Community Foundation provides funding for AIG Summer Seminars

Grant funding from Polk County Community Foundation allowed more than 50 Polk County Schools students to participate in AIG Summer Seminars prior to the start of the 2022-23 academic year.  

The students, rising third-ninth graders, took part in the following seminars: Farm to Table Cooking Challenges; Robotics & Engineering with Legos; Designing and Racing CO2 Cars; Plant Alchemy; Access to Nature; and Coding, Robots & Engineering.  

The content of each seminar proved fun and engaging as did the locations for each session. The seminars were held at Harmon Field (log cabin & outdoor gym), Tryon Arts & Crafts, FENCE and Polk County Middle School.

Students, some of whom are not old enough for middle school, had the opportunity to become familiar with the layout of PCMS and the Career/Technical Education classrooms during the Coding, Robots & Engineering and Farm to Table seminars.

Students who attended seminars at Harmon Field, Tryon Arts & Crafts and FENCE had the opportunity to enjoy and explore three locations and organizations that are true assets to Polk County.

Polk County Schools offers special thanks to Travis Aldred, Will Barclift, Tracie Hanson and Todd Murphy for their assistance in reserving space and hosting the students and facilitators during the 2022 AIG Summer Seminars.

In the Plant Alchemy seminar facilitated by Jeanne Ferran, students met at FENCE and created many various herbal medicines. They made bug spray and a fennel glycerin tincture as well as a calendula salve.

Students also created dyes and soaps using  natural materials. Students participated in a creek hike to locate different plant species and played a game, (“Will the plant feed you, heal you, or kill you?”), identifying local plants.  Finally, students made their own tea blends and personalized essential oil blends while learning about the medicinal properties of many local plants.

Rising fourth-sixth grade students participated in a summer workshop to learn about, design, build and race CO2-powered dragsters.

The seminar, facilitated by Kevin Burnett, was held at the Tryon Arts and Crafts School. Students were able to learn related concepts and create original designs meeting competition specifications. The students learned about woodworking safety and used the hand and power tools in the Arts and Craft School’s woodworking shop.

Students gained confidence and experience as they got comfortable with the shop tools. They painted their original designs and finished the week by racing the cars at the outdoor gym at Harmon Field. Several parents were on hand to help out and make the event possible and fun.

The basswood winner was “Six Piece Chicken Nuggets” and the balsa wood winning car was named “Why Doesn’t This Car Have a Name?”

Rising third-fifth grade AIG students had the opportunity to participate in a week-long Robotics and Engineering seminar facilitated by Linley Foster.

Participants were introduced to more than 10 different robots and learned the basics in controlling these robots. Participants worked with robots to learn introduction level coding and programmed their robots to complete tasks.

Participants also completed multiple engineering challenges associated with their robots, including making bridges, ramps and mazes to navigate their robots through. Students also had the opportunity to create their own robots that could be controlled via remote and code.

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