Space & Weather – Neutral Buoyancy Bottles

Space & Weather – Neutral Buoyancy Bottles

As astronauts-in-training, today students are going to be challenged to help objects achieve the state of neutral buoyancy by studying the property of density so as to better understand what causes things to sink or float in a particular environment. First students tested different materials in water and observed which objects had a density less than or greater than the water. Then they attempted to make things that once floated now sink, and objects that once sunk now float. Using all of this information the students made neutral buoyancy bottles that they could take home! 

Ask your camper: What does neutral buoyancy mean? What does it look like?

Aurora Program Pictures

 

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O’Fallon Program Pictures

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Oceanography – Sea Star Dissection

Oceanography – Sea Star Dissection

Our marine zoologists jumped right in and started the day week with sea star dissections. Sea Stars are Echinoderms and are fascinating because of their simple body plan, which lacks a head. Campers observed  the variety of interesting adaptations unique to the sea star, including a water vascular system and external digestion (stomach protrudes out of their mouth to engulf prey and begin digestion, then stomach retracts back into the body to finish digestion). Sea stars move and feed like no other organism on the planet. 

Ask your camper: How many arms does a typical sea star have? Most sea stars have five arms, but there are some species with as many as 40-50 arms!

Aurora Program Pictures

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O’Fallon Program Pictures

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Makey Lab – Creative Toy Designs

Makey Lab – Creative Toy Designs

Calling all toy makers! The world is in desperate need of new toys, so this week your campers are tasked with creating them. There are five different categories of toys to be made, and working both in groups and individually throughout the week, the campers will brainstorm, design, build, and “sell” their new toys. The only rule – the toy can’t contain any batteries or any electrical power source! What will be designed in our workshop?

Ask your camper: Which category of toy are you building? What ideas did you and your group brainstorm?

O’Fallon Program Pictures

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Genetics: Nature or Nurture? Day 1

Genetics: Nature or Nurture? Day 1

Today, campers explored the behavioral responses of a tiny, microscopic (~1mm) worm!! We compared the behavior of mutant worms in two different environments – an E. coli bacterial lawn and plain agarose (normal worm media lacking the bacteria). Campers were introduced to experimental design and basic statistics, laying the foundation for analyzing the data they will be collecting all week. They were also given an overview of fruit fly genotype and phenotype.

Ask your camper: Is behavior a phenotype? (yes; but learning extends the phenotype and brings up the question of nature vs. nurture)

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