All students will participate in each of the 5 PAEMS modules:
- Environmental Science
- Mathematics & Computing
Although we will host 22 to 24 campers in the program, participants will rotate through most of the modules in smaller groups of just 11 or 12 students. A typical day (if there is “typical” day) will consist of alternating between the Astronomy and Mathematics modules in the mornings and the Biology and Chemistry modules in the afternoons. After dinner and a break, all students will attend the Environmental Science module together, with some possible stargazing on clear nights using the college’s telescopes. Extensive laboratory involvement in most modules will permit students to develop laboratory skills using state-of-the-art equipment to collect and analyze data.
Field trips that allow students to see applications of math and science will be dispersed throughout the 13-day camp, so no day will be truly routine. Students will see for themselves how their interests may ultimately lead to careers in industry, education, health science, biotechnology, government, or other fields. In recent years, field trips have included the University of Kentucky Medical Center, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, KY, Natural Bridge State Park, Hagyard Davidson McGee Equine Medical Institute, and the Nature Academy. Similar trips are planned for 2015.
Full-time faculty from the Natural and Life Sciences Division of Georgetown College will teach each course. They will be assisted by college students or recent graduates who will serve as teaching assistants during the day and as resident assistants in dormitories at night. With nine faculty and assistants for just 22 to 24 students, each student will receive a significant amount of individual instruction.
The curriculum is divided into five modules: Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Math / Computer Science. Each course varies somewhat from year to year, but here are our tentative plans for 2016:
- In Astronomy, students will co-study the planets, transition to the stars, and eventually considered the Big Bang, relativity, gravitational waves and the end of time. The college’s planetarium will be a key teaching tool.
- The Biology module will explore both modern genetics and applied human physiology. Activities will include genetically transforming bacterial cells, isolating DNA, and recording an EKG.
- In Chemistry, students will be exposed to both traditional and state-of-the-art methods in synthetic chemistry, qualitative analytical chemistry, and inorganic chemistry.
- The Environmental Science module will teach students how to characterize and monitor both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems using a variety of field sampling techniques.
- In Mathematics & Computing, students will learn the basics of computer programming including variables, conditionals, and loops. These skills will be applied to various math topics like the quadratic equation, the golden ratio, complex numbers, fractals, and root finding methods.