Science Camp 2006 Week 1

Then 5th and 6th graders had a great time at camp this year.   The pictures below show some of the activities.  


The campers explored the world via maps they found on the web.  They also visited Wikipedia and Google to learn how to use them for research.  Then they were set on a quest for some very specific facts on the web.  If you have ever participated in a scavenger hunt to collect each item on a list of unrelated things you have some idea of what  they were trying to do in the realm of information.


This year we concentrated on how some optical devices work and how we perceive the world around us visually.

These pictures are anaglyphs of the classes.  Anaglyphs are made from two pictures of the same subject taken from slightly different angles.  The pictures were tinted with red and blue filters and superimposed.  If you look at them with a blue filter over your right eye and a red filter over your left eye you will see the classes in three dimensions.  The filters allow each eye to see a separate image which the brain merges into a single 3D image. You can make your own viewer using a piece of clear plastic like that used in packaging toys and electronic items.  Cut a piece about 1 by 3 inches then use markers to color one end red and the other blue.  We found the permanent markers work a lot better than the erasable kind. 


Here they are looking at some anaglyph pictures.  The boy on the left is checking the effect of reversing the red and blue filters.  One of the kids said when you did that it looked like the pictures were inside out.  Try it yourself to see what he was talking about.

Here they are checking technologies that were popular many years ago that also produced 3D images, the stereoptican and ViewMaster viewers.

As well as making the viewers we investigated the properties of positive, negative, fresnel, cylindrical and flexible gel lenses.


They looked at themselves in positive and negatively curved mirrors and one that had a variable focal length. They dissected cameras, checked the properties of eye glasses that corrected near and far sightedness and astigmatism.

 We took a look at polarized light and how it is used in liquid crystal displays like those in cell phones and computers and that it can be used to show the stresses in some plastics and glass.

And they all got to see themselves in a human kaleidoscope.


The students also built pinhole cameras and used them to take pictures.  The subject was a still life "studio shot" of a small plastic mastodon, dinosaur or matchbox car, a playing card, a domino and other similar size items.  I think you can see that they were pleased with the results.

Earth and Space
A sundial seems like it could be a fairly simple device but if you want to build one that can work anywhere on earth it gets more complicated.  Carefully cut, fold, paste then set it for your latitude, align it properly, and if the sun is out it will give you the time.


Another challenge was to build a structure out of paper, straws, and paper clips that can stand up to an earthquake.  The earthquake was supplied by the shake table you see in the third picture at the moment of truth for one of the structures.

Here are some of the campers using indicator solutions to test the efficacy of antacids.  They also compounded their own and tested those.

In biology this year they made models that showed how the lungs work.  A plastic bottle, some tubing,  a little clay, and some balloons and you have a working model that shows how when a person's diaphragm moves down air goes into their lungs.

The biology dissection subject this year was a mud puppy.  It is a large salamander.  The classes divided up into teams that used careful surgical techniques to see their organs, nerves, blood system and muscles.


Each year the campers take part in a science olympics.  Teams this year tool part in contests that included a water balloon slingshot, chemical symbol word spell,  marshmallow tower, write it build it, foil boat, laser target shoot, toothpick bridge and Who Wants to be a Millionaire (science edition).  


The big contest this year required the campers to build a car powered by rubber bands or a mousetrap.  It was to travel down a course with success judged by how well it stayed on course and how close it came to the center of the finish line.  Here are some of the contestants with their very inventive entries.


And the winners are.....

Congratulations to all those who participated. 

There is a previously unsung group that are essential to the camp --- the volunteers.  The instructors rely on them to help set up the classroom between classes and guide the campers when they need assistance.   No question about it, we appreciate their help.

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