GEAR UP Summer STEM Camp 2015

GEAR UP’s summer STEM camp started Monday, June 15th and went until Thursday, June 25th. Eight, 2 hour days were filled with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math centered activities. These activities were both fun and educational and were put together by GEAR UP tutors Sarah Garza and Erika Martinez and River View HS GEAR UP Site Manager Amandalyn Rubio.

On the first Monday, the first activity was a collection of Brain Teasers. The students had to work on different teasers with ranging difficulties. There were a couple that stumped the students but they enjoyed trying to problem solve individually and as a group. The next thing the students did was make Oobleck. Oobleck is a non-Newtonian substance made of cornstarch and water that is classified as both a solid and a liquid. The students had fun experimenting with the Oobleck.

On Tuesday, the students took part in a Paper Airplane Challenge. Some of the students found it difficult to make paper airplanes but they enjoyed testing out different designs and trying to make them fly. The second activity of the day was making slime. The slime was made out of Elmer’s glue, Liquid Starch and water, which combined chemically to make a slime substance that the students were able to play with without it sticking to them.

Wednesday, students made their own Homemade Ice-cream in a bag. The students started by adding basic ice-cream ingredients cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla into a Ziploc bag. They then added that bag into a larger Ziploc bag that was filled with ice cubes and ice- cream salt. Both bags were shaken for up to 20 minutes. The shaking caused the salt to melt the ice which dropped the temperature surrounding the ice-cream mixture, causing it to freeze. Everyone really liked this activity and said the ice-cream actually tasted really good. After the ice-cream activity the students made their own Popsicle stick catapults, using Popsicle sticks, rubber bands, spoons, and cotton balls.

Thursday, the activities were the Balloon Rocket Car Challenge and the Newspaper Challenge. The Balloon Rocket Car Challenge gave students the opportunity to make a balloon rocket car out of recycled water bottles, straws, caps, skewers and balloons. They were then able to race their cars against each other. The Newspaper challenge tested the students’ ability to build a sturdy table able to hold a large textbook out of 8 sheets of newspaper, an 8 in. by 11in. sheet of thin cardboard, and masking tape. Two students completed the semi-difficult task.

The second Monday of the camp students participated in a Math Scavenger Hunt where they had to race around the classroom while trying to; for example, find an object that measured exactly 5 inches. The second activity of the day was learning about the components of blood. Props included water beads, foam pieces, and ping pong balls as blood cells and platelets. A large cutout person made out of paper also showed the students the blood flow through the body.

Tuesday, students had the opportunity to make their own lava lamp out of recycled water bottles, water, oil, food coloring, and Alka Seltzer. The students thought the chemical reaction that made the solution look like a lava lamp was really cool. On this day students also took part in a graphing activity. They had to make a picture on graph paper using plotted points and make a rule set so their partner could make the exact same picture on a blank graph. This was an activity they had previously done in Math class.

Wednesday, students were treated to STEM Jeopardy in the Lecture Hall. This homemade Jeopardy included the classic components of Jeopardy including Double Jeopardy, Daily Doubles, and Final Jeopardy. Categories were based on STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and also included a Pop Culture category.

The last day of the camp the students competed in two challenges. In the Spaghetti Challenge student pairs were given 20 pieces of spaghetti, 1 yard of masking tape, 1 yard of string, and one large marshmallow. The teams had 20 minutes to build the highest spaghetti tower using their given materials that they could. The only rule was the marshmallow had to be at the highest point of the tower. It was interesting to see the different approaches the students had to the challenge. The final activity was the Egg Drop. The ultimate objective for the Egg Drop Challenge is for students to build a protective casing for a raw egg so that when it is dropped from a height of 10ft it will not break. One of the main rules for the challenge was the egg had to be visible by at least a quarter sized opening and had to be able to be taken out of the contraption after the drop. The students were able to use up to 12 different types of materials and had a fun time showing their creative sides.

Overall the STEM camp was a success for the program. A total of 8 students participated during the two weeks and seemed to really enjoy all the educational activities and lessons that were put together for them.

A special thank you goes to GEAR UP Ambassador Carlos Orozco, for being a positive role model and for his leadership amongst the 8 students that attended the camp. He was an integral part of getting some of the students to attend during the two weeks and made all efforts to help GEAR UP staff with any tasks that needed to be completed.


