Oceanography – Submarine Challenge – First Building Day!

Oceanography – Submarine Challenge – First Building Day!

Today was the first day that the students were able to start building their submarines for the Submarine Challenge! The campers used their knowledge of Archimedes’ Principle in order to design ballast tanks for the inside of their submarines. The ballast tanks are compartments that holds water on an aquatic vehicle, and provide stability & maneuverability. Students struggled with the design, but we can’t wait to see what they come up with after tomorrow when they continue building their submarines!

Ask your camper: What is Archimedes’ Principle and how does it apply to submarines? 

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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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Makey Lab – Let there be Light!

Makey Lab – Let there be Light!

Let there be light! Today in the circuit section of Makey Lab, our campers learned all about the amazing world of circuits! They began by making models of circuits out of everyday materials and then went on to create working circuits out of wires, batteries, button switches, and LED lights. Now that our makers know how to build a basic circuit, they can apply these ideas the rest of the week to create new projects!

Ask your camper: what components make a circuit? 

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Oceanography – Message in a Bottle 

Oceanography – Message in a Bottle

Many organisms use “living light”, or bioluminescence, to communicate – a common occurrence in ocean organisms! Bioluminescence is the production of light by a living creature. Our student researchers learned how to subculture a declining population of ocean algae called dinoflagellates! These “dinos” show bioluminescence when exposed to a disturbance (such as waves in the ocean, or simply by swirling their bottled culture). The campers will monitor their cultures all week and then get to take them home (care instructions provided)!!

Ask your camper:  Why do the dinos need a light/dark cycle? (to mimic the natural light/dark cycle which allows them to ‘recharge’ during the light period so they can bioluminesce during the dark period).

 

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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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Oceanography – Shark and Perch Comparisons

Oceanography – Shark and Perch Comparisons

The ocean is one of the most diverse habitats, with a great variety of animals at all different depths. Fish are just one of the many different types of animals that call the ocean “home”.  Today, our campers explored two types of fish (dissected earlier in the week) – a bony fish (perch) and a cartilaginous fish (spiny dogfish shark). They analyzed the similarities and differences between the two fish side by side, and quite literally got an ‘in depth’ view of the structures and functions of both fishes. One interesting investigation had the campers compare the livers of each fish.

Ask your camper:  What happened when you placed both fish’s livers in water? The shark liver (markedly larger) floated while the perch liver sank. Why did this happen? The shark liver is largely involved with helping the shark remain buoyant in the water (perch have a swim bladder to help with buoyancy while the shark doesn’t).

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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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Makey Lab – Fairytale Coasters

Makey Lab – Fairytale Coasters

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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Oceanography – Hydra-ology

Oceanography – Hydra-ology

Today, our team of oceanographers worked on another NOAA project involving a freshwater Cnidarian, the hydra. Turns out, in the Great Lakes of North America there is a population boom of the invasive Daphnia luminex (a close relative to the Daphnia we studied earlier this week). The Great Lakes all connect to the Atlantic Ocean. To prevent invasive spread of D. Luminex into the ocean waters, NOAA wanted us to test the feeding response of hydra on Daphnia to determine if it could be used as a biological control agent. They turned their camera phones into microscopes to document their investigation!

Ask your camper: Did the hydra eat the daphnia? (answers vary by campers, but chances are at least someone in the class had a successful foraging event!)

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Makey Lab – Power Project

Makey Lab – Power Project

Let’s light up the night! Today campers began designing and decorating their own night lights, to finish and bring home at the end of the week. Campers applied their knowledge of circuits to draw out the base of the night light, where the lights and on/off switch will be placed tomorrow. To decorate their night lights, campers created tissue paper mache cups to place over the base that will illuminate beautiful colors!

Ask your camper: Which type/s of circuits will be part of your nightlight? (BOTH series and parallel)

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