- Southwest Middle School
Summer enrichment makes learning fun for students
Summer enrichment program makes learning fun for students
It’s been a summer for learning in Gaston County Schools. The “Camp Gaston” program is concluding its six-week run after providing a wide variety of academic, enrichment, leadership, and extracurricular activities for students.
Literacy and math programs ranged from “Camp Little Scholars” and “Camp Ignite” for elementary students to various science, math, and reading programs for middle schoolers. Reading programs featured themes such as “A Hero Lies in You” for sixth grade, “Museum of the Fascinating” for seventh grade, and “Finding the Funny” for eighth grade. Math concepts explored by students included ratios and proportional reasoning, expressions and equations, statistics and probability, and geometry.
At the high school level, students were able to choose from college prep, reading and math prep, SAT/ACT test prep, and course preview programs as well as Career and Technical Education (CTE) credentialing. Plus, camp programs were available for various grade levels in the areas of Exceptional Children and AIG (Academically and Intellectually Gifted.)
In the “Sparking Your Knowledge” camp, middle school students got a glimpse into what it is like to work as an electrician.
“Our students started camp on Monday morning not knowing what to expect,” said teacher Brian Mitchell. “By Thursday afternoon, students were able to wire fairly complex electrical circuits with light bulbs, switches, and electrical outlets commonly used in their homes.”
Other camps such as “Robofun” focused on technology and made it possible for students to design and build robots. “Students worked on an attachment arm that allowed the robot to grab a block, pick it up, and place it into a box,” explained teacher Eric Miller.
Middle school students in “Creative Adventures” spent a week learning many aspects of the family and consumer sciences curriculum from sewing to interior design, nutrition, and childcare. The hands-on projects were a hit among the students.
“For many of them, this was their first experience with the skills involved in creating and constructing a sewing project or reading and following a recipe,” said teacher Diane Gibson. “I was impressed with the students’ persistence in learning a skill in which they were unfamiliar and how they took pride in their work.”
Gibson added, “The students also expressed their excitement and interest in continuing this as a hobby and enrolling in CTE classes at the high school level.”
Not only did “Camp Gaston” offer programs in enrichment areas such as Career and Technical Education, students focused on academic subjects like math, reading, and science and electives such as art, music, foreign language, and physical education. Teachers Alexa Fuller and Laura Rayfield agreed that the time spent on the various subjects will help students get a jump start on the new school year. And, they said it was important for students to practice and hone their academic skills even during summer break.
In addition to the in-person enrichment programs at 14 school locations, some students took advantage of virtual learning. Elementary and middle school students were able to engage in online activities at their own pace. High schoolers used the virtual format to get a preview of a course such as finding out what’s ahead in Math 2 after having completed Math 1 last year.
The “Camp Gaston” summer session was designed for students to engage in academics, explore life-enriching lessons, discover how they can be a leader, and enjoy activities just for the fun of it. More than 3,000 students took advantage of the various programs.