Pipeline Summer Camp Programs

Math-Science Computer Camp Activities

This program emphasizes the study and exploration of science, mathematics and computer technology from a discovery perspective. 

Science Curriculum

Students engage in problem-solving and research-oriented activities designed to improve their knowledge of science, the environment and culture. There is a major focus on the biological and environmental sciences with many activities taking place on farms and other outdoor, natural environments. 

Our science curriculum is based on hands-on, experimental, cooperative-learning strategies, with an emphasis on students discovery and exploring natural phenomena. Therefore, most of the scientific activities and research will occur on the Peck's Farm, owned by Dr. John H. Peck, retired SCSU biology professor and longtime wildlife rehabilitator, Linda Peck. Activities will be largely coordinated by their son, Dr. John E. Peck, who is a professor of Environmental Studies at Madison College, along with other relatives and friends of the Peck family. The Peck Farm is a very natural and rustic place, adjacent to a County Park and the Sauk River, and is home to much wildlife, including some injured animals that are under longterm care and used for educational purposes.

 

Peck's Farm - 3rd-4th graders (Week 1)

Day 1

Introductions and explanation of tick & mosquito biology, as well as how to avoid certain unpleasant wild plants - thistles, stinging nettle, poison ivy.

Farm tour: organic garden, edible wild plants, granary, woodshed, bat houses, compost pile, chickens, barn swallows, resident raptors (owls and/or hawks), Sauk River, burr oak savannah, Bald Eagle Nest.

Earthworm experiment: Each group learns about earthworm biology and the soil ecosystem then does a study comparing earthworm numbers and sizes found in side by side samples of mulched and unmulched garden soil. Experiments every week are designed to emphasize proper scientific methods (developing and testing a hypothesis, measuring and recording results) and provide data for discussion and graphing by computer back at St. Cloud State University.

Day 2

All campers learn about equine anatomy, horse breeds, riding tack and basic horse care, as well as safe riding techniques from Lisa Beumer, an accomplished local equestrian. Every student then has the opportunity to ride a horse (led by an adult) for up to half a mile, practicing commands and experiencing gaits, followed by brushing and feeding of the horses. Students will also have time to swing on a rope in the hayloft, as well as operate a wood splitter and/or saw firewood to learn basic physics concepts (pendulum, wedge, friction, etc.).

Day 3

The Science Olympics: Divided into three teams, students compete to see how much they have learned and how well they can apply scientific skills to practical problems. The various contests include Kim’s Game (detective training relying on powers of silent observation), Animal Restaurant (matching animals with their preferred foods as herbivores, omnivores, or carnivores), math problems based upon feeding orphaned animals and fencing a farm pasture, and – the grand finale – the Scavenger Hunt where they have twenty minutes as a team to find 20 natural objects from around the farm they they have encountered over the course of the week. The top three winning teams all receive ice cream or popsicles as a prize for competing.

Peck's Farm - 5th-6th graders (Week 2)

Day 1

Introductions and explanation of tick & mosquito biology, as well as how to avoid certain unpleasant wild plants – thistles, stinging nettle, poison ivy.

Farm tour: organic garden, edible wild plants, granary, woodshed, bat houses, compost pile, chickens, barn swallows, resident raptors (owls and/or hawks), Sauk River, burr oak savannah, Bald Eagle Nest.

Microhabitat experiment: Each group discusses the difference between habitat and microhabitat, and why temperature makes a difference for the lifestyle of different organisms. The students also learn about various forms of temperature measurement (Kelvin, Fahrenheit, Celcius) and the mathematical conversions between them. Each group then visits various microhabitats on the farm, looking for the hottest and coldest places as well as the temperature gradient between microhabitats that are only a few feet apart, based upon their own hypotheses. The entire group then discusses the results to see if the observations were similar or not.

Day 2

Science Fieldtrips. Students will take a tour of the Rockville Granite Quarry with longtime manager, Tim Gross, to learn about the geology of granite, as well as the engineering behind quarrying. Students will be able to see granite slabs that are billions of years old, as well learn about industrial diamonds, drill bits, heavy loaders, and other equipment used by the industry. Students will then visit Donnay’s goat dairy and cheese plant near Kimball to learn about award winning cheese making, ruminant biology and livestock husbandry, as well as composting and taxidermy. Students will also have a chance to try to milk a goat.

