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Reimagining 5th Grade Science Camp

Student team seeks to create a more equitable experience for all 5th graders

Sleep-away science camp has been a memorable educational tradition for students across California. Unfortunately, not every student has been able to participate. Armed with a Campbell Union School District Innovation Grant, a group of Castlemont students is designing an alternative for their classmates.

The Innovation Grant program asks school-based teams to see challenges as design opportunities to be solved through testing and refinement. A four-day sleepover science camp can cost a school $15,000 or more for an experience that is enriching, but exclusive. The Castlemont team, led by teachers Kelli Sorich and Coriann Snyder, is reimagining the 5th grade science experience so it is affordable, meaningful, and able to be replicated by other schools that choose to do so. 

Their design envisions a full-day science camp experience that costs less than $78 per student and is filled with fun, outdoor and team-building activities connected to their science lessons. Team members Yackie, Yared, Lisa, Hannah, Ezra, Ulises, and Monique are excited about the project.

“Our students want to have activities like nature observations; survival skills, like Native Americans used; team building challenges; hiking; and a campfire dinner,” said Sorich. The team of students—Yackie, Yared, Lisa, Hannah, Ezra, Ulises, and Monique—are very excited about it, she added.

“We’re proud that our students are working to find a way to achieve greater equity and access for their classmates,“ said District Superintendent Shelly Viramontez. “It's so important that every student has access to the kind of enriching educational experience that a science camp type of experience offers.”

To learn more about this year’s 10 Innovation Grant projects, click here, or listen to the students talk about their projects on the Our Design Journey podcast.