Welcome to Aboriginal Access to Engineering, Queen's University
Welcome to Aboriginal Access to Engineering, Queen's University
This week we took to the road with some exciting chemistry activities for the youth. Campers enjoyed being creative and making a mess while making play-doh and elephant toothpaste. They were able to see how household groceries can be mixed and react to create new substances with different appearances and properties.
Campers worked in teams to mix ingredients they could find at home such as flour, salt and vegetable oil, to make their own play- doh to take with them. Students first mixed the dry materials in a bowl and later added the wet materials and food coloring to create their play-doh. Once everything was stirred together, flour was then added to the bowl to keep the mix from getting sticky. Students were able to use their hands to mix the flour and knead their play-doh until it reached the correct consistency. Students were then allowed free time to play with their new creation, immediately rolling it into different shapes and molding animals – so creative!
The last activity students participated in was making elephant toothpaste. This foamy reaction is created by mixing yeast, dish soap, hydrogen peroxide and oxygen in a two-liter bottle. The reaction happens very quickly and shoots out of the bottle, creating a foam that looks like toothpaste being squeezed out of a big elephant-sized tube. Not only is the visible reaction fun for the kids, but they were also able to feel the heat created from the exothermic, or heat-yielding, reaction. We definitely had fun watching the students react to their colored foam filling up their bottle and spilling over, and it was an experiment that everyone wanted to do again!
This week we took to the road to explore the world of LEGO WeDo 2.0 robotics with campers! We explained the concepts of robots and their applications in the real world. We then explored how it is possible to construct robots from Lego. From there, we moved into programming via the WeDo software app for iPad. These particular robots use Bluetooth technology to communicate with the programmers’ iPads. The campers learned various aspects of coding in order to make the robots move forward and backwards, change the lights colours, and make noises. Some students even recorded their own voices to be integrated into the programming! Campers built the Milo starter robot, and then we moved on to building the frog and the racecar robots as designed by Lego.
The campers were very immersed in the building process and extremely excited to program their robots and make them work! With the second build, a racecar, campers wanted to continue to improve upon making the car drive faster. They worked hard and became more aware of how they could input their own builds and modifications to achieve this result.
Overall, an awesome week out in the communities!
This week we decided to test the campers’ creativity and team work skills with fun building stations that allowed students to design and build anything they could think of! The campers got to experience different stations that allowed them to develop and work on specific skills and problem solving.
The first activity was not only a building activity, but it also emphasized their communication and team work skills. Students were put into groups of three or four and given the task of stacking cups in the shape of the pyramid. The challenge was to do this without their hands touching the cups! Winning teams were asked to come make another design for the group to race to complete, but had to keep in mind that they had to make the cup structure too. We were pleased with everyone’s communication skills along with their stacking abilities!
After the cup challenge, campers worked independently to make their very own catapult out of popsicle sticks and elastics. Once construction was done, campers were given the option to put a basket to hold their pompoms in place while they were aiming. They had lots fun seeing who could launch their pompoms further as well as seeing whose went the highest!
We finished off with a variety of stations which allowed the campers to explore KEVA planks, Gravity Maze, Straws and Connectors, and make-your-own construction hat. Overall it was a great week for us seeing everyone have fun. We saw some very creative structures, plus the cooperation and teamwork displayed was awesome!
It’s the 4th week on the road for us – already half over, can’t believe it! This past week we worked with the campers to explore the power of the sun. Together we discussed the concepts of the sun's renewable energy, photovoltaic cells, and the role that solar energy plays in modern times. The students were then able to directly see the impacts of the sun's energy by making UV lizards and constructing their own solar ovens to cook s'mores.
Students were provided cardboard boxes, aluminum foil, black poster paper, glue sticks, and duct tape to build their ovens. During the build, students were encouraged to consider different designs for the shape of the oven and the angle of the flaps to collect as much sun as possible. S'mores were put together and placed on the black paper inside when the oven was complete, and the ovens were placed outside to cook.
While the s'mores were heating, we guided the students in a quick beading activity using pony beads and special UV beads that change color when exposed to sunlight. At the end of the activity everyone had their own lizard keychain that changed color in the sun, allowing the students to see the impact that the sun can have right before their eyes. We enjoyed our s'mores together and hit the road for the next camp!
For our third week on the road, the team brought biology activities to the day camps. We helped students learn about the parts of an insect, how to use a microscope, and how to properly catch insects. We discussed how insects interact with nature, how we are all connected with nature and organisms within it, and how insects are not here to hurt humans. We encouraged having fun and learning in nature while respecting the earth and not being scared!
The students used microviewers, or simple microscopes, to investigate the different legs, mouths, wings and eyes of different insects such as a butterfly, honey bee, moth, beetle and the common house fly.
Our favorite part of the week: Seeing students that were nervous to go out bug catching being excited when they did catch insects!