Science camper Cilia Leal measures her lung capacity by blowing into a spirometer as counselor Doug Kreh watches. Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) is a private, Christ-centered college in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA.

Science camper Cilia Leal measures her lung capacity by blowing into a spirometer as counselor Doug Kreh watches.

Mia Wormus uses a pneumotachometer while learning about respiration during this week's Summer Camp and Science Institute at Palm Beach Atlantic University. PBA is a private, Christ-centered college in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA.

Mia Wormus uses a pneumotachometer while learning about respiration during this week's Summer Camp and Science Institute at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

After taking a deep breath, seventh-grader Mia Wormus exhaled mightily into pneumotachometer as her fellow science campers observed her vital lung capacity on a computer screen.

The exercise was part of a study of respiration and spirometry this week during the Summer Camp and Science Institute at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Later, the calculations for each student were graphed on a computer with help from Palm Beach Atlantic University faculty members Sara Browning and her husband Dr. Fred Browning.

Afterward, the students said they had fun learning a new concept.

“I never realized how much air you’re able to hold in your lungs,” said Wormus, 12, a student at Conniston Middle School in West Palm Beach.

The two-week camp is presented by PBA’s Center for Integrative Science Learning with support from the Staples Foundation, the charitable arm of Staples Inc.

The camp consists of a Science Summer Camp for students in grades one through five and a Summer Science Institute for students in middle and high school. Each day of the camp centers on a specific theme.

This week the students covered the senses, lungs, muscles, bones, heart and central nervous system. The second week will deal with the science of natural compounds.

PBA faculty members are leading the various activities, which have included experiments with color chromatography, optical illusions and anaerobic respiration. Campers also tried their hand at making hand sanitizer and detecting bone fractures using X-rays.

For one project the elementary-school students crafted a pair of lungs out of icing and candy, an activity that fourth-grader Ashlyn Dellavecchia described as “very yummy.”

Cilia Leal, a fourth-grader at Western Academy Charter School, said she is learning a great deal and that the camp has exceeded her expectations.

“I thought we were going to do assignments and homework, but we did all these fun things instead,” she said.