Earlier this month, students from Traner Middle School and Silver Stage Middle School spent a week at the University learning about amphibians, bees, microbes and more as part of the Daugherty Summer Science program Exploration. The five-morning summer camp brought students to campus to learn more about science and what the University has to offer.
“Daugherty is really passionate about involving kids in science who otherwise couldn’t,” said Megan Beckam. Beckam is a master teacher for NevadaTeach and organized the camp, reaching out to college faculty and teachers, hiring two NevadaTeach interns to help lead the kids during camp, and arranging campus tours.
“It’s free for the students, and we give a stipend to the teachers who recruit the students, do the paperwork, and sometimes bring the students here,” Beckam said. “NevadaTeach interns also receive a stipend, and faculty at the university all do so out of the goodness of their hearts.”
The free program targets teachers in Title I and rural schools and asks those teachers to identify students who are interested in science but may not have access to more learning opportunities. scientific learning.
“This year we reached out to Silver Stage Middle School in Fernley as many of these students have not had the opportunity to access the UNR campus and see what the university does and what it does. has to offer,” Beckam said.
The program and tours, including a visit to the STEM Great Basin Hall dormitory, helped students visualize what life at the University would be like.
“As the students walked out of Great Basin, they were talking about who they wanted their roommates to be when they arrived on campus,” Beckam said.
The themes of the program alternate each year between life sciences and physical sciences. This year’s program included lessons on amphibians and the pathogens that affect them, the Natural History Museum and species identification, wildlife crossing bridges and citizen science apps like iNaturalist, pollinators and microbes and the design of experiments. The students also visited the Joe Crowley Student Union and the EL Wiegand Fitness Center. The program ended with a barbecue for all involved and the parents.
A student from Fernley named Jasmin, who looked for bees on flowers as part of her activities, said her favorite part of the program was learning about bees.
“It’s nice to have more information that I haven’t learned yet, like how there are different sizes of bees.” Jasmine looked for bees on a plant with purple flowers. “They haven’t flowered yet, so no bees are coming near them, but lots of ants are heading there. This plant has lots of bees. It has small flowers with orange pollen inside,” said Jasmine.
The program has been running for over a decade. When NevadaTeach started at the University, student interns were brought into the program, allowing it to accommodate more students. NevadaTeach interns gain experience by helping plan lessons and teach students.
“My favorite part is seeing the kids get excited about science and UNR,” Beckam said. “It helps us connect with local and rural communities. It’s only a week old, but it’s really impactful.