Citizen Science Youth Camp

Our new summer camp program encourages your child to become innovative, collaborative, and develop an interest in science. Children will participate in fun, hands on activities and perform memorable science experiments involving chemistry, biology and physics. Citizen Science Youth Camp builds on our facilitators’ many years of experience teaching children and our constantly growing community of makers. The camp engages children to work in a creative and supportive environment while developing team building skills necessary to communicate ideas, think critically, and grow as individuals.

Session 1: Under the Microscope

Dates: July 3, 2017 – July 6, 2017

In the first week of Citizen Science Youth Camp, we are going under the microscope to explore bacteria, plants, and animal tissues. We will be dissecting different plants and mushrooms, observing amoebae and paramecia in action, looking at blood cells, and drawing what we see. Young Scientists will learn about safety in the laboratory, maintaining a sterile working environment, and how to use dissection tools to prepare microscope slides. We will learn how to stain animal tissues to reveal hidden structures under the microscope.

Young Scientists will learn how to prepare petri dishes and culture bacteria colonies.

There will be a secondary theme to this week – photography. Young Scientists will choose an event that happens in an instant and then take amazing pictures using high speed photography. We will also build our own pinhole cameras, put them outside for an entire day, and then develop the film in our darkroom.

Register here!

Session 2: Magic of Change

Dates: July 17, 2017 – July 20, 2017

The second week of camp has a strong emphasis on chemistry. Our facilitators will dissolve a gold coin in acid and Young Scientists will gold-plate pennies using electricity. We will make our own mirrors and jewels using a silver solution. We will make our own black and white film and test it in a home made camera. Young Scientists will synthesize their own nylon rope from raw materials. We will mix potassium iodide and lead nitrate to make beautiful golden crystals, and then use fire to understand what those crystals are made of. We will chemically synthesize esters – the chemicals that cause fruity smells. Finally, we’ll grow our own crystals from copper sulfate.

There will be a secondary theme to this week – physics. We will play with vortex cannons and perform a thrilling wrecking ball experiment. Young Scientists will make liquid nitrogen ice cream in our kitchen, and we’ll see who can come up with the most delicious and interesting flavour. Young Scientists will be using chromatography to separate the different pigments in ink to make a rainbow. On the last day, we’ll split water into hydrogen and oxygen and then recombine it with a bang!

Register here!

Session 3: The Secrets of Forensics

Dates: July 24, 2017 – July 27, 2017

On the third week, we are looking closely at forensic science and DNA. In fact, we will be solving a crime! Our club president has gone missing and the other Hacklab members are saying the tree house is suspiciously clean! Young Scientists will gather physical evidence from the potential crime scene. They will learn to dust for and lift fingerprints from various surfaces and then expose them with CA vapours. They will uncover hidden blood stains with luminol, and compare fabric and hair samples with those of our Hacklab members.

After gathering and photographing evidence on the first day, we will learn and practise some lab skills. Young Scientists will be sequencing DNA to determine which types of meat are in a hamburger. We will learn how to operate a PCR machine to amplify DNA and a gel electrophoresis cell to determine its sequence. We’ll learn how to make bacteria cells accept new DNA, so that Young Scientists can inject foreign DNA into bacteria to make it glow in the dark. Then we will learn to test salts by the different colours they produce in a flame.

On the last day, we’ll receive dossiers about our suspects. We will revisit the fingerprints and manually match them with our suspects. Then our facilitators will demonstrate how to use software to verify our findings. We will look at fabric samples under a microscope to see what clothes they came from. We will use chromatography to identify which ink was used in handwriting.

Register here!