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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Engineering Explorations – Off to the Races

Engineering Explorations – Off to the Races

It was off to the boat races! After a week of perfecting their designs, our engineers finally had the chance to test out their boats. There were two races – one that tested for the speed of the boat and one that tested the load capacity of the boat. First, the boats raced to see which one was the fastest, with there being one winner overall. After that, the boats were set stationary in the water and weight was added to see which design was the lightest while also holding the most weight. Some groups chose to focus on speed while others focused on the load capacity. Were their designs successful in the end? Ask your camper to find out! 

Ask your camper: What did your boat look like, and how did it hold up during the races?

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Engineering Explorations – Rube Goldberg

Engineering Explorations – Rube Goldberg

Second-to-last day of our engineering extravaganza week and our enterprising engineers should be feeling very excited and proud as their Rube Goldberg projects are starting to come to completion. Today students continued testing and troubleshooting their actions and working to link the actions of their simple machines together within their larger contraption to ensure that their machine is iterative (repeatable) and reliable. Teams then proceeded to document their inventions so that they are ready to present their creations to the whole on our final day tomorrow.

Ask your camper: What were some obstacles you had to troubleshoot and find solutions for your invention today?

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Engineering Explorations – Hull Designs

Engineering Explorations – Hull Designs

Our engineers worked hard the last two days to create a boat that floats and holds weight with a working propeller. The next step was to design an ideal hull for their boats. First our campers learned about the different hull types and the situations they are best used for. After researching the types and identifying points of failure in each one, our campers went back to the drawing board and revamped their own boats. The campers chose whether to create a hull that focused on speed, holding weight, or a combination of both!

Ask your camper: What are points of failure? Aspects of the design or building that are either additional constraints or are not conducive to the solution

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Engineering Explorations – Quantities in Circuits

Engineering Explorations – Quantities in Circuits

Our Electrical Engineers were challenged to study and measure the voltage of different batteries using a particular type of equipment called a multimeter. But first, they ranked a variety of batteries based on what they thought was logical (usually size/shape).  Campers then measured the voltage of each battery to determine whether or not they need to revise their initial rankings. It was quite a “shock” that a huge D battery has the same amount of voltage as a much smaller AAA battery (1.5v) and a tiny coin battery has more voltage (3v) than a big D battery (1.5v). 

Ask your camper: Why would differently-sized batteries be needed if they all (AAA, AA, C and D) have the same voltage (1.5v)? (depends on the amount of current that is needed for the device that requires batteries)

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Engineering Explorations – Model Lungs

Engineering Explorations – Model Lungs

Our biomedical engineers have just arrived at Summer @ IMSA and they are ready for a challenging task! Today, in Engineering Explorations, the students learned about the anatomy of the heart and lungs and how they function in the human body. Our bioengineers built their own working model of a lung and demonstrated how the diaphragm works based on air pressure differentials. The end goal of the day was to relate the lung model to relevant heart anatomy and physiology.

Ask your student: What is the purpose of the diaphragm in the respiratory system? (Each breath begins with a contraction of a dome-shaped sheet of muscle underneath the lungs called the diaphragm. During inhalation (taking air into your lungs) your diaphragm contracts, or flattens downward, which reduces pressure in the chest cavity. Normal outside air pressure is higher, which forces air through the nose and mouth, down the trachea and into the lungs where pressure is lower (pressure systems move from high to low). On the other hand, upon exhalation your diaphragm relaxes, which increases pressure on the lungs and forcing air, containing carbon dioxide, out of the body.)

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