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Friday, July 22, 2011

Beaker Bash Science Camp – Week 2 in Review

 It took us 2 days to get around to making our shoebox guitars but it was a great 2 days!  We built up our background knowledge about sound instead of jumping into the build.  To do this we made all kinds of sounds using balloons, palm pipes, and glass jars.  We got so good at it, we were even able to create some great music videos.  Finally, we understood enough about the effect of air traveling and sound waves bouncing that we were able to make predictions about how to best set up our shoebox guitars and everyone got busy.  Of course they had to purchase their supplies from Mrs. Kaiser first so they all made a trip to Beaker Bank.  After making our guitars, we experimented with the variables a bit.  In the end, we realized that the same exact rubberband positioned differently on the shoebox could produce a different pitch.  I think the kids were a bit surprised at the science behind the music.

Of course we spent time in the garden again this week.  We’re not getting much rain, so it has been important to water our plants well every day.  Even with 6 rain barrels, we’re having a hard time getting enough water to our plants.  We’re getting down to the dregs of the barrels and are really hoping for a nice rainstorm soon to help us replenish!

The last couple of days were spent mixing chemicals and watching to see what would happen.  We have enough adult helpers to break down into really small groups.  The kids had fun choosing their own experiments to complete from the Wild Goose Kits that had never been opened and were over 5 years old.  As they would finish an experiment, they would take turns demonstrating and explaining the science to each other.  One of the things they had fun with was looking for the bottle with the correct scientific name for their next “ingredient”.  We made disappearing ink, a mystery solution that kept changing colors from clear to blue when you shook it up, Patriotic colors that begin clear and change to red/white/blue that neutralizes to clear when combined, and disappearing water to name a few.  The disappearing water led nicely into some experiments with polymers.  We talked about ways they are used like in baby diapers. 

On our last day, we learned about endothermic and exothermic reactions.  I’ll be bringing in some instant hot and cold packs next week for the kids to see how these chemicals are put to use for first aid. We also broke out the talking microscopes and learned about bugs.

Word is getting out about camp and we are growing in numbers, but still small enough to have some real quality time with each student. If you want to see some pictures check them out on my website.  Oh yes.  I gave the kids a little teaser just before they left.  They put on their goggles and I shot potato at them from my potato gun (courtesy Steve Spangler Science in the Rockies).  Next week we’ll learn a little about force and motion.  They can’t wait to get back to camp!

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