Children from around the state learn and have fun at UWP College for Kids and Middle University

July 29, 2003

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McKenzie Scanlan was among 19 kindergarteners who got to take an imaginary trip exploring the cultures of Germany, Japan, Africa, England and Mexico through music, dance, and arts and crafts in the "Around the World with Kindermusik" class at this year's College For Kids at UWP.

PLATTEVILLE - For most youngsters, summertime means lazy days spent lounging around the television, hanging out with friends or going to the neighborhood pool.

More than 125 kids from around the state eschewed the normal diversions this summer. They stuffed their backpacks and went to college.

Children grades K-7 became students at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville for four days this July as they participated in this year's College For Kids and Middle University day camp.

Classes that ranged from "Insects and Their Relatives" to "Computer Assisted Design" were both fun and educational for camp participants.

Carolyn Richards taught "About Those Dinosaurs," where each day brought another of the prehistoric creatures. Richards brought in fossils for the kids to look at as well as replicas of a tyrannosaurus rex skull and a complete velociraptor, both of which she created. Richards, who used to be an art teacher, enjoys creating the replicas.

"I talk to children about dinosaurs through art," Richards said.

Instructor Fay Ann Stone taught her students about the "Life of American Indians" in her classes. Students wrote stories in pictograph onto stones and danced in a traditional Native American ritual.

"The Indian people always keep the rhythm of the drum. It's the heartbeat of the people," Stone told students.

UWP chemistry professor Jesse Reinstein dazzled students with various experiments in his class. After one in which the class turned a copper penny to a gold color, Reinstein spoke about medieval alchemy.

"Would gold be worth anything if I knew how to make it?" Reinstein asked the class.

While most of the first and second graders didn't immediately see the correlation of supply and demand, at least one youngster caught on. "It wouldn't be worth that much," the student replied.

Who knew you could learn economics in a chemistry class? No matter where it came, knowledge was in abundance at this year's College for Kids and Middle University camp.

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