Astronomy Summer Camp for Middle School Students

In Astronomy, students will explore our solar system and the universe beyond!  We’ll start out by revisiting and simulating the Big Bang theory, then study the surface of the sun, explore light diffraction, and build our own water rockets!  Campers will also have the opportunity to retrace Galileo’s footsteps and explore the universe as he did – through the lens of a simple, refracting telescope that’s easy enough to assemble in camp, yet powerful enough to see the Jovian moons and Saturn!

Who is this camp for?  Middle school students with a deep interest in Astronomy and space science, but not much experience.  Students with more robust mathematics backgrounds and/or knowledge of the universe should consider Astrophysics.

**An online version of this course is not currently available. If you would be interested in taking an online version of this course should it be offered, please use this link to express your interest.**

Click the tabs below to learn more about this program.

In the astronomy program, campers will participate in a wide range of engaging, inquiry-based activities.  This interdisciplinary program combines science, math, and literacy in a collaborative, project-based environment. Each day begins with an inspirational scientist of the day that is linked to the discoveries of the day to come. Young astronomers will start off camp with a bang - the Big Bang, that is!  Campers will explore the Big Bag with an interactive lab demonstrating the expansion of the universe, as well as the concept of redshifting and blueshifting. This exciting and science-packed program also includes multiple daily labs include exploration of the Doppler effect, making a pinhole camera to measure the sun, creating a spectroscope to measure wavelengths of light, and building a refracting scope to find focal lengths.  Throughout the week, campers will learn all about solar telescopy while observing and recording sunspots. campers will apply all they have learned about Newton's laws of motion in the design and creation, and ultimate launch of their own rockets as a final project.

Enrichment Activities: In addition to classtime, afternoons and evenings give campers the opportunity for informal science learning, as well as leadership and problem-solving training through workshops, experiments, guest speakers, and recreational activities. Students will also attend a mid-program excursion to a local science venue.

From day to residential programs there is an astronomy program to meet every need!

  • Option 1: Day Campers:  Attend in-person from 9 am to 5 pm and have lunch on campus
  • Option 2: Extended Day Campers: Attend in-person from 9 am to 9 pm and have lunch and dinner included in the campus dining hall
  • Option 3: Overnight Campers: Live on campus in the university residence halls and have breakfast, lunch, and dinner included in the dining

  • Program Grades Location Start Date End Date Price Options Register

    Sample Schedule Science Camps

    7:30 am Overnight campers - wake up!
    8:00 am Breakfast in the dining hall (overnight campers)
    9-9:15 am Extended day camper check-in
    9:00 am Camp meeting & warm up
    9:15 am "Major" lab session
    Options may vary by camp session & include:
    engineering, marine science, astronomy, & robotics
    12:00 pm Lunch in the dining hall (included for overnight & extended day campers;
    day campers can purchase an optional lunch package or bring a lunch)
    1:15 pm Recreation
    2:00 pm Science "minors" plus workshops
    Afternoon workshops give girls an opportunity for informal science learning,
    as well as leadership and problem-solving training. Past minors have included forensic science and chemistry.
    5:00 pm Day camper check-out
    5:30 pm Dinner in the dining hall (overnight & extended campers)
    6:30 pm Team leadership & project planning class
    7:45 pm Evening recreation & activities
    8-9:00 pm Extended day camper check-out
    9:30 pm Floor check (overnight campers get ready for bed)
    10:00 pm Room check & lights out

    Education Unlimited believes in small-group, immersive learning with subject matter experts and experienced teachers. We strive to provide industry-leading instruction to all of our students and hold all staff to the highest possible standards. Staff assignments vary by program and location. Some of our recent staff members for this program include:

    Rhonda McCoy, PhD - Camp Director

    Dr. Rhonda McCoy is a Manager of Quality Control for a leading global biopharmaceutical company.  Through analysis of quality from creation to post-expiration date, Dr. McCoy oversees a team that ensures medications sold around the world are both safe and effective.  Dr. McCoy holds a PhD in Chemistry from Howard University in Washington DC.  A member of the Education Unlimited team since 2005, Dr. McCoy has been passionate about the empowerment of middle and high school age girls throughout her career, evident in her work as Director of our Science and Engineering Camps for Girls.  She has volunteered her time as the scholarship program chair for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and taught chemistry and physics in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools of Charlotte, North Carolina.

    In addition to her doctorate degree, Dr. McCoy has a Bachelor of Science degree from North Carolina A&T State University. Prior to her five years as a research assistant at Howard while pursuing her doctorate, she spent time as an analytical chemist with the global cosmetics brand, L’Oreal.  In her free time, Rhonda enjoys travel, shopping, and time with her family.

    Taylor Halsey, MS - Instructor 

    Taylor Halsey is a Graduate Teaching Associate at Cal Poly Pomona where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology and a minor in Chemistry.  She received her Master’s Degree in Biological and Biomedical Sciences in 2018. In addition to her studies and scientific research, she volunteers with an all-girl robotics team and serves as a Gold Award project advisor for Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles.  Taylor is also actively involved in novel research, studying E. coli in a microbiology research lab. Taylor began as a science camp counselor with Education Unlimited in 2012 and was promoted to instructor. It is a passion of hers to be able to share her love of science with others and she looks forward to many more opportunities to do so in the years to come.

    Victoria Obenchain, MS - Instructor

    Victoria Obenchain is a dedicated science teacher to primary and middle school age students.  For more than 10 years she has taught at The Salkan School in Moraga, CA where she has focused on hands-on experiential learning.  In addition to her time in the classroom, she coaches an after-school robotics class and each year she is a tour group leader, taking students on international trips to countries such as Costa Rica and Japan.  A valued member of the Education Unlimited team since 2008, Victoria has been one of the most popular teachers in our Science Camp Program and is an inspiring advocate for science education. She loves spending her summers with Education Unlimited because in addition to working with kids who have come to camp to learn, she gets to focus on one subject, such as marine science or astronomy, for an entire week.

    Victoria has two degrees in Environmental Science.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Elon University in North Carolina and a Master of Arts in Environmental Education from Montclair State University in New Jersey.

    Jason Blalock - Instructor

    Jason Blalock is a computer and science teacher who has been teaching middle school students since 2009.  Since 2011, he has been teaching science to 6th and 7th grade students in the Moraga School District, where he has also taught computer technology and coding for the past five years.  He has extensive experience teaching programming fundamentals such as circuits, logic gates, and binary. He also teaches classes which focus solely on the Python programming language.  In addition to teaching students, Jason has developed computer curriculum, trained other teachers on coding instruction, and founded his own coding summer camp.

    In addition to his BCLAD Teaching Credential, Jason received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from San Francisco State University.