Incoming eighth-graders had a busy week in June where they built robotics, "flew" airplanes, produced videos, and learned about sports and veterinary medicine, forensics, and biomedical engineering.
The Humboldt Unified School District offered a summer camp of sorts called the Paxton Patterson Summer Enrichment STEM Camp June 10-14 at Bradshaw Mountain Middle School.
Teacher Bob Supergan headed up the camp made possible through the Gear Up Grant awarded to HUSD at the beginning of the 2012 school year. The Paxton Patterson Lab offers career and technical education through its action lab, and health and sciences career modules.
Bradshaw Mountain Middle School already has seven action labs: robotics, digital media, video production, flight technology, environment and ecology, laser technology, and alternative energy. The health science career modules consist of sports medicine, veterinary medicine, forensics, biotechnology research and development, and biomedical engineering.
Gear Up coordinators Elizabeth Rushton and Sandra Clark said this year, with the support of the Gear Up grant, BMMS was able to purchase two new modules: dentistry and nursing.
Lab instruction is based on technological content and scientific inquiry in which the students gain and use computer skills and apply multimedia, video and hands-on activities to the topics they are studying.
By exploring their topics of interest, students obtain a better idea about course choice in high school, and later, in college.
Student Dillon McCown said he learned there was a lot of hard work in creating background music for movies through the digital media lab. He also explored veterinary services, learning "how to draw blood, do CPR on a dog, and lots of other hands-on activities," he said.
In addition to learning piano keyboarding, Liseth Oliver said she learned how to connect sounds together and about the pitch of music.
"Being in digital music was a great way to keep myself entertained, and a great way to learn something new," she said.
Jacob Franko made a carbon fiber sheet and a cast for a leg in biomedical engineering. Luis Garcia said, in the forensics lab, he figured out age, height, gender, and ethnicity from bones; how to test for drugs; and how to take blood samples.
The HUSD middle school students take part in Paxton Patterson lab activities throughout the school year.