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Colorado Jr Scientists League

University of Colorado, STOMP Program


A Brief Overview


The Colorado Jr. Scientist League was a four day long science camp implemented through the collaboration of the "I Have a Dream" Foundation, JILA and PER@CU. The scientific content emphasis was on developing a microscopic picture of different phases of matter. Additionally, a large emphasis was placed on building skills that scientists use: experimenting, recording, measuring, collaborating, communicating, presenting, ect. We also utilized new and innovative educational tools (Computer simulations and Stop Action Movie Making Software) to engage students in a diverse set of sense-making activities. In way, we were hoping to bring science to populations historically underrepresented in science in potentially engaging ways. Another primary goal of this camp was to empower prospective science teachers by providing them guidance and support in leading scientific activities in authentic educational environments.

Our camp was designed and run by a crackerjack team of students (undergrad to postdoc) which ran from July 11th through 14th (Tues - Thurs; 12:30 - 3:30pm; Friday 10 - 3pm). The camp reached approximately 35 students who had graduated from 6th or 7th grade and were part of the I Have a Dream Foundation (90% of the students are 2nd language learners, and all are on free/reduced lunch). For further details concerning the success of this camp please see Salient Results below.



This website includes:

Educational Activities and Resources: The educational activities that we created and the resources we used

People and Sponsors: The people and organizations that made the camp possible

Evaluation and Analysis: Our evaluation and analysis of the students' conceptual understanding from pre and post assessments and how their view of the nature of science shifted

Picture Gallery: Pictures taken during the camp as well as movies made by the students

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Salient Results

● These students are capable of engaging for long periods of time (3 hrs) on science projects in enthusiastic ways

● The students made tremendous progress (which has been documented) on developing a particulate model of matter, the phases of matter and the causes of phase transitions.  (These are notoriously difficult ideas)

● We suspect the students developed a more robust understanding of science, what it means to do science and whether they are interested in future work as a scientist (this too has been documented).

● The students spent the bulk of the 3rd day (2.5+ hrs) working on SAM videos to make movies about matter, states of matter, and phase transitions of matter.  The students were remarkably eager -- this was one of their favorite activities of camp (another being playing with the PhET simulations).

● The videos themselves were reported to be most impressive, where students made LONG videos of several minutes after planning/pitching, story boarding, designing, and implementing their videos.  The ideas were quite sophisticated and varied from drawn animation, to student actors playing molecules or states of matter.

● Unfortunately 6 of the 8 videos neither saved nor exported to quicktime due to a bug in this version of SAM Lite (no doubt a platform issue, but we only have PC laptops in abundance).  We were able to rescue the other two movies.

● Impressively, the students were pretty accepting of the computer failures and focussed on the excitement of making and producing their own movies -- which they got to watch at least.

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Certificate of Achievement

At the end of the camp, students received a certificate in recognition of their successful completion of the camp and becoming members of the Colorado Jr. Scientist League!




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2006 CU@Boulder PER@C For information contact C.Turpen or N. Finkelstein