A Summer Introduction to Science

Durham area middle school students raced wooden sailboats across a small pool outside the Fitzpatrick Center last week as part of the third annual Innoworks program, a science camp created and operated by Duke undergrads.This year’s theme, exploration, gave students a hands-on look at different environments: land, sea, space and the human body.

By racing the sailboats, the students learned about water transportation and weight balance by adding pennies to their craft.

“It has helped me learn how to work along with others,” said Kacper Skakuj from Durham School of the Arts.

In another session they learned how a heart functions by dissecting pig’s heart.

“If they read the science from a book they won’t get it at all, but if they see it then they understand,” said Xian Qiao a 2005 Duke graduate who has returned to help with the camp, which ended Tuesday.

Founded in 2003 by William Hwang, the camp curriculum is written by Duke students with the purpose of involving more students in the study of the sciences. Nearly 60 students are participating this year with Cisco systems and GlaxoSmithKline as major sponsors.

A second camp opened this summer at the University of Arizona. Next year, the camp plans to expand to other institutions, including the University of Maryland, University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown.