Welcome to Indigenous Futures in Engineering, Queen's University


Robotics Week

This week was robotics week! We also had Nicole join us as Mr G (Justin) was away for a well-deserved break. Check out our Oka Ferry selfie!

Campers explored LEGO WeDo and saw how the pieces fit together and how these different parts worked together as a whole. Together we built a robot tadpole, then added pieces to transform it into a frog, campers had fun with the coding and found frog croaks to add to their program alongside the hopping forward and backwards.

Next they made the Milo space rover and had fun racing them forward and back when they were done. At the end campers who had extra time explored ways to make their own vehicles, some followed instructions and made helicopters, cranes or other creations while some figured out how to make their own designs work.

We also had lots of fun with our Dash robots, which gave the campers more freedom in coding. They learned how robots need to be communicated with through codes on computers and customized their coding to make Dash dance, race, play their voice recordings, and learned to combine sequences of actions to solve puzzles they were given. Some even learned how to make Dash respond differently depending on environment cues.

Biology Week

We learned a lot at our camps this week in Biology Week! We talked about how biology is the study of living things and did a couple hands-on activities to explore the different aspects of it.

We did our first lab and extracted DNA from strawberries. The little scientists learned how all living things have DNA, which instructs our bodies to make us look different from each other and other living things.

Campers started by mashing up their strawberries with some buffer (salty soap water). They then sieved out the solid pieces so they only had the juice left. One of our instructors came around and poured rubbing alcohol into their solutions, and they got to see the solid DNA formed out of two different liquids. They had lots of fun playing with the long strings and spooling it into clumps.

Next we learned about the need for scientists to design medical prosthetics, and the need for engineers in medical fields. We tried this out for ourselves, designing mechanical hands out of cardboard and other household materials. Campers traced their own hands, then attached straws, string and rubber bands, to make hands with individual fingers that bend like our own and can even pick things up.  

Chemistry Week

We’re back from Chemistry week! Campers did lots of experiments this week. They started by seeing a chemical reaction up close with elephant toothpaste - we carefully mixed our ingredients and dyed them fun colors, then we went outside and watched it expand out of our bottles, in an exothermic reaction that creates fun foam too!

Next we explored the properties of solids and liquids when we played with our cornstarch and water solutions. It was solid when we grabbed it but then pours out of our hands like a liquid when we let go. All the campers had fun experimenting with it and getting slimed up!

In Kanehsatake this week, campers learned how different materials can be combined to form something new with different properties. We gave them different common items from their kitchens, salt, flour, oil, and water and then combined them to make their own play dough to bring home.

In Tyendinaga, we got to see how materials change properties with temperature, we made our own ice cream in a bag. We measured our ingredients, and then shook Afterwards we topped our creations off with sprinkles and had a sweet treat to end the day.

Flight Week

This week is Flight Week. We designed structures to cradle and protect an egg when we dropped it from different heights. Campers found a wide range of ways to approach the problem and constructed structures with combinations of parachutes, padding and various types of cradles for the egg.  

Some took the time to customize their structures. They got to see what worked and what didn’t as we took turns dropping the parachutes from different heights and onto different surfaces, then all crowded around to see if the egg was okay.

This week, only Kanehsatake had extra time so we also did a paper airplane making workshop and we tested to see how far our creations could fly!

Astronauts Week

Now that all of our partner day camps are running, we did a full week of programming at camps in Ahkwesahsne, Kanehsatake, and Tyendinaga! This week was Astronauts Week, and campers made bike pump bottle rockets and did astronaut training in our dizzy obstacle course.

We started off by designing our rocket ships. Everyone was very creative and made their own unique ships: some campers made cabins for the astronauts to sit in and some drew flames to show how fast they’d speed by; there were aliens to wave at you through the windows, while others made their rocket ships into flying sharks or dragons!

We put some water in the bottles and corked them, then took turns pumping them up with the bike pump until they launched high into the air. All of the campers had fun watching their creations launch and getting sprayed as they exploded from the pressure. Some camps competed for distance, others for height, and on the chilly mornings others kept warm trying to chase and catch the bottles.


After the rocket launches, campers underwent astronaut training when they spun around and challenged themselves racing in a relay obstacle course. They got to see how difficult it was to keep their coordination, as they jump roped, kept a birdie up with their badminton rackets, and navigated through the track when they were dizzy – just like astronauts going to space would be tested! 

Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6, Canada

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