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Office of Science Outreach

Summer Camps for Children

Edgewood Summer Science Camp information is now posted for 2017. Please take a look at the descriptions of each camp below. More information, including registration, can be found by clicking on the title of the camp or in the left-hand panel. Contact Amy Schiebel ( with any questions!

Camp Policies

Grades 1-3


Have you ever wondered if life exists somewhere else besides Earth? During this camp, we will learn about how life could occur in outer space. We will also see how similar and different Mars is to our own planet and what that might mean for the chance of finding life there. The camp’s other focus will be on how astronauts have learned to survive on the Moon and in the International Space Station and how this might help them eventually get to Mars. You will have an opportunity to bring home your own plant after we talk about what plants and food would need to survive in space and on other planets. Campers will get to participate in many hands-on activities throughout the week designed to help them understand why scientists are so interested in discovering if we are alone in the universe or not.


Engineers use the design process to imagine, plan, and construct products. We will explore this process by participating in a series of design challenges aimed at introducing students to concepts of structure, function, friction, power, work, and aerodynamics. Our challenges will range from bridge creation to rocket design with many stops in between. We will focus on the concept of team collaboration and communication. In order to guide our development, we will explore the value of mindfulness in developing our own neuroplasticity. We will exercise our brain with fun and engaging breathing and moving techniques that help to improve our brains flexibility and ultimately, make us better engineers. Be ready to build, collaborate, and grow together in this week of fun.


Is your child and Einstein or a Picasso?  This is a class for kids who love science and art!  Students will use both sides of their brains, and get their hands dirty, as they learn that science is an art, and there is art in science.  We will discover how the two connect in nature.  From rocks to rockets, and pinecones to polymers, we will have a blast with lab experiments, nature treks and craft projects.


Join us for an in-depth study of the living and nonliving factors that make our lake unique. We will incorporate biology, entomology, zoology, ecology, geology, and chemistry into this outdoor based week of science. Lake Wingra offers a unique canvas for science study as it is a biologically diverse urban lake. Most of our sampling will happen at the lake shore but we will spend one day in canoes making observations and collecting data. Be ready to take science outside and understand the value of our lake ecosystem.

Grades 4-6


The projects we will tackle during camp are based on the Nick and Tesla series of books. We will read about the adventures of Nick and Tesla, bright eleven year old siblings who catch criminals and solve mysteries. They use the supplies they have on hand and their science and engineering skills to figure out solutions to the problem. We will start the week by building a few of the same contraptions they made such as rocket launchers, mobile tracking devices and more. Later in the week we will come up with our own stories and scenarios and use our ingenuity and whatever supplies we can find to engineer more useful gadgets and gizmos. Like Nick and Tesla we will tinker, invent, destroy, reinvent and learn a lot.


Would you like to learn how to set up an aquarium like a professional? In this camp you will learn everything you need to know to set up and keep your own freshwater aquarium.  Whether you have never had an aquarium, or you are frustrated with your current or old aquarium, this camp will help you keep happy and fun fish while avoiding the problems that can often occur.  Every day will include hands-on experience working with fish, other aquatic creatures, and the gear used to maintain an aquarium.  You have the option to set up your own 10 gallon aquarium that you can take home at the end of the week (extra fee for equipment) or practice set-up using Edgewood gear and using that knowledge at home on your own current or new tank.  Everyone will get to take home some fish, shrimp, snails and/or plants to help you get started.  At the end of the week you will know much more about fish, the water they live in, and how to take care of both without a lot of hard work. 


Would you like to learn about the possibility of life in outer space? During this camp, we will be discussing how we define life, methods that scientists are using to search for life, and how we might recognize it on other celestial bodies! Using Mars as our main example, we will be exploring geological features that help scientists look into the past of the planet to see if life could have existed there and what that would mean for us on Earth. We will also discuss how life can exist in extreme environments such as the bottom of the oceans or places like Antarctica and Death Valley. You will have the opportunity to create your own space rovers that you will be able to bring home after we discuss how the Martian rovers are helping with the search for extraterrestrial life. This class will keep campers excited about astrobiology, astronomy, and geology all week long!


Have you ever wondered how the Hulk’s muscles are so strong? What makes Wolverine heal so quickly? How spiders climb walls? In this camp, we’ll learn the science behind these superpowers, and many more. Every day will include hands-on activities. Students will use a microscope to get a closer look at real muscles, then build a model to study how they work. We’ll build a rocket like Iron Man, learn to spot invisible animals, and build gliders to study flight. Students will explore the physics behind Captain America’s shield-throwing skills and hone their own. By the end of the week, students will know much more about superpowers and the biology and physics behind them. 

Grades 7-9


It is you and your colleagues (classmates) job to save the world!  You and your team will learn about disease outbreaks and how to control them.  You will be given the task of containing a global outbreak.  Can you save the world?  Each day you will learn about a different organ system in the body and major diseases that can infect them.  You will get to dissect a brain, heart, and other organs.  Once you are done with this camp, you will have been introduced to some of the world's deadliest or most worrisome diseases, including Zika, Ebola, wasting disease, AIDS, influenza, tuberculosis and malaria. At the same time, you'll learn how to contain a global outbreak and save the world!


If you are interested in combining creativity and art with engineering, this is the camp for you. Be prepared for a week of serious tinkering and troubleshooting that involves using your imagination, experimenting and learning from failure and success. We will start the week by learning the science behind circuits and electronics and how to use a variety of tools such as soldering irons, drills, saws and hot glue guns. Next we will go on a field trip to hunt for recycled and re-purposed materials and visit some local maker spaces for inspiration.  Back in the lab we will make sewn circuits, electronic sculptures, scribbling machines and other amazing whimsical creations that respond to our commands. 


Have you even wondered what crime scene investigators actually do?  In this camp we will spend a week learning what is happening in the lab during an investigation.  By doing the lab tests with your own two hands you will get to learn how investigators match crime scene DNA to suspects, take fingerprints, analyze forged documents, evaluate bloodstain patterns, identify unknown substances, test for illegal dumping in streams, and much more!  No experience is necessary; we'll teach you everything you need to know to use the everyday laboratory tools used in forensics labs. 


Did you know that the number of microorganisms in the human body outnumber our own cells 10 to 1? Did you know that there are more bacteria in a single spoonful of fertile soil than there are people in Madison, WI? In this camp, students will learn about the wonderful world of microbiology. We will explore the biodiversity of microbial life in the world around us, as well as how scientists use microbes to make new discoveries about how cells work or as factories to make biological molecules for use in research and medicine. Every day, students will engage in hands-on activities, including: genetically engineering glow-in-the-dark bacteria, using a microscope to get a closer look at the cells inside their own mouths, exploring the effectiveness of antibiotics on E. coli, and growing bacterial cultures from a variety of common surfaces. By the end of this week, students will know much more about the wide variety of microbial life, the methods scientists use when using bacteria as tools, and the impact of antibiotics and of hygiene habits on control of bacteria in the medical world.