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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Makey Lab – Fairytale Natural Disasters 

Makey Lab – Fairytale Natural Disasters

Can the houses stand up to the natural disasters? The fairytale realm sure hopes so! Our campers finished building the new houses for the magical world, designed specifically to remain standing during specific events – earthquake, avalanche, flash flood, thunderstorm, and rock slide. The houses were tested and judged – did they hold up?

Ask your camper: Which disaster did you build a house for, what materials did you use, and did it remain standing?

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Oceanography – Sea-ing Glasses

Oceanography – Sea-ing Glasses

Some of the most fascinating of sea creatures live in the deep ocean – deeper than rays of light can penetrate. Over generations, these sea creatures have changed colors to help them survive in the deepest parts of the ocean. Today the “under-the-sea interns” examined how light travels beneath the waves and how it affects the living organisms and their survival. The campers created specialty “sea glasses” that allow you to visualize how much light reaches the various depths of the ocean by layering blue cellophane. Using their sea glasses, the campers tested different color fabrics and images of marine life so they could see how visible the sea creatures are at different depths of the ocean. 

Ask your student: How does the coloration of the animal help it to survive at different depths of the ocean? 

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Video of Daphnia magna taken by one of our campers, Yash, with his phone and a micro-phone lens!


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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Vital Signs – Titrations

Vital Signs – Titrations

Antacids are often used to treat heartburn. When acidic stomach content comes back up the esophagus heartburn patients experience a burning sensation behind the breastbone. Our biochemist campers used titrations to find the appropriate amount of base to neutralize the acid. Their job was to change the pH from 1 to 7 (neutral), by adding the base. At the end of the activity, campers took the calculated amount of base (antacid), put it into a capsule that allows for diffusion, and set it into the acid (represents heartburn). On Friday they will check the results to see if the acid was neutralized!

Ask your camper: If we start with 10mL of the acid, hydrochloric acid, how many mL of the base, sodium hydroxide, so we need to add to reach a pH of 7? The same amount – 10mL! The acid and base are the same concentration, and at opposite ends of the pH scale. 


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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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Vital Signs – Sheep Heart Dissection

Vital Signs – Sheep Heart Dissection

What organ comes to mind when you hear the phrase “vital signs”? A most likely candidate is the heart! There are only a few differences between sheep hearts and human hearts (size and relative location of major vessels) so studying the sheep heart helps our budding cardiologists learn more about the human heart! Campers explored heart anatomy by dissecting a sheep heart and used the heart to identify the circulation of blood throughout the body/to and from the heart.

Ask your camper: Which chamber of the heart receives deoxygenated blood from the body? (right atrium)

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Oceanography – Squid Dissection

Oceanography – Squid Dissection

Today the young biologists dissected another creature from the depths of the sea – a squid! Squid are unique molluscs for a variety of reasons. They have an internal shell called a pen that evolved to support their streamlined body plan, allowing faster swimming speeds. Squid are fantastic simmers that move via jet propulsion; they take in water into their mantle and then expel it forcefully through their siphone. Some squid can reach 20 mph! Interestingly, squid have three hearts, allowing them to pump blood and deliver oxygen as quickly as humans do.

Ask your camper: Squid are invertebrates – what does that mean?

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Innovation Through the Ages – Day 2

Innovation Through the Ages – Day 2

Today in Innovation Through the Ages, students explored the innovation of aqueducts and how they helped transform the Roman Empire. Then, students were challenged to engineer and construct their own aqueduct that had to function and deliver water from point “a” (the bottle) to the inhabitants of “Aqueductis” at point “c.”

In art and design, students explored the principle of proportion as it relates to da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. They then measured distances on their own body to see how their proportions measured up. They also examined the Fibonacci sequence and explored where this code is embedded in nature, from the bracts of a pinecone to the scales of a pineapple.

Ask your students the purpose of the arcade element in an aqueduct!

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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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