Summer Science Camp

The Biocore Outreach Ambassadors have partnered with UW professors, graduate students from the Biology Outreach Club, and public school teachers since June 2007 to develop a week-long, inquiry based day camp for fourth through twelfth grade students in the Wisconsin Heights district. Students work in small groups to investigate original questions centered on Prairies, Streams, Human Anatomy, Microbiology, Nematoad Worms, and Forest Ecology. A summary of each research topic is below.

Prairie Restoration Ecology

Are you interested in being outside, getting your hands dirty, observing plants, insects, and all sorts of organisms that live in and around a prairie? In this unit students: Previous campers have investigated many interesting questions, including 1.) Do spittlebugs prefer and produce more "spittle" on goldenrod or aster plants?, 2. ) Will we find more crickets in cool, moist, dense prairie vegetation than areas with sparse vegetation?, 3.) How does the aging of a purple coneflower influence the number and types of pollinating butterflies?

Stream Ecology

Stream ecology is the study of all the living and non-living components of stream systems and how those elements interact with each other. Think of anything that you might find in a stream; a trout, a crayfish, a rock, a bug, maybe even an old tire. All of these things influence each other and are affected by one another. The Stream Team students: Past research projects have investigated if plants affect presence of aquatic invertebrates, if substrate influences number of crayfish present, and if there is a correlation between stream flow, water temperature, and amount of dissolved oxygen in the water.

Human Biology

In the human biology section, students learn how to study how our own bodies respond to different things. Students test their hypotheses on actual human subjects (like their friends, brothers and sisters)! Students use some neat equipment to measure things like: Previous research projects have included a study of reaction time to a sound in adults vs. kids; a test of how fast your heart beats when you go through a maze with a blindfold on vs. no blindfold; and a test of how different kinds of music affect your blood pressure.

Molecular/Cell Biology

In this section, students learn about cells--the tiny parts that make up our body as well as plants, animals, and all living things--and what's inside them! Students experience the following activities: Previous research projects have included surveys of the life inside different pond water samples; a test of what foods yeast like to eat; and a test of what kinds of soap work best to clean your hands!

Tiny Soil Worms (Nematodes)

Are you curious about how we can learn about the environment and human biology from a tiny worm? Or about how mutations can affect behavior and health? Students discover why tiny nematodes are so useful for answering these questions and more. Students: Previous research projects have asked: Do worms respond to heat or cold? Do certain foods attract or repel worms? Can worms find their food when it's hidden by an obstacle?

Forest Ecology

Are you curious about the trees, shrubs, non-woody plants, fungi, and animals that make up a Wisconsin forest? Like to get outside and breathe the fresh air? Forest ecology is the study of the plants and animals of the forest ecosystem and how they grow, live and interact with each other and their surroundings. Humans depend on forests for wood, oxygen, water, and recreation so learning how they work is important (and fun!). For this topic, studentsventure into Wisconsin's forests and: