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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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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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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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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Magical, Mystical Storm Glass: Space & Weather

Magical, Mystical Storm Glass: Space & Weather

Today our meteorologists-in-training discovered the properties of the chemicals (potassium nitrate, ammonium chloride, camphor, and ethanol) in a storm glass. They then made their own storm glass and learned how they “predicted” weather. The premise of the functioning of the storm glass is that temperature and pressure affect solubility, sometimes resulting in a clear liquid and other times causing precipitants to form. In similar barometers, the liquid level moves up or down a tube in response to atmospheric pressure.

Ask your camper: is a storm glass completely accurate? (No, it is not a truly scientific method)

Aurora Program Pictures

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Cloud in a Bottle – Space & Weather

Cloud in a Bottle – Space & Weather

Yesterday our young meteorologists were able to create lightning in a bottle so today we’re going to see if they’ll be able to create a whole thunderstorm inside a bottle!! (Or at the very least the accompanying clouds that come with a thunderstorm…). The young meteorologists started trying to make a cloud in a bottle using warm water, ice, and a small mason jar… but had no luck in creating a cloud. They quickly learned the importance of a CCN – a Cloud Condensation Nuclei – which is necessary for every cloud to form! The campers also tried to make clouds using balloon pumps to create a high pressure system in a bottle, then quickly released the pump. The change from high to low pressure also created a cloud! 

Ask your camper: What does a CCN do? 

Aurora Program Pictures

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Space & Weather: Cosmos Cuisine

Space & Weather: Cosmos Cuisine

What do astronauts eat when they are out in space serving on a mission?? Well, like anyone else, they need to eat – but since they can’t exactly pull into the nearest drive-thru on the way to Mars and there aren’t grocery stores floating in space, astronauts have to be very intentional about the kinds of food they bring with them on their missions. Today our campers took on a dual role: they were both astronauts in training and & food scientists! They evaluated food samples to determine how suitable certain foods are for going into space!!

Ask your camper:  Do you prefer eating fresh fruits or dehydrated fruit?

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Space & Weather – Neutral Buoyancy Bottles

Space & Weather – Neutral Buoyancy Bottles

As astronauts-in-training, today students are going to be challenged to help objects achieve the state of neutral buoyancy by studying the property of density so as to better understand what causes things to sink or float in a particular environment. First students tested different materials in water and observed which objects had a density less than or greater than the water. Then they attempted to make things that once floated now sink, and objects that once sunk now float. Using all of this information the students made neutral buoyancy bottles that they could take home! 

Ask your camper: What does neutral buoyancy mean? What does it look like?

Aurora Program Pictures

 

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Engineering Explorations: Rube Goldberg Machines

Engineering Explorations: Rube Goldberg Machines

Today students made their final adjustments to their system of Rube Goldberg machines!! Campers used their knowledge of machines they have acquired throughout the week in conjunction with their awesome experiences working as engineering teams to refine, retest, and redesign aspects of their Rube Goldberg apparatuses, as needed!!  Each group demonstrated their work to the rest of the class as a culmination of their hard work and dedication!

Ask your student: How did your teams’ machine perform during the competition? (answers vary, by team)

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