Math and science kids apply skills to camping

Kaleb Castleton, Zach Lee, and Carlos Murillo were building a solar oven Tuesday morning as part of the MESA camping trip at Island Acres.

If the middle school students that camped at Island Acres State Park this week had to rely only on a solar oven to cook breakfast, they’d eat around noon.

That’s what the kids discussed as they constructed solar ovens Tuesday morning, out of cardboard boxes and tin foil. Despite the overcast sky and the chilly temperature, the ovens were going to be used to cook bacon and cinnamon rolls.

A group of tents and a teepee marked the spot where 29 West Middle School students camped as part of the Math Engineering Science Achievement, or MESA, class. Over the next three days, the students will perform a variety of experiments and learn hands-on skills that apply to camping and park management.

The students were required to pack their own gear and food. Throughout the day, they will travel to a variety of locations in the park, conducting water PH tests, listening to park rangers, creating sand art in the teepee, and searching the night sky through telescopes for planets.

“This is a very hands-on class, rather than a lot of research and study,” explained Therese Moran, MESA advisor.

“It’s been really fun so far,” said Zach Lee, 12.

Their only complaint wasn’t the cold, but the lack of fishing time allotted by the program.

“That’s OK, we are doing a lot of fun activities,” said Joshua Foutz, 11.

Moran said she hopes to make the camping trip an annual event.


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