Although students across the state have learned outside of the physical classroom due to COVID-19, one free GSK-sponsored nationwide camp is still delivering hands-on, remote science education to students this summer with the help of UNC's Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.
Usually hosted in local libraries and community centers, the GSKScience in the Summer camp, coordinated by Morehead Planetarium, has gone fully remote this summer due to COVID-19 concerns.
Zenovia Hogue, GSK Science in the Summer coordinator, said the camp's curriculum helps explain science in a way that can be understood and quantified by kids.
“These are all activities with things they see every day — things they see, that they don’t necessarily know,” Hogue said.
According to a press release from the planetarium, students will be guided by educators from the Morehead Planetarium through home experiments in online videos, after which students with internet access will be able to join live virtual meetings to share experimental results and ask questions about the material.
For students without internet access, paper guides to the experiments have been dropped off in Boys & Girls clubs across the state. Hogue said about 1,700 kits of science materials have been donated in central North Carolina.
In the press release, Becki Lynch, the director of US Community Partnerships at GSK, said the goal of Science in the Summer is to encourage campers from diverse backgrounds to consider careers in STEM fields.
"We hope that GSK Science in the Summer programs continue to inspire more children to put on their goggles and explore the wonders of science," Lynch said in the press release. "Our goal is to encourage students, particularly those from populations underrepresented in the scientific community, to pursue STEM career paths later in life."
As the camp's operations adapted to the pandemic, Morehead Planetarium has also been affected, said Todd Boyette, director of the planetarium and science center.