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Schoolchildren get to practice science at summer camp

Children seek answers to scientific questions through everyday examples at a science camp focusing on chemistry.

Two science camps for schoolchildren were held in early June at the Lumarts laboratory. The camps were organised by the LUMA Centre at Aalto University in collaboration with the LUMA Centre at the University of Helsinki.

When making a cryptodisk one must concentrate.

The camp was headed by students training to become teachers of science and mathematics and technical subjects. 

 'The camp was in such high demand that the number of applicants was double the number of spots available' says Jaako Tuunanen, who is studying to be a teacher.

The programme for the week was well thought-out and versatile. It comprised both scientific tasks and visits to museums. In addition to scientific projects, participants in the camp played outdoor games and took part in an orienteering treasure hunt in Otaniemi. 

Dry ice, slime, and detective tasks

The basic idea of the camp is to get acquainted with science through experimentation. Enthusiasm for activities comes from the possibility to try everything in practice.

During the week-long camp, participants produced dry ice - the extremely cold solid form of carbon dioxide - and made slime with a realistic feel out of corn starch and coloured powder.

The coloured slime dryed on the window sill.

As it was summer, the camp menu also included the production of a science soft drink. The purpose of the task is to demonstrate phenomena related to carbon dioxide in carbonated drinks from the point of view of chemistry - such as how carbon dioxide is formed.

A cryptodisk was used for detective work. First, the campers crafted the disks themselves, after which secret messages were deciphered. 

Enthusiasm continues after the science camp

Enthusiasm for science and putting it into practice is infectious. The interest in what was learned at the camp has remained.

At the end of the week each participant was given a personal camp folder. The folder contains the same tasks that were undertaken during the week. This makes it possible to continue the scientific work at home.
      
'Feedback has come from parents, according to which the kitchen has often looked like a well utilised chemistry laboratory when they get home from work.'

It is possible to deduce from this that the certificates of good achievement handed out at the end of the camp are more than well deserved.

 

***

LUMA activities in Otaniemi

The aim of the activity is to support and advance teaching and learning in the natural sciences, mathematics, and technology at all levels as well as interest felt toward these topics by children and young people.

The Lumarts laboratory of the LUMA Centre Aalto is located on the Otaniemi campus. The laboratory is use for the teaching of natural sciences and biological arts: luma.aalto.fi.

The LUMA Centre Aalto organises events such as children's science camps in cooperation with the LUMA Centre.

 

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