KLRU & BGCAA: Ruff Ruffman Sensational Science Camp

KLRU and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area joined forces to offer a fun 4-day Ruff Ruffman Sensational Science Camp for 10 kids ages 5-8 at Meadowbrook Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) club. The children learned about science through hands-on projects, digital games, and videos that revolve around one of our favorite PBS KIDS characters, Ruff Ruffman. The kids learned to think like scientists as they engaged in the engineering design process which focuses on identifying real-world problems and designing solutions.

It’s great to be able to listen to the children’s perspective on their camp experience. Brittany Gant, the Boys & Girls Clubs STEM Coordinator, came up with the idea of having the kids vlog.  She wanted them to be comfortable when talking about what they learned. Brittany explains that she “allowed club members to be in their element, technology based social media, and integrate it with what they were learning at the Ruff Ruffman camp so that they could connect it to their lives in a meaningful way.”

We asked three 8 year old girls about their science camp experience. Meet Karlee, Ferrah, and Brooklyn! Watch the video above to hear them talking about the camp!

Both Ferrah and Brooklyn mentioned that the camp reinforced their strong work ethic and helped them learn the value of persistence, two important life skills that will serve them into adulthood. Ferrah later shared with KLRU that she learned to plan before creating something new.  Karlee valued the opportunity to work in small groups to collaborate and problem-solve as a team.

In a moment of self-awareness, Ferrah acknowledged her inquisitive nature and her ability to use her imagination to be innovative.  Brooklyn revealed her aptitude for resolving investigations.

The camp revolves around the PBS KIDS character, Ruff Ruffman, and as Ferrah excitedly shared, “he is a great scientist!” Brooklyn points out that he is very knowledgeable. It’s wonderful that these kids now have a role model. Perhaps they will be inspired to follow in his footsteps and become scientists themselves!

As the KLRU Project Director for Ready to Learn, I was present at the camp and was particularly impressed by Ferrah. I asked Lauren Jarvis, the Club Director, to tell me more about her.  Lauren shared that Ferrah “really likes doing new things” and “likes everything science and technology.” Even though she is only 8 years old, Ferrah participates in Google’s CS First, a computer science program designed for 9 to 14 year old children.  Lauren has observed that she completes the lessons and understands the material and the processes being used. Ferrah also participates in Hour of Code alongside her friends, Karlee and Brooklyn. Ferrah is also very creative and artistic. Lauren thinks that “she is very special and has a bright future ahead of her.”  Here at KLRU, we couldn’t agree more! It is our hope to continue to support children like Ferrah to be successful in school and life.

The Ruff Ruffman Sensational Science Camp is part of the Ready to Learn (RTL) initiative funded by the Department of Education and administered by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.  Our Community Collaborative for Early Learning and Media (CC-ELM) project brings RTL science and literacy content to children ages 2 to 8 from low-income households.  KLRU partners with local community organizations to host camps and workshops at their sites. Our partners are Thinkery, Communities In Schools of Central Texas, and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area.

Please visit the PBS Learning Media Ready to Learn portal to learn more about this initiative and to access resources for families and educators.