Camp 2005 Week
Science and Math
camp has come and gone. We all had a great time.
The Fifth and Sixth Grade Campers
They had the opportunity
participate in activities in 5 fields of study.
This year the campers
some of the properties of pennies. The found their weight was
different and depended on the date they were minted and since they were
all the same size they must have different densities (earlier ones were
all copper and later ones copper clad zinc). They were able
dissolve the zinc out of the newer ones. They found that a
skewer could be pushed through a balloon without popping it if you knew
the trick (apparently it was surprising when it worked). And they
discovered that some fabrics took up dyes differently and that fact
could be used to determine just what fibers they were made
In biology they sampled their own DNA,
separated it from
their cells and put it in a necklace they could keep. They
visited a remote island where they had to decide how to manage their
resources so they could all survive. Well actually they
the visit with popsicle sticks standing in for their
They also got to dissect grasshoppers and eyeballs. It looks
some of them thoroughly disassembled the grasshopper. I was
that the retina was an iridescent blue-green. Very
In computer science they learned about the
system and how it is used to code letters and numbers in
computers. They searched the World Wide Web to find facts in
internet scavenger hunt and they became part of a model of the web
showing how the whole network is linked together.
The campers investigated magnetic fields, how electric current could
produce them and how a motor works. They used some of what
learned to build telegraph sounders and then tried to figure out
messages sent in Morse code. Wednesday they investigated
some unusual musical instruments and built a couple. They
that sound travels through solids and gases and that suggested an
experiment they could try in a swimming pool.
Campers built and
properties of airfoils. They used a wind tunnel to measure
lift of their model wing. Then used what they found out to
airplanes that were to be used in a contest to see which one flew the
farthest and which stayed up the longest.
We had lots of
addition to those in aeronautics and the web scavenger hunt.
There was the laser target shoot, toothpick bridge,
periodic table word search, water balloon slingshot, an aluminum foil
boat, and science millionaire. A new one this year was to
out a shape that was hidden from view by rolling marbles at it and
seeing which way they came out. This is the same problem that
early atomic scientists had when they were trying to figure out what
the atom looked like by shooting alpha particles at them.
the campers enjoyed learning the game of nim, solving Tangrams, and
tackling the 8 queens problem. No prizes for those other than
satisfaction of figuring them out.
The home construction
challenge was to
build a tower using pasta that
would have a CD on top like a radio relay antenna. The
was another CD that was bolted down during testing. There was
restriction on the kind of pasta or glue and up to 2 pounds of
materials could be used. Of course the taller and lighter the
were the higher they would score. We bounced a laser off the
on to a target so that we could measure how rigid the towers
They were then subjected to a "hurricane" supplied by a leaf blower
with a variac for speed control. The strongest stood up to a
blast but were heavy so they didn't score well. There was a
of thought and ingenuity demonstrated in the designs. The
had a good
tradeoff between weight, height and strength. The winner
tallest, strongest, or lightest but had the best combination of them
We all visited a great science museum in
Ohio. The kids checked out how sound could be reflected off a
parabolic reflector and focused where it could be heard a long way
away. Some of them tried a unicycle high above the exhibits
below. Saw themselves on TV in a 1962 vintage
even met a couple of characters from a galaxy far far away.
seemed friendlier than they have been portrayed in films.
The Volunteer Helpers
The instructors really appreciate the hard working volunteers who
helped out. Most of them had come through the camp in prior
and had fun so they wanted to take part again.
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