Science Education

Students experience the science taught in the classroom. With an emphasis on outdoor exploration and active simulations, students gain practical, hands on insights and learning.

Science Education

  • Natural History
    • Deep Woods - An investigation of the fields and forests of Kern. Students journey into our 200-year old Beech/Maple forest and its surrounding habitats. Topics can include: forest ecology, plant succession, prairies, vernal pools, and natural cycles.
    • Trail of Time – Adventures in geology. Participants descend into a ravine to hunt for (and take home) Ordovician fossils in this exploration of our ever-changing earth. Topics can include: plate tectonics, fossilization, formation of sedimentary rock, erosion, glaciations, relationships between geology and current habitat/land use.
    • The Creatures of Kern - A safari style expedition seeking out Kern fauna. Can be selected as a single, all encompassing activity, or as separate activities.
      • Feathers Beaks and Claws – Birds, their amazing adaptations and lives are explore through a mix of simulations and observations.
      • In Cold Blood – Encounter snakes, lizards, spiders and more in our nature center, then venture out to discover what can be found crawling, creeping or slithering around camp.
      • Kern Critters – Pond life encountered, captured and examined (then released) by students as they visit wetlands, pond, vernal pools, and puddles.
      • Tracks and Traces - What our fellow mammals need to thrive. It starts with a very active simulation (game) where students play the role of squirrels striving and vying to survive. Then a discovery hike in search of tracks, scat, and furry glimpses of Kern mammals.
    • River Study - A study of the Little Miami River, its formation, history and, water quality. We will net a sample of aquatic invertebrates to do a stream quality assessment, conduct several tests of the water chemistry (dissolved oxygen, phosphate, nitrate, pH, turbidity), and also do a variety of related simulation activities. Can be done from the shore at camp or included as part of a River Rafting trip..
      Night Hike - Kern staff will lead groups of students on a fascinating exploration of the night world.

STEM Related Activities

Our goal is to provide students with impactful, hands-on experiences that relate to science, technology, engineering, and math. We take advantages of the resources unique to camp and not easily replicated in the classroom. These can be done as a whole group rotation activity called The Genius Challenge, or as a small group activity. Speak with the Kern staff for details. Below are examples of some of the challenges:

  • Measure the Flagpole – Students are given a box filled with the disassembled remains of seemingly random objects (string, straws, protractors, etc) as well as a few cryptic pieces of instruction. Their mission: to measure the height of the Kern flagpole.
  • Egg Drop – Students are given an egg and 10 twist-ties, and then are set loose amid the honeysuckle to find materials they need to protect their egg from a fall.
  • The Duck and the Dam – Students construct a dam to protect their rubber duck. The overflow gates of the wetland are then opened and the students see if their duck survives or is swept away.
  • Water Rockets – Students experience energy transfer as they construct and launch their modified two liter bottles, comparing flight time and altitude.
  • Log Lift – Students are introduced to a very large log. Using a variety of ropes, pulleys, carabineers, and other odds and ends, they are challenged to create a means to lift the log with the least effort possible.