Friday, August 10, 2012

Science Sampler Adventure 2

Despite some of the rain, our last week of camp was an exciting and fun one!

Monday was all about butterflies. We took a tour of the Museum’s Butterfly Garden and recorded our observations in our journals. We also completed a scavenger hunt! Later, we did a hands-on activity to demonstrate the differences between butterflies and moths as well as observe some actual specimens.  We learned that some butterflies and moths use camouflage as an adaptation to protect themselves from predators. To demonstrate this, we played a game in which we pretended to be predators. We used straws as our beaks, and it was our job to try and pick out as many butterflies as we could in 10 seconds. For our craft on Monday, we made our very own butterfly wings!
All about butterflies!

Compound lens goggles

Tuesday we built bottle rockets! We worked in groups of either 2 or 3 to sketch and build a rocket that we launched later in the day. Using a bike pump and a special attachment, we pumped air into our bottle rocket. We then pulled a string to release the build-up of pressure causing our rocket to propel high into the sky.

Shooting off the bottle rockets

Wednesday we went to the Arboretum. We talked about how some animals use camouflage for defense, then played a game in which we tried to camouflage ourselves in the peony bushes.  We were also each given a set of cards with various animals and plants found in the Arboretum to complete a scavenger hunt.

Thursday was all about natural disasters. We made volcanoes and erupted them using baking soda, vinegar, and dish soap! We also talked about how tornadoes form, and used tornado tubes to mimic and view the eye of a tornado. Our group also used different sounds such as clapping, stomping, and snapping to create a story and imitate the sounds of a thunderstorm. We also discussed earthquakes. We built a structure over two desks using building blocks. The space between the desks represented a  fault-line to demonstrate the destruction that can happen during an earthquake.
Making our volcanoes!

Watching the tornado!

On Friday, we made UV bead bracelets using beads that change color in sunlight! Because of the rain, we had to cancel some of our other sun activities, but we spent some time learning about dinosaurs instead! We made triceratops heads and even got to explore the Hall of Evolution a little bit!
UV bracelets!

Triceratops head hats

We hope your children enjoyed their experience at Camp Explorations. We had a ton of fun with them! We hope to see some of you back next year for more science adventures!

Ecology Quest 2

On Monday, we spent a lot of time exploring the Museum's Butterfly Garden. We made nature journals to use for the week, and we mapped the Butterfly Garden. The maps we created were collected for use by the people who maintain the garden and will help them with their work! We also created a scavenger hunt for afternoon campers to use with interesting questions based on our observations in the garden.

Tuesday we visited the Arboretum, which is the perfect place to learn about trees. We learned about the structure of a tree and the functions of its parts such as the root hairs and the crown. After learning our individual roles, we came together to demonstrate a functioning tree. We also collected leaves we found on the ground for leaf art.
Everyone demonstrating the different parts of a tree.

On Wednesday, we discussed climate change and forests. Linda from the SNRE (School of Natural Resources and the Environment) provided a lab on plant growth. We learned how to collect and graph real data to determine the age of a tree and the relationship between tree growth and climate determinants. We also spent sometime classifying leaves. Using what we found in the Arboretum on Tuesday, we created leaf art!

Thursday we talked about recycling. We completed a recycle race where we learned which items can be recycled and which items cannot. The object of the recycle race was to take a pile of "trash" (it was all clean!) and place them in the correct bin. We then discussed our reasons for putting certain items in the recycling bin or non-recycling bin.  We determined recycling vs. non-recycling based off what the City of Ann Arbor recycles.  We also made recycled art!

Since it was raining on Friday, we learned about ecosystems. We were divided into teams and had to research the biotic and abiotic characteristics of various North American ecosystems. We then made a giant poster to depict our ecosystem. We then had to match animals to the environments they live in given information about that animal. We then took a vote as to whether or not the animal was in the proper ecosystem and had a discussion about why or why not.

We had a great week at camp this week learning about Ecology and exploring the Museum and other parts of the U-M campus.  We hope you will join us next year!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Science Sampler Adventure 2

As sad as we are that this is our last week of camp, we are also very excited about our upcoming activities and explorations during this second Science Sampler Adventure! You can use this blog to follow some of the camp happenings going on at the Museum and beyond. Please be sure to check the blog again on Friday to see some pictures from the week!

Here are some suggestions of what to ask your children about at the end of each day!

