Just two hours east of Los Angeles, Grade 5 students from Brawerman East and West found themselves a world apart.
It was an October trip to AstroCamp, an outdoor science school in the San Jacinto Mountains near the town of Idyllwild. There, in keeping with AstroCamp’s motto, Challenge by Choice, students connected with one another through required teamwork, pushed themselves toward new experiences and connected with nature through a deeper understanding of our planet and solar system.
Students were encouraged to try new activities, even if they were a bit scary. During the day, they zip-lined, swinging through the air on the sky-coaster, and studied electricity and magnetism, lunar landings, lights and lasers. At night, there were hikes in darkness, guided by the stars, planets, and constellations.
Sparking curiosity and engaging students in discussions were the fundamental aims of the AstroCamp staff. Group leaders pushed our students to think—about why they can see the stars so clearly in Idyllwild, how eyes function to receive light, and what our place is in the universe.
For me, the best part of AstroCamp was listening to questions our students asked. Brawerman kids proved they are intensely curious and insightful. Our group leader often had to limit the number of questions so that we could make it to our next destination.
Students were dazzled. “WHOA, this is like magic!” One said, referring to the Tesla. Another admitted, “I was scared at first, but then I did it, and I am so proud of myself.”
Overall, the trip was a huge success, and students came away with a deeper connection to their peers — and to the galaxy!
-Dr. Tamara Miller, Principal, Brawerman East