Summer camp kids beat the heat with cool science experiments

Penelope grabbed a red and purple popsicle stick and taped them on opposite sides of a coffee filter. The 7-year-old girl then carefully took a paper muffin cup holder and taped it in between the popsicle sticks to make a parachute.

Another child, meanwhile, made a parachute held up by straws.

“Which do you think will fall faster?” asked Jen Ujczo, an FCA US Motor Citizen volunteer assisting children with the science experiment.

“I think the popsicle one will fall faster,” Penelope predicted. “It’s heavier.”

She was right!

On the other end of the room, volunteer Meredith Weidner worked on the experiment with two boys, one of whom placed a plastic egg in the parachute.

Malachi, 7, predicted the parachute with the egg would fall faster.

“The egg makes it heavier,” he said.

Children in Oakland Family Services’ summer camp are conducting some cool science experiments thanks to FCA US Motor Citizen volunteers. The FCA US employees are coming to the Children’s Learning Center in Pontiac weekly to teach summer kids STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) activities.

“They are learning how to problem solve,” said volunteer Jessica Rummel. “At some point they will be in a situation where they need to problem solve.”

Inside another classroom, Kelli Strable was teaching the kids about friction and gravity through an experiment that involved the children racing plastic eggs down a zipline made of either ribbon or string.

Ethean selected a light blue, plastic egg to make his car and placed a small, Hershey candy bar inside to act as a passenger.

“What do you think would be faster, the string or the ribbon?” Kelli asked.

Ethean made his prediction aloud.

“The ribbon will be faster,” the 9-year-old boy said. “There’s very little friction.”

Aubrey, 6, said she enjoyed both science experiments.

“I learned if something is heavy, it goes down faster,” she said.

Oakland Family Services is grateful to the FCA US Motor Citizens for helping build brighter futures for the children in our summer camp! If you would like to volunteer your time, please check out more information here!