Monday, June 30, 2014

Science Extravaganza 1 Questions

This week at Camp Explorations we'll be exploring different themes every day!  Feel free to check out this blog for information about camp this week.  Here are some questions you can ask your campers at home every day.

On Monday, we will learn all about dinosaurs.
Ask me about predator-prey relationships!
Ask to see my Stegosaurus model!

On Tuesday, we will learn about astronomy.
Ask me about black holes myths!
Ask me about the astronaut activity!

On Wednesday, we will walk to Nichols Arboretum.  Please remember to pack sunscreen, bug spray, and a water bottle for the walk!
Ask me what we saw at the Arb!
Ask me if I completely the scavenger hunt!

On Thursday, we will learn about Geology.
Ask me about the CoreKids visit!
Ask me about minerals we use every day!

CSI: Ann Arbor 1 Questions

We're excited to learn about crime scene investigation this week!  You can check this blog to follow camp events, both at the museum and beyond.  Please be sure to check again on Friday for some photos from the week!

Here are some suggested questions for you to ask your camper this week!

On Monday, we will learn about what it means to be a detective! 
Ask me about our our observation games.
Ask me about the crime scene I documented.

On Tuesday, we will learn about physical evidence!
Ask to see my fingerprints!
Ask about our chromatography experiments! 

On Wednesday, we will learn the basics of blood!
Ask me about blood spatter measurements!
Ask me about "Ernie's Exit" and the testing blood types!

On Thursday, we will investigate a mock crime scene!

Ask me about how I knew who did it!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Space Explorers 2

We've had another great week at Camp Explorations!  We explored different parts of space every day and were even able to go into the planetarium!

On Monday, we learned all about stars.  Using our bodies, we acted out the life cycle of a star and learned about what happens to stars after they've died out.  We discovered which stars are our “birthday stars” (stars whose light are the same age as us) and also made our own cootie catcher star finders! 
Acting out the life cycle of a star.  Fast-moving "atoms" make for blurry pictures!

Yellow group drew pictures of some common constellations.

Showing off his star finder.

Seeing telescopic photos of a stellar nebula.

Tuesday’s theme was the Moon.  Groups saw a planetarium show and made scale models of the Earth and Moon.  We brainstormed what types of objects would be best to have if we crash landed on the Moon and learned about the phases of the Moon.  Be sure to ask your camper to show you the Moon phase memory game they made!
Some campers testing out their new "Moon phase memory" game.

Debating on what the most important resources would be for a crash landing!

Very excited campers making earth and moon scale models!

We focused on meteorites and asteroids on Wednesday.  Groups played a game to learn about the differences between meteors, meteoroids, and meteorites and explored how craters are formed and what affects their size and shape.  Lastly, we took a fun quiz on asteroids, comets, and meteors.  You can take it here:  Ask your camper to help you answer the questions!
Doing the quiz; this group answered 8/9 questions correctly!

Playing the "Meteorites Space Rocks!" game!

Making craters with different types of "asteroids."

On Thursday, we focused on the solar system.  Campers saw another planetarium show, this time about our solar system and the planets.  Everyone made their own pocket solar system models to take home.  We were even able to take a short walk to the Diag, where we created a solar system model with our bodies and learned about rotation, revolution, and the order of the planets.
Bringing the solar system to life!

Working hard on his pocket solar system.
Our last day at camp was especially exciting!  Campers learned all about the different types of rockets and worked in groups to make their own water rockets.  At the end of the day, we all set them off!  It was a spectacular end to a great week at camp.  
Careful construction

Ready for liftoff!

How high will it go?

We had such a wonderful time, and we hope the campers did, too!  We hope to see you again here at the museum!

Phenomenal Physics 2

Today was our first day of focusing on physics at Camp Exploration.  We learned about gravity and friction by making mini zip lines in the morning.  We also performed some cool experiments where we observed about gravity and its relation to wind resistance. After introductory activities, we traveled to the Dennison building on campus where U of M staff gave a truly phenomenal physics demo that included cannons, Tesla Coils, and a closer look at sound and light!  It was a great kickoff to what's sure to be an even better week.
Example Tesla coil

Ping Pong ball air cannon!

