Science Camp 2001 week one

The camp was expanded to 2 weeks this year.  This allowed participation by nearly 200 fifth through eighth graders.  Here you see some of them signing in and the first meeting in the auditorium.

Topics again this year included: astronomy, biology, computers, chemistry, and physics. In the other classes they got to build and launch rockets, make colored pigments, learn about the world wide web, dissect eyes and hearts and lots of other fun stuff.
In the physics portion we lead them in the investigation of Unseen Forces.  This involved repeating the experiments of many of the scientists who tried to understand the forces of electricity and magnetism.  From the discovery of  static electricity by a greek scientist Thales of Miletus about 2700 years ago through the investigation of magnetism by a Chinese Emperor scientist Huang Ti about 2200 years ago to the experiments of Franklin, Volta, Ampere and others in the late 1700's to Van de Graff's experiments in high voltage were all investigated. They built electroscopes and carried electric charge around in a pie tin.  They lit fluorescent tubes with charged balloons.  Made batteries out of pennies, investigated magnets, motors, and generators and built crystal radios.


One highlight for many of them was the Van de Graff generator as you can see from the pictures below.


Of course they howled with laughter when I agreed to be the subject and my beard and hair fanned out like the leaves of the electroscopes they had built.

Here are pictures of the classes.


Thursday we had the physics olympics which consisted of several events:  the marshmallow and toothpick tower, aerodynamics, large barge, egg drop, straw strong arm, paper skyscraper, and toothpick bridge.  I wasn't able to get pictures of all the events but will try to get the others next week.


They went outside to launch the rockets that the kids had built in astronomy class.  The ones that went the highest were to get a prize so they built sighting tubes with protractors and plum bobs attached to gauge the angle and using that they could obtain the height.  After test firing all the rockets the kids scrambled to retrieve their rocket , nose cones, and parachutes.  Sometimes still connected, but usually not.


We tested the bridges they had made at home using uncooked spaghetti and white glue. The bridges were loaded in the center of the span with a car (block of wood) with a hook to which weight was added.  There were great prizes for the 5 best bridges (weight carried divided by the weight of the bridge).  The winning bridge supported about 10 times its own weight. That's it and its builder in the last picture.  She is looking down at the bucket and weights and wondering when it will collapse.

In the various contests there were prizes for the best, most, lightest, tallest, longest, highest, strongest, ...
Here are pictures of some of the winners.   I would like to congratulate all of the kids again for their skill and effort.


All the campers, volunteers and teachers came away winners for having had the wonderful experience of Science Camp 2001.

On Friday the campers got to go to COSI, a great hands on science museum in Columbus, OH.


They met at 7:00 AM and boarded buses for the trip.  When we got there about 11:30 they broke up into groups of five or so, each with a chaperone, to tour the exhibits.  The dinosaurs and the adventure in the Valley of the Unknown were the first places that my group wanted to see.  One room in the adventure left them somewhat disoriented, as you can see.  The giant lever allowed the kids to lift a car and the Gravitron stuck them to the wall and then the floor dropped out from under them.  In the I/O and Sim Zone exhibits they could explore how some electronic entertainment works.  They had fun being rock stars and playing video games including classics like Pong, Tank Battle and Asteroids.  We left the museum when it closed at 5:00.  Not everyone had seen all the exhibits that they had wanted to but all had had a good time.

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