                Ask me what types of plants and animals we saw in the Butterfly Garden.
                Ask me about the differences between a butterfly and moth.
     Ask me about the bottle rockets we made!
                Ask me what we used to make our bottle rockets fly!
                Ask me about our nature hike scavenger hunt in the Arboretum!
                Ask me about the camouflage game we played.
                Ask me about the volcanoes we made and then watched erupt!
                Ask me about  how we simulated earthquakes.
               Ask me the UV Light experiments we did.                
               Ask me about the solar cars we raced. 

Ecology Quest 2

As sad as we are that this is our last week of camp, we are also very excited about our upcoming activities and explorations during this second Ecology Quest! You can use this blog to follow some of the camp happenings going on at the Museum and beyond. Please be sure to check the blog again on Friday to see some pictures from the week!

Here are some suggestions of what to ask your children about at the end of each day!

                Ask me what types of plants we saw in the Butterfly Garden.
                Ask me about the Scavenger Hunt questions we created!
                Ask me about my role in the Tree Factory!
                Ask me about my favorite part of the Arboretum.
Ask me about the Plant Growth Lab we did.
Ask me about the leaf art we made.
                Ask me about the Recycling Relay Race!
                Ask me about the recycled art we made!
                Ask me  what types of things I heard, saw, smelled, and touched in the Diag.
                Ask me about the U of M Scavenger Hunt!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Science Sampler 1

We have had a great seventh week of camp! This week is Science Sampler where we learned about different sciences. 

Playing with oobleck.
Monday was all about messy science. We made oobleck featured in Dr. Seuss's Bartholomew and the Oobleck using cornstarch and water. Oobleck is a "Non-Newtonian" liquid which means it is a runny consistency when you let it move freely through your hands and a solid when you apply pressure to it.

Dry Ice Bubbles
Another interesting experiment we did was dry ice bubbles. We were able to hold a solid bubble filled with fog in our hands! We also used various materials to create our own bubble wands and make gigantic bubbles.

Making our dry ice bubbles!
Look at that giant bubble!

Goggles demonstrating insect eyes

Tuesday we learned about incredible insects. Using special insect goggles and other various materials we were able to compare the anatomy of an insect to ourselves. We discussed important adaptations that some insects have such as camouflage and colored our own butterflies to hide around the museum, and then we created an insect of our very own.

We also played a game called "The Waggle Dance" in which some of us were forager bees gathering nectar (scented paper flowers with sugar attached) and the rest of us were worker bees taking care of the hive then matching the scent of the flowers that the forager bees brought back. This demonstrated the real roles of bees in the hive.

Smelling the flowers for its scent.

He found the flower with sugar!

Making your own insect.
Look at that insect!

Seeing how an insect see.

Looking at the parts of a cell.

On Wednesday, we talked about how our bodies work starting with cells! We created a cell and learned how all of the different smaller parts of the cell work in living things.

Making the lungs

In order to demonstrate how our lungs work, we created a model lung in which the straw represented our wind pipe taking in air, the larger balloon at the bottom demonstrated our diaphragm contracting, and the smaller balloon inside the cup represented our lungs filling with air when these parts of the body work together. We also checked our vitals such as our heartbeat and blood pressure and discussed ways in which we can be healthy in our group!

The finished lung!

Making the lung "breathe"

Checking our vitals

A Cloud in a Bottle
 Thursday was about weather. We created our own miniature water cycle experiment using a bowl of water, some clear plastic wrap, and a coffee mug to demonstrate all of the steps. We also made a cloud using a plastic bottle with a small amount of rubbing alcohol. We pumped air into the bottle using a tire pump, and when we removed the pin, the air pressure dropped, and the water molecules clung together creating a cloud. To continue the discussion of clouds, we also observed some outside and journaled about the types and shapes of the clouds that we saw.

Friday was all about Bats Around the World. Michelle from the Organization for Bat Conservation's Bat Zone brought some live bats to show us.  She talked about the importance of bats and even helped us to debunk some bat myths.  We talked about how some bats use echolocation to find their food.  She had a special machine where we could hear the bat's echolocation.

Listening to the echolocation of the big brown bat.

Then we played an echolocation game where we simulated the sonar method of echolocation that a bat  uses by playing a game where we used sounds to locate our "food".  The bat sent out a sound signal to find the other players (the insects or food).  We also made our own origami bats.