Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream
Dr. Edwards, a CYC parent and our contact with the Joint Quantum Institute, offered to make liquid nitrogen ice cream with the children. How could we pass that up? In fact one of the original questions we had from a camper was what ingredients are in ice cream. Dr. Edwards laid out all the ingredients for the children and asked them what they thought went in the recipe. Because most of the children cannot read much at this age, this was not an obvious question. She added each ingredient into a bowl and told the children about the liquid nitrogen and how it would "boil" when it touched the air causing the ingredients to become cold enough to form ice cream. Nitrogen, she told the children is in the air we breath so it is perfectly safe. As the nitrogen was poured from it's container everyone saw the formation of a smoky looking gas that spilled out over the bowl, and in the end the ice cream was very good causing the children to ask for seconds.
Mixing Party and Picnic
The Green Room children worked hard for the past five weeks learning about mixing and this was the week to show off some of their favorite activities. A culminating "Mixing Party" was planned involving all of the children's ideas. Signs and invitations were made and muffins mixed. Fresh Gak was prepared and a mud kitchen set up along with a bubble station. Some experiments Dr. Daniels had done with the children were recreated for the event and streamers balloons and other decorations were added to the room.
When families arrived each child took their family members around to visit the five stations and talk about what they had learned. There was a wonderful turn out and children were beaming to show everything off. After the show, families walked to a nearby picnic area with a soccer field and volley ball net. There everyone had a relaxing lunch with a little time to run around afterward. It was a wonderful way to build community and wrap up a fun study. It didn't hurt any that this was also costume day!
Thank You Notes
Campers were always encouraged to write a thank you to the different presenters they were able to enjoy during the summer. The notes were written on chart paper and started, "Dear ________". Each child was asked to state something they specifically enjoyed about the demonstration or trip. Many children helped write the words and all had a chance to sign the thank you letters.
The letters were written as a small group or individual center activity and when they were finished, the letters were read at a whole group meeting where they were asked if anything else should be added. Sometimes photographs of the presenter were added to the letter. It is hoped that this teaches children to be appreciative of the time people spent to teach them something and it is thought that the recipients enjoyed the gesture.
Going to the pool twice a week was a fun activity for the summer and gave the campers a chance to move and play even on the hottest days. Even though the section of the pool we played at was not very deep it was deep enough for children to practice putting their head in and they could even swim a bit. Having a chance to get comfortable being in the water is a great precursor to swimming and every new accomplishment the children made toward swimming was praised by the adults. Parents were required to chaperon and it was always fun for the child whose parent was there to have them participate in their day.
What would you like to study next?
Asking the children this questions gives teachers a chance to think about future studies. Children are reminded that they do not have to do a study at school that they can do studies anytime. Some of the ideas generated were, dolphins, paper, paint, Ninjago, and Disney!
Both teachers thought the study could have gone on for a least two more weeks which is not a luxury during the summer. We had wanted to get into density with liquids more and how they will layer.Also we had wanted to make fizzy bath bombs and explore the cooking projects that some of the children had mentioned at the beginning of camp. When going over the questions the children had, we asked them what ingredients go in cookies and cake. They were not as sure of the answers as we had thought they might be.
It also would have been fun to have a real artist come and show how they mixed colors and perhaps visit a bakery as one child had suggested. There is a plethora of ideas on the Internet for concoctions. This turned out to be a very successful study.