Mad Science Mayhem
by Amy Bradford
Camp Elachee 2018: Week 7, July 9-13
Experiments, experiments and EVEN MORE experiments defined this week. This was a jammed-pack week that indisputably proved learning is fun! The Mad Science Mayhem theme was somewhat of an experiment in its first year at Camp Elachee. The results clearly show that we will definitely bring it back!
Whiz Bang Good Times
At assembly each morning, Mr. Nick, Camp Elachee program assistant, wowed Campers with experiments such as expanding soap bars and bottle rockets. An important lesson from these daily experiments was that sometimes science results in mayhem when experiments fail … and it’s okay! The takeaway: we just try again or change our method. With science, every experiment is a learning opportunity whether successful or followed up by ‘try, try again’ attempts.
Each day, campers conducted their own hands-on experiments and mad science mayhem activities. Some favorites were making play-doh, slime, butter and ice cream. Campers also experimented with water diffusion by using water, oil and food coloring that resulted in mesmerizing concoctions as the colors swirled and mixed in the water. And we CANNOT forget about the pipe cleaner crystals, lemon volcanoes and Mentos/CocaCola reactions!
Mad Science Mayhem 2.0
Our middle school campers had this fun and more! Dry ice experiments ranked as their favorite. Appropriately supervised and wearing the correct safety gear, campers were able to create a bubble volcano, make a penny hop, and inflate a balloon via off-gassing. They even froze bubbles.
Taking It up a Notch
Of course, Mad Science Mayhem wouldn’t be complete without visits from real-life, local scientists! Campers loved meeting Dr. Evan Lampert from the University of North Georgia, and his scientist-in-training, four-year-old daughter. The Bug Guy, as campers referred to him, is an entomologist who loves sharing his knowledge with everyone who is interested.
Dr. Lampert introduced the concept that while all bugs are insects, not all insects are bugs. He led a discussion with the campers on what classifies a bug versus an insect. Quiz time parents: One deciding factor is that bugs have a straw-like mouth called a stylet. After some interesting insect facts campers set off on their own insect exploration investigation. Campers tromped though the woods with nets, catching any and all insects they could find. Then, Dr. Lampert shared details about the bugs they caught.
Camp Elachee also welcomed Hannah Warner from Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s Gainesville office. She led a bioassessment activity among the creeks in the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve with all the elementary and middle school campers. They learned to identify specific organisms that help determine water quality.
Queue the nets for this activity, which our campers loved. Hannah showed campers how to set the nets, then flip rocks to funnel water and silt through the nets. This action trapped organisms, ready for campers to identify (then release back into the creek). The good news? Campers determined that based on what they found, the Nature Preserve’s waterways are in good health!
Talk about a truly science-laden camp week, whew! It’s fair to say that no one left Camp Elachee this week without being amazed at some point!
Meet our Camp Elachee 2018 Counselors!
In each blog, we highlight one or more of our awesome Camp Elachee 2018 counselors.
Meet Maddie Woodard
A proud Gainesville native, Maddie is also a Camp Elachee alum! She is extremely passionate about forest and ocean conservation and is an active voice for sustainability. You can often find her in the woods of North Georgia or the oceans of the Florida Keys. An avid hiker and diver, Maddie just loves the outdoors. She has previously been a camp counselor at Dive Shop on McEver’s AquaCamp, as well as a swim instructor and a lifeguard.
Maddie is enrolled at Georgia Southern University to study Multimedia Film Production and she can’t wait to bring a voice of sustainability to the film scene in Atlanta.
Looking Ahead, then Back
Mark Your Calendar: registration for Camp Elachee 2019 Spring Break and Summer Day Camps will open February 1, 2019.
Camp Elachee 2018 has been a fabulous experience for hundreds and hundreds of area school children this summer. Although we await highlights from camp weeks eight and nine, we invite you to re-live the summer break fun by reading the following Camp Elachee 2018 blogs.