Finley GEAR UP Explores 4-H Teen Conference 2015

While students arrived to Gannon and Goldsworthy dorms to register and check in on Sunday afternoon, on June 28th,they all were very excited to start the festivities. They talked with their new friends and waited to head up to their dorm rooms. After settling in their rooms, students went out and explored the Washington State University campus with their adult GEAR UP supervisor. Some students went to the rec center to jump in the pool, play volleyball, or do some exercise. Exploring the WSU campus was very rewarding for the students because they got to become familiar with the campus while also having fun with their new acquaintances.

As students transitioned from a little free time, all students were directed to Thompson Flats to have a large barbeque. Shortly after having dinner, the students sat on the grass and had a motivational speaker, Carlos Ojera Jr. talk about how important youth empowerment is and how students need to be their own voice. It was very clear that students made at least one connection with Carlos because they all raved about him. Carlos touched all students and adults when he revealed that he is deaf but has overcome the struggle he had with his disability as he was growing up.

As the adult supervisors made their way to their orientation meeting, students stayed with the 4-H conference leaders and participated in all sorts of group challenges and ice breakers. After the sun set, students and their adult supervisors all made their way to their dorm rooms and called it a day.

Early Monday morning, some students went for a run or participated in exercise activities. After this, students gathered for breakfast at Southside Dining Hall. From breakfast, all students broke off and walked to their assigned workshops. An interesting workshop was the Handwriting Workshop that focused on teaching students lost workplace skills. At this workshop students got to learn about the two different writing types of print, which are D’Nealian and Standard print. Students practiced these styles by writing in both. Other workshops included student’s definition of citizenship and also about the connection 4-H has with Burundi. This workshop included some team building skills by having the whole group hold a bed sheet as tight as possible and then have a ball, which represents the globe, roll around without falling off the bed sheet. The catch was that slowly people started to let go of the bed sheet which represented people dying off, and in result made students realize that without teamwork and the people in our world it would be very difficult for the world to function. This workshop also informed students that WSU 4-H is raising money and awareness to give back to Burundi sister schools because of their current financial situation.

Once students finished their last workshop they made their way back to their dorm rooms to get dressed for the evening banquet that was held at the Schweitzer Building. Students were presented with a fancy dinner that was paired with a guest speaker who spoke about different ways of preparing oneself for college and the future. Following the banquet, students were bused back to campus and some got to listen to another speaker, Tyler S. who spoke about his tragic car accident due to reckless speeding while others played games and participated in craft activities with other students.

On the last day of the 4-H Teen Conference, students enjoyed a nice buffet style breakfast and then walked over to the CUB building. There, students were spilt up into two big groups, one attended the Career and Education Fair at the CUB Ballroom and the other group traveled to the CUE Building and participated in the Who Wants To Be a Credit Card Millionaire Financial Literacy Workshop. This workshop taught students about the different terminology in the credit world. Students got to play Who Wants To Be a Millionaire with questions that were related to credit.

After students got to talk to different universities and companies at the Career and Education Fair, they were sat down for a conference closing. Guest speaker, Carlos Ojera Jr. spoke about losing his father so abruptly and how that tragic event made him realize that he regretted not doing more with his father before he lost him. He told students that they needed to tell their family or whomever they are close with, that they love them because they need to know that. It was an emotional speech but also an impactful one because students were able to connect with Carlos. Following the speaker, students were given their Ignite Your Future t-shirts and were instructed to write what ignites their futures inside the flame that was printed on the back of the shirt. After that, students were given the opportunity to sign each other’s t-shirts and then they were saluted with a goodbye from all the camp leaders and director Jan Klein and encouraged them to come back again next year.

Thanks to River View High School GEAR UP, 4-H Teen Conference, River View High School Principal, Bryan Long, and everyone else who allowed these students to experience this Teen Conference. These students had a great time at the 4-H Teen Conference up in Pullman. Irene Cuevas specifically said, “All the workshops were my favorite part of the conference and also my roommate.” Another Finley 4-H camper, Andres Flores said “My favorite workshop was workshop A (Combat Challenge).” Andres also mentioned that before he attended the 4-H Teen Conference he was set on joining the Military after high school but because of the conference he was introduced to another career option which is becoming a firefighter. These students were glad they got to experience such a wonderful exposure to college life and said they really enjoyed the 4-H Teen Conference.

River View High GEAR UP Opportunity for New Partnerships in 2016

River View High School will be saying farewell to its administrator of 4 years, Bryan Long. Bryan will be moving to the district office level as a Human Resource Manager. Bryan will be sorely missed, but River View, along with GEAR UP are anxious to welcome new principal Chris Davis to the building. Chris is coming to Finley from Enterprise Middle School in Richland. He has extensive knowledge of the GEAR UP grant, has coached, been advisor to countless clubs, and of course worked as an administrator.

