Friday, August 19, 2016

Best of Camp Explorations

It is fitting that we have finished out our summer of camp with Best of Camp Explorations, a week filled with some of the most popular activities at Camp Explorations! Here is a glimpse of what we did this week!

On Monday, we learned about zoology. We learned about bugs and insects, and adventured around the Museum to find some interesting bugs with our bug catchers. Some campers drew pictures of their bugs in their science journals, and some even got to identify their bugs using insect and nature field guides! We played a game called Oh Deer! that is a play-off of tag. Campers are separated into two groups: deer and things that deer need (i.e. water, food, shelter.) The deer have to tag the water, food and shelter and try to get everything they need to survive! We also painted some models of animals. Green and Red groups painted foam birds, while Yellow and Purple groups painted wooden snakes! Finally, some groups made Living or Non-Living cootie catchers to help us think about what sorts of natural things are living or not.

A camper paints their wooden snake
Campers paint their birds
A camper looks for bugs in the Butterfly Garden
Campers catch and observe bugs
in the Butterfly Garden

Campers play Oh Deer!

On Tuesday, we focused on physical science. We designed and built rockets using 2-Liter plastic bottles and lots of art supplies! Campers got creative using paper towel tubes, aluminum foil, and other materials to decorate their rockets. Some teams went for more aerodynamic models, while some groups made true art masterpieces. We also made bouncy balls using special crystals that we poured into a spherical mold, held under water for 3 minutes, and then let dry. Finally, we played around with snap circuits! Campers got to choose from over 40 different kinds of circuits- some that powered a light bulb, some that powered a fan, and some that even turned on a speaker!
Campers put together a snap circuit
Campers wait for the bouncy balls to soak

Campers show off their rocket

Campers make their rocket

On Wednesday, we took a field trip to the Arboretum! Despite an iffy weather forecast, we only felt a few sprinkles and otherwise had beautiful sunny weather. We made it back to the Museum for popsicles just before it began to rain. At the Arboretum, we spent a lot of our time exploring the Fairy Garden. Campers seemed to really enjoy building new fairy homes using natural materials and some unnatural materials that were given to the garden by other people. We also played a fun insect relay race game, where campers picked from different insects and then raced each other by moving as that insect would. They decided the honey bees are the fastest. We also played some parachute games!

Campers look at things in the Fairy Garden
Campers play parachute games
A camper makes something in the Fairy Garden
Campers show off their Fairy Garden home
A camper completed everything on the
scavenger hunt!
Campers play Insect Relay Race:
honey bees vs. beetles

On Thursday, we took a trip into space and learned about astronomy! We made space helmets using paper bags and red cellophane, and then used our colorful helmets to decode different messages and pictures. We had a blast launching the rockets that we made on Tuesday. We discovered that the rockets that had the least decorations went the highest, as they had the least resistance. To end the day, we saw a Star Talk planetarium show and learned all about the planets, stars and space!

Campers in their space helmets!
This camper really wishes it was Friday!

Campers color in the color analyzers that they
decoded using their space helmets
Campers watch the rocket launch

On Friday, we ended our week with paleontology day. We used popsicle sticks and toothbrushes to excavate ice age animals that were buried in a plaster mixture.  They were difficult to dig out, but we got a sense of just how challenging it can be to do a paleontology dig! Then we made ice age habitat dioramas for our excavated animals. We made amber fossil slime by mixing borax and water together, and then combining that with clear glue and orange food coloring. It made a gooey slime that looks like amber, and we put small plastic ants in it to represent how bugs can get fossilized in amber. Finally, some groups got a Prehistoric Life Tour in the Hall of Evolution, and got to see some real skeletons of their ice age animals- Woolly Mammoth, Mastodon and Smilodon. We even had the excitement of two fire drills in the afternoon. Unfortunately this meant that some groups had to cut activities short or even miss out on an activity, but we still had lots of time for fun paleontology adventures.

A camper makes a diorama for her
ice age animal
Campers prepare ingredients for the
amber fossil slime
A camper shows off her amber fossil slime
A camper excavates his ice age animal
Campers make their amber fossil slime
Campers excavate their ice age animals

It is hard to believe that this ends our summer of camp! Thank you all for spending some of your summer with us- we had a terrific summer of science exploration with your campers! We hope to see some of you again next summer, and wish you all a great rest of summer vacation.

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