Energy! Blue Room Summer Camp 2018


Week Two

Light Energy - On Monday the Blue Room began their first energy form exploration with "light". With the aide of the book, What are Light Waves? by Robin Johnson, children learned that light comes in waves and when white light is bent it breaks into the colors of the rainbow. Campers took various prisms out into the sun to discover just how to hold them to bend the light and create a rainbow. A solar powered water pump and motor were played with as well. When the sun went behind a cloud all of them stopped working. Which brought up the question, " What does the LEAFHouse ( a solar powered house that they will visit on Tuesday), do when it is night or cloudy?

LEAFHouse - The visit to the LEAFHouse occurred on a hot and sweltering day. Lucky for all the LEAFHouse was well air conditioned. Children learned that the LEAFHouse got it's name because, like a leaf, the house produces energy from the sun's light and because the skylight at the roof's peak resembles a leaf with veins. LEAFHouse was constructed by some UMD students for a competition, and won second place while being displayed on the Mall in Washington DC. Renee Brooks Catacalos explained to the children how the house also uses the sun's thermal energy to make hot water. On cloudy days and at night the energy made from the house during sunny times is stored in batteries.

4th of July Cooking - In honor of the country's birthday, the campers did a red, white, and blue cooking project. They made biscuits from a biscuit mix and cut them out into star shapes. Thermal energy was used to cook the biscuits and then they were served with red and blue berries topped with vanilla yogurt. Every camper had seconds!

Solar Powered Cars- The UMD Office of Sustainability loaned the Blue Room three solar powered cars. On a bright and sunny Thursday the children had an opportunity to try them out. The solar panels on each car could be adjusted to different angles to capture the sun's light. Children experimented to get the cars to move. One camper brought his own solar car to share. It had a battery that was charged by the solar panel and could run even when it was indoors, provided the battery had been charged enough through the sun. This connected to the LEAFHouse visit and what the children had learned about storing light energy.

Pizza Box Ovens - Going along with the week's focus of light and heat, children constructed solar pizza box ovens. Children were encouraged to think about the best way to make their ovens by using some of the sun's properties they had learned about earlier in the week. They decided to use black paper to line the oven, since black absorbs heat better. They discussed the best angle to use on the top portion of the oven to direct the reflection of the sun's heat. They pondered over how to keep the heat in the box by using transparent materials so the light and heat could get in the oven more easily but not escape as much. In the end a diagram from the Internet was shown and the children went to work in small groups. The ovens will be tested out the following week.


Teacher's Corner

Lesson Plans

State Curriculum Standards

Major Standard : 1.OA.A.2 Ability to add numbers in any order and be able to identify the most efficient way to solve the problem

Children practiced random addition problems by adding their score in a bean bag toss game. Strategies for adding were discussed and shared.


6.0 Environmental Science - Recognize and explain how Earth's natural resources from the natural environment are used to meet human needs.

By exploring solar panels all week, children were able to explain how the sun's light is used to power many things from toys to houses.


Science - Technology- Make something out of paper, cardboard, wood, plastic, metal, or existing objects that can actually be used to perform a task.

This standard was exemplified when the children constructed the solar pizza box ovens.

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