Space & Weather – Hawt Hovercrafts

Space & Weather – Hawt Hovercrafts

Today the space missions continued as our astronauts got ready for the “Ultimate Space Speed Race”  by finishing their hovercraft designs. They then participated in a series of missions/races and were able to explain the choices they made in the shape, size, materials, and layout of their hovercrafts that ultimately affects the efficiency of their designs.

Ask your student: “How do hovercrafts work?” (Hovercrafts are able to float because they create and trap a pressure differential underneath that allows them to levitate.)


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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


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Oceanography – Video Stories

Oceanography – Video Stories

Throughout the week, campers examined an array of tiny/planktonic aquatic organisms and were challenged to create a video story to document their experiences along they way.  Today, our oceanographers had an opportunity to re-examine any of the living organisms they investigated throughout the week as independent exploration time! This gave them an opportunity to re-test, re-record, and re-take any images/videos needed to develop/fine-tune their video story. Volunteers shared their video-documentation in a share-a-thon at the end of the activities.

Ask your camper: What did you chose to explore today? (answers vary by camper)


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Oceanography – A Model Jellyfish

Oceanography – A Model Jellyfish

Jellyfish are beautiful and mysterious ocean creatures. They have no bones, no brain, no heart, and no eyes. They have clear, bag-like bodies that contain their digestive organs and have trailing tentacles that are used to sting and capture prey. About 50% of all jellyfish are bioluminescent. Our biological modeling engineers created bioluminescent jellyfish models (to bring home) and that actually glow in the dark! They were challenged to make their models anatomically correct, but to use their own creativity along the way.

Ask your camper: Why do jellyfish use bioluminescence? (as a defense mechanism to evade predation)

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Space & Weather – Potable Water Pods

Space & Weather – Potable Water Pods

The microgravity environment of outer space can have a weird effect on how substances and alter how they “normally” behave here on Earth… Today our scientists were able to explore more about the cohesive properties of water. They also made (and ate!) edible water pods to help model the look of water in a microgravity environment.

Ask your camper: What is cohesion? How many drops of water were they able to get on their pennies?

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Makey Lab – Roller Coasters

Makey Lab – Roller Coasters

Bring on the twists and turns! After successfully saving the fairytale world from the disasters earlier in the week, our campers were tasked with designing something fun and exciting for the elves and fairies – a roller coaster! The campers experimented with the different materials and found their perfect heights for the hills and loops. They are all prepared to build and test their coasters tomorrow.

Ask your camper: Did the balls roll down the tubing faster when the tubing was held more or less steep? Why?

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Oceanography – Blubber Gloves 

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”) 

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Makey Lab – Merry-go-Rounds

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? 

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Space & Weather – Galactic Glow & Goo

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?

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Makey Lab – Fairytale Natural Disasters 

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?

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