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Fun F-CAT Camp?
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV 20 News.
There's no hikes or swimming pools. Instead it's books and pencils. But kids say they are having a lot more fun than you might think.
It's the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test Summer Preparation Camp.
It may not sound like a good time. But kids are finding out otherwise, though building projects like an overflowing volcano or rocketships made out of plastic bottles. That's all in a day's science class at the F-CAT Prep Camp.
Fifth-grader Brian McCubbins at Columbia City Elementary School didn't want to come at first. But he's changed his mind.
"It's fun," says McCubbins. "It's helped me learn a lot. I've learned more than I have last year."
He's not the only one to have a change of heart. Lake City Middle School seventh-grader Amanda Adams thought it was going to be dumb, no fun and a waste of time. She says she was wrong on all three counts.
Adams says, "I learned how to subtract and add integers way better than I used to."
Camp Coordinator Bernice Presley says many students like Amanda need the most help in math. She started the camp last year at the urging of a former student. It was the first of its kind in Florida.
"I'm so glad I am a part of this camp because I see such educational growth," says Presley. "I see students saying, 'Gee, I am glad I came here. I've learned more math, i've learned more science.' That is the motivation when you see the glow on their faces."
But can a three week camp make a difference on F-CAT scores? Teacher Janie Gainer says she's already seen it.
"I have homework I give every other day because i have class every other day," says Gainer. "I can see an improvement."
Camp finishes this week for the 203 students of all academic levels in grades one through ten. Which means kids will regain their freedom and head back to the swimming pool. But Brian isn't afraid to admit he might be back here next summer, same time, same place.
"I told my dad i would probably come back," says McCubbins. "I don't know, I probably will because it's helping me a lot."
The camp is sponsored by the Florida Education Fund and is free to the kids. This year's camp is almost double the size of last year's camp. Presley says she hopes even more students can come next year.
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