Science-U: Innovation At Work

Main Content

At Science-U we are constantly looking for ways to improve both our camper and staff experience. Each year we revisit ways we can enhance both the curriculum and the delivery of the science to create unforgettable learning experiences for children. What's the secret to successfully doing this? - The staff! At Innovation At Work you will learn the secrets to bringing science ideas and dreams to life.

A Science Camp Staff's Role: Over-Managing the Details

The summer science camps have evolved over the last 15 years at Penn State in many ways. They are each very individual curricula, and the directors and staff are encouraged to diverge from the traditional chalk and talk science or math class and infuse creativity, innovation and lots of room for staff-to-camper engagement.

"People can feel creativity, especially kids" say Michael Zeman, Director of Outreach and Science Engagement. Just like Walt Disney once said "People can feel perfection," quality is in the imperceptible things that campers might not even know they are part of. Whether it means adding extra materials to make an experiment closer to 'the real thing' or acting the part of a crazed toy scientist to understand why we try different experiments, devotion to creativity lets campers (and their parents) know they are worth the effort.

Here are some components to consider when over-managing the details of a science camp:

  • Inclusion2013 Science-U Staff
  • Writing skills
  • Praise
  • Specific feedback
  • Open-ended questions
  • Signage
  • Music
  • Smell
  • Touch/tactile experiences
  • Taste
  • Camper-led activities
  • Follow-up

Building Critical Thinkers with 'Mentovation'

Science-U continues to seek new ideas that will contribute to even greater success. At Innovation At Work, program administrators, veteran staff, and faculty share methods that can be employed immediately, and with little or no cost, to maximize the rich resources every organization already has - the people! Penn State understands that engaging and encouraging the imaginative power of employees creates a lasting competitive advantage and maximizes an organization's potential. Find your 'Mentovation' at the staff Science-U Leadership Academy in June.

The Benefits of Attending Innovation At Work

Founded upon the principles of creativity and innovation exemplified by the academic faculty in the College of Science, Science-U continues to foster and organize the creative energy of its employees with great success. At the Science-U training - Innovation At Work - you will learn techniques to engage campers and learn how to unearth fresh strategies that empower children to think deeply and solve real world problems. You will also engage in activities that build effective communication skills, science advocacy, teamwork, and leadership.

Learning Objectives

Day 1 (9-4 pm)

Creating Remarkable Explorers, Science Education, Best Practices

  • Discover ways to engage and excite kids about science topics
  • Develop inquiry-based activities and approaches that strengthen critical thinking skills and prompt kids to ask “Why?” or say “Do it again!”
  • Gain a better understanding of the real science behind the fun activities
  • Learn to use real world applications, current events, and story lines to promote science awareness and make connections
  • Learn how to encourage campers to keep a science notebook (promote literacy)
  • Unravel the mysteries of how great teachers don’t give the answers, but rather facilitate the learning, allowing campers to ‘own’ the experiences and wonders of science
  • Lab tours and facility visits
  • Hands-on science activities
  • Faculty guest appearances

Day 2 (9-1 pm)

  • Team Building, Leadership and All-Staff Picnic