Monday, June 27, 2016

Creature Features Questions

The afternoon session this week is all about creatures!  Here are some questions to ask your camper at the end of each day.

On Monday, we are learning all about bugs and insects.  Ask me about...
  • How I know if an animal is an insect or not.
  • What kind of bug I collected outside.
  • What kind of insect I invented!
On Tuesday, we will learn about herps (reptiles and amphibians.)  Ask me about...
  • The difference between reptiles and amphibians.
  • The presentation we saw on cold blooded animals!
Wednesday is all about birds. Ask me about...
  • The Great Migration game that we played.
  • The different reasons that birds communicate with each other.
On Thursday, we will learn all about mammals, specifically marine mammals.  Ask me about...
  • The whale blubber gloves we used. Ask me if it kept my hand warm or not!
  • How big different marine mammals are, and which mammal my partner and I measured out.
 On Friday, we'll learn about habitats. Ask me about...
  • What five things are needed in a habitat.
  • What kind of animal I invented and what kind of habitat it lives in.
  • What kind of habitat I created in my diorama, and what animal lives there.

Adventures in Chemistry Questions

The morning camp this week is all about chemistry!  Here are some questions to ask your camper.

On Monday, we'll learn about physical and chemical reactions.  Ask me about...
  • The difference between a physical reaction, and a chemical reaction.
  • Our colorful baking soda experiment.
On Tuesday, we'll discover that acids and bases are everywhere, and test various water samples for pH.  Ask me about...
  • If all water is neutral, acid, or basic.
  • My pH Tie Dye Bandanna! (Careful not to wash it)
  • What household item we used to test the pH of various solutions!
On Wednesday, we'll learn all about chemical reactions and even make some of our own!  Ask me about...
  • My solar powered print!
  • How high my Alka-Setzer Rocket went?  What kind of a reaction was this?
  • What we used to inflate a balloon. Hint, its not air!
On Thursday, we will learn the difference between polymers (plastics), and which can be most easily recycled.  Ask me about...
  • The dangers of plastic #7, and where we can find plastic #7
  • My Heat Sensitive Slime! What color my slime turns, when it's heated up?
 On Friday, we'll have fun with food chemistry, and learn about glucose and starch. Ask me about...
  • What was different about my lemonade during snack?  How to carbonate an acidic drink?
  • What happened to Pop Rocks when dropped into water.  How about dropped into corn syrup?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Astronomy Adventures

We had a great first week of Camp Explorations! Despite some hot days early in the week, we stayed cool with activities that were out of this world!

Campers play "Travel Through the Solar System"
Campers learn about the planets
using an inflatable solar system


Campers work on their Solar system on a String craft
On Monday, we learned all about planets and our solar system. With the help of some inflatable planets, we learned what each planet looks like, what kind of atmosphere and environment they have, and where they are in our solar system. We did a "Solar System on a String" craft where we answered important questions about each planet and then put them in their correct orbital order. We played a game called "Tour the Planets" in which we drew our solar system and then drew cards to determine which planet we should visit and color in. Finally, we played a "Travel through the Solar System" board game to learn more about the planets and their order from the sun.

On Tuesday, we spent the afternoon learning about stars. We saw a planetarium show called "Cowboy Astronomer" where we learned about constellations and how they got their names. We made constellations out of rubber bands on geo-boards, and even designed some of our own constellations! We made beautiful constellation watercolor paintings to illustrate our favorite constellations. We drew the constellations with white crayons and then painted over them with watercolor paints. We also practiced estimating the number of stars in the sky using a star field. This involved dropping a small sampling window of paper on our star field, counting the number of stars in the sampling window and then using multiplication to estimate how many stars were in the entire star field.

