COSAM News Articles 2022 June Elementary students learn about amazing animals at Science Matters camp

Elementary students learn about amazing animals at Science Matters camp

Published: 06/17/2022

By: Leslie Leak

Young scientists were abuzz around Auburn University’s campus as they learned about spectacular creatures at Science Matters’ first camp of the season held June 13-17.

Sponsored by the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) Office of Outreach, Science Matters summer enrichment day camp is for elementary students in first through sixth grades. Campers explore wide-ranging topics in science through hands-on, investigative activities while receiving outstanding education from experienced, local science instructors.

Five Science Matters camp sessions will be held this summer. Each weekly session includes a full-day schedule of thematic activities, STEM instruction, lunch and outdoor play. “Amazing Animals” was the theme of the first camp. Campers were treated to special guest appearances by local animals—from fuzzy bees to soaring eagles.

Campers received a sweet surprise when the Auburn University Bee Laboratory stopped by and set up stations for honey tasting, viewing—and some even touching—stingless bees and mixing wildflower clay seed balls to take home and plant. Rachel Jacobsen, Selina Bruckner and Jasmine Cates taught participants fascinating facts about bees’ importance as pollinators; the role of a honeybee scientist; the jobs of the queen, drones and worker bees; what a native bee researcher does; how native bees are studied in the AU Bee Lab and much more.

Throughout the week, campers learned about animal characteristics and adaptations through engaging activities and instruction. Third and fourth graders explored camouflage and how it helps animals survive in the wild. They became predators—having just 20 seconds to pick out beads, their prey, from strips of colored paper and later examining how certain colors were easier to select.

Campers completed scavenger hunts, learned all about mammals and explored animal body temperature and how they act to heat and cold.

“I learned that elephants use their ears help them stay cool,” said Wren, a young Science Matters camper, while displaying a colorful set of ears she crafted during the lesson.

At the end of the week, campers were visited by the Southeastern Raptor Center, giving them an opportunity to view owls, vultures, hawks and eagles up close and learn more about the majestic creatures.

COSAM’s Office of Outreach offers special activities, workshops and programs to promote scientific literacy and interest among K-12 students and teachers. Outreach activities are designed to provide a continuum of programs for students in various stages of their educational development.

For more information on Science Matters camp or other outreach activities, please contact Mary Lou Ewald, COSAM director of outreach, at


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