Day 3

The Hunger Game: Students will learn about trophic levels, food webs, and predator/prey relationships prior to playing a tag game game that mimics “survival of the fittest.” Students will be randomly divided among 6-7 adults into teams that are either insects, frogs or snakes and given a game map. The teams will then spread out into the “playing field” that covers most of the Peck farm and part of the adjacent park (quarter mile by half mile in size) and see if they can acquire the necessary water, food, and shelter they need to win before the end of the game. While insects can just “eat” plants, frogs and snakes must pursue and try to tag other teams to get their “food.” Throughout the Hunger Game, teams may also encounter other characters representing diseases, parasites or mutations that may alter their chances of survival. When the game is over, each team explains their strategies, and whether or not they ultimately survived. All Hunger Game participants then get ice cream or popsicles and the opportunity to swing in the hayloft and use a potato cannon.

Peck's Farm - 7th-8th graders (Week 3)

Day 1

Introductions and explanation of the tick & mosquito biology, as well as how to avoid certain unpleasant wild plants - thistles, stinging nettles, poison ivy.

Farm tour: organic garden, edible wild plants, granary, woodshed, bat houses, compost pile, chickens, barn swallows, resident raptors (owls and/or hawks), Sauk River, burr oak savannah, Bald Eagle Nest tour, including planaria in the river.

Aquatic Biodiversity experiment: Students learn about limnology and the biology of some typical freshwater organisms, as well as how to use a taxonomic key and dissecting scopes to identify freshwater invertebrates – planaria, scuds, daphnia, black fly larvae, dragonfly nymphs, snails, etc. In smaller teams, students will then go to the Sauk River to collect three samples (bottom rock, aquatic plant, surface net sweep) and record what species they found in each and the total biodiversity. The entire group will then share results and compare what they found with a pollution chart using indicator species to determine just how clean the Sauk River is based upon the aquatic biodiversity it supports.

 

Day 2

Science Fieldtrips: Students will visit the Molitor Family’s organic grass-based dairy farm near Rockville where they will learn about bovine biology, milking equipment, organic practices, and successful forage and weed management. Plus, they will have the chance to milk a cow and interact with baby calves if they wish. Students will then visit the Walz Family’s organic pasture-based chicken farm also near Rockville where they will learn about raising poultry on grass with mobile coops, the process of butchering, and how pastured livestock is healthier for people and the environment. Students will have a chance to hold baby chicks, feed/water chickens, and see how a centrifugal plucking machine works.

Day 3

The River Walk: After a discussion of resident wildlife, flowing water dynamics and safety guidelines, the entire group will put on swimming suits and life jackets, and with adult leaders take the “plunge” to float/walk the two mile river stretch between the Peck Farm and the Rockville Bridge. Enroute, the students will likely encounter many of the smaller aquatic lifeforms they studied the first day, plus other larger animals such as freshwater sponges and clams, turtles, fish, ducks, herons, eagles, etc. With luck, the students may also note other interesting river features such as beaver lodges, ice scars from the spring melt on tree trunks, large granite boulders, animal tracks on sand bars and mud flats. Students will then be met at the bridge by a tractor with a hay wagon for a ride back to the farm where they can dry off, enjoy an ice cream or popsicle, and then swing in the hayloft or try the potato cannon.

NOTE: It is interesting to observe how these mostly "city kids" evolve during the three days. We sort of dread when they first come out of the bus holding their noses, swatting at perceived hordes of insects, scared of horse manure, dumfounded that we have a privy, scared of ticks lurking in grass, etc. Many of them, after three days, have overcome a lot of these phobias, e.g. they will spontaneously run in tall grass, stop holding their nose when they go into the barn. Some might even pick up a dry horse apple!

Also, I think we do help the campers see that science is not just something done in a lab with white lab coats, test tubes and computers. Science can also happen in a garden, a river, a dairy farm, etc.

