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MState physics camp lets students explore the stars

Dr. Nandini Banerij believes learning about science and math should be fun, and she shared that enthusiasm with students at a four-day residential camp at M State - Fergus Falls during June.

Nearly four dozen area students in grades 6-9 from Underwood, Wadena, Verndale and Fergus Falls attended the Physics Camp, where they had the chance to learn about basic astronomy, science and math. Led by Banerji, students explored large and small numbers and the unseen world around us, and they learned about renewable energy and some of science's brightest ideas in optics and lasers.

The camp included a visit to the planetarium at Minnesota State University, Moorhead (followed by lunch at Space Aliens, of course), and students built and tested their own refractor telescopes.

The camp was sponsored by M State's Center for College Readiness, which provides college preparatory support to participating middle school and high school teachers and students. Each summer, the center offers students from partner schools the opportunity to attend regional science and technology summer camps.

Michael Cary, director of the Center for College Readiness, said the camps give students time to be immersed in science and technology at a much deeper level than is usually possible during the short class periods of a regular school day.

"They also allow students to experience a college campus," he said. "Many of the students attending the Center-sponsored camps have never been to a college campus, so the camp allows them to get comfortable with the idea of college as part of their future."