Each June, the San Joaquin County Historical Museum holds an educational and recreational program, called Museum Youth Camp (MY CAMP), for studentscampersfrom ages six through ten.
Organized, planned, prepared, and directed by Museum Educational Director, the stunning, amazing, and multi-talented Robin Wood, the camp provides learning activities, challenges, and opportunities for the students. It also offers a whole lot of fun.
On some days during math and science week, museum docents volunteer to present specific lessons or activities. This year, Pat Neu and Barbara Nash explored various math ideas and experiences; Kathy Grant presented a very informative lesson about honeybees; and I offered concepts regarding the building of structures.
After examining pictures of famous tall structures such as the Great Pyramid, the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, a Gothic cathedral, and the Petronius Towers, each camper built an individual structure with straws and tape. Incredibly, only one boy built guns and other weapons.
The campers then formed teams, each of which tried to build the highest and most stable structure it could from newspaper and masking tape. All groups starting rolling the paper for added strength and constructing a base.
One group built a double connected tower; another put together a series of pyramids that faced different directions; a third constructed a series of alternating cubes and pyramids with some bracing; and the final group made a series of braced cubes topped by a pyramid.
The unique approach the final group used was to wrap the entire structure with single sheets of paper, which added extra strength and stability. That group's building was the highest by about four inches.
Three college-aged assistants helped out. Even the perky and peppy Ms Wood joined in.
I had thought the kids would become bored with the project after a while, but they worked happily and diligently until "cleanup" time, trying to squeeze a few more inches onto the top with antennae and flagpoles (which did not actually count toward total height).
A fun learning time was had by all.