High School Science Camps

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Due to the Covid19 pandemic, all of our 2021 camps will be virtual. All in-person camps are cancelled until 2022 at the earliest. 

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Benefits

  • Students work with professional research scientists and science educators.
  • High staff to student ratio, typically with one staff member for every 3-5 students.
  • Service hours for data and specimen collection-based field work. (Consult your school to find out if you qualify.)
  • Challenging, college-level academic content in earth and life sciences.
  • Focus on building outdoor, research, leadership, and academic skills.
  • Students guided into being better question-driven self-driven learners.
  • Professional guidance for pursuing a career in the earth or life sciences, and related fields.
  • Peer group of students with similar interests, motivations, and ambitions.

About Virtual High School Camps

All of our online camps include a box of materials mailed to students for use during that respective camp. Items are selected by instructors as part of the curriculum, and organized for use in guided and independent activities. This is in addition to online resources being used in each camp, and web-meetings for students with staff for lessons, activities, and discussions.

Please keep in mind that we will have students from across time zones, so we are having to be flexible with daily start and end times to not force any student(s) to wake up overly early, or stay up too late.

Morning: 

  • Pre-assigned narrated presentation from instructional staff, and/or YouTube video with question prompts related to upcoming topics and activities.
  • Live-chat (Zoom) presentation or discussion with instructional staff to review previous day, go over new content for that day, and preview the next day or two. These live lectures/presentations will typically only be 15-20 minutes at a time (though student questions and conversation will likely extend this timeframe), as we value engagement-based content exploration and student inquiry.
  • Go over projects and activities. Do progress checks on larger scale projects.
  • Individual or group project work time. We will have Zoom rooms set up so students can talk with each other and the staff during these portions. We want the students to be able to socialize with each other as well as ask the staff questions in real-time. 
Afternoon: 
  • Second content presentation/discussion with instructional staff, with time included for questions and conversation from the students. 
  • Individual or group project time, structured as described above for the morning. 
  • Formal check-in via live-chat between students and staff to go over questions from the day, review, and present any additional content as determined needed by the instructional staff to make sure daily content progress goals are staying on track. (We also have contingencies for if students master the planned content quickly, so we can continue to challenge and engage the students with new skills and information.)

Evening:

  • Prompted Q&A sessions, where students bring questions to pose to staff about previously announced topics (applying to college, working with faculty, finding internships, specific science subjects related to the camp, etc). 
  • Documentary/movie watch parties, with students and staff watching a program with opportunities to discuss what they are seeing and interpreting the “movie science”, or questions students may have about content in the documentary. 

 

*Students may not enroll in overlapping camps.*

Questions? Contact us at SternbergCamps@FHSU.edu, or at 785-639-5249

Core Philosophies

The Sternberg Museum Science Camp programs are built around a core philosophy of student development and advancement. We train our students with dedicated lessons and by example, giving them new tools and knowledge to use as they pursue their goals. To paraphrase many of our past students, it will be the most challenging, amazingly fun thing you’ve done!

Active Field Research
Working with professional scientists, students learn to collect data in the field using authentic techniques and equipment. All data collected is incorporated into ongoing research projects. Students are introduced to the ins and outs of structuring a research project, and how to apply techniques taught in the camp as general tools for their future endeavors. Special emphasis is placed on preparing students to pursue original research projects in college.

Skill-Building
Having a core set of professional skills can be incredibly valuable for students looking to advance their opportunities in the natural sciences. By introducing and developing these essential and specialized skills, we train our students to be productive, competitive, and prepared for work in science beyond the classroom.

Empowerment
Using active learning techniques, we challenge our students to think about science beyond raw facts and figures. Our staff implement challenging learning games and problem-solving scenarios, guiding our students as they learn to consider and connect their knowledge in a comprehensive fashion. In our field-based camps, our students are taught to safely and responsibly carry out our field tasks in a variety of favorable and adverse conditions. In doing this, students discover their own depths of resilience and strength. Students are taught to monitor themselves and others in their team, and take initiative to get the job done right.

“This camp experience provided many “firsts” for me. I had never camped in a tent before; I had never been away from family for that length of time; and I learned that given a significant purpose, I had endurance beyond my belief. It was definitely the highlight of my year.” – Alex Landwehr, Sternberg Paleontology Camp student (2017, 2018)

Advanced Academics
We introduce our students to foundational concepts in earth and life sciences to start out our programs. From the Law of Superposition to the population basis for evolution by natural selection, students are set up to learn content quickly as we build understanding through observations and focused discussions. Our staff are broadly trained in the topics of their respective camps, and are excited to engage with student questions.

Fun
We are program built for science geeks, by science geeks. We love spending time in the field or in the lab, and want to make sure our students see that while science can be hard work, it’s also a ton of fun. We strive to keep the work of field and lab science balanced with a healthy dose of laughter!

