Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hebrews 11 Science Lesson

In addition to being Craft Lady at summer camp this year, I will also be Nature Lady. My goal for both activities is to make them challenging and fun, which can be difficult given that my audience are kids at a sports camp ranging in age from seven to thirteen. My experience as a counselor at this camp is that Craft and Nature are the two activities most kids would gladly skip. I'm hoping to change that.

Because nature is amazing!

Each activity has three difficulty levels. Campers earn points for their teams by completing levels, with the hardest level generally being achieved only by the oldest kids. With that in mind, here's my Nature lesson, fitting in with this year's curriculum about faith: Things Unseen!

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for 
and assurance about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1

Level 1: Create a model of the earth's layers (crust, mantle, outer core, inner core) from candy. No one has seen the earth's core or even been able to take a sample of it, but we know it's there! We'll be using cinnamon candies for the inner core, pudding for the outer core, Jr. Mints for the mantle, and a light dusting of Pixie Sticks for the crust (which is much thinner than the other layers). All candy is gluten and peanut free! This activity should be easy enough for the youngest kids to do and even the oldest kids like junk food. :-)

Level 2: Draw a path with at least four turns. Use a magnet to guide a magnetized ball through your maze without touching it or allowing the two magnets to connect. Magnetism is another force we cannot see. We can measure its effects, but it remains invisible. This task should be challenging but doable for all but the youngest kids. Once everyone has had a turn, magnets are also just fun to use!

Level 3: Demonstrate Bernoulli's principle by keeping a ping pong ball aloft by blowing on it. The unseen force here is wind. I need to experiment a little bit with this one to determine what the time threshold should be. I want it to be hard enough that even the oldest kids can't do it immediately, but still doable with practice. Suggestions?

If any of you have children attending our camp this summer, please don't share this with them. Nothing like knowing the entire lesson to destroy interest.


  1. These are all fantastic ideas! The first 2 sound good, but my physics teacher husband says that you should not call the 3rd one Bernouilli's principle b/c blowing strait up on anything is not an illustration of that principle. Also, you may have more success with a balloon (we recently watched some of his engineering kids do a minute-to-win-it challenge and they had to keep a balloon & feather aloft by any means, without touching it - i don't think that any person was able to do it for even 7 seconds). ryan also suggests that the magnet may actually be the most challenging of the 3, and might be a more appropriate super S level activity with the wind being the second - especially b/c the magnet is going to take a pretty steady hand to be able to complete the task successfully. for the magnets he suggests having the path be twice the width of the ball and give them 2 magnets to use (they don't have to use both, but they will be able to get a lot more control if they can figure out how to use both). if the ball crosses either line of the path they have to start over.
    anyway, just some suggestions - and with the balloon you'll still have to play around with it to figure out how long to require them to keep it aloft.
    have fun at camp :o)

    1. Thanks so much for good advice! And pass my thanks along to your brilliant husband as well. :-)

  2. Hey Donna! thanks for the feedback... and Liana - you rock! I really appreciate all the help you are giving us this year! it is truly a blessing, not just to camp, but to me too :)

    1. Aw, you're welcome. I love being involved in camp!