Local students present scientific research during the summer science camps at Niagara University

Willie Mills, a fifth grader from Harry F. Abate School, and Mason Rotella, a fourth grader from 79th Street School, present the results of their “Elephant Toothpaste” experiment at the National Grid / NU STEM Camp Science Fair Showcase on August 19

Mon, 08/30/2021 1:15 p.m.

Niagara University’s summer science and STEM camps returned this year, engaging local kindergarten through 8th grade students in a variety of activities that leveraged the practical application of science, technology, engineering, and math.

Students in grades 3-8 took part in the first of the two camps, which took place August 16-19. They conducted several scientific experiments and presented the results of their research during the National Grid / NU STEM Camp Science Fair Showcase on August 19th.

Campers chose from four different experiments and developed their own questions and hypotheses to test during their scientific investigation. They then created posters detailing their work, the results of their research and their conclusions, which they presented during the showcase.

Twins and repeat campers Whitney and Emma Seguin, third graders from Lewiston-Porter Elementary School, experimented with “elephant toothpaste”, a foamy mixture of dry yeast, water, liquid dish soap and hydrogen peroxide. They used varying amounts of yeast to see what would happen and found that the more yeast they used, the more the substance bubbled.

Willie Mills, a fifth grader at Harry F. Abate School who also experimented with elephant toothpaste, said he “liked the fact that we were acting like scientists” during camp.

Other students studied what happens when they combine Mentos candy and carbonated soda, or how sunscreen affects the way UV beads absorb sunlight.

The second of the two camps, held August 23-26, allowed students from kindergarten through second grade to explore topics such as programming / robotics, scientific research, and engineering through fun activities that incorporate children’s literature. Campers built bridges that would help the gingerbread man escape the fox after reading this story and testing hypotheses for various experiments inspired by the story of “Pete the Cat”. Using the setting, characters, and key events of a modified version of the Three Little Pigs story, students learned how to code and move a robot, and performed experiments on moving cars on ramps.

“We are very excited to be able to offer personal STEM camps again here at Niagara University,” said Ronni McGrath, camp director. “Several parents spoke to us about how much their children loved the experience and stated that they wanted to become scientists or science teachers. That is really the purpose of these camps – to help children develop an interest or possibly even a passion for science / STEM. “

The National Grid sponsored camps also provided an opportunity for area class teachers to improve their STEM knowledge and teacher candidates in the NU College of Education to earn hours for their state certification.

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