Archive for April, 2011

Camps for little kids at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History

April 28, 2011 Leave a comment

The Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Decatur still has a few spaces in its summer camp for rising kindergarteners through 2nd graders.

Kids will learn about ecology, paleontology, entomology and other natural sciences. The camp runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily (after care is available) and costs $350 per week ($300 for members of the museum). One week has already sold out, but spaces remain for June 13-17 and June 20-24.

Categories: Summer programs

Registration now open for DeKalb’s Serendipity summer program

April 27, 2011 4 comments

This information is from 2011. See the 2012 Serendipity information.

DeKalb County has opened registration for the 2011 Serendipity summer program for gifted children. The camp serves children in grades 1-7 who were in their school’s gifted program during the 2010-11 school year. Programming includes science, art and writing courses.

This summer, the program is being held at Midvale Elementary School. Kids in 1st – 3rd grades will attend June 13-17; students in 4th – 7th grades have camp June 20-24. Registration is $100 per student. The deadline to register is May 13.

I still haven’t found any information about the program on the county web site. If your child is eligible to attend, he or she should bring home a brochure from school which describes the program in full detail. If you don’t receive one this week, ask your school’s gifted teacher or principal, or call the county office at (678) 676-0238.

Categories: DeKalb, Summer programs

Journalism summer camp at UGA

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

High-school students who want to gain expertise in mass media are invited to attend a week-long journalism academy at the University of Georgia.

The Georgia Journalism Academy is open to rising 10th – 12th graders and is operated by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, one of the premier journalism schools in the nation (and I’m not saying that just because it’s where I earned my degree).

Students can choose to focus in any of six interest areas, including news writing, feature writing, photojournalism or broadcasting. Classes are taught by Grady College faculty and local media professionals.

The academy is limited to 75 students. If you register by April 29, you can save $50 off the $600 tuition, which includes housing on the UGA campus and most meals.

Categories: Summer programs

Aviation camp at Fernbank teaches kids the science of flight

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

The Fernbank Science Center in Decatur invites rising 4th – 6th graders to learn about the math, science and technology of flight in its Aviation Camp.

The week-long day camp will include lots of hands-on activities. Two sessions are available: June 13-17 and June 20-24.

Each week costs $260. Fernbank must receive registration and payment by May 2, 2011.

Categories: Summer programs

Debate camp at UGA for high-school students

April 26, 2011 Leave a comment

The Georgia Debate Union is hosting a two-week, residential debate camp at the University of Georgia this summer. The Georgia Debate Institute is open to new and experienced debaters who are entering 9th – 12th grades. The online information promises a faculty-to-student ratio of 5-to-1 or better.

The camp will be held June 5-18, 2011. Tuition of $1,600 includes housing in a UGA dormitory and all meals.

Categories: Summer programs

April 29 will be Gifted Education Day in Georgia

April 21, 2011 Leave a comment

I had posted previously that April 29, 2011 would be a legislative advocacy day coordinated by the Georgia Association for Gifted Children (GAGC). Looks like I got it wrong. Advocates for gifted education will not be converging on the capitol that day.

What is going to happen is that Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to sign a proclamation next week which will designate April 29, 2011 as Gifted Education Day in Georgia. While GAGC is not planning any activities for that day, they encourage grassroots recognition of the day.

So, it’s a good day to show your appreciation for gifted teachers, or to conduct awareness and advocacy activities with your legislator or school board member. GAGC has posted other suggested activities on its web site, although most of them look more appropriate for teachers than parents. (Click on the plus sign when you arrive at the linked page to see the information.)

Categories: Advocacy and policy

Be part of a huge scientific investigation … just by watching fireflies!

April 20, 2011 Leave a comment

This time every spring, we see the return of one of the most magical creatures of the night: fireflies.

Just by watching once a week for these bioluminescent bugs, your child could be part of a large-scale scientific investigation called Firefly Watch. Launched in 2008, Firefly Watch is a joint venture among scientists at Tufts University, Fitchburg State College and the Museum of Science in Boston. These scientists are looking for data that may reveal how firefly populations are changing and how they may be affected by factors including pesticides and artificial lighting.

You can sign up to watch for fireflies in your yard, then log your observations online. The minimum time commitment is 10 minutes one evening per week through the summer — but motivated observers could do as much as they wish. Those who really want to dig deep can also view data being collected by other observers throughout North America.

