Physical Science (STEM)

AstroCamp offers many fun, exciting, and educational physical science classes that allow students to explore science in an engaging and hands-on way. These daytime classes are an excellent accompaniment to the recent national focus on teaching science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in our schools. Check out the descriptions of our great classes below. For additional information such as the duration of each class please review the The Program Planner.

Fundamental Forces:  Experience the Power of Our Universe!

Electricity:
Out of the darkness 300,000 volts explode through the air in our Electricity Lab!  Instructors lead students in a hair-raising experience with our giant Van de Graff generator, and launch bolts of      lightning from our Tesla Coil. Along with more exciting demonstrations, students explore and gain a real understanding of static, current, voltage, and what electricity is.
Magnetism:
The mysterious power of magnets has puzzled even the greatest of scientists. Here, the veil is lifted, as students are able to see the magnetic field that drives it all!  From there, students explore the lab on their own to discover how magnets can generate electricity and overpower gravity!
Gravity:
The universe is at the same time held together and pulled apart because of gravity. In this lab, students get a hands on introduction to the way this forms our universe, as well as take a trip into a black hole to see how the recently discovered gravitational waves are formed!

Lights & Lasers:

Light is the most important tool scientists have to explore the universe!  In our unique Lights and Lasers lab, students will gain a new understanding of what light is and what It can be used for through a myriad of amazing experiments including an infrared camera, modulating lasers, and phosphorescent wall! One of our most famous activities involves the inversion goggles, which lets students see upside down and try to complete various tasks.

Atmosphere & Gases:

Learn about planetary atmospheric conditions and states of matter in our most requested class. Hands-on experimentation allows students to learn about temperature, pressure, density, and other gas properties. The exploration includes working with space-like vacuum conditions, incredibly cold liquid nitrogen, and a controlled explosion of hydrogen!

Cosmic Lander:

The history of space exploration has been an exciting roller coaster of ups and downs! From the first successful manned missions to the recent journeys, students will get a brief overview of where we’ve been and where we’re going. Students will design prototype, test, and redesign “cosmic landers” using a variety of materials and our unique extraterrestrial landscape.

Craters:

Students learn about comets, asteroids, and meteorites and even get to simulate impact craters! Then they hunt for micrometeorites all over camp with powerful magnets.  Student then work in teams and use microscopes to sift through the magnetic particles they collected, searching for their personal piece of the solar system that they can take home!

Planetary Sciences:

Take a tour and study the extreme environments of the solar system through the lens of exciting, hands-on experiments. Experience the incredible winds on Neptune, crazy rotational speed of Jupiter, and immense atmospheric pressure on Venus. There is also a water chemistry section where students can turn water to acid using only their breath!

Whirling Windmills:

Generate electricity by harnessing the power of the wind using your own windmill design. Test and improve your windmill as many times as possible and see if we can produce enough power to light up a tower!

Solar Studies:

Learn about the structure and physics of the sun and safely view sunspots, prominences, and other solar features through telescopes using special solar filters. In addition, learn about solar energy through hands-on experiments involving solar cells, ovens, water heaters, and building solar powered cars! The Solar class concludes with a little treat: solar cookies that are baked in our Sun Ovens.

Building & Launching Rockets:

In this class, students will learn the basics of rocketry based on Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion to design rockets that can go over 400 feet high!  Our one-of-a-kind launchpad system is adjacent to our classroom, allowing for students to build, test, and modify their rockets several times throughout the class. Using simple math, students will estimate the height of each launch to track their improvement. Each student needs to bring a 2-liter soda bottle with a standard size opening.

Neutral Buoyancy Lab at AstroCamp:

In order to prepare for the sensation of weightlessness in space, astronauts first practice their missions in a giant tank of water known as the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory. We at AstroCamp do the same. In this activity students will experience this feeling of near-weightlessness as they undergo their own “mission” in our indoor pool. After the “mission” has been completed the students will discuss how this activity might compare to a real space mission. Topics of conversation may include the difficulties of a frictionless environment, teamwork, and astronaut life.