Vital Signs – Prosthetics

Vital Signs – Prosthetics

Prosthetics are fake body parts that replace broken or missing ones in humans or animals. They can be made out of different materials and have different types of technology to move or to sense. One of the most complex parts of a prosthesis is the joint—how can it be engineered at the right place and to bend the right way to help someone in daily life? Our bioengineers created their own prosthetic fingers using the ratio of one of their own fingers to scale it to size. But fingers have no muscles—they are powered with tendons connected to arm and wrist muscles. The joints work with tendons to bend the finger. The campers had to create two separate “tendons” in order for the fingers to be able to move.

Ask your camper: Which two tendons allow our fingers to move, and what movement is each tendon in charge of? Flexor, curls fingers. Extensor, straightens fingers


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Oceanography – Deep Ocean (Part 2)

Oceanography – Deep Ocean (Part 2)

Today, our aspiring oceanographers wrapped-up their week-long ocean chemistry experiment (which examined the effect of pH on natural shells). After measuring the final mass of the shells and comparing that to the initial mass of the shells, students were able to conclude that ocean pH is an important abiotic factor for all ocean life, especially the organisms that need to build and maintain shells. Afterwards, they got to model and observe a chemical reaction that is contributing to ocean acidification. Our young oceanographers modeled how climate change and a greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, can contribute to ocean acidification by watching a pH indicator (blue) change color (to yellow) before their very eyes!

Ask your camper: Why did the blue water turn yellow? (as COdissolved into our blue “ocean water”, the color changed from blue to yellow, indicating a pH change from basic to acidic


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Space & Weather – Space Blast!

Space & Weather – Space Blast!

What happens to an object when you compress the air around it? Campers explored Boyle’s Law – (a chemistry law which explains the relationship between volume and pressure) – in order to help save a group of friendly little aliens who appear to be sensitive to changes in atmospheric pressure… Our new squishy alien friends were facing a grave danger when some other, meaner stick aliens kept trying to capture them! Campers used their knowledge of Boyle’s Law and a special tool – the Alien Relocation Device (ARD) – to launch our new alien friends to safety! 

Ask your camper: What is a term to describe the relationship between volume and pressure? (inverse)

Aurora Program Pictures


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Belleville Program Pictures


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Makey Lab – Water Slides

Makey Lab – Water Slides

It was the final day of playground construction, and what better way to end a hot summer week than by building a water slide! Our campers constructed their very own working water slides. They had to figure out how to waterproof the materials, ensure the slide was tall enough, and make sure all the water didn’t spill off the sides. To test them, they used little plastic animals to go down the slides by pouring water at varying speeds. The campers were successful and the little animals had a blast too!

Ask your camper: How did you waterproof your slide? Maybe they used foil, plastic wrap, wax paper, or plastic cups

Innovation Through the Ages – Day 5

Innovation Through the Ages – Day 5

Today in Innovation Through the Ages…….Huston we have lift-off! The students were clear to launch their bottle rockets this morning! Students studied Leonardo Da Vinci’s 3D shapes and other 3D innovations and then created a collaborative 3D form –a dodecahedron – made by the entire group. In Engineering, student groups each decided on an innovation that they believe contributed the most to humanity, they researched its history, designed and built a model of it, and created a brief power point detailing the history of the innovation and their process. Each group then had a turn presenting to the class.  

Ask your student what a dodecahedron is (a three-dimensional shape having twelve plane faces, in particular a regular solid figure with twelve equal pentagonal faces).