Camp Cranium offers hands-on summer learning program

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By Bryan Marshall

A new hands-on educational camp will combine Angry Birds, self-defense, anatomy and more this summer at Williamstown Elementary.
Camp Cranium, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. June 17- June 21, will allow students to problem solve, collaborate and create.
The camp is for incoming first through sixth graders at Williamstown Elementary for the 2013-14 school year.
The cost is $135 per person, which covers all expenses, lunch, snack and a T-shirt. Breakfast is not provided.
Camp Cranium replaces Camp Invention, which was held the past two years at WES.
Williamstown gifted and talented teacher Sonya Linder crafted the curriculum by incorporating science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) principles.
“I don’t even know how this is possible, but it’s going to be even more hands-on this year,” Linder said. “It’s going to require us to have more counselors to work one-on-one with the students.”
In order to keep class sizes down, the camp is trying to limit enrollment to around 60 students.
There will be six different programs throughout the camp.
The programs include:
• Angry Bird Math and Science: Using the popular Angry Birds game, students will delve into the concepts of energy, force, acceleration, speed, angles and distance.
“This is the one they are really excited about,” Linder said. “They’re going to be building their own wooden catapults and making little Angry Birds. We’re going to be talking about launching angles and doing experiments with that.”
• What Makes This Machine Of Ours Work?: Anatomy and the functions of the human body will be discussed in a way children can appreciate.
“They’re going to be doing disgusting, hands-on experiments like the digestive system,” Linder said. “They’ll have Sprite in a zip lock bag and they’ll put bread down the tube and it’s going to become fizzy mush. We cover every system. We’re going to talk about snot and the benefits of it. The kids are going love it.”
• Indulgology- Students will study nutrition while learning to make healthy snacks.
“We’re even going to teach during snack time this year,” Linder said. “They’re going to be making their own snacks and getting their own little recipe book idea for fun snacks they’ve never thought of making before. Most of them will be things they can make for themselves.”
• Money Management for Kids- The campers will learn about earning money and how to save it, along with getting a take-home chore chart that can be used by families as a reward system.
• Fabrication- How to epicycle products instead of throwing them away.
 “We’re taking products that people typically throw out and don’t use,” Linder said. “The kids are taking silk ties and take apart and do dye transfers onto silk scarves. They’re actually gorgeous. We’re going to take old thrift shop dishes and use clear sealant and stack them to make garden décor. It’s just reusing junk and making beautiful things.”
• Childrens’ Self Defense- A certified instructor will teach how to overcome the fear and excitement of confrontation and how to prevent being a victim of bullying or an attempted abduction.
Camp Cranium will help provide extra enrichment time for students and keep their minds going during the summer, said Linder.
“It’s also a good opportunity for them to experience the school environment in a way that’s maybe different than the typical school year because it is such a hands-on learning experience,” she said. “They aren’t coming in and doing books and worksheets, but they are learning in really fun ways.”
Forms were sent home with WES students, but they are also available in the Williamstown Elementary office.
Community members are asked to donate money to help students who may not have the financial means to attend the camp.
Last year, 17 students were able to attend Camp Invention on scholarship.
Registration must be turned in at the Williamstown Elementary office by 3 p.m. June 6.
For more information or to sponsor a camp scholarship, call Williamstown Elementary at 824-3760.