CARTHAGE — From nature to solar power to rockets, students in grades one to eight learned about a variety of topics during the summer enrichment program at Carthage Central School.

The programs, made possible through the state Education Department, 21st Century Grant and Department of Defense Education Activity Grant, were attended by more than 280 students.

New this year was the Fifth Grade Academy attended by 60 students, which is 25 percent of the class, said program director Tracy Strock.

“It was taught by fifth-grade teachers in art, ELA (English Language Arts) math and nutrition and fitness,” she said. “It allowed students to learn about the middle school curriculum and learn about the school.”

The elementary program focused on themes, said Ms. Strock — nature and insects for younger students and culture/traditions throughout the world and energy among us.

Students in the culture/traditions throughout the world choose a country to report on along with creating a topographic map and figure of a person in traditional clothing. The students also created a computerized story of their customs and traditions.

Jayden Passage, an incoming sixth-grader, did his report on Finland.

Jayden, who is deaf, said through his interpreter Becky Reynolds, that he wanted to know more about the Northern European country. He learned Finland has a population of 5.4 million and was covered by a think layer of ice during the Ice Age. His traditions involved boating on Lake Bonaparte with his grandparents.

Teaching about energy, fourth-grade Carthage teacher Tammy Lortie said the summer program’s goal was to familiarize students with keywords to jump start their vocabulary for studying about alternative energy sources.

“We did a lot of fun experiments such as a coke geyser,” she said, explaining when a Mentos mint is put into a bottle of cola, the liquid shoots about 30 feet into the air.

Students also made elastic band cars and solar powered vehicles.

For middle school students, there was a STEM academy, outdoor adventures, ceramics, music academy and jumpstart to Algebra in addition to the Fifth Grade Academy.

Through the STEM program students learned about rockets and roller coasters and worked with a 3-D printer.

Seventh-grader Mitchell Bush said teams worked together to make the rockets and design the rollercoasters.

“Teamwork will be a great element as we grow up, or so I’m told,” said Mitchell. “Building the rockets was a lot of trial and error. If it didn’t work you had to fix it. I learned a lot and made new friends.”

As part of the Fifth Grade Academy, students made spaghetti structures.

Scarlett Thomas said her team was supposed to make a bridge but ran out of time.

Katherine Trojanowski’s teams’ project broke.

“I learned about structures and how more than one is stronger,” she said, referring to strengthening a structure by reinforcing load-bearing supports.

Michael Plaza and Alissa Marshall took the jumpstart to algebra course.

“We got high school credits,” Michael pointed out. “It let us catch up on math we didn’t get in seventh grade.”

“I learned a lot,” said Alissa, noting she felt better prepared for algebra.

Barbara Huff said outdoor adventures included a trip to the Department of Environmental Conservation post in Dadsville where they learned about fishing and they took a hiking trip to Whetstone Gulf in Martinsburg.

Andrea Holbrook of Cornell Cooperative Extension taught the students about orienteering and geocaching.

Sixth-grader William Touchard said he liked going fishing and hiking even though he participates in those activities.

The students used some of the elements they found on their hike to make gnome homes and leaf rubbings which they framed with twigs.

“It let us put our creativity to use,” said William.

During Friday’s awards ceremony and showcase, there were two performances by the music academy rock band.

Similar programs to those presented over the summer are held after school throughout the school year.

Sign-up for the fall CASE program, which begins Oct. 21, is available online at The after school program for elementary students is available at each of the three buildings and focuses on literacy. At the middle school level, STEM programs, fitness, cooking and community service are addressed. Students from Augustinian Academy are eligible for the middle school program.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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