CoS summer camps in full swing





ScienceScape instructor Susan Gran helps students identify minerals during an experiment.

The College of Science has two summer camps running from June 24 to 28 — ScienceScape and Adventures in Computer Science. Both cater to middle school-aged future scientists from Indiana and Illinois.

The 2013 ScienceScape camp consists of 31 boys and girls who conduct a wide range of science experiments throughout the week. With the theme “Structures of Life,” the students are examining how minerals, crystals, enzymes and living material like various plant life are built via microscopes and careful observation. The ScienceScape staff that leads each experiment is College of Science students, faculty and alumni.

While science is first, there is a kid-centric fun side to each experiment. On day one, the students made rock candy after a morning of viewing and noting the structures of various minerals. On days three and four, they examined potato enzymes and learned how to extract pigment out of spinach leaves, respectively.

Adventures in Computer Science

lego man

Lego enthusiast Steve Hassenplug leads the "Super Robo Rally" programming activity during the Adventures in Computer Science summer camp.

The Department of Computer Science’s summer camp consists of 16 computer whizzes, all from Indiana except two from Florida. Thorough the week, the students will learn about programming, building phone applications, robotics and more.

On day one, the students controlled Lego robots with programming cards for the “Super Robo Rally.”

“Each card contains an ‘instruction’ or step in the program: move one space, move two spaces, turn left, turn right, backup, etc.,” explained Tim Korb, CS camp leader and assistant department head. “Each student is given, initially, nine cards and must choose five cards to use as their program. The fact that they don't have an unlimited set of cards to choose from is a part of the challenge. For example, I was watching one camper program her robot and she had no cards to move forward. She did, however, have a U-turn card and some backup cards, so she programmed her robot to face the opposite direction she wanted to go and then backup.

“This activity promotes logical thinking and step-wise development. They learn to think the way a computer works: one step at a time, and try to predict what will happen at the end of a series of fairly complicated steps.”

On day three, the students challenged a robot to a game of Connect Four and they battled each other in a programming game of Sumo Bots.

Robo Rally


QuarkNet Workshop

Sponsored by Physics Outreach, QuarkNet representatives visited the Physics Building to help educate and enlighten 11 science teachers, who traveled from as far away as Pennsylvania, during a June 24 to 28 workshop. QuarkNet is a long-term, research-based teacher professional development program jointly funded by the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Energy.

Among the many activities during the week-long workshop: The teachers gained access to websites that provide huge data sets from CERN's large hadron collider and they also learned how to operate cosmic ray detectors, measuring from the bowels of the Physics Building to the tops of parking garages. They used the same detectors that traveled to 10,000 feet in hot air balloons during March experiments.

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