Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Creating lighthouses brings in a crowd

This project never fails to please the participants and let them learn a bit about lighthouses too. We took a look at pictures of a number of lighthouses and talked about their purpose. The lighthouses are pretty easy to create but one of the essential pieces is getting in really short supply--glass baby food jars. We had just enough for this time though. It needs 1/2 of a paper towel tube, a jar, a cupcake liner, construction paper for stripes and windows, aluminum foil and a light to test it out. 

We wrapped the tube in light colored paper then cut stripes out of red and black and glued them onto the paper. Many also cut little windows from black paper and added those. A piece of foil folded to fit inside the side of the jar makes a great reflector and is easy to tape into place. We have cut cones for the top in the past but this time we used white cupcake liners and made great tops for the lighthouse. Last we used flashlights and battery candle lights to check out the function and found out they do light up and reflect light. Great learning project and it works for lots of ages.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wild Wacky science n art for Juniors

Talk about a wild and crazy idea-bring the sciencey camp to the younger kids. It worked except many 5 year-olds do no know what a robot is or appreciate the speed that pennies change color but they certainly had fun, learned some things and changed my perspective on what kids this age are intrigued by. It also helped to have a few of the 6-8 yr-old campers too.

Some of the projects were ones in motion--spinning tops and jumping bits - magnetic attractions between chenille stems and magnets or magnets and other magnets, milk and coloring, and water action on filter paper. You can click on any of the following pictures to view the video clips of the activity. 


Magnet dance

working with color and colloids   
Fun with tops

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Making Tiki masks from juice bottles @WBCL

This is a project that I have been looking forward to all summer. I love making masks and the kids seem to love making them and using them, even ones like this that do not have eyeholes. 
The mask requires 1/2 of a 64oz juice bottle cut vertically, about 1/3 of a brown paper bag, a little construction paper or scrapbook paper, a corn husk,  a bit of tape and a little glue.
We wrapped the bag around the bottle and secured it with postal tape fitting it on top and bottom to cover. We then cut eyes and a mouth out of construction paper and added them. We made the nose and ears from bag handles or leftover paper bag cuttings and taped them on. I had a donation of some animal print paper that we used to decorate the faces with--zebra and cheetah. We added a bit of black paper shed for hair and a corn husk for a beard. The results were great as usual and had lots of variety. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fun with Dr. Seuss @art mini camp

 Doesn't everyone love Dr. Seuss? It has been fun to work with some of his lesser known stories and create the projects based on these. We started with reading "The 500 hats of Bartholomew Cubbins" then made folded hats decorated with our own feathers made from paper shred. The kids really had a good time with the book and getting into character wearing the hats. 

We read "Wish for a Fish: All About Sea Creatures" one of the Seuss learning library books and made our own aquariums. I had planned on using " McElligot's pond" but it is really long and was good to have as a resource instead. The kids drew fish, plants and other sealife then mounted them in a clear blue tub. 
 We continue on through "Oh, can you say din-o-saur" and "the things you can think" creating a decorated frame for a picture drawn by each camper. Our dinosaur project in clay produced a Trex, dino eggs, and a few dinos that even they could not identify. We tried our hands at drawing the features of a maze too to go with
 "I had trouble getting to Solla Sollew". Time was flying trying to fit it all in.

 We were given some corks that looked so much like giraffes and paper for many animals that we created Seuss type animals from the corks and chenille stems. We read " Horton hatches the egg" then painted wooden eggs with metallic tempera and colored the winged baby elephabird for the egg. 
We made nests complete with eggs and mama birds after reading "Fine feathered friends: All about birds" another Learning library selection.  The nests were paper shred on a cardstock base. The birds were more complicated with 2 fuzzy balls, feathers, a beak and wiggle eyes. We totally did not do tails on our birds!

Rocks talk to the group @WBCL

It is true. The rocks do tell us what the are! I brought a box of 2-3" rocks for the group to use in a variety of shapes--triangles, oblong, round and all kinds of odd ones. At first the kids were a little puzzled then suddenly they GOT IT. The rocks became penguins, butterflies, rabbits, cats and a lot more. we had quite a few ladybugs and other bugs too. It is fun to see how creative they can be. I used the book "Painting animals on rocks" by Lin Wellford to generate ideas for the group. I see several parents painting or making their own projects each week which is just wonderful. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Wild & Wacky Science art mini-camp volcanos and more

 We started the week making crystals and had fun mixing up each concoction. We made crystals from Epsom salt which makes needles in the fridge, salt that blooms on a sponge, borax over chenille stems, and geodes from alum. Most take days to make although the Epsom salt ones show growth within 24 hours--lots of fun to look at.
We spent part of the afternoon crafting a space station or future place from plastic recyclables. I filled a bin with item and the campers got to choose items and configure a project working in groups.  They used CDs, plastic tubs, aluminum pans, caps, and lots more that I collected and a lot of hot glue. Part of the project teaches creativity and group work, part is safety in using hot glue guns,  pliers and scissors, and part of it is encouraging them to describe the project and tell the story behind their work. Someday we'll get that on film too. We are so lucky to have 2-3 volunteers to help the kids out doing the projects.

Although it is not strictly natural science the mechanics of catapults seemed a natural fit and as in the first week of science camp creation caused a lot of concern about their fingers but once the first ball was launched on one seemed concerned about anything except how far their ball would go and who they could hit with it. Check out the video: catapults1 and catapults 2
Paper making is messy but is something not very many kids have done. I started with cardboard egg cartons and ground them in the blender before class to create the pulp. We talked about use of deckles (the frame for straining the paper) and the process to press the water out and turn out a page of paper with bits of paper or shred in the surface. We did not dye the paper this time although we have in the past. 
 Fossils are interesting and investigating ways to examine them teaches the kids something about archaeological methods too. I have been keeping a fossil box for a couple of years and collecting things that make good impressions to look at; small pinecones, shells, bones, twigs, and odd shaped other items are great to press into clay or in this case damp sand to make the beginnings of the project. Once the pressings are complete we mixed plaster to make castings of them. The kids got to learn about the right consistency to pour plaster.

It takes a day or so to set up well enough to unearth the fossils from the sand. We used large tubs to support the castings and catch the sand. They brushed off sand with stiff brushes until they could see their cast fossil copy then let it dry a bit more and rebrushed. Once the sand was off the results were pretty amazing--the kids were picking out things on the surface that they recognized from the pressing part and were pretty impressed.

We began and ended our week with volcanoes. We watched films of volcanoes erupting and discussed some of the volcanoes and how big they get, how far the magma is thrown into the air and other topics. We looked at Kilauea in Hawaii and Mt. St. Helens in various states of eruption. We talked about Pompeii but I wasn't able to find a short video for them on that.
Constructing a volcano from a juice bottle is easy using rigid wrap and newspaper. Everyone shaped one and set it out to dry. On Thursday they
just looked too white to this group so everyone painted theirs before the eruption. (click on picture to view)   From art camp 2012
The results were satisfying but more to come on that as we invite the younger kids to the eruption.