Area students are invited to explore the mysteries of the universe from downtown Jamestown.
This is because the Lucile M. Wright Air Museum will be hosting a series of summer space camps throughout next month.
The three camps are each a week in length, with a focus on a different theme. According to Chris Centi, space science coordinator with the museum, the camps are designed to incorporate science, technology, engineering and math concepts into the field of space science.
A mock Martian rover and surrounding landscape constructed by Chris Centi, space science coordinator with the Lucile M. Wright Air Museum, is used by the museum during its space camps to depict actual events on Mars.
P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti
"I use 'space science' as a hook for science, because kids still think of science as being hard or not fun," said Centi. "I try to make it fun through hands-on stuff. So, what I try to do is get them interested in the space sciences. And then they can go into the other sciences because, when you go to college, you need to have a really well-rounded education. So, what I'm aiming for is the STEM concepts."
The first camp, entitled, "Lift Off!," will be held July 8-12 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day. It will provide an in-depth look at the science of rockets and microgravity. Some of the activities include: magic marbles, pop rockets, Newton cars, and free-falling boxes, as well as designing, building and launching air and rockets. Centi said the rockets, which can soar to heights of more than 200 feet, will be launched from the Jamestown airport.
The second camp will be held July 22-26 from 1:30-5 p.m., and will give students the opportunity to experience the challenges and excitement of traveling from Earth's surface, through space, to land on the moon. Students will design a human mission to the moon, which will include: the design and development of a unique mission patch and flag, planning the launch, developing the navigation sequence, deciding how to land safely, determining the best place to build a lunar outpost, setting up a mock life-size base, developing an exploration plan, analyzing a lunar sample return and developing procedures for getting back to Earth.
From 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. July 29-Aug. 2, the final camp will take a look at Mars. It will explore the latest information on the planet, the techniques used to study the surface and atmosphere and look at how Mars will eventually become mankind's home away from home. The activities will be adapted to a Mars theme from those of the previous camp.
Centi said, in addition to STEM concepts, students will also learn to work with their peers in a social context.
"With all three (camps), there's group involvement, so it helps them to learn to work with other people," he said. "Even when you're working with a computer by yourself or at home, you're still working with other people online. So, that helps them learn to deal with that."
Registration for individual camps is available at $95 per child, with a reduced rate of $90 for two camps and $85 for three. Centi also said there will be reduced rates for siblings who wish to register together.