Space & Weather: Galactic Glow & Goo

Space & Weather: Galactic Glow & Goo

One primary reasons why space has captivated the human imagination for so many centuries is arguably because of the beautiful lights and dazzling twinkle that can be seen in the night skies and today, our scientists were able to capture some of that “galactic glow” in the classroom. Campers were able to learn about some of the different ways light gets produced and even created some glow-in-the-dark slime to keep as a momento as well.

Ask your camper: What is chemiluminescence?

Aurora Program Pictures

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O’Fallon Program Pictures

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Oceanography – Submarine Challenge

Oceanography – Submarine Challenge

Today our young ocean engineers continued working on their week-long challenge of building a functional model submarine. By this time they should have begun to refine their designs and optimize their submarine’s functionality. Campers were able to apply their knowledge of buoyancy and water pressure from their explorations on monday as well as channel their inner engineer as they solved problems and overcame challenges!

Ask your camper: How did your submarine perform by the end of the activity today? What are your plans for tomorrow?

Aurora Program Pictures

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O’Fallon Program Pictures

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Makey Lab – Coding a Dance

Makey Lab – Coding a Dance

Did you know you can write code without a computer? Today our makers did just that and, after being introduced to the basics of coding, began to create code with sticky notes, and quickly realized the precision needed in coding successfully.  They then worked in groups to code a dance (create an algorithm) by creating commands for each step. Eventually, each group performed a dance that a different group had coded!

Ask your camper: The background for your dance was your music. What might a computer programmer’s background be?

Genetics: Nature or Nurture? Day 3

Genetics: Nature or Nurture? Day 3

Who thinks they can taste PTC (a bitter compound for some, but a tasteless compound for others)?! Today we used tasting papers to determine if we could taste PTC, then analyzed the results of our gel electrophoresis (from yesterday) to see if our own DNA matches our ability to taste the chemical PTC or not. We also started a new experiment – bacterial transformation –  whereby normal E. coli cells are given a new gene – the gene for Green Fluorescent Protein (GFG).

Ask your camper: What are some actual applications of genetic transformation using bacterial cells? (allows researchers and medical professionals to add human genes to bacteria for mass production of proteins such as hormones like insulin and growth hormone)

In our other section, campers continued explorations with the mutant C. elegans worms. The “mutant” worms lack a receptor (due to their mutation) needed for their ability to detect salt in their environment – this is problematic for them because they aren’t able to recognize that a salty environment can be harmful and therefore, they don’t attempt to find a safer environment. Statistical analyses were performed using the data collected by the campers, which helped the campers determine if the behavior of the mutant worms was significantly different in each environment. Perhaps they can evaluate some normal worms later this week and do even more comparisons!

Ask your camper: Why is a salty environment bad for the mutant worms? (the salt can disrupt their water balance, or osmoregularity)

 

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