Categories: Enrichment

Advance information about Atlanta Public Schools’ Xanadu summer program

April 13, 2011 Leave a comment

NOTE: This is information from 2011. For 2012 information, see the Xanadu / Summer Academy 2012 post on this blog.

* * * *

Atlanta Public Schools has released basic information about Xanadu, its annual summer program for gifted and high-achieving elementary school students.

The 2011 program will be built on the theme, “Adventures in Antarctica.” It will run from June 5 to July 1 and will be held at Parkside Elementary School. Cost for APS students is $250. The camp is open to students from outside APS, but the cost is double.

A simple flyer is posted on the APS web site now, but you can’t apply yet. The Office of Gifted and Talented Education promises to post the application by May 5.

Review: My weekend at Space Camp

April 11, 2011 Leave a comment

My son and I went to Parent / Child Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., this weekend, and I thought I’d share a bit about the experience for those who might be considering it.

The program was 48 hours long, from Friday at noon until Sunday at noon, but it was so jam packed with activities, it felt more like a week. They really keep you busy and the days are long — 6:30 or 7 a.m. wake-up and then activities straight through until 9 or 9:30 p.m.

Having done it, I’d say Space Camp is more an adventure camp than a science / educational program. “Trainees” get to use a number of simulators that are like those used to train astronauts for missions, and they get to conduct a simulated space shuttle mission, with each child and parent playing a role on the team either in mission control or on a spacecraft. It’s exciting, but I can’t say we learned a whole lot. Yes, the staff ran through some brief information about the history of space exploration, but there was not a word about the science of it.

[Plenty of scientific information can be found in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center on the campus, so you could explore that on your own, but it would have to be before or after the camp, because you may not have more than 20 minutes to yourself during the weekend program. My point is, if your child is fascinated with the engineering side of space travel, you have to ask yourself whether it’s worth the $399 per person for the camp or whether you’d be better off just visiting the museum for a day or two.]

Parent / Child Space Camp accepts kids ages 7-11, but my personal take is that it’s probably better for the 9-11 crowd than for 7- and 8-year-olds. The nature of the activities and the length of the days seems a bit much for kids still in the primary grades, although I’ll admit that the 7-year-olds who attended with us (my son included) seemed very happy and showed no signs of fatigue, so maybe my concern about the long days and late bedtimes is misplaced.

If you have an anxious child or a child too young for regular Space Camp, where the minimum age is 9, the family camp is a way to give them the experience in an atmosphere where they have you with them to make them feel more secure. To make the most of the program, though, the parent or adult who is participating should be more than a chaperon. If they’re adventurous enough to try the activities, too, you’ll get more out of the weekend.

The staff was friendly, although not always as knowledgeable as I would have liked. In those rare cases where they were talking about the history of the program, it seemed there were some kids in our group who knew as much as or more than the staff members. I also ran into some issues during the camp where things did not run as smoothly as I would have expected, given their 30 years of experience running camps. That was disappointing.

If you are thinking about going, you should know that you’ll be staying in a “habitat,” which is a large building designed to look like a space station. The living quarters are quite spartan — bunks with thin mattresses, community bathrooms, doors that close but don’t lock, no windows in the bunk rooms. You also may be assigned roommates from your camp group. The whole experience brings to mind a military boot camp, minus any harsh drill instructors, of course. If that is a deal breaker for you, you can book a room at the Marriott hotel on the property and still take part in the camp. It’ll just add to your cost.

Final analysis: Good fun, great for the astronaut wanna-be, not so educational.

Solar astronomy workshop at Tellus Museum

April 8, 2011 1 comment

Mom always said, “Don’t look at the sun!” Good advice, unless you’re at a solar astronomy workshop at the Tellus Museum in Cartersville.

On Saturday, April 23, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., kids 8 and up can observe the sun using solar telescopes. The workshop also includes a lecture by a Tellus scientist.

The program costs $25 for non-members, and all children must be accompanied by an adult, who also has to pay for admission to the museum.

I’m not sure why this workshop isn’t listed on the Tellus web site as of this posting, but I called to verify it’s happening. To register, call the museum at (770) 606-5700.

Categories: Enrichment