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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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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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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Space & Weather – Astronaut Suit Up

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?

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Space & Weather –  Build-a-Barometer

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?

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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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Space & Weather – Hawt Hovercrafts

Space & Weather – Hawt Hovercrafts

Our aerospace engineers have designed suitable space gear to weather the extreme conditions of space, they have designed nifty compasses and telescopes to help them navigate their way around the galaxy, and today they were challenged with figuring out how to create a vehicle (specifically a hovercraft!) that can help them travel around and explore other planets. Through our study of Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion, students are better able to anticipate/predict what their hovercraft’s movements will be like in outer space, since the laws of physics apply for the entire universe and not only here on Earth!

Ask your camper: What is Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion? (For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.)

Aurora Program Pictures

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Belleville Program Pictures

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Space & Weather – Convection Currents

Space & Weather – Convection Currents

Up, up, and away!! Yesterday, our meteorologists were able to study the movement of convection currents in water – (and how those can end up resulting in hurricanes…!) – and today we shifted our attention to seeing how convection currents behave in the atmosphere by designing colorful tissue paper hot air balloons! Students worked in groups to figure out the optimal hot air balloon shape, size & design and then they harnessed the power of air convection currents to send their creations into the air.

Ask your camper: Why is it that hot air rises and cool air sinks? (Hot air rises because it is less dense, which allows it to “float” above the cooler air.)

Aurora Program Pictures

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Belleville Program Pictures

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Space & Weather – Compass Creations

Space & Weather – Compass Creations

Our young Aerospace Engineers continued their explorations of magnetism and magnetic fields in order to create an “out of this world” navigational compass. Magnetic compasses work well here on Earth since there is a natural magnetic field but do other planets have magnetic fields too? How do different magnets respond to different magnetic fields? Campers discovered how magnetism relates to navigational compasses in order to design and build one that could work on another planet!

Ask your camper: Which planet in the solar system has the strongest magnetic field? (Jupiter)

Aurora Program Pictures

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Belleville Program Pictures

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Space & Weather – Aerospace Engineering

Space & Weather – Aerospace Engineering

The importance of a spacesuit cannot be understated as they literally keep astronauts alive in the extreme conditions of outer space where the cosmic background temperature is -270.45°C (-455°F) but depending on where you are in relation to the Sun, temperatures can also get as high as thousands or millions of degrees! To kick off the week, our aerospace engineers were tasked with exploring the concepts of heat transfer and insulation in order to better understand the types of materials choices they should make to design the most protective space suit possible! 

Ask your camper: What is the difference between heat radiation and heat conduction? (Heat radiation is the transfer of heat through the emission of electromagnetic waves and heat conduction is the transfer of heat through physical contact.)

Aurora Program Pictures

 

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Belleville Program Pictures

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