Friday, June 28, 2013

Space Explorers 2

It's been a stellar week for the campers of Space Explorers 2!!  We started the week learning all about stars, constellations, and the star most important to us: the sun! Did you know that the number of sunspots changes over the years? We made a bar graph plotting the number of sunspots between 1969 and 2001, and the results were pretty fascinating!  We also made a "sunion," which taught us about the different layers of the sun!
The sun has layers, like an onion...hence, it's a sunion!

On Tuesday, we focused on the Solar System.  We learned the order of the planets by making an orbiting planets model, and watch a planetarium show.  Many of us really enjoyed this show, saying it was one of our favorite parts of the day!  

Wednesday we learned what it would be like living and working on the International Space Station!  We got to see all different kinds of space food, and got to see what it would be like to try and eat with a fork in outer space.  Also, did you know that fire fighter equipment, invisible braces, and joystick controllers were all originally invented for the space program? We learned about these and many more inventions for space.  Finally, we packed our bags for the international space station in a friendly competition to see who packed the best!

Simulation of using a fork in zero gravity

Thursday was all about Mars.  The highlight of the day was learning about the Mars rover, then making our own obstacle courses where we had to drive our rover not by looking at it, but by following the directions of our group members.  It was a great lesson in teamwork! We also made a model of ice on Mars and watched the changes that occurred as the ice melted.

Green group's obstacle course
Red group's Ice on Mars
Orange group's Ice on Mars

We finished out the week with our most exciting day yet: rockets!!  We made our own soda straw rockets and measured how far they would travel, launched alka seltzer rockets to see how high they would fly, and saw a demo of a balloon rocket from the first to the second floor of the museum!

 Despite the constant rain, it’s been a great week for all of our campers, and we can’t wait to see old and new faces next week for Science Extravaganza!!

Phenomenal Physics 2

We had another great week filled with even more physics adventures! On Monday, we visited the U-M Physics Department and saw all sorts of cool physics demos. We learned how our eyes focus light that enters, we saw how a wine glass breaks under certain sound wave frequencies, and we even saw some awesome cannons that fired when a battery was charged with high voltage, and then released all at once! Then we came back to the Museum of Natural History and played with our Magnus Gliders, made from Styrofoam cups and rubber bands.
Flying our Magnus Gliders outside the Museum

Learning about wave frequencies at the Physics Demo

Learning how an eyeball focuses light

Watching a wine glass shatter due to high frequency

The awesome tennis ball cannon!

Tuesday was all about optics and light. We explored convex and concave lenses, and say how they bend light differently. We made hidden messages and then put colored cellophane over them to see which colors would bring out the message. We discovered the opposite colors on the color-wheel work together- so a hidden message in yellow or orange would come out if you put blue cellophane over it.  Finally, for our big event of the day, we dissected cow eyes! Despite the fact that is was a little gross, it was really cool to see the different parts of the eye and what each is used for! We found the optic nerve, retina, lens and something called a tapetum, which reflects light in the eye when its dark so animals can see better at night.
Dissecting a cow eye

On Wednesday, we took a field trip to the Hands-On Museum. We spent a little bit of time on each floor, and had a lot of fun playing with all of the exhibits! Some of our favorites were the bubble ring and the rock wall.

Learning about sand dunes at the Hands On Museum

Thursday we talked about polymers, which are long chains of molecules that get all tangled up and stick to each other! We did some experiments to see what kind of materials are polymers and even made our own chains out of paper that helped us to understand what a polymer is. Then we used our new knowledge to make Gravi-Goo, a gel that self-siphons, and Borax slime, and saw how these polymers stuck together and even stuck to our hands (and the floor…oops.)

Making polymer chains

Mixing the Gravi-Goo

We spent our last day exploring sound. We did several activities, including sound charades, where we had to make sounds like car horns and crunching leaves, and sound houses, which sing a note when you swing them around. We also made sound sandwiches and guitars out of materials like cardboard, popsicle sticks, straws and rubber bands! It was a very musical (and noisy) day, and a fun way to end a fantastic week!
Playing our sound sandwiches

Sound Charades

We are excited to see both old and new friends next week for our first session of forensic science camp, CSI: Ann Arbor. We will need all the help we can to get to the bottom of some mysterious situations, and hope our campers can help us out!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Space Explorers 2 Questions

Monday, June 24:
Ask me about sunspots.
Ask me about the sunion I  made!

Tuesday, June 25:
Ask me about the planetarium show I saw!
Ask me about the orbiting solar system I made!

Wednesday, June 26:
Ask me about space food!
Ask me about the International Space Station.

Thursday, June 27:
Ask me about ice on Mars.
Ask me about driving a Mars rover mission!

Friday, June 28:
Ask me about the mission insignia I made.
Ask me about launching rockets!

Phenomenal Physics 2 Questions

Monday, June 24 
Ask me about the Magnus Gliders we made!
Ask me what kind of physics demos we saw and which one was my favorite!

Tuesday, June 25
Ask me what I learned from the Cow Eye Dissection!
Ask me about convex versus concave lenses!

Wednesday, June 26
Ask me about the Circuits Lab we did at the Hands On Museum!

Thursday, June 27
Ask me about polymers!
Ask me about the Gravi-Goo we made!

Friday, June 28
Ask me about the sound sandwiches we made!
Ask me about the sound charades we played! What kind of sounds did we have to act out?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Space Explorers 1

We had a blast at the Museum of Natural History’s first week of camp: Space Explorers!  The week took off with an exploration of all things in space.  We saw a planetarium show, learned about different types of galaxies, and made our very own space decorations.  Best of all, we got to meet and make friends with all of the new campers and counselors!

On Tuesday, the fun continued and we learned all about spacecrafts.  We got to design our very own spacecrafts, and many of us worked together to make the best possible crafts!  We also learned about artificial gravity and make our own artificial gravity simulator to see what it’s like for real astronauts!

   Some of us made dials to show all the phases of the moon, while others of us made flip books that show the moon going through all of its phases.  We got to see another planetarium show, and talk about what it would be like if we were astronauts and crash landed on the moon!
Wednesday was all about the moon.

On Thursday, we made a trip to the Diag to act out the solar system in a human powered orrery.  The fun continued when we got to go on a mission to discover a strange new planet and create a new mnemonic device to help us remember the order of the planets in the solar system.

The week ended with the most exciting topic yet: aliens!  We got to listen to and see alien messages, and write our own.  We learned what it takes for there to be life on a planet, and best of all got to make our very own aliens!

This has been a great week of camp, and we look forward to seeing new and old friends at week two of Space Explorer camp!!