Pikeville Science and Math Day Camp 2011 Week 1

This year's camp was a lot of fun for the campers and for us.

Here are the campers from the first week of camp.

Monday. Tuesday, and Wednesday the kids learned about each of 5 fields of science. 
They built projects and used scientific instruments to investigate the world around them.
Lets see some of what they did.

They built astrolabes, planispheres, star clocks, bottle rockets, and rocket launchers.
Astrolabes are an instrument formerly used to measure the elevation of astronomical bodies before the development of the sextant.

The planisphere is an analog computer for calculating the positions of the stars.
The star clock uses the position of the big dipper as a clock.
Here they are working on their planispheres.

Some plastic pipe, fittings, a valve stem, Plastidip, glue, and a nickel are used to make the rocket launchers.

A water bottle forms the basis for the rocket.
Glue on fins and a nose cone made from foam or cardboard and add a parachute and they are ready to launch.


Safety first.
On Monday they made their own safety goggles.
Everyone could choose their own color(s) to make theirs unique.

Chromatography  was one of the forensic techniques they learned about in preparation for the crime scene analysis contest later in the week.

Chemical indicator solutions and other chemicals were used to identify various white powders.
This will also be important later in the week.

The week started with a study of fingerprints
They took their own prints, classified them, and didn't find any two that matched, not that they expected to.

Analysis of natural and synthetic fibers from rope and cloth, and animal and human hairs was another of the forensic techniques they studied.

They analyzed samples of (simulated) blood to determine the blood type so that they could use that information to help solve a crime.

And the pattern of blood splatter that is produced when someone is wounded can reveal a lot about a crime.

We started the week with a look at cryogenics in the form of liquid nitrogen.
A few cubic centimeters of liquid change into a several thousand cc's of gas.

We froze marshmallows, ping pong balls, bananas, and flowers.
Made liquid air and liquid oxygen.
Demonstrated some quantum effects that show up at cryogenic temperatures and lots more.
If you want to see those demonstrations and more click on this Cryogenics link.

We investigated the trajectories of a variety of projectiles ranging from canon shells and golf balls to people and Buicks with a computer simulation.
If you would like to try it go to this page.
Then the kids made clay bullets and fired them from an air canon with 5 interchangeable barrels.
Marks left on the bullets by imperfections in the barrel that fired their bullet could be used to discover which barrel was used.

They used clay as a stand-in for muscle that had been cut with one of several serrated blades.
There goal this time was to identify the weapon that was used.

They used a ballistic pendulum to find the speed of a navy bean fired from a long straw.
Several managed to fire their projectiles at more than 100 miles per hour though most were well below that.

We also used a video to see just how good they were as witnesses.
If you would like to test your powers of observation the "Color Changing Card Trick" is available here.
And another test of your powers of observation can be found in the "The Monkey Business Illusion" video.

Computers and ciphers
The kids were given the chance to produce composite drawings like those that law enforcement officers use when they have an eyewitness to a crime.

They also made code wheels that they used to encrypt and decode secret messages.

Helpers, instructors, and campers tried to solve some puzzles when they had some spare time.
Here pairs have had a rope tied between their own wrists with the two ropes linked.
The goal is to separate themselves without untiring, cutting or slipping their hands from the loops around their wrists.
Try it with a friend.

The challenge was to build something no bigger than 50 by 50 centimeters square that would catch a bare egg dropped on/into it from greater and greater heights up to 6.38 meters, that's nearly 21 ft.
The egg was not packaged or protected in any way.  It was entirely naked.

Other than food and liquids being prohibited any materials could be used for the catcher.

Many materials were tried ranging from those expected such as pillow stuffing to paper, plastic, netting, cloth, sand, tape, and various combinations thereof.
Judging was based on the height from which the egg was dropped and the thickness of the device used to catch it. 
The best ratio of those two parameters decided the winner.

Some of the entries.

Careful measurement of the thickness of each entry.

Competitors controlled the release of their eggs.
And watched the impact as the eggs fell into their catchers.

Some couldn't stand to watch.

Some eggs survived  ...  others didn't.

Along with the egg drop contest there were lots more activities and contests.
They launched the rockets they had made.

And used a giant slingshot to fire water balloons in ballistic trajectories at a target.

Decoded a message using the cipher wheels they had built.

They tested their engineering skills by building towers and bridges out of paper.
The tallest tower and the bridge that held the most weight got the highest score.

And boats from aluminum foil.
How many marbles will it hold?

Paper planes were tested to see how far they could travel down a hall after being launched from a classroom door.
The planes had to go forward a couple of meters and then turn right down the hall.

How many words can you make using only the letter combinations for the abbreviations of the elements on the periodic table.
You won't find a "e" standing alone but you can use er, es, and eu, fe, ge, be, ce, he, ne, re, se, te, and xe if you can find words that use those combinations with others in the table.

The campers also had to apply what they learned in their classes together with their powers of deduction to solve a "murder".


The top five participants in the egg drop contest with their catchers, prizes, and trophies.

Campers were challenged to produce a composite drawing of the camp director.
The subject and the winner with her prize.

The two best forensic teams together with the suspect (left) and victim (right).

The results of the other contests were combined.
The top three teams with their prizes.

Our visit on Friday.
Getting organized outside.

A Foucault pendulum in the atrium is one demonstration of the earth's rotation.

Some of us visited the weather demonstration.

Took a ride in a submarine research vessel or controlled remote manipulators on a distant planet.

Investigated of streams, erosion, waves, and laminar flow from a fountain.

Here we are waiting for the "Science of Fireworks" show.

The mechanics of sets of pulleys, an automobile transmission and differential all show how you can trade speed for distance or distance for speed in mechanical systems.

We all had a great time this week. 

I hope that you enjoyed seeing a little of what we did at camp.
Check out some of the links below if you have time.

Have fun.

Go to our Science Fun page
Go to our Travels page
Go to our Personal home page
Go to our Community page

E-mail Nancy and Alan

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