Staff

Our camps staff are professional scientists and science educators, graduate students, undergraduates, and select program alumni. We value a wide range of professional skills and career paths, in order to provide a broad set of skills training and perspective to our students. All of our staff are deeply passionate about science outreach and education in addition to their professional specializations.

Each field-based program includes at least one staff member with a Wilderness First Responder certification, ensuring quick, decisive action when dealing with any kind of injury or health concern in the field.

Contact Us

For questions about the Sternberg Science Camps programs, contact us at SternbergCamps@fhsu.edu or 785-639-5249.

How to apply

Student applicants must be ages 14 to 18 as of June 2021.

  • Complete online application.
    • To do this, you will need to set up an account with CampDoc. You can do this by clicking the “Apply Today” link at the top of this page. Once this is done, you’ll be able to log back in to your account as you complete the application process.
    • If you already have an account with CampDoc, simply log in. Your personal information should all be saved from your last application.
    • The waiver can be found in the online application.
    • The financial aid application can be found in the online application.
  • 2 page (5-7 paragraph) letter of interest from the student applicant.
    • You can find suggestions for writing your letter of interest here.
    • This must be submitted through the CampDoc application system.
  • Letter of recommendation from the non-family member for the student applicant.
    • This must be submitted through the CampDoc application system.
    • You can find instructions for recommendation letter-writers here.
    • Returning students in good standing do not need to submit a recommendation letter.
      • Standing is determined by staff. A student not in good standing will be expressly notified by the Camps Director.

Cancellation Policy

A 10% deposit is paid at the time of registration. Students who are accepted into the camp must then have the remainder of the registration fee paid by the June 1st, 2020 payment deadline.

Q: What if my student is not accepted into the camp they applied for? Do you refund tuition?
A: 100% of paid tuition is refunded to any students not accepted to a camp they applied for. This includes the initial deposit paid at the time of initial application.

Q: What is your cancellation and refund policy?
A:

Refund Policy:
Cancellations must be submitted via email. Deposit fees for camp(s) applications are fully refundable until the applicant is officially accepted for admission. Prior to admission, the deposit is fully refundable in the case of cancellation submitted in writing. Denial of application acceptance will result in a full refund of the deposit payment for each camp the applicant was not accepted to. Following application acceptance, the deposit is no longer fully refundable, and each camp registration is held to a minimum 10-percent cancellation fee. For cancellations 30 to 10 days prior to the start of a camp, half of the total fee is refundable. For cancellations made 9 or fewer days prior to the start of the program, no amount of the fee is refundable. Registration fees are non-transferable between applicants or to accepted participants. Funds provided Sternberg Science Camps in the form of any financial scholarship to the participant will be withheld in any case where a scholarship awardee or their parent(s)/guardian(s) cancels an accepted application.

Cancellation Policy:
In the event of a camp being cancelled, either due to insufficient enrollment, or other unforeseeable impairments, the Sternberg Science Camps will provide a refund of all tuition and/or deposit fees paid up to the point of cancellation. Any scholarship funds awarded to the applicant to aid in attendance will be retained by the Sternberg Science Camps program. We are unable to reimburse the cost of any travel expenses paid to transport successful applicants to and/or from their camp(s). We strongly recommend attendees insure their travel to and from their respective camp(s) being attended.

For answers to more possible questions, see our Frequently Asked Questions page!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How much time will be spent with online lectures each day?
    • This will depend on the age group to an extent. We certainly won’t have as much live online lecturing for elementary schoolers as high schoolers, for example. A safe range will probably be anywhere from fort minutes to two hours of live instructor-directed content delivery; at the high school level, there may be some days that extend beyond this, though they should be infrequent. 
    • We will also be using some pre-recorded mini-lectures for some flexible content delivery. Typically this will mean a powerpoint presentation with recorded voiceover by the instructor or teaching assistant. Students will be given time to watch these videos and do any individual or group work associated with it. 
  2. How will you keep the students from getting bored?
    • We’ll be using a blend of learning and engagement approaches to keep things fresh and interesting throughout each camp. This will include, but is not limited to:
      • Guest speakers
      • Problem-solving games
      • Single and multi-day projects done individually or in groups via web-chat
      • Screen-share documentary viewings as a group, with time to chat and ask questions
      • Skill development activities
      • Remote field trips to outdoor areas, museums, labs, and more
      • Q&A sessions with staff and guest scientists/educators
  3. What time will camp start/end each day?
    • As our students are from across the United States (and beyond, in some cases), we aren’t going to know a specific daily schedule for each camp until after it completely fills up, or we pass the application deadline on May 23rd. We want to make sure the daily schedule for each camp is workable for all of the students across time zones, so no one is forced to get up super early, or go to bed super late. Once we have groups locked in for each respective camp, we will be in communication with participants about scheduling live-chat portions of their camp.
  4. What is a “virtual field trip”?
    • Camps staff and/or guest presenters will do a live-video from a museum, lab, or field area, with students viewing and using the text chat feature to make comments and ask questions. Locations visited will vary widely between respective camps. 
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Virtual Camps 