Campers show of the "Cat Constellation"
they invented on their geo-board
A camper works on their beautiful Watercolor Constellation

On Wednesday, we talked about how people explore space, and what other kinds of environments and materials exist in space. We made straw rockets that use two drinking straws as their launch pad. We had fun launching them outside! We also worked in groups to make space rovers that had to fulfill missions on different moons and planets. Campers learned about the surface and sunlight levels of each destination, and chose tools that would be helpful for travelling across their assigned planet or moon, and be able to complete their tasks. Some of these tasks included studying soil or taking pictures. We are all prepared to lead some exciting space adventures on expertly-designed space vehicles now! Aside from learning about rockets and rovers, we also learned about meteorites and the extreme environments that exist on different planets. We learned about what meteorites look and feel like, and how they are different from other rocks. We even go to hold and look at two real-life meteorites, and see how they are dark in color and magnetic! Finally, we learned about some organisms that live in extreme environments on Earth, like penguins and some bacteria, to help us imagine what extreme environments may be like in outer space. Scientists study organisms like these to get a better understanding of what other organisms may live in places like Mars or Jupiter's moons.

Campers add tools to their space rover
Campers launch their straw rockets!

Ready, Set, Blast Off!

Thursday was all about the moon. The Orange and Red groups saw a planetarium show called Larry Cat in Space, about a cat that goes to the moon. The Blue and Purple groups saw a show called Sun, Earth, and Moon. They learned about Earth's rotations and revolution around the Sun, and how that affects the way that we see the moon and sun. We learned a lot about the phases of the moon, and did two activities to help illustrate the different appearances of the moon. We made moon phases plates, in which we glued the phases of the moon around the outside of a paper plate. Make sure to have your camper take out their plate and show you which phase of the moon we are currently in! We also played a moon phases game that was similar to musical chairs. Counselors called out different phases of the moon and campers had to run to the card with the illustration of that phase.

Campers wait for the next moon phase to be
called out during he moon phases game
A sticker-adorned camper makes a moon phases
plate craft

After learning all about stars on Tuesday, we learned about galaxies on Friday.  We looked at different galaxies and created out own classification system for them. Then we learned about the Hubble galaxy classification system, and how scientists use classifications to sort things into groups. We did an activity called Galaxy Go Round, in which we dropped little circles of paper in water and watched how they expanded when they spun it around. This activity helped illustrate how galaxies expand.

Campers learn about galaxies expanding during the
Galaxy Go Round activity
Campers paint their galaxy jars

Campers work together to figure out how
 they would classify their galaxies

With summer at its prime, we hope you can spend some time with your camper observing the night sky and learning more about the planets, moons, and stars! We sure enjoyed venturing into outer space this week, but are excited to come back to Earth next week for Adventures in Chemistry and Creature Features to learn about the science and animals from our home planet.

I Dig Archaeology

"Gridding a Site!"

On Monday, our campers learned about how archaeologists map out dig sites. It's all about grids!  Our campers got to see tools that archaeologists use such as rulers, shovels, and brushes.  After learning about the tools, campers had fun taking quizzes guessing the names of tools, and how they are used!
Campers sketch tools in their journals, and start with the cover
Campers ask questions with real Archaeologists

Tuesday, our Yellow and Orange groups headed over to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology to see artifacts and to experience their own archaeology dig! Red and Green groups stayed at our museum to learn all about the past.  They looked at historic photos of Ann Arbor, and drew the items they would put in their own time capsules!

Campers check out a real human skeleton!

On Wednesday, the campers got to sift through the museum's own Archaic Camp Site for bones and even some human artifacts.  After sorting the bones they found by animal, the campers talked about what these bones might be useful for.  Later they got to see and touch a real human skeleton!  Finally, they campers learned about Middens (archaic trash), and what we can learn about a culture or society from its trash.

Sifting for bones at our Archaic Camp Site

On Thursday, the Red and Green groups got to take their trip to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. They learned all about ancient artifacts, and even got to take part in their own dig!  They found shards of pottery and re-assembled the broken pieces.  The Yellow and Orange groups learned about tree rings, and how we can age trees by counting the rings.  Later they sketched what they would put in time capsules of their own.

