Unique Educational Opportunities
“AstroCamp provides a uniquely rich and memorable experience for all students who are fortunate enough to attend! I have shared in the privilege of bringing my fourth grade class to Astrocamp for the last ten years. The opportunities that await them in the beautiful mountains of Idyllwild are astounding. During space night, students are able to stare at the brilliant mountain sky through high tech telescopes under the guidance of knowledgeable and patient staff. This year my students were overwhelmed by the beauty of Saturn and the fascinating craters on the moon!
The leaders that have guided my students have consistently been considerate, positive role models and enthusiastic teachers. They have been a wellspring of knowledge in their field of scientific studies! The activities that the camp offers cannot be replicated in my classroom or in our science lab. My students train as astronauts in the microgravity class, building satellites in the pool while wearing wet suits and snorkeling gear; design and launch rockets after being taught the basic physics involved; participate in a multitude of hands- on experiments; and grow in confidence as they rock climb and zip line.
As an added bonus to the outstanding academic support that is provided for our curriculum, Astrocamp facilities are well-maintained and the food served is fresh and delicious. Particular student needs, such as vegetarian or gluten free diets, are well accommodated. As a teacher, I have developed great confidence in the Astrocamp staffand programs, and I am amazed each year by the memories that my students and I takehome!”
Lead Teacher for Peninsula Heritage School (Rolling Hills Estates, CA)
The wife-husband team of Renate and Geoffrey Caine are renowned researchers and expositors of childhood learning. They explain within the many books they have written the factors that go into optimal educational methods. A particularly critical component is what they call an Orchestrated Immersion in Complex Experience.
An Orchestrated Immersion in Complex Experience is what we do best at Astrocamp. In short, the point of the experience is to immerse the student completely in the experience, thoroughly commanding his or her attention and focus. As the experience is a novel one, the student is naturally compelled to ask questions and to seek answers to those questions.
The student’s sense of wonder, curiosity, and amazement is engaged to encourage the student to journey forth in making sense of our exploding balloons, glowing luminescent walls, and strange electromagnetic phenomena.
California has adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for the future of science education in its schools and is in the process of implementing these standards.
These standards are significantly different from the state’s previous science standards but not so much from what we already do at Astrocamp. The basis of our program is hands-on experiential learning further characterized by collaboration. Students learn by experiencing physical phenomena and by doing investigations by themselves or in teams. Thus, our camp is equipped with 45 binoculars, 9 manual telescopes, 9 computerized telescopes, over a dozen microscopes, and other multiple instruments.
Even so, we had a task force of 12 of our instructors spend months during this year evaluating 5 of our classes and devising improvements that incorporate many key features of NGSS. Next year, we will continue this project by extending improvements to others of our classes.