Block 1:
June 13 – June 25, 2021

The Fossil Record

Content outline:

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Staff

Cost per student per session
Sternberg Museum members: $990
Non-members: $1,100

Paleontology Illustration 1

Content outline:

  • Anatomical reconstruction
  • Technical basics of artistic media
  • Color and layout theory
  • Building a portfolio
  • Group inquiry projects
  • Lessons and discussions lead by instructional staff
  • Guest presenters
  • Virtual field trips
  • Educational games and group community-building activities
  • Assessing and understanding professional paleo-art

 

Staff
Reid Psaltis (Instructor)   @Trimetrodon on Instagram

Cost per student per session
Sternberg Museum members: $990
Non-members: $1,100

Notes
Application for this camp requires submission of an artwork portfolio, which must be submitted as digital files through the CampDoc application system. Students must upload four images of their own works before their application will be considered complete and ready for review.

Deciphering Cryptozoology

Content outline:

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Staff

Cost per student per session
Sternberg Museum members: $990
Non-members: $1,100

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Block 2:
June 27 – July 9, 2021

Volcano Science

Content outline:

  • Igneous geology and processes
  • Mineralogy
  • Volcanoes and the science of eruptions
  • Modern tools in geological sciences
  • Group inquiry projects
  • Lessons and discussions lead by instructional staff
  • Guest presenters
  • Virtual field trips
  • Educational games and group community-building activities
  • Research article reading tutorials

 

Staff
Gui Aksit (Instructor)

Cost per student per session
Sternberg Museum members: $990
Non-members: $1,100

Paleontology Illustration 2

Content outline:

  • Anatomical reconstruction
  • Technical basics of artistic media
  • Color and layout theory
  • Building a portfolio
  • Group inquiry projects
  • Lessons and discussions lead by instructional staff
  • Guest presenters
  • Virtual field trips
  • Educational games and group community-building activities
  • Assessing and understanding professional paleo-art

 

Staff
Reid Psaltis (Instructor)   @Trimetrodon on Instagram

Cost per student per session
Sternberg Museum members: $990
Non-members: $1,100

Notes
Application for this camp requires submission of an artwork portfolio, which must be submitted as digital files through the CampDoc application system. Students must upload four images of their own works before their application will be considered complete and ready for review.

Dinosaur Science

Content outline:

  • Evolution and diversity of the Dinosauria
  • History of dinosaur science
  • Modern research tools and techniques
  • Key anatomical features
  • Interpreting ancient behavior
  • Group inquiry projects
  • Lessons and discussions lead by instructional staff
  • Guest presenters
  • Virtual field trips
  • Educational games and group community-building activities
  • Research article reading tutorials

 

Staff
Catherine Sartin (Instructor)

Cost per student per session
Sternberg Museum members: $990
Non-members: $1,100

The Cambrian Explosion

Content outline:

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Staff

Cost per student per session
Sternberg Museum members: $990
Non-members: $1,100

Evolution of Venoms and Poisons

Content outline:

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Staff

Cost per student per session
Sternberg Museum members: $990
Non-members: $1,100

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Block 3:
July 11 – July 23, 2021

Fossilization: From Bone to Stone

Content outline:

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Staff

Cost per student per session
Sternberg Museum members: $990
Non-members: $1,100

Geology in Space

Content outline:

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Staff

Cost per student per session
Sternberg Museum members: $990
Non-members: $1,100

Permian Paleontology

Content outline:

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Staff

Cost per student per session
Sternberg Museum members: $990
Non-members: $1,100

Climate Change Policy and Ethics

Content outline:

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Staff

Cost per student per session
Sternberg Museum members: $990
Non-members: $1,100

Animal Behavior

Content outline:

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Staff

Cost per student per session
Sternberg Museum members: $990
Non-members: $1,100

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Block 4:
July 25 – August 6, 2021

Mass Extinctions

Content outline:

  • Understanding the five major mass-extinctions
  • Extinction ecology
  • Post-extinction recovery 
  • Evolutionary selection and diversification
  • Group inquiry projects
  • Lessons and discussions lead by instructional staff
  • Guest presenters
  • Virtual field trips
  • Educational games and group community-building activities
  • Research article reading tutorials

 

Staff
Instructor: Catherine Sartin

Cost per student per session
Sternberg Museum members: $990
Non-members: $1,100

Gems and Metals

Content outline:

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Staff

Cost per student per session
Sternberg Museum members: $990
Non-members: $1,100

Astro-Biology

Content outline:

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Staff

Cost per student per session
Sternberg Museum members: $990
Non-members: $1,100

Paleontology Sculpture

Content outline:

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Staff

Cost per student per session
Sternberg Museum members: $990
Non-members: $1,100

Rise of the Cenozoic Megafauna

Content outline:

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Staff

Cost per student per session
Sternberg Museum members: $990
Non-members: $1,100

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