Earthworm Study

Instructions for Leaders and Helpers

  1. Your group listens, with the other groups, to an introduction about earthworms and this study.
  2. What is mulch? (Discussed on the initial tour of the garden).
  3. Do you expect more earthworms where there is mulch or where there is no mulch? Why? (earthworms have a moist skin). Make a hypothesis.
  4. Make sure all students participate at some point.
  5. Have two students do unmulched soil first. Dig a hole about the same size and shape as the bucket, filling the bucket up to the rim about one inch below the edge.
  6. Empty the bucket onto the plastic and sort the worms by sizes into cups. Put any interesting other creatures into a glass jar to look at.
  7. Count the worms in each cup and put the info onto your group's data sheet.
  8. Hold up a big worm and ask if it is a boy or girl (trick question – earthworms are both!) Can they find the clitellum (pale band) which indicates it is an adult that can have babies? Which is the mouth end? Can they feel the small bristles-setae?
  9. Return animals and soil to the hole.
  10. Repeat using mulched soil (use soil under the mulch).
  11. Remind students that scientists have to make everything the same except for the thing they are studying, which is called the variable. What is the variable in this study? What things do we keep the same? (amount of soil, how we remove soil from the hole, how carefully we count the worms, time of day, etc)
  12. Discuss the results. Did the hypothesis seem to be true?
  13. All groups, at the end, will read their results to make up the grand data sheet. Did other groups get similar results?

Math Curriculum

Math classes emphasize problem solving, creative thinking and application of math concepts to everyday life. Examples of these approaches are available. Computer applications involve word processing, spreadsheet usage, database creation and management, e-mail, internet access, graphics and digital imaging.

The Great Candy-Color Experiment - 3rd-4th graders

Candy

M&M's
Types: Plain and Peanut

Colors of the Candy

Plain:
Peanut:

Research Questions

  1. Are the same colors represented in the two types of candy? What are the colors of the two types of candy?
  2. Are the colors present in the same proportion in the two types of M & M candy?

Hypothesis

Possible Hypotheses:

  1. M & M plains will have greater color variation
  2. M & M peanuts will have greater color variation
  3. There will be no difference in the colors of the two types of candy. (The Null hypothesis)

Students select their hypothesis before starting the study and record it on their worksheet.

Materials

  1. Two- ounce (oz.) bags of M & M candy, one plain one peanut, for each group of students (see methods section)
  2. Graph paper
  3. Rulers
  4. Crayons
  5. Worksheet

Methods

  1. Students will work in groups of twos (or threes, if an odd number)
  2. Each group will have a bag of plain M & M candy and a bag of peanut M & M candy.
  3. Each group will:
    1. Identify the colors of each type of candy and record them
    2. Count and record the number of pieces of candy by color for each type of candy
    3. Record this information on a worksheet
    4. Graph the frequencies of the different colors

Results

  1. Discuss the graphs and worksheet results
  2. Use the results to test the hypothesis established by the student
  3. Combine all the data of the different groups to determine the class results

The Great Candy-Color Experiment - 5th-8th graders

Objective

The learner will identify and utilize six different problem-solving strategies. 

Activity

Each student is responsible for solving math "word" problems using one or more of the following six strategies.

Strategies

Guess and Check is a strategy by which the learner analyzes the data/information and makes an educated guess as to the answer. After making the guess, the learner calculates to see if the guess was correct.

Draw a Picture incorporates the visual technique of drawing a sketch of the different variables within the problem so that an answer can be seen or identified.

Look for a Pattern is used because mathematics inherently involves patterns, both simple and complex. This strategy is an invaluable tool and requires the learner to analyze numbers to identify a specific repeating pattern so that they can determine a specific number in that pattern. is used because mathematics inherently involves patterns, both simple and complex. This strategy is an invaluable tool and requires the learner to analyze numbers to identify a specific repeating pattern so that they can determine a specific number in that pattern.

Act-it-out is a valuable tool by which an answer is obtained by having students physically manipulate the variables within the problem.

Work Backwards is a method that allows students to start at the end of a problem to work their way to the beginning to find the answer.

Make a Table or Chart is a strategy that requires students to keep track of data in a visual form.

Evaluation

The students demonstrated their problem solving knowledge by sharing the answer orally and visually. They also identified the strategy(dies) by which they arrived at their answer. This information was then placed on a class matrix so that we could see which strategies were most commonly used.

Each student was allowed freedom to choose the strategy(dies) she/he deemed appropriate for solving the problem. Guidance and assistance was offered to those students who inquired.

Other Activities

Participants engage in recreational activities, go on field trips to places of scientific interest, play games and socialize with other students from Minnesota and across the country.