Kindergarten through middle-school children from homeless families in Long Beach will have the opportunity to learn about science for the next two weeks during the sixth annual summer science education camp hosted by the California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) Science Education Department.
Called “See Us Succeed” (Science Education Experience to help Underserved Students Succeed), this year’s event takes place July 22 through Aug. 2 at Long Beach’s Mary McLeod Bethune Transitional Center at the Villages at Cabrillo, a community facility serving homeless populations. After the camp, afternoon activities are offered by the Long Beach Community Action Partnership.
This year’s major funder is the Earl and Loraine Miller Foundation, which has been among the program’s past supporters, said CSULB Science Education Department Chair Laura Henriques.
The children, who are recommended for the program by Long Beach Unified School District teachers and counselors, are taught grade-appropriate science topics by teams, which are led by a credentialed science teacher and CSULB students who are earning science teacher credentials.
“We’ll have kids in kindergarten do ‘Science of the Human Body,’” Henriques explained. “First- and second-graders will do ‘Amazing Animals’ and ‘Creepy Crawlers,’ which includes studying insects and how animals move and use camouflage. The third- and fourth-graders will do ‘It’s Not Magic, It’s Science,’ which has been a fun topic. There will be an engineering class for the fifth- and sixth-graders, and the middle school kids will do ‘Crime Scene Investigation.’”
Additionally, children will receive free dental screenings provided by the Smile Bright Foundation, which took part in prior camps. New partners this year are the Lion’s Club along with St. Mary Medical Center’s Low Vision Center, which will provide the children with free vision screenings and eyeglasses if needed, Henriques said.
Having an all-day program is essential, according to Henriques , since homeless families must vacate shelters during the day. Taking care of the children through the camp also provides time for parents to seek employment or other social services.
In addition to this program, the CSULB Science Education Department will host its annual Young Scientists’ Camp, a paid summer science camp for any child in second through eighth grade, plus high school girls in any grade. The high school girls’ portion is partially funded by the American Physical Society in an effort to get more young women interested in studying physics or physical sciences, Henriques said. Previous high school physics coursework is not required.
Young Scientists’ Camp takes place from 8:30 a.m. to noon Mondays through Fridays from Aug. 5-16 on the CSULB campus. Fees are $300 per student with a $25 discount for siblings. For more information, visit the Young Scientists’ Camp website.