As science depends on curating knowledge from the past and the present, the future of science requires nurturing young people to continue these investigations in the years ahead.
With that idea in mind, the CIP-China Center for Asia-Pacific (CCCAP) Science Center recently concluded a science camp for more than 30 science-minded teenagers at its headquarters in Beijing.
Conducted over two sessions in July, the camp focused on numerous topics related to scientific understandings of livelihoods and sustainability. The students examined ideas related to the UN’s sustainable development goals, food security, and molecular biology, among others, through a variety of classroom lessons and hands-on problem solving in teams.
In one session they tangled with a classic chicken-or-the-egg question: “Did humans domesticate crops or crops domesticate humans?”
The camp was designed and led by Philip Kear, the Country Liaison Scientist for the International Potato Center at CCCAP. Along with his team, the students looked more closely at potato-related science of genetics, breeding and the technologies used to help farmers produce more reliable yields.
In addition to these wide-ranging discussion, students acquired many hands-on skills, using lab equipment and designing experiments to address real-life questions.
“It was so fun here to explore about science experiments that we cannot normally do in school, I’ve learned a lot, and I appreciate teachers and staff here for teaching me,” said Jadin Kim, one of the campers who attends a nearby international school. “I now understand how experiments require much patience and how every step must be exact and accurate. I would come again next year!”
Kear and staff at CCCAP were assisted by a helpful team of professors and PhD students from China Agricultural University and Gansu Agricultural University to guide the campers through many of the lessons and lab-based activities.