On Tuesday, we focused our energy on sound.  Did you know sound is made from vibrations and travels in waves?  We found out about these vibrations from our tuning fork activity.  We also learned how sound can travel by making our own cup and string telephones.  Our campers got to observe how vibration creates sound up close when they created their very own "bee hummer", a homemade noise maker that imitates the sound of swarming bees.  We had tons of fun making our own kinds of sounds with our sound charades game, as well.

Learning about sound vibrations by seeing how tuning forks displace water.

String telephone!

Trying out a bee hummer!

Learning about SUPER absorbent polymers!
Wednesday we learned all about polymers.  Polymers are large molecules made up of chains of many smaller molecules called "monomers".  These polymers, natural and synthetic, are all around us and used by us every single day.  We started off our day by making our own polymer chain models with pop beads and paper dolls. We learned that polymers have strength in numbers and the greater number of tangled chains we added, the more difficult they became to tear.  Then, we conducted some experiments of our own on everyday polymers, testing them for strength, stretch, water resistance, and more.  Did you know you can make a kind of plastic at home with things from your kitchen? Using vinegar, we altered the milk's proteins to make our own polymers.  We even made it outside to test different conditions that affect polymers by freezing tennis balls and studying how temperature affects their bouncy abilities.  Don't forget our diaper experiment!  We used the super absorbent polymers found in diapers to make a glass of water unable to be poured: a fun trick and an even cooler experiment!

Frozen versus room temperature. Which ball do you think will bounce better?
Plastic milk!

Thursday, we had a camp field trip to the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum where we participated in a lab on electricity and circuits.  Our campers had a blast learning about series and parallel circuits, and even made a few circuits of their own design.  Did you know is made up of a load, a power source, and a control device all connected by a conductor?  Our campers sure do!

Having fun with circuits

Teaming up!

Friday was our last day of Phenomenal Physics camp, but this ending was more sweet than bitter as we spent our morning studying Candy Science!  Ever wonder why M&Ms don't melt in your hand?  We learned about their non-water soluble coating by making our own "magic", floating "M"s.  We also learned about how layered candy is made by observing the dyes in Gobstopper candies.  The dyes won't run together, which we were able to demonstrate ourselves.  Our campers also learned a lot about light and rainbows today by making a rainbow in a test tube with jelly crystals.  We talked about the different wavelengths of light and how the three primary color crystal colors, appear to blend into a whole rainbow. We even made our very own "rainbow scopes", to see the whole spectrum of light from any source of white light.

Floating "M"s

Gobstopper's after a few seconds!
Making our rainbow scopes! 
Rainbow test tubes!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Space Explorers 2 Questions

We're excited to learn more about space this week!  You can check this blog to follow camp events, both at the museum and beyond.  Please be sure to check again on Friday for some photos from the week!

Here are some suggested questions for you to ask your camper this week!

On Monday, we will learn about stars.
Ask me about the life cycle of a star!
Ask to see my star finder!

On Tuesday, we will learn about the moon.
Ask me about the planetarium show!
Ask to see my moon phase memory game!

On Wednesday, we will learn about meteorites and asteroids.
Ask me about when we made craters!
Ask me about the 'Space Rocks!' game!

On Thursday, we will learn about the solar system.
Ask me about the planetarium show!
Ask me about our human solar system!

On Friday, we will learn about rockets.
Ask me about the rockets we made!
Ask me what my favorite part of camp was!

Phenomenal Physics 2 Questions

We are so excited for our second week of camp, and hope you are too! 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!


On Monday, we will learn about gravity and friction and went to see demos from the U-M Physics. 

Ask me about the physics demonstration we saw.
Ask me about our gravity experiments.


On Tuesday, we will learn about sound. 

Ask me about sound charades.
Ask me to show you my bee hummer.


On Wednesday, we will learn about polymers. 

Ask me about "great bouncing polymers".
Ask me how to make homemade plastic.


On Thursday, we will visit the Hands-On Museum and participate in a lab on circuits. 

Ask me about my trip to the Hands-On Museum!


