School District's new program ran for two weeks in August, drew around 300 participants

ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Students work on creative projects during art class at the Estacada School District's Summer Academy Program last week.

At the Estacada School District's Summer Academy, students worked on gardens, built cities for robots and acted out fairy tales with puppets.

The new program ran from Aug. 6-17 at River Mill Elementary School. Children entering kindergarten through eighth grade participated in the academy at no cost to families, and approximately 300 students attended.

Classes at Summer Academy included music, art, dance, theater, gardening, STEM, reading, math and physical education. Students also received a visit from the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry to create rocket cars and went to Milo McIver State Park for a nature walk and fish hatchery tour.

Margie Arnett, who taught Summer Academy's gardening class, enjoyed seeing students engaged with the work. They focused their efforts on a butterfly garden and a vegetable garden.ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Summer Academy students tend to a garden at River Mill Elementary School on Friday, Aug. 17.

"I love seeing all the excitement. They love seeing the finished product," she said.

Students were able to taste much of what they grew.

"I was pleasantly surprised at their willingness to try vegetables," Arnett added.

Meanwhile, in P.E., students played games like kickball and duck duck goose.

"It's fun to get to know a variety of students," said Emily Anderson, who taught the course.

Theater class focused on fairy tales. Older students acted out a story of their choice using pantomime, while younger students created puppets for Little Red Riding Hood or the Big Bad Wolf and acted as those characters.ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Theater students use puppets to play the roles of the Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood during a lesson on Friday, Aug. 17.

"It was great to see the various interpretations and twists students brought to fairytales, and how they made them their own while still telling a familiar story," said Nick Herb, who taught the program's theater classes.

In STEM class, students worked with small robots called Ozobots, which they coded to follow certain colored lines. Using a white sheet of paper as a base, students drew black lines for the Ozobots to follow. Next, they used items like Legos and cardboard to build a city for the robots to explore.

"We decided to make a few tunnels from toilet paper rolls," said Sophia Lucas, explaining the city she was building.

"You have to make sure the Ozobots will fit," concluded Charlotte Garrison.

ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Students in a STEM class create cities for their Ozobot robots to move through.

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