Migrant Education Camp


In June, 25 Harrisonburg and Rockingham County middle school students in the Shenandoah Valley Migrant Education Program (SVMEP) and Future Forward explored the theme of STEAM—science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics—at a week-long enrichment camp. During the week, students spent half of their day engaged in hands-on activities at Purcell Park and the second half of their day on an educational field trip.  

On one morning, for instance, students were given a challenge to work in teams to successfully design and build small scale roller coasters with multiple variables. Kathleen Stoehr, Program Coordinator of SVMEP, says this was the kids’ favorite activity of the week. “The roller coaster activity and the other activities that we did that day gave students an understanding of forces, particularly gravity and friction, as well as some familiarity with kinetic and potential energy and an understanding of Newton's second law of motion and basic motion concepts such as position, velocity and acceleration,” says Stoehr. In the afternoon, they watched a show at JMU’s Planetarium.

Other activities included designing and constructing newspaper towers, painting with Alka-Seltzer rockets, building stomp rockets, and making ice cream with liquid nitrogen. They also visited Shenandoah National Park, Natural Bridge and Caverns, and JMU ISAT.

One parent thanked the SVMEP staff because the youth have no other activities going on during the summer but playing video games indoors. The camp had them “outdoors and engaged” all week, says Stoehr.

SVMEP and Future Forward students who participated in the summer enrichment program are from culturally diverse backgrounds, including Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Columbia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Iraq. 

Published: Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Last Updated: Monday, July 10, 2017

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