Summer Seminars offer students wide range of learning opportunities

Thanks to generous funding from Polk County Community Foundation, Polk County Schools once again offered AIG Summer Seminars for students during July and early August.

Polk County Schools instructors Susie Walker, Linley Foster, Elisa Flynn, Stephanie Luedi and Chris McGee facilitated these incredible, week-long enrichment opportunities for students.

Rock On: Students were immersed in the world of rocks in the Rock On AIG Summer Seminar. Students explored the rock cycle through multiple hands-on activities and learned about the different ways rocks are created and re-formed. Students learned how to sort rocks and label rocks and what characteristics are used to identify rocks.

Students were able to grow their own crystals and collect new rocks and geodes. Students ended the week with a field trip to Broad River Gem Mine where they mined their own rocks and used what they had learned during the week to identify their findings.

Robotics and Engineering: Students explored remote-operated robots using a drone, a Sphero, and a Dash robot. They also engineered multiple attachments for the robots to achieve set tasks and compete in given missions. Students worked through the engineering design process, including creating, testing, and improving their own builds. Students also worked with Ozobot robots, which can operate using colored patterns as code. Students raced to decipher and use these codes with the Ozobot robots.

Polk County High School teacher Leslie Rhinehart and her son, Sam Rhinehart, a PCHS graduate studying mechatronics at UNC Asheville, visited the students to discuss robotics, engineering and classes offered throughout middle and high school to set them up for success in robotics and engineering hobbies and careers.

Learn. Explore. Create: Students created stop motion videos and incorporated the use of a green screen to add to their productions.

Booklovers BOB (Battle of the Books): Elementary and middle school book lovers spent the week reading and preparing for the 2018-19 Battle of the Books competitions. They created videos of book talks, scenes from favorite books and book trailers. These students enjoyed spending time reading and discussing good books.

The picture above is a scene from a video created based on the novel, Out of My Mind, by Sharon M. Draper.

Water Stewardship: Students learned about local water sources, pollution levels and stewardship of this vital natural resource. They visited local ponds and streams to learn about the delicate ecosystems and the difficult challenge of keeping our waterways clean. A trip to the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education was enjoyed by all!