Hands-On Science: World Wonders

Did you ever wish you could travel to several of your favorite places in one summer? Campers at ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum did just that, only virtually.

The students, ages 7 to 10, began their journey by acquiring "passports" and designing luggage tags — both necessities for their travel.

Their first destination was Alaska, where they learned about the snow-laden state's landscape, terrain and wildlife. To study the humpback whale in detail, they worked as a team to create a life-sized whale out of long pieces of butcher paper. They listened to the various sounds made by communicating whales and they discussed the timing, duration and patterns of whale migration.

Next, the campers pretended to visit a densely urban landscape, New York, N.Y. They learned about skyscrapers by designing and building sculptures of the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. Some students chose to use blocks to build the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in memory of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

For another change of scenery, the students learned about the weather and culture of the Hawaiian Islands. They made flip-flops, sun catchers and paradise punch.

The students then needed their pretend passports to visit London to learn about the British system of government and the geography of the British Isles.

After campers heard about the Crown Jewels, they donned crowns of their own making and learned the science behind the sparkles. Gemstones are formed in a particular arrangement of carbon atoms and the largest diamond found so far is the Cullinan Diamond, weighing more than 3,100 carats. The carat is a unit of weight, equal to 200 milligrams (0.007 ounces) or about the weight of a paper clip.

Instructor Heather Allen also had them listening to British accents while enjoying tea and crumpets.

— Sally Peterson

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