Pikeville Science and Math Camp 2012,  Week 1

This year we have a good batch of campers.

They are divided onto five "color groups" and get to learn about five different subjects as you will see below.

On Monday they learned about the phases of the moon and made books showing them.

On Tuesday campers finished their moon phase calendars and made spectroscopes to look at the spectra of elements

And on Wednesday they built missiles powered by air pressure and then tested their accuracy.

Here they learned about programming in the language Scratch. 
They made an animated cat perform.

On Tuesday they continued learning to program.

Wednesday they finished their programming projects which are available on the MIT web site.
If you want to try your hand at the programming language the campers used, Scratch can be downloaded at: http://info.scratch.mit.edu/Scratch_1.4_Download

If you would like to see the their projects go to: http://scratch.mit.edu/users/summerms

On Monday campers tested their senses: taste, touch, sight, smell, and hearing.

They used a game to study population dynamics and how it is influenced by limited resources.
Another game modeled predator prey relationships.
In both they collected data and plotted the results.
The numbers on the board in the last picture are the data from one of the games.

Wednesday in biology they dissected owl pellets and tried to identify what animal the owl had eaten by examining the bones the pellets contained.

Campers made safety glasses that they will need for classes during the rest of the week.

Tuesday in chemistry the campers started growing crystals.

In chemistry on Wednesday they got to see how the crystals they started on Tuesday turned out and built conductivity testers.

We studied bubbleology on Monday and managed to put everyone into a bubble if they wanted to.

We even managed to get two in one bubble on occasion.

A couple of the helpers tried it too.

We made round bubbles, long ones, square ones, caught a few on our head, and made flat ones that had windows that you could put your head through.
We talked about some of the ways bubbles ares used in science and how to tell the thickness by the color of the bubble.

We started making hot air balloons on Tuesday in physics.

Helpers working on materials for the hot air balloons

Wednesday we finished the balloons and tried to solve some puzzles.

On Thursday we flew the balloons.
Hot air supplied by a propane burner provided the lift.
Some had strings attached so that they could be recovered for another flight.
Others were just released and with some luck came down close enough that they could be flown again.
Others disappeared over the buildings and trees never to be seen again.

Occasionally an unfortunate gust of wind pushed a balloon into the direct heat from the burner.
Always exciting.  Here are some of the results.
Some made a brief flight before they were reduce to ash.

For those all that remained was the wire ring that had shaped the bottom of the balloon.

Some of the helpers built their own balloon and launched it.

Showing off some of the things they made in camp.

Some of the prizes for the contests on Thursday.

The Physics Olympics competition this year included firing a water balloon with points for accuracy.

Build a bridge out of paper and glue.  How much weight will it hold?

What is the highest tower that can be made using a single sheet of paper?
And build an aluminum foil boat that can hold the most marbles without sinking.

What shape is in each of the containers?
You have to figure it out by rattling and tipping them so that the balls inside slide around and give you clues.

Make the most words from the letter combinations for the elements on the periodic table to win this part of the contest.
A helper explaned the rules, kept the time and checked the results.

Build a paper airplane that you fly out of the classrrom door. 
To score in this event it has to turn left and go down the hall.

The Who Wants to Win a Million Dollars game tests the campers science knowledge, but not for real money.
Just like the TV game show there is a fastest finger round and then questions that start easy but get harder in each round.
If you want to try your hand at it there is a link at the bottom of the page.

Solving a computer maze when your only information about which way to go is instructions from your teammates can be interesting. 
You get exchanges like this.  "Go up, up, left, down, over, OVER!",  "Which WAY!!!"

The big contest this year was to design and build a device that could catch a steel ball dropped on it from up to 2 meters. 
The winner was the catcher that was  the shortest, weighed least, and caught the ball from the greatest height.
Here are some of the entries.

The catchers are carefully positioned over a hole in the bottom of  the drop tower.
And the ball is released.

The Winners.

On Friday we went to Bays Mountain Park in Tennesee.
The naturalist told us about the wolves they have and got the whole pack to howl in response to his howl.
Play the video to hear them.

The naturalist told us about when the wolves escaped because a tree fell on the fence.
Then it happened again when a big branch fell.
In front of the viewing area you can see very strong barriers that they hope will prevent that from happening again.

They had other animals and birds as well.  Deer, a bobcat, otters, racoons, raptors, turtles, snakes.
We saw an informative presentation on snakes and had a chance to touch one if we wanted to.

A few more of the animals we saw.

We all had a great time at camp this year. I plan to see many of them again next year.

Click here to play the Who Wants to Win a Million Dollars game.

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