BHSU education students get hands-on experience during BHSU summer camp

Author: BHSU Communications/Tuesday, June 30, 2015/Categories: 2015









           Black Hills State University student Samantha Bunney, early childhood special education major from Box Elder, talks about the importance of eating healthy with children during the 2015 Discovery Exploration camp at BHSU. BHSU hosted nearly 40 campers in grades kindergarten through eighth grade during the week, educating them on a variety of topics from nature to science to art.




Black Hills State University students and future teachers Samantha Bunney and JoLynn Novak are spending time in the classroom this summer, adding invaluable experience to their resumes. Bunney and Novak spent a week with the 2015 BHSU Discovery Exploration Camp, educating young students on science and nature in the Black Hills region.

Nearly 40 campers in grades kindergarten through eighth grade attended this year&rsquos camp. Camper&rsquos learned about plants and animals native to the Black Hills, Native American culture and geography. Middle school campers spent time in the Life Sciences Lab, conducting experiments with BHSU professors, witnessing first-hand what BHSU has to offer college students.

Bunney, early childhood special education major from Box Elder, and Novak, early childhood special education and elementary education major from Lead, met prior to the camp with professional educators, learning new classroom technologies and additional literature and writing trainings they could use to engage students and provide a fun, educational program. The two worked side-by-side with area teachers and University educators during the week-long camp.

Hosting students on campus is a huge benefit to the University and BHSU students, said Vicki Linn, assistant professor of early childhood education at BHSU.

"I enjoy watching our undergraduate students grow phenomenally in their ability to think about children&rsquos development, what they are interested in learning and how that is all pulled together for a lesson plan," Linn said.

Working with professional teachers allowed Bunney and Novak to gain skills and confidence as they enter the elementary classroom for practicum and student teaching courses in the next few years.

"I love working with kids and have gained so much teaching them and working alongside the professional teachers in this kind of setting," Bunney said. "It&rsquos good to have this experience to help me better ease into student teaching."

"It&rsquos been great working with a teacher that has experience. I&rsquove been practicing her skills and how she delivers her lesson plans," Novak added. "It&rsquos great to see how everything is set up, how to work with the children and engage them."

Their work in the classroom impacted the students. Linn said campers would show up nearly 30 minutes early to Discovery Exploration camp each day. That excitement and eagerness from the children reinforced the education program at BHSU, she said.

"It just makes what we do on a daily basis even more meaningful," Linn said. "The students are so excited to be on a university campus and be in classrooms where adults go to school. It helps them see that learning isn&rsquot just something you do in the third or fifth grade. It&rsquos something you do for a lifetime."

Upcoming camps include Unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe, June 29-July 2 and Sting&rsquos Eco Explorers on July 21. For more information on BHSU summer camps, visit

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