Oceanography – Blubber Gloves
Blubber is an adaptation that marine mammals have to survive the frigid ocean temperatures. The young marine scientists used conducted an experiment today to create the most effective blubber possible! Upon first testing the temperature of the water, students found they could hardly hold their fingers in the ice water without protection more than their two layered rubber gloves. The marine scientists then were able to use materials like vegetable shortening, petroleum jelly, and cotton balls inside their “blubber gloves” to model actual blubber.
Ask your student: What was the dependent variable in the experiment today? (amount of time your hand was submerged in the water) What was the independent variable? (the material used to create the “blubber”)
Makey Lab – Merry-go-Rounds
The playground engineers of the local school have asked for our help! They lost the plans to all of the new playground equipment and it’s the job of our young engineers to design and build a new merry-go-round. Along the way the campers learned about centripetal force, which is the force needed to make something move in a circle. After building their merry prototypes, the campers tested their designs with differently massed objects.
Ask your camper: What is centripetal force?
Space & Weather – Galactic Glow & Goo
One primary reason 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?
Makey Lab – Fairytale Natural Disasters
Can the houses stand up to the natural disasters? The fairytale realm sure hopes so! Our campers finished building the new houses for the magical world, designed specifically to remain standing during specific events – earthquake, avalanche, flash flood, thunderstorm, and rock slide. The houses were tested and judged – did they hold up?
Ask your camper: Which disaster did you build a house for, what materials did you use, and did it remain standing?
Oceanography – Submarine Challenge – First Building Day!
Today was the first day that the students were able to start building their submarines for the Submarine Challenge! The campers used their knowledge of Archimedes’ Principle in order to design ballast tanks for the inside of their submarines. The ballast tanks are compartments that holds water on an aquatic vehicle, and provide stability & maneuverability. Students struggled with the design, but we can’t wait to see what they come up with after tomorrow when they continue building their submarines!
Ask your camper: What is Archimedes’ Principle and how does it apply to submarines?
Space & Weather – Astronaut Suit Up
Today our awesome aerospace engineers were tasked with the goal of designing their own pairs of space gloves that have the ability to protect an astronaut from the extreme temperatures of outer space. By using the knowledge they gained from all the materials testing conducted the day before, our campers were able to make wise materials choices to ensure that their space gear is able to provide maximum insulation.
Ask your camper: Explain the design of their space gloves and why they chose the materials combination that they did for their gloves?
Makey Lab – Let there be Light!
Let there be light! Today in the circuit section of Makey Lab, our campers learned all about the amazing world of circuits! They began by making models of circuits out of everyday materials and then went on to create working circuits out of wires, batteries, button switches, and LED lights. Now that our makers know how to build a basic circuit, they can apply these ideas the rest of the week to create new projects!
Ask your camper: what components make a circuit?
Oceanography – Message in a Bottle
Many organisms use “living light”, or bioluminescence, to communicate – a common occurrence in ocean organisms! Bioluminescence is the production of light by a living creature. Our student researchers learned how to subculture a declining population of ocean algae called dinoflagellates! These “dinos” show bioluminescence when exposed to a disturbance (such as waves in the ocean, or simply by swirling their bottled culture). The campers will monitor their cultures all week and then get to take them home (care instructions provided)!!
Ask your camper: Why do the dinos need a light/dark cycle? (to mimic the natural light/dark cycle which allows them to ‘recharge’ during the light period so they can bioluminesce during the dark period).
Space & Weather – Build-a-Barometer
Welcome to an exciting week of Space-Weather Lab! To kick off the week, our young meteorologists got the opportunity to explore one of the key ingredients to all weather-related phenomena here on Earth – air pressure! They were able to do so by creating their own barometers and going on a field trip around campus in order to measure the air pressures at various locations.
Ask your camper: How does a barometer work? What areas on campus were you able to detect a higher (or lower) air pressure?
Oceanography – Shark and Perch Comparisons
The ocean is one of the most diverse habitats, with a great variety of animals at all different depths. Fish are just one of the many different types of animals that call the ocean “home”. Today, our campers explored two types of fish (dissected earlier in the week) – a bony fish (perch) and a cartilaginous fish (spiny dogfish shark). They analyzed the similarities and differences between the two fish side by side, and quite literally got an ‘in depth’ view of the structures and functions of both fishes. One interesting investigation had the campers compare the livers of each fish.
Ask your camper: What happened when you placed both fish’s livers in water? The shark liver (markedly larger) floated while the perch liver sank. Why did this happen? The shark liver is largely involved with helping the shark remain buoyant in the water (perch have a swim bladder to help with buoyancy while the shark doesn’t).