In addition to losing Mr. Long, River View will also be replacing the English department with two recent Washington State University graduates: Katie Griggs and Kendra Waters. GEAR UP will be busy building new relationships with staff at River View. The AVID elective will be taught by Katie Griggs who is attending Implementation in Spokane during the month of July.

A special thank you to Bryan Long, Tyler Hogg, and Deanna Eisenbarth who have all been very supportive of GEAR UP initiatives and supporting the grant and its objectives in any way they could.

Finley GEAR UP Goes to WSU Pullman

On Friday, April 24, 2015, River View High School GEAR UP freshman and sophomores were taken up to explore the WSU Pullman campus. This day was filled with lots of fun and excitement starting from the departure of the high school. As students boarded the bus they all were ready to interact with their peers and enjoy a day in Pullman.

As soon as everyone arrived to the WSU Pullman campus, students were anxious to get off the bus and look around. Everyone got off the bus and took a nice group photo in front of the Lighty Building. The group looked really great with all their matching GEAR UP t-shirts. Soon after the photo, everyone was given a quick introduction and welcoming to the campus.

After receiving a warm welcome, the students and chaperones split into two big groups and went off to tour the beautiful campus with a WSU student tour guide. The tour was great because the students were able to see all of the historic buildings and learn lots about the campus. Students were even allowed to visit the Charles R. Conner Museum, where there were lots of animal exhibits. Students were very impressed with all the animals that they got to see, especially the Bighorn Sheep.

Right after the Museum, everyone gathered and walked over to Southside dining hall and had lunch with some former River View alumni. Students were thrilled to sit down and eat and also talk about college life. Before the trip, students choose between Nursing, Engineering and Sports related majors. Based on these fields of study, Mrs. Rubio grouped students with matching alumni that are currently studying the majors listed above. From this set up, students had the opportunity to ask many questions that were beneficial to becoming informed about their interested major.

From lunch, the entire group was given a presentation regarding admission at WSU Pullman. Students got to ask questions regarding cost of attendance and different major options. Samantha Hege, WSU Pullman Admission Representative, talked about how students can tour the campus before committing to attend and also why Pullman is such a great place. She also discussed financial aid options and how students should start to save money now so they can go to college.

Thank you to WSU Pullman for letting Finley GEAR UP visit and also to River View High School Principal, Bryan Long for helping GEAR UP set up this college visit. This trip was very informative for Finley’s GEAR UP students because they were able to visit the campus and explore the different options this campus has to offer. Students continuously expressed how much fun they had and were pleased that GEAR UP took them on this trip.

GEAR UP Student Ambassador Reveals His Academic Success

Sophomore Carlos Orozco represents GEAR UP as a student ambassador at River View High School. As an ambassador, Carlos said he has enjoyed being able to experience new opportunities through the GEAR UP program and also being able to get out of his comfort zone and meet new people. One thing that Carlos expressed that has been most rewarding to him from being a GEAR UP student is realizing how much work it is to get into college. Carlos says he completed two years of elementary education while residing in Mexico before he moved to the United States. Despite any obstacles Carlos has faced, he has always maintained his education as a priority. His motivation and dedication to keep excelling in his academics is very encouraging.  

Carlos explained how during his time at River View High School he was encouraged by his math teacher, Mr. Eisenbarth to keep doing well. He said that he was taught different approaches to tackling difficult math problems. Mr. Eisenbarth has always reminded Carlos that “there is no one way to do math.” Carlos has always challenged himself and that is why he chooses to be in honors classes. He says he enjoys the advanced placement and working with his teachers to help improve his skills.

When asked about his secret as to why he is so academically successful, Carlos laughed and said that he likes to be organized and “keep things on track.” He also mentioned that he is very optimistic and likes to “see the logic in everything.” Talking to Carlos was really an enjoyable experience because it proves that some of the younger generations are very intelligent and willing to work hard in school, just as Carlos does. He also said that his teacher Mrs. Ward has taught him that helping people helps oneself in so many ways.

Carlos discussed a little about his busy schedule and how he finds the time to manage everything he is involved in. On top of school, Carlos plays sports such as Football and Track. He volunteers his time as a shot-clock-operator for his high school and Finley Middle School. Carlos is also involved in FCCLA, Soccer Club, and GEAR UP. Carlos enjoys being busy and says that a way he keeps everything in order is by managing his time. He also enforced that he focuses on academics while at school and his extra-curricular activities after school. Carlos is excited for the next school year to come because he is closer to graduation and entering college.

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