HANFORD — St. Rose-McCarthy School kicked off its annual summer science and art camp Monday giving students a chance to express their creativity through science and art experiments.

The week-long camp is geared for third- to eighth-grade students. Students will build a kaleidoscope, dissect cow eyes, build electric cars, paint using pendulums and engage in other art projects in the school’s cafeteria.

“I’m a science guy,” said teacher and camp coordinator John Carmean, who has led similar camps for more than 20 years. “It’s my life, and I like turning kids to science.”

So far, he said the camp had about 45 students on the first day. 

He said each day students will participate in a variety of science demonstrations, problem solving competitions and art projects.

Monday the camp focused on electricity which students enjoyed, Carmean said.

He demonstrated how a Tesla coil can turn on a light bulb using static electricity. He also had students hold an energy stick which had electrodes on each end and when touched simultaneously caused LED lights inside to flash on and off.

“We made a human circuit when we all held hands,” Carmean said.

Carmean said he spends many hours making prototypes of certain gadgets that he uses in his demonstrations like various car forms, tools used to conduct electricity and many more.

“I make them all,” he said.

Shannon Larson, an art teacher at Valley Life Charter Schools in Visalia, said this is her first year participating at the camp. She said Carmean — who she met while teaching in Visalia — thought it was a good idea to integrate art in the camp.

One art project consisted of using a pendulum hooked to a PVC pipe to paint teaching students about gravity.

“You end up with this beautiful ellipse as it follows its own gravitational force, but then the students can act upon it by changing direction and choose which way they want it to go acting as the pendulum themselves,” Larson said. “It creates the most beautiful patterns.”

She said students will also make slime out of borax and glue.

“It’s a great way to talk to the kids about art and science and the application of science in a creative process,” Larson said.

Volunteer Elliot Larson, Shannon Larson’s son, said he volunteers because he was enrolled in similar camps as a child in Illinois where his mother worked. He said he always loved doing art projects with his siblings. Elliot is a junior at Redwood High School in Visalia.

“It’s pretty fun to be on the other end of it and letting these kids enjoy their creativity,” he said.

On Monday, Elliot was in charge of the spin art station where students made art paintings by using a salad spinner filled with drops of paint and created the painting on a piece of paper.

“A lot of the kids like to compare it to an explosion because it does look like that,” he said. “It’s really fun. I enjoy it.”

This reporter can be reached at csandoval@hanfordsentinel.com or 583-2422. 

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