Campers choose either one or two sciences which run for a two week period. The courses, which are designed each year by the teaching staff, are based on practical and fun experimentation and project building. We aim to send campers home with enthusiasm and the knowledge required to take the sciences further as hobbies and spark lifelong careers.
Aquatic Biology, Nature Studies and Human Biology are always popular studies. Every summer the instructors allow us to offer a wide variety of Biology and Nature subject areas. With the camp surrounded by a wonderful natural preserve, the boys have a unique opportunity to see things first hand. Collecting river samples and observing critters in the wild are something you can only do in a “living classroom”.
Chemistry has always been a popular science. Under the careful supervision of the Chemistry Instructor, campers learn the fundamentals of chemistry and laboratory safety. Topics under investigation include acids and bases, manufacturing and investigating the properties of gasses, changes of state and the different types of bonding and reactions. Our instructors know how to make this very educational, safe and fun.
Computers have been a part of the camp since the late 1970s. As the technology has advanced so has the program, but the core of the activity at camp has been learning how to program. Like a number of sciences in camp, the topics covered in computer science vary with each year’s teaching staff and current trends. Watonka’s 2016 program included separate course in Web Development and Game Programming using Scratch. When science sessions are not running, our two fully equipped computer rooms are often opened for a ‘free activity period’. This allows campers to learn new skills under the eye of our computer staff or, on a limited basis, to play games.
Photography as a science includes learning how to compose an image and then understanding the silver based and digital photographic processes. Using Watonka’s 35mm and digital cameras and 4 darkrooms, campers learn about capturing great images by: using principles of composition, exposure basics, and controlling the subject and camera.
Earth and Space Science
Campers become fully involved in this ancient science of astronomy. They have the opportunity to learn to use different types of telescopes, about the constellations, star brightness and distance measurement, formation and motion of galaxies and other bodies. On clear nights we schedule night sky watches where campers get to put their new knowledge into practice as they recognize stars, planets and the many man-made satellites. The night sky in our secluded valley are spectacular. One of the former astronomy instructors continued his studies in this field, he flew on 3 NASA shuttle missions and is now a university professor. The camps location in Northeast Pennsylvania is famous for it anthracite coal industry roots including the Delaware & Hudson Canal and the birthplace of the American railroad. Many Geological and man made environments are accessible from camp creating excellent opportunities for hands on exploration. Field trips are available to campers including visits to a local coal mine, Franklin NJ mineral museum, zinc mine and fossil collecting areas.
What better way to learn basic electronic theory and construction techniques than to connect the wires yourself. Campers are taught the basics of modern electronics and build their own project. The camp has over 30 prepared projects or they can build from their own plans. Available projects include light chasers, noise makers, power supplies and various games. Campers make their own circuit boards, identify, orientate and solder in the components and get the project working all under the ever helpful eye of our electronics instructors. Like craft areas on camp such as woodshop, rocketry and leather; any completed and working project can be taken home and all supplies are of course included in the camp fee.
Here campers are studying the spectrum light. From such investigations to the making small paddle wheel generators which can be tested in the river, physics covers a wide range of science on camp. Additional investigations include pulley systems, strength and security of structures by building both model bridges and earthquake proof structures, the generation and distribution of electricity, the relationship between electricity and magnetism, hydraulics and the construction of simple machines all with a memorable fun approach.
Campers investigate many issues of robotics including speed vs. power, changing rotary to linear motion, positive and negative feedback systems and the advantages of belts, chains, and linkages. The program emphasizes engineering & computer control principles, so camper’s projects can take on a life of their own. Our 'New for 2017' program is based on the LocoRobo Xtreme rovers and drones. additional information
Video science concentrates on all parts of the video making process. From learning how the equipment works to investigation and experimentation of the ways of taking different types of shots, campers learn by working with the technology. A video crew is a frequent sight around camp as the class converts their ideas from a storyboard of shots through the mixing and composition stage (pictured) to a finished movie.