This Year’s Free Summer STEM Camp For Local Students May Be Its Last

By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — They were blowing up watermelons in the name of science on the campus of Drexel University.

It may be the last year for a free summer camp exposing Philadelphia elementary school students to the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

A group of rising fifth graders from four Philadelphia schools sporting white lab coats, hard hats and goggles put more than 400 rubber bands around the middle of a watermelon until it exploded all over everyone and every thing. Camper Virginia Bruck says the activity is an example of a physical reaction.

“Say there was like 399 (rubber bands) and it (the watermelon) could hold that much and then you put one more rubber band even the slightest bit of pressure can make the whole thing explode,” Bruck said.

(credit: John McDevitt/KYW)

(credit: John McDevitt/KYW)



Field trips to places like the Boeing plant and the Franklin Institute were also taken by fifth, sixth and seventh graders.

Cynthia Casebere is a camp counselor and getting her Masters degree in education at Drexel.

(credit: John McDevitt/KYW)

(credit: John McDevitt/KYW)


“There are kids who are like ready to be engineers and they know what they want to do and they know that they want to go to the Philadelphia high schools that are science and technology oriented and they have figured it out a head of time because of stuff like this,” Casebere said.

The corporation that sponsored the program over the past three years has ended its partnership and Drexel University’s School of Education is hoping other sponsors will step up so the program can resume next summer.

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