Science: Knowledge is Power! At Al-Bustan’s Camp

“I try to encourage and expand on the camper’s natural curiosity,” says Hope Willoe, science teacher here at Al-Bustan camp, “That’s my science philosophy.” Hope began by teaching the youngest campers about habitat. She had them compare Egypt and Philadelphia’s habitats. They thought about the various climates and animals in those habitats. She then discussed adaptation of animals, encouraging them to think about what different animals need to survive. The youngest campers thoroughly enjoyed the corresponding project, which was creating their own imaginary animal and discussing their strengthens and weaknesses. Their investigation into animals extended into the second week where they learned about classification of species. Campers had an opportunity to think like an animal, regarding what they eat, where they live, etc.
Campers constructing a dam in the Wissahichon Creek.

Additionally, throughout the week, Hope and the campers went on nature walks where they had the opportunity to construct a dam in a nearby creek. Campers were able to witness how water and humans affect the land and vice versa. Also, campers examined rocks and minerals, specifically the ones that are found in Egypt or were used for the pyramids. They learned about the significance of gold in ancient Egypt culture, and made their own clay amulets. 

The older campers initially focused on water, connecting the Wissahickon Creek to the Nile River. They began working with a land and water kit, learning to simulate water cycles, streams, and dams. Today, their final day of science, campers will focus on the pyramids and their engineering.  They will also compete in a marshmallow challenge where they must build a structure with marshmallows and dry spaghetti only!

Hope did a fantastic job in capturing the campers attention while also teaching them something new. “Science is so fun!” says Noura, a new camper, when I asked her what is her favorite part of the camp. She continues, “I can’t wait to see what we will do today!”

Campers on their nature walk.

Zeanah Rumman-Obeid – Drexel student, intern at Al-Bustan

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