Train Tracks – A Quarterly Column about STEAM Learning and Train Education by Anthony D. Fredericks
Coming Round the Bend
“I am 100% satisfied with this camp. It was an amazing experience for my junior engineer…and it was educational. I hope you have the camp again next year.”
The reviews were positive, the comments congratulatory, and the experiences unforgettable! According to both parents and kids, Summer Camp 2021 was a rousing success. And, now, we are in the initial planning stages for another incredible camp for the Summer of 2022.
This year, we are excited to announce a new camp director to lead the 2022 edition: Mr. Ben Olewiler. Ben is a graduate of Mt. St. Mary’s College and holds a Master’s degree in Instruction and Curriculum from Penn State. He’s taught students in Kindergarten to grade eight and currently teaches all subjects at the STEAM Academy in the York City School District.
We posed a few questions to Mr. Olewiler about his philosophy of teaching science and his plans for the latest edition of Northern Central Railway’s upcoming summer camp experience.
- Why is science important in the lives of students?
Science is the building block of the world. To understand science is to understand how to think. Most people can find answers; scientists look for the reasons for those answers. I believe every child can be a scientist!
- What do you hope to accomplish in NCRs summer camp program?
I want children/students to wonder…and then go find the answers. Through Summer Camp 2022, students will be encouraged to think deeper and differently than they ever have before. The camp will offer students a unique opportunity to build a relationship between their wonders and their answers.
- How does the summer camp experience align with formal school science standards?
All summer camp lessons will be based on age-appropriate Pennsylvania State Science Standards. Every student in Pennsylvania has important information to learn. I thrive on building on that base in order to foster better learners.
- What will students learn during the 2022 summer camp experience?
S.T.E.A.M.! Each letter focuses on trains and the inter-workings of those massive machines. Learning how all the various elements come together to build an amazingly powerful machine will be an important focal point of the camp. Students will learn, not only about trains and the people who run them, but also how to think more creatively and how to work together to build some incredible ideas.
- Why should kids attend NCRs summer camp?
If school is Education 1.0, NCR’s summer camp is Education 2.0! With a more dynamic approach to learning, a different physical environment, and clear focus on trains, students will gain new perspectives for S.T.E.A.M. subjects – perspectives both exciting and personal.
- How will the camp for 6-9 year olds differ from the camp for 10-12 year olds?
A well-designed lesson has multiple layers – not only for different age groups, but also for various learning styles and levels. The emphasis will be to develop, deliver, and offer learning experiences successful for every learner. This means that lessons must be fluid and flexible. While many of the skills and learning opportunities will be similar, the older students will dive into the microscopic parts of each lesson; while younger students will see more of the “big picture.”
- What would you like kids to do as a result of Summer Camp 2022?
I’d like them to share all the learning, experiences, and skills with others. I want them to tell people – anyone who will listen – about the lessons learned, the on-train experiences, the friendships made, and the questions asked. Most important, I’d like them to think about “what’s next” for them as learners. How did their experiences with trains and S.T.E.A.M. change their thinking or foster their curiosity? What’s the next step in their learning?
Summer Camp 2022 is “coming round the bend!”
Registration for our 2022 STEAM Camp is opening soon – save the dates!
Week 1 Ages 6-9 June 20-24
Week 2 Ages 10-12 June 27-July 1
Week 3 Ages 6-9 July 25-29
Week 4 Ages 10-12 Aug 1-5
Anthony D. Fredericks, Ed.D. is Professor Emeritus of Education at York College of Pennsylvania and the Education Consultant for NCR. In addition, he is an award-winning
and best-selling children’s author of more than 50 children’s books including NCR’s “All Aboard” Starts with A [“This delightful ABC book about trains is chock-full of facts and information that will appeal to train lovers of all ages.” 5-star review.]