Jellyfish in a Bottle – Oceanography

Jellyfish in a Bottle – Oceanography

Jellyfish are one of nature’s most bizarre and beautiful animals. The students were put into the role of biomedical modeling engineerings and tasked with creating life-like models of jellyfish! Jellyfish have a transparent, bell-shaped body that is 95% water and allows for perfect camouflage. Many creatures of the deep ocean, including an estimated 50% of all species of jellyfish, often exhibit bioluminescence.

Ask your camper: Why do jellyfish bioluminesce? 

Aurora Program Pictures

 

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O’Fallon Program Pictures

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Twist and Slide! – Makey Lab

Twist and Slide! – Makey Lab

Today our playground  engineers experimented with angles and materials to test the speed of items going down a slide, and learned about gravity and kinetic and potential energy in the process. They then were challenged to build a slide that has at least two twists and allows the object going down to land safely at the bottom without being thrown off the slide!

Ask your camper: what physics concept is essential for a slide to work? (Gravity)

Genetics: Nature or Nurture? Day 4

Genetics: Nature or Nurture? Day 4

Today the campers continued their explorations of drosophila melanogaster – the common fruit fly (a widely-used model organism in biological studies). Throughout the week, campers have studied normal fruit flies (as well as flies with various genetic mutations) in order to get familiar with handling and observing them. We’ve challenged them to become acclimated to “best practices” with data collection from these tiny, yet useful organisms. Some of our mutant flies are from a lineage of flies that has been used in actual genetics research involving epilepsy.  Our campers identified stimuli which elicit seizure-like activity in the mutant flies, to determine the longevity of the seizure and latency time (recovery time, post-seizure). They followed these studies with a fascinating experiment which tested the effect of (actual) anti-epileptic drugs on the seizure-activity of the flies.

Ask your camper: What treatment did you give your flies and how did the flies respond? (answers vary by student experiment)

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Cloud in a Bottle – Space & Weather

Cloud in a Bottle – Space & Weather

Yesterday our young meteorologists were able to create lightning in a bottle so today we’re going to see if they’ll be able to create a whole thunderstorm inside a bottle!! (Or at the very least the accompanying clouds that come with a thunderstorm…). The young meteorologists started trying to make a cloud in a bottle using warm water, ice, and a small mason jar… but had no luck in creating a cloud. They quickly learned the importance of a CCN – a Cloud Condensation Nuclei – which is necessary for every cloud to form! The campers also tried to make clouds using balloon pumps to create a high pressure system in a bottle, then quickly released the pump. The change from high to low pressure also created a cloud! 

Ask your camper: What does a CCN do? 

Aurora Program Pictures

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O’Fallon Program Pictures

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