UW News

April 3, 2008

Burke Museum summer camps: Dinosaurs, DNA, polar bears and climate change

The Burke Museum will offer hands-on natural science learning experiences in five camps this summer for students from second through 12th grade — including a new all-day, weeklong camp for high school students combining environmental science and video production.

With global warming ever in the headlines, the Burke and the UW Program on Climate Change are teaming up to offer “Climate Quest,” a seven-day intensive course for students entering the 10th through 12th grades to help them better understand global warming and the human role in it.

The class, taught by UW faculty, will include active learning projects and opportunities to witness climate change firsthand, and students will create videos to communicate what they have learned. Students also can earn a single college credit for completing this course. UW collaborators for the course include Heather Price, a staffer in the Program on Climate Change; Julian Sachs, an associate professor in the School of Oceanography; Richard Strickland, a lecturer in oceanography, and state climatologist Phil Mote or Atmospheric Sciences.

Other classes include a look at dinosaurs for young students and a photographic study of the endangered polar bear and an investigation of DNA for middle-schoolers.

And like last year, the mysterious Dr. Mossbreath will offer two weeklong classes to send students going into grades four through six on a special hunt for knowledge and treasure. Last year, Mossbreath — who bears a close resemblance to Carl Sander, the Burke’s public program manager — led 20 students on a weeklong investigation that ended with a thrilling discovery, and some ice cream to celebrate. This summer, it’s rumored that Mossbreath’s equally mysterious sister will be on hand to help solve clues.

The classes run from mid-June to early August, in two sessions. Class costs are discounted 10 percent for Burke members. Here’s a breakdown of what’s being offered.

For students entering grades two and three. Session A is June 23–27; Session B is July 28 — Aug. 1. $195.
Description: Spend a week with dinosaurs this summer. Hold a real dinosaur tooth and practice being a paleontologist with a real fossil-hunter. Make a cast of a dinosaur fossil just like they do at the Burke.

Dr. Mossbreath’s Mystery
For students entering grades four through six. Session A is July 7–11; Session B is July 21–25. $195.
Description: For the past two summers, the mysterious Dr. Mossbreath has guided us on the search for lost treasure. This summer’s mystery is the best yet! Dr. Mossbreath is back to introduce a mysterious time capsule from Washington State. Follow maps, peer through microscopes, and discover clues inside and outside the museum. Where will the clues lead?

The Last Polar Bear
For students entering grades seven through nine. One session, July 14–18
Cost: $280.
Description: The polar bear — a charismatic icon in the struggle against climate change — faces a precarious future. The photography exhibit, The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World, gives students a unique opportunity to explore questions related to climate change, ecosystems, habitat loss, and conservation. Students will meet the photographer, Steven Kazlowski, and UW climate scientists, and work on their own photography project.

Investigating DNA
For students entering grades seven through nine. Session A is July 7–11; Session B is Aug. 4–8. $280.
Description: Make a model of DNA out of licorice and gumdrops. Extract DNA from foods commonly found in your kitchen. Learn the basics of DNA and how it is used to explore conservation issues around the world. In this one-week intensive (and fun) hands-on class, students will use UW labs and Burke collection specimens to examine DNA and begin to understand genetics.

Climate Quest
For students entering grades 10 through 12. One session, July 13–19, $550 / Students will receive one college credit.
Description: “Climate Quest” is a seven-day intensive course that combines environmental science and video production. Students will learn about basic climate science, the impact of climate change on the Pacific Northwest, and efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Then they will create videos to communicate what they learn.

Registration is already under way for summer programs at the Burke. To register contact Burke Education at 206-543-9681 or burked@u.washington.edu.  

For more information about summer programs at the Burke Museum, visit online at http://www.washington.edu/burkemuseum/education/summer.php.