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

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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Makey Lab – Morse Messages

Makey Lab – Morse Messages

Wireless communication is something that we use every day. But years ago, Morse Code was used to send messages. This form of communication was based on a series of dots and dashes that stood for individual letters and numbers which were sent by telegraph on radio channels. It was sent by whistle, buzzer, tapping, flags and many other ways! Using a buzzer  and a button switch, campers recreated the original Morse code and sent each other secret messages to decipher. 

Ask your camper: When listening to a sound code, how can you tell when a new word is starting? There are four seconds of silence between each word


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Makey Lab – Toy Creations

Makey Lab – Toy Creations

Inventing takes time, and our toy creators are on day two of making the final plans for their toy before building begins tomorrow. Today the toy inventors found out the materials they will have to work with, and they redesigned their toys accordingly. Engineers and inventors have materials restrictions, so it is important to learn to work having those restraints. What will the final toys look like? Stay tuned!

Ask your camper: After finding out what materials were available, how did your toy design change?

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Makey Lab – Playground Engineers

Makey Lab – Playground Engineers

It’s day one for our playground engineers! This week, our campers will create five different pieces of playground equipment. Today, they designed and built a seesaw. A seesaw is a lever, and the goal for our campers was to build a see saw that was perfectly balanced with two masses, one on each end, with a pivot point in the middle. The most difficult part of the process was designing that pivot point to allow the seesaw to easily tilt back and forth.

Ask your camper: What is the technical term for the pivot point? Fulcrum

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Fairytale Roller Coasters – Makey Lab

Fairytale Roller Coasters – Makey Lab

The fairytale roller coasters are complete. After working hard for two days in groups, the campers finalized and tested their roller coaster designs. The coasters were created for the same fairy tale creatures the campers built houses for earlier in the week! The designs contained twists, turns, drops and loops. 

Ask your camper: Were you able to create any loops? If so, how?  

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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)

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?

Makey Lab – Let There Be Light!

Makey Lab – Let There Be Light!

Let there be beautiful light! After learning about circuits on the first day, our electrical engineers also took on the role of artist. Using LEDs, copper tape, and conductive pens, the campers created light up pictures. Once the circuits worked, pairs colored in the images. What made it so special? Each pair had one image in a series of 10 pictures that when put together created one giant picture!

Ask your camper: Which part of the circuit they created is the load? (The LED lights)




Makey Lab – Creative Toy Designs

Makey Lab – Creative Toy Designs

Calling all toy makers! The world is in desperate need of new toys, so this week your campers are tasked with creating them. There are five different categories of toys to be made, and working both in groups and individually throughout the week, the campers will brainstorm, design, build, and “sell” their new toys. The only rule – the toy can’t contain any batteries or any electrical power source! What will be designed in our workshop?

Ask your camper: Which category of toy are you building? What ideas did you and your group brainstorm?

O’Fallon Program Pictures

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