Steering students toward science: Ahwatukee SJBCS hosts hands-on kids camp - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

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Steering students toward science: Ahwatukee SJBCS hosts hands-on kids camp

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Posted: Monday, June 30, 2014 5:45 am

St. John Bosco Catholic School (SJBCS) recently hosted its Discover Science 4 Kids camp, which offered students an informal way to enjoy science.

Students participated in several science experiments throughout the week ranging from dissecting a squid to making their own household cleaning products. During the latter activity, students researched how different disinfectants work and created their own using lemon juice, baking soda, vinegar, corn starch and salt.

After students made their cleaning product, they made their own logo for it and formulated a business strategy on how to sell it.

The activities conducted throughout Discover Science 4 Kids are typically not seen in a normal classroom setting, said Sherri Smith-Dodgson, director of Discover Science 4 Kids.

“It’s an opportunity to give them a chance to do science or science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) without testing,” she said. “It’s fun, it’s hands-on and they get to do a lot of group collaborations.”

Students participate in various group projects in order to formulate new ideas about how to complete a project and assist them with working well with others.

“I want it to be fun and engaging because research shows that informal science education actually gets kids interested in career choices in science,” Smith-Dodgson said. “It’s not necessarily what they’re doing in the classroom, but what they are doing outside of the classroom, which is engaging kids for a STEM career.”

Smith-Dodgson has taught for more than 20 years and said many of the projects were things she wished she had done as a student.

“I hated science, so what I try to do is make it relevant for learning,” she said. “I want them to be able to put it into to something that is involved in their real life. They really get to learn how to collaborate with others and partner up with others.”

Nikkalena Caforio has volunteered for Discover Science 4 Kids for the past four years and said she enjoyed how the camp kept students engaged.

“It’s really hands-on for the kids and all the experiments are stuff that I didn’t learn in school, so it’s really interesting,” Caforio said. “It’s nice to see the kids actually being interested in the things they do, and it’s cool to see them work and learn together. When I’m here, I can actually see them absorbing all the information.”

Aidan Walker, a sixth-grader at SJBCS, participated in the Discover Science 4 Kids last year, and said he enjoyed the various projects.

“I really liked that we could create a product and we could sell it to people,” he said. “I really liked how we were able to create a business.”

For more information about the other summer camps SJBCS offers, visit

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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