they want to come here,” said Dupre.
    While the campers enjoy the learning environment and other forms of academic exposure that their regular schools may not have taught, attending summer camp at MSSM doesn’t mean campers will be stuck behind a desk all week long.
    There are many different aspects of a traditional camp environment for campers to enjoy, including swimming, flying disk, capture the flag, and many other camp-classics that a picturesque image of summer camp evokes, according to Dupre.
    “I think it would be a hard sell if all we did all day was be in class, so I think it’s nice that they get some of those other aspects too,” she said. “One of the strongest points of our camp is that campers get to find other kids they can relate to; they may be the only kid in their school who thinks that science is cool and wants to hang out with the chemistry teacher after class, and here, all the kids want to hang out and work extra on their projects and talk about it after class; it’s a wonderful chance for them to meet other people.”
    While many campers will encounter fellow Mainers, about 10 percent of the campers are from out of state, some drawn to the school from as far away as Colorado.
    More information regarding MSSM Summer Explorations can be found by visiting http://www.mssm.org.

 

 

ImageAroostook Republican photo/Natalie Bazinet
    Mr. Berz’s Astronomical Adventure Tour is a camper favorite during MSSM Summer Explorations. Shown above, campers combine the quirkiness of an average summer camp by dressing up for mismatch day while assisting at ‘mission control’ during the weekly rocket launch.

 

 

 

 

 

ImageAroostook Republican photo/Natalie Bazinet
    Graham Howard, 15, prepares his robot for the next round as students in the robotics course pitted their robots against each other’s technological creations.