Campers listen intently to their docent guide
Campers take in the sights!
Campers at their Archaeology Dig site!  What will they find?

Meanwhile, Yellow and Orange groups work on their Time Capsule Drawings!

On the last day of I Dig Archaeology, the campers got to paint their own Archaeology Painting using oil pastels and water color paints!  They then took a trip outside, and used all the skills they have learned this week to measure and grid off our archaeology site.

Campers work together to grid their dig site and paint their Archaeological Painting 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Astronomy Adventures Questions

This week's afternoon camp is Astronomy Adventures and we're learning all about space, planets, the moon, and galaxies!

On Monday we learned about planets and our solar system, ask me about...
  • My favorite planet that I learned about!
  • How many planets are in our solar system.
On Tuesday we learned all about constellations, ask me about...
  • What constellations I drew in my watercolor constellations activity.
  • What I learned in the Cowboy Astronomer planetarium show!
On Wednesday we learned all about space exploration, ask me about...
  • What kind of space rover I made and where it was going.
  • How to tell a meteorite from other kinds of rocks.
On Thursday we learned about the moon and its phases, ask me about...
  • If the moon rotates.
  • What are the different phases of the moon, and what games we played to learn about them.
On Friday we learned about galaxies and how to classify them, ask me about...
  • The categories we created for the galaxies we saw, and how they were similar or different from the classifications Hubble created!
  • How we created our own galaxies with water and little pieces of paper.

I Dig Archaeology Questions

This week's morning camp is I Dig Archaeology and we're learning all about archaeology and what archaeologists do.

On Monday we learned about Archaeologists and their tools, ask me about...
  • What did I found at the Lakeside Site.
  • What kind of tools I saw today.
On Tuesday we went to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and the past, ask me about...
(for Yellow and Orange groups)
  • My trip to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology!
  • What I found in the dig site.
(for Green and Red groups)
  • What I would put in a Time Capsule. 
  • Which stratum of Earth has the oldest artifacts.
On Wednesday we learned all about trash, ask me about...
  • What is a Midden, and what I found in a Midden.
  • What I can make from a deer leg?
On Thursday we went to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and Archaeobotany, ask me about...
(for Green and Red groups)
  • My trip to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology!
  • What I found in the dig site.
(for Yellow and Orange groups)
  • What I would put in a Time Capsule.
  • How I can tell the age of a tree. What causes the rings to form?
On Friday we learned more about archaeology and the excavation process, ask me about...
  • My Archaeology Painting!
  • How Archaeologist's grid a site.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Meet the 2016 Camp Explorations Staff!!!

Delaney Brewer (Morning Sessions, Red Group) has been an employee at the Museum of Natural History since May 2015. She is a junior in the School of Education at U of M, majoring in Political Science and minoring in History and Spanish. Delaney cannot wait to get to know your kids this summer and share her enthusiasm for learning!

Meghan Hoffman (Morning Sessions, Orange Group) is about to start her senior year at the University of Michigan studying biochemistry and is currently in the process of applying to pharmacy school. In her free time, she gets to carry out cool chemical reactions in a research lab. Meghan also works with local schools teaching kids science through experiments and activities so they can get as excited about this stuff as she is. She loved this museum as a kid and knows we'll have a lot of fun this summer!

Tiara Jones (Morning Sessions, Yellow Group) is a senior at the University of Michigan studying Political Science and Business. She has been working at the Museum of Natural History since the beginning of her freshman
year. She is very involved on campus, and she plans on becoming a lawyer in the near future. Tiara really enjoys working with kids, and has an 8 year old nephew who is her heart. In her spare time, she enjoys running,
writing, and traveling. Tiara likes to smile and laugh, and loves new adventures. She is also a good leader who makes sure that everyone is included.

Liz Lewandowski (Afternoon Sessions, Green Group) is from Dexter, MI and is currently a 2nd year MSW student at the School of Social Work here at UM studying to become a school social worker. Before coming here to UM, she completed her undergraduate education at Kalamazoo College where she majored in International Relations and studied abroad in Cáceres, Spain. Liz also worked as a mentor and tutor with elementary and middle school students in Chicago for two years. She has a passion for working with kids and is thrilled to be a camp counselor working with your child here at the Museum of Natural History this summer!

