Return to Headlines

8-28-18 — Science Camp Compounds Benefits of School, Business Partnership

Aug. 28, 2018 ~ A four-day summer engineering camp at Ridgeview Elementary School is the latest way Museum at Prairiefire has partnered with the school since fall 2016. The camp kicks off the third year for joint projects ranging from field trips to professional development events.

The partnership was made possible by KC Urban Advantage, an outreach program of the museum that currently involves eight partner schools, two of which are in Olathe.

“Our mission is to support students, schools, and families with outstanding STEAM learning opportunities in support of STEM achievement,” said Kathryn McKinney, director of education at Museum at Prairiefire.

“We have been very lucky to have been selected for this program (through KCUA),” said Ridgeview Principal Kim Thorup. “It does take time on our part to make the partnership work. Each year I sit down with Kathryn and we talk about what went well the year before and our goals for the upcoming year. Every time we meet, we get very excited about new things to try and ways to make the partnership even better!”

This summer’s four-day engineering camp at Ridgeview involved a dozen third- through fifth-graders who were specifically invited to participate.

“We tried to think of enthusiastic students who we felt had a love of school and science. We also had to find students who could commit to the entire week,” Thorup added.

Curriculum for the camp was developed by the Museum of Science, Boston, in collaboration with NASA, Northern Arizona University, and the U.S. Geological Survey. Museum at Prairiefire is the only site in Kansas or Missouri chosen to pilot this unit

“When this opportunity came our way, we knew right away that we wanted to make it available to our KCUA students,” McKinney said.

Students learned about the design process for making space gloves, which included withstanding extremely cold temperatures and protecting astronauts from injury. On the fourth day of the camp, parents were invited to see the students’ designs.

“The students absolutely loved it. They arrived early each day and were kept busy until they left,” principal Thorup said. “They loved presenting to parents and our summer school students.”

Next up, the partnership between Ridgeview and the museum will put fossils in the students’ hands during Sneak-A-Peek night on Aug. 13, and continue to provide grade-level field trips to the museum.

“We have done professional development twice for our staff at the museum. This creates a great change in venue that the staff seems to enjoy,” Thorup said.