Young brains buzz at science camp

CALLY MARTIN
Last updated 13:00 10/01/2014

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Some of Nelson's youngest inquiring minds and science enthusiasts are spending this week in the science lab, but the teachers are not who you would expect.

Run by a group called Ministry of Inspiration, talented Garin and Waimea College students have been teaching kids from all over the region in a week-long science or computer camp.

The Ministry of Inspiration formed from the Gifted and Talented Education programme, which set up groups around New Zealand aimed at teaching exceptionally bright kids.

It is run by three volunteer teachers from Garin and Nayland College, and the classes are held in spaces lent by Garin and NMIT.

This week's activities are largely taught by student leaders, with three 14-year-old Garin students Molly Inman, Finlay Langlean and Julia Froeling teaching science.

Molly Inman said most of the activities were hands-on, so they helped with team building and practical thinking.

"A lot of our activities have been building things like egg drops and water bottle rockets, so they have to work in a team," said Molly.

Having student teachers helped create leadership skills, which was something founding Ministry of Inspiration teacher Amy Cornelisen said was important. Mrs Cornelisen, who teaches maths at Garin College, said the camps offered a style of teaching where children were actively learning.

"Their brains are exhausted - there's no sitting, there's more doing," Mrs Cornelisen said as she described the practical experiments and exercises.

Fellow Garin teacher Jay Inman said the different learning environment set it apart from the usual teaching in schools.

"We do a lot of hands-on experiments. It's a bit less formal and it's more relaxed."

The camps, which have 38 kids enrolled, teach everything from making dry ice icecream to learning about non-Newtonian matter with slime.

Lara Edmonds, 9, said her favourite part of the camp was getting to know other people who liked science, while Ben Palmer, 9, liked when they made giant gummy bears.

Waimea College 17-year-olds David Vanner and George Harris have been running a computer camp alongside the science one.

David said a big part of what they did was teaching how to problem solve.

As well as attracting naturally academic kids, Mrs Cornelisen said the programme was for anyone who enjoyed science.

"They're just 100 per cent interested in doing whatever stuff we give them," she said.

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- The Nelson Mail

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