Tomorrow’s scientists are giggling about sheep eyeballs today

June 19, 2008

Soon, the most talented and gifted future scientists from around the world will be gathering for a very special week at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.  It is slated to be the largest ever gathering of teenage researchers. 

These children are among the most motivated science students that the world has to offer.  They will come together to share their research on such topics as climate, disease, and pollution.  The conference is put on by GLOBE, a worldwide science and education program operated in part by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR).

Here at the Houston Museum of Natural Science we have some of the world’s most talented future scientists as well.  During the eleven weeks of camp offered at the Museum and its satellite facilities, child scientists participate in such varied topics as robotics, chemistry, physics, biology, and anthropology, just to name a few.

This week we have robotics technicians working on programing robots in the Robo-Lab and they will even construct their own “battlebot” from a remote control car and recycled items (the Museum kid scientist always is thinking of the environment).  Friday, these experts will put their new skills to the test in different contests designed to let them flex their newly aquired skill-sets.  

Just up the hallway from our robotics experts, we have a class of up and coming science magicians in Super Science Magic class.  Here, they discover that magic is science in disguise.  They practice science magic showmanship as they learn to wow crowds with magic performed with an understanding of physics and chemistry concepts.  They also learn a thing or two about legerdemain (French for slight of hand).  On Friday, the young magicians have a magic show to amaze and thrill their families.

If you continue along the hallway, you will come upon the Photo Safari class, where the children learn how  a camera operates by dissecting a sheep’s eyeball and building their own pinhole camera to take pictures that are developed in class using real photographic chemicals.  In an age of digital photography the art and science of developing your own prints is fast becoming a lost science, but we are keeping that science alive by inspiring a new generation of scientists/artists. 

These are only three of the many, many classes that are offered to excite children about science.  As you can see from the videos, science can excite as well as enrich childrens’ lives.  Check back throughout the summer for more super summer camp updates.

Authored By Kat Havens

Kat has been both the spokesperson for the CSI: The Experience exhibit and project manager for the Imperial Rome exhibit and has a love of all things historical and cultural. She is responsible for the Xplorations summer camp program, coordinating weekday labs during the school year, writing department curriculum and presenting at teacher trainings. Kat has worked at the Museum since 1996.

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