Science Camp 2011 week 2
The group pictures of our campers.

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 to determine the time.

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.

Add a parachute.

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.

A table of their results to be used to solve the crime on Thursday.

They were able to recover serial numbers that had been ground off a piece of metal.
Useful if you recovered a weapon and someone had tried to conceal where it had been obtained.

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, smears, and spray 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, liquid oxygen and ice cream.

We 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, Buicks and angry birds with computer simulations.
If you would like to try some go to this page, sorry, it doesn't have the last one but may have seen it elsewhere.

We looked at tracks and how they could be distinguished when you were following a suspect or lost subject.
Were they heavy, light, limping, carrying something heavy, all can be determined.

Some were easier than most, if they were bleeding for example.

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.
Their 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.

The weight of the projectile and the pendulum weight and length were needed to get the velocity.

They had to learn how to read a table and then convert the result in meters per second to feet per second or miles per hour.
Several managed to fire their projectiles at more than 150 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 "Colour 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.

The relative frequency of letters in English is used to help crack encrypted messages.

Tools, notes, references, and other products that the campers produced.

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.

The students positioned their catchers carefully.

And let them fall.
Spectators focused on the egg

all the way down.

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.

For fun this young lady tried to catch an egg barehanded.

Along with the egg drop contest there were lots more activities and contests.

Decode a message using the cipher wheels they had built.

Try to figure out what shape was hidden in containers by tipping and shaking.

Play a science version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

They used their engineering skills by building towers and bridges out of paper.
Then tested them.

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?

In other contests 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".
Here is the crime scene with fingerprints, blood, footprints, hair, white powders, and lots of other clues to evaluate

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

The Millionaire game winners.

Campers were challenged to produce a composite drawing of the camp director.
The subject and the winners.

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.
Lots more activities for the campers.

In Space
They could land a shuttle.

Ride a Gemini capsule

Visit the International Space Station and see what one of its "facilities" is like.

Check their blood pressure and heart rate.
One of the campers didn't register, I wonder if his reflection shows in a mirror.

How long can you balance on a teeter board? 
This device gives the answer accurate to a hundredth of a second.

During the rat basketball game our player (Betty) came in second while the other player (Wilma) came in next to last.
Here is Betty dunking the ball.

Here is a video of a bit of the game.
A lot of the campers took a ride on the high wire unicycle 17 feet above the main entrance.

The kids had a great time in The Ocean area where they could try lots of water related exhibits.
Aim these super water guns.

Just don't cross the streams ... it would be bad.
Or maybe not, you could just see some very interesting hydrodynamics.

Water in the Chinese singing bowls demonstrate resonance if you rub the handles just right.
You can see the four nodes and antinodes produced by the sound waves.

Even two people can make it work.
Here it is in motion

This black hole for coins is a funnel shaped to simulate the gravitational attraction of a body orbiting it's center.
The center is a Black Hole only because the object eventually loses enough energy and falls from sight.
The kids released two coins simultaneously in opposite directions producing an interesting result.

This 5000 pound granite ball was spun with a lot less effort than they expected.
It sits on a water bearing that runs at a pressure of only about 10 pounds per square inch.
The giant lever gave us a chance to lift a car.

or maybe not if we didn't use the rope at the end of the lever.
Some of our campers, helpers, staff, and director that were hanging around other places in the museum.

I think everyone had a great week and lots of us will be back again next year.

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