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Raleigh Camp Encourages Students To Embrace Science

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RALEIGH — Lots of kids go to summer camps, but middle schoolers at a camp in Raleigh are getting a jump start in math and science at North Carolina State's Science House project.

Fireworks and fun marked the 10th anniversary of N.C. State's Science House. Outreach programs and this camp reached 20,000 students this year. Some middle school students worked with Power Point in Algebra camp.

"I think I've learned more about math and stuff like that, and I enjoyed using Power Point," said DeRon Finney, a student at East Wake Middle School.

Could campers learn about the physics of a tennis racquet? Certainly.

The students measured how far the first bounce of a tennis ball off of a racquet went to find the center of percussion, and then measured the next five bounces to find the average.

The idea behind Science House is to help teachers and students learn better by using unique teaching methods. For instance, instructors use a bowling ball display, with two bowling balls in an aquarium. One floats, one does not. The one that floats is lighter than the one that does not, and weighs less than the weight of the water it displaces.

The idea is to capture the attention of students and challenge them.

"It's not something you can just put on a chalkboard and count on their interest flourishing; you have to get them doing it," said Liz Woolard, a teacher from Enloe High School.

Some students also tested Frisbees to see which designs flew best.

Most Science House campers use computers to keep records, make computations and graph performance.

Nearly 200 students attend the academy each year on the N.C. State campus.


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