On Friday, we will learn about color. 

Ask me about our "candy science" experiments.
Ask me to show you my rainbow scope.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Space Explorers 1

Meeting Venus!
It has been an exciting and fun first week at Camp Explorations!  This week we learned about many different aspects of space, from constellations and comets, to space exploration and rockets.  On Monday we focused on planets in our solar system and learned about them in fun ways!  We “met” all of the planets and then learned more facts by playing bingo.  Then everyone was able to create their own flag for a planet in our solar system based on facts about that planet.  Lastly, we played a game called “Share Your Planet,” that helped us learn that if we ever need to find a new planet to live on, we will have to communicate with its original inhabitants to live peacefully.

Our campers learned more about the planets of our solar system by playing planetary bingo!

Playing "Share Our Planet."

Tuesday’s theme was constellations.  One of our counselors gave a Star Talk planetarium show to the campers where they learned about the different stars and constellations visible from our area.  We then learned more about other constellations and made representations of some of them.  Campers even got to create their own constellations with special stories behind them!
Ask your camper about the legend behind Ursa Major!
On Wednesday we learned about space exploration.  The campers made their own space training programs, tried out using astronaut gloves, and learned about the difficulties of living in space.  Campers let their creativity run wild when they made their own space craft!  They went above and beyond the general needs and put extra features on their ships.  Then the groups were able to make their own rockets and test out what helped them fly.  Older kids tested out different types of fins on their straw rockets while the younger kids tried out different levels of “rocket fuel” in their alka-seltzer rockets.
Working on the space crafts

Working with "astronaut gloves" is hard work!

Red group with their alka-seltzer rockets

Thursday was all about comets.  The groups watched a special planetarium presentation called “Impact Earth,” and then got to learn about the different parts and features of comets through a demonstration.  Campers were also able to create their own comets on a stick; be sure to have them show you their comets and tell about the different parts!
Decorating comets
Making a comet with household items.

The theme for our final day of Space Explorers Week 1 was "All Things Space."  Campers put on their scientist thinking caps and explored "space dust" and hunted for dust around the museum to compare it to dust in space.  We then learned about our galactic address and made a galactic mobile!
Galactic Mobiles!

Searching for dust around the museum.

Overall, it was a great week!  We are so happy to have had these campers and we hope to see them again later this summer!

Phenomenal Physics 1

We've been having a super week here at Camp Explorations!
We started off our physics fun by learning about sound and light!  Did you know that light and sound travel in wave?  We used diffraction lenses to separate out the different wavelengths of light to see the complete rainbow in the white lights all around us.  We also learned about the rates of reactions and energy by testing the how brightly glow stick liquid glows in hot or cold water.  We studied how laser light is invisible through clear air and water, but becomes visible with passing through a colloid mixture that doesn't dissolve in water.

On Tuesday, we learned all about the physics of flight!  You probably saw some of your camper's own hand made air crafts.  After learning all about drag, lift, and thrust we made a lot of paper airplanes and Magnus and hoop gliders.  We even launched a few off the rotunda balcony!

On Wednesday, we learned about all kinds of energy.  From balloon cars to table top poppers we discovered all kinds of ways to get stuff moving.  We demonstrated the difference between potential and kinetic energy by building our own marble roller coasters!  Our campers also made a battery from items found around the house (ask them about which ones).  Don't forget the homemade light bulb that really made the campers light up!

Thursday was our trip to the Hands On Museum!  We saw and did a lot of interesting experiments and activities all about physics.  Everyone had a blast!  Between all four floors we got to learn about the physics behind weather, sound, light, our bodies, rockets, magnets, and so much more!

Friday is always bittersweet, but our last day of camp was packed with several fun activities.  We learned about diffraction and light some more with some new kinds of hidden messages.  We also learned how to make a rainbow out of nothing but a mirror, a little sunlight, and a bowl of water.  Whether they got their hands dirty or enjoyed from afar, our campers learned all about optics from our up close and personal cow eye dissection!  We studied how cow eyes are similar to human eyes with a just a few exceptions so our campers got a pretty good understanding of how our eyes work!