With the school year off to a fast start, students across the nation are getting back into the groove of the school year, some faster than others.

For roughly 700 elementary students in Cedar Rapids this past summer, the groove was found about 10 weeks ago. These students participated in an academic summer camp, located at one of six local “supersites” (Arthur, Harrison, Madison, Taylor, Truman, and Wright Elementary).

This summer camp, called Kids on Course University (KCU), is a 7-week program designed for students who just need a little extra support to rapidly advance their skills in the areas of math, reading, and writing. Because this is a camp, KCU staff made sure to add the fun! In addition to certified teachers leading project-based activities in academic areas, there was also a full-time Enrichment Leader whose job it was to create fun and exciting experiences for students doing things they may never have done before!

There was a moment of sheer excitement at the Harrison Supersite when they were learning about outer space with their teachers. They were tasked with creating their own launch-able rockets in enrichment, and the results were stunning. The thundering cheers from the kids made the hallways sound like NASA’s launch pad down in Florida.

The following day, these young rocket scientists had their sights on the moon as they got to launch their very own rockets!

While the kiddos thought this was the coolest thing ever, the teachers thought something else was even cooler:

“These kids are so engaged in what they are doing during camp. They don’t even realize that they are learning math by measuring their rockets, they don’t realize they are reading when following the instructions to make it, and they don’t realize they are writing when they take notes and review what worked and didn’t.”

Projects like these continue to get kids excited and wanting to learn new things. The students who participated in KCU are starting this new school year further ahead of where they left off last year. They are excited to learn and grow, and are ready to meet the new challenges that await them. It certainly seems like they found their groove.

Check back on the Kids on Course website soon to see the results of the 2017 Summer Camp!

Tyler Zaruba

Kids on Course – Grant