Sarah Carrillo (Afternoon Sessions, Red Group) will be starting her second year at Michigan this fall and is currently studying Environmental Policy. She loves spending time outside; camping, swimming, hiking, and going on adventures are all activities she loves doing. She has lived in Ann Arbor her whole life and absolutely loves this city. Sarah is very excited to stay here this summer and work as a camp counselor! 

Allen Chang (Afternoon Sessions, Orange Group) is a rising sophomore at Yale University; he hasn’t declared his major yet, but he is a prospective math and music double major. Allen grew up in Ann Arbor and attended King Elementary School, Clague Middle School, and Huron High School. He attended Camp Explorations for several summers during his elementary school years. During his time at Huron, he was an active member of the Science Olympiad team, winning state-level awards and volunteering at local science events. An avid classical musician, Allen plays the piano, clarinet, and violin - you might catch him busking with friends at the Art Fair. In his spare time, Allen likes to browse the internet, eat unhealthy foods, listen to music, and sleep.

Ryan George (Afternoon Sessions, Yellow Group) has lived in Ann Arbor all his life and has junior standing at the University of Michigan. He is majoring in history and classical civilization. As a child, Ryan frequented the University of Michigan’s Museum of Natural History and loved every exhibit, diorama and display. To this very day, he still enjoys the amazing things the museum has to offer. Paleontology, and the study of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals remain among Ryan’s passions, and he is excited about sharing his interests and knowledge as a counselor at Camp Exploration.

Maggie Jones (Afternoon Sessions, Purple Group) is going to be a senior in the School of Education, majoring in elementary education with a concentration in language arts. She has lived in Ann Arbor her whole life, and she loves it here! Maggie loves to sing, dance, and read. She’s so excited for her second summer of being a camp counselor at Camp Explorations. 

Ryan McGowan (Afternoon Sessions, Blue Group) is 25 years old, was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan and graduated from Community High School in 2008. He went to Washtenaw Community College and transferred to Central Michigan University to obtain his Bachelors in History. He really enjoys talking to people about the past and reading books. Ryan also really enjoys the state of Michigan and loves spending time on Lake Huron.  He has become very interested in amateur astronomy after his time working in the museum planetarium and he really enjoys pointing out the planets to people when they are visible. 

Katherine Hamilton (Little Explorers Sessions) is a senior at the University of Michigan studying History and Political Science. She plans to go into secondary education after graduating. In her free time, Katherine competes for the Ballroom Dance team at UofM and is involved in education-related student organizations on campus. She loves camping, dancing, and meeting new friends!


Nathan Carrillo (Morning Assistant Director) was a camp counselor here at Camp Explorations last year, and this year he is excited to be the AM Assistant Director.  Nathan will be a senior at the University of Michigan and he studies German. In his freshman year, he was a music performance major in the School of Music, Theater, and Dance. He continues to play the viola and piano in his free time. While at Pioneer High School, Nathan helped mentor and instruct younger musicians through the orchestra program. He looks forward to another fun summer of camp!

Maia Gleason (Afternoon Assistant Director) is currently a Master's Candidate in the University of Michigan School of Social Work. She worked at the Museum of Natural History throughout her undergraduate time at U of M, and is thrilled to be returning for her 3rd summer as an Assistant Director of Camp Explorations! In her free time, Maia loves singing, painting and exploring the outdoors. She is excited for a great summer of science learning!

Brittany Burgess (Camp Director) is ready for her fifth year at Camp Explorations. Brittany holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and a M.A. in Museum Science from Texas Tech University.  She has experience in developing, planning and teaching summer camps at other museums. In addition to Camp Explorations, she coordinates the student docent program and manages K-12 school programming at the Museum. She is excited for another fun-filled summer!