Get Excited for Summer Camp

24 04 2013

The school year is almost over and that means it’s time for SUMMER CAMP. Have you made your plans yet?

We are gearing up for an awesome summer filled with new discoveries, fun activities and memorable field trips. This is the last year we’ll be hosting camp at our Museum downtown, so you don’t want to miss it.

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ACM offers half day camps for ages 4-6 and full day camps for ages 7-10 from May 28 – August 16. Full day camps include field trips all around the Austin area.  Camp topics range from science, engineering, art and more. Most of our half day camps are already filled, but there are plenty of spots left in full day camps.

This year, we are excited for our full day camp, “Get a Clue.” Together, we’ll investigate and gather evidence to discover the hidden mysteries around town. Field trips include an investigation at the Driskill Hotel where we’ll reveal the haunted history that lies behind the spooky walls, and a behind-the-scenes visit to the Austin Police Department where we’ll meet real investigators.

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Inside the Museum we’ll extract DNA, experiment with blood typing, solve riddles, decipher codes and navigate through a laser alarm system. At the end of the week, we’ll use our problem solving skills to solve an art heist.

Check out all of our camp topics and register online at austinkids.org/camps.aspx.





Meet the Makers at ACM

12 04 2013

The time has finally come! On Sunday, May 5, Austin Children’s Museum will be participating in the 2013 Austin Mini Maker Faire. The event will be held at the Palmer Events Center from 10am -6pm.

What is Mini Maker Faire? It’s a community-oriented learning event where families and individuals are brought together to showcase any and all Do-It-Yourself projects. Maker Faire is arranged in a show-and-tell format, allowing makers to connect by showing what they’ve made and sharing what they’ve learned.

Credit: Austin Mini Maker Faire

Credit: Austin Mini Maker Faire

Every Sunday at ACM, we welcome this year’s Makers to show off their stuff and answer any questions. A special guest leads the activity as Makers do different DIY activities to prepare for the upcoming event.

Last week at Meet the Makers, we had fun making our own soap from scratch!

On Sunday, April 14, join the Makers from Austin Mini Maker Faire Craft division and design a beautiful denim crown to wear home. Burnadette Noll will be attending as our special guest and she will have everything you need to stitch and create a unique upcycled crown. Show the world that you are the King or Queen of your very own universe and come meet the Makers to get excited for Mini Maker Faire on May 5!





Think, Do, Make!

7 03 2013

This spring we opened a new exhibit called, Think, Do, Make. One of the activities you can do in the exhibit is make a paper “roto-copter” and launch it in our Flow Lab. You can also make roto-copters and test them out at home.

Download Copters and print out the roto-copters. Cut along the solid lines and fold along the dashed lines to make your roto-copter.

Add a paper clip to the bottom of your roto-copter to give it some weight. Drop your roto-copter from a high place or toss it in the air. What do you notice?

How can you change your roto-copter to make it spin differently? Try adding paper clips, using different weights of paper, or trimming the “blades” of your roto-copter to different lengths. Happy flying!





Dancing Raisins!

20 07 2012

Now that it’s summer time, the extreme heat makes everyone want to go swimming! If you have gone swimming with a life vest before you know that life jackets keep you from sinking down into the water, but do you ever wonder how? This simple experiment can help explain.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • a clear cup or glass
  • some raisins
  • club soda (make sure it isn’t flat!)

Instructions:

  1. First, open the club soda and pour it into the glass
  2. Then drop a few raisins into the cup of soda
  3. Wait about 20-30 seconds to see the raisin’s reaction!

What did you see?

The raisins should have dropped to the bottom at first, started floating to the top, and then fell back down to the bottom again. This should happen continuously for a few minutes! Take a look at how our experiment went:

Dancing Raisins! Buoyancy Experiment from Austin Children’s Museum on Vimeo.

The reason why the raisins dance in the club soda and then floats to the top is because the bubbles in the soda stick to the rough edges of the raisin making it more buoyant, meaning that it floats easily. The bubbles in the soda are carbon dioxide gas and help bring the raisins to the top, when the bubbles reach the top, they pop and release the carbon dioxide gas into the air. This makes the raisins fall back down again since it is denser than the liquid soda.  The bubbles make the raisins float to the top similar to how a life jacket keeps you above water!

The carbon dioxide gas bubbles popping at the surface

Bubbles attaching to the rough surface of the raisins

The bubbles lifting the raisins back up to the surface

Now that you’ve tried this simple experiment, try putting other small foods into the club soda to see how they react! Although not everything you try will float, it is always good to experiment! You could try peanuts, chocolate chips, apple seeds, or pieces of uncooked pasta to see how long it takes for the bubbles to bring it up to the top and how fast they move up and down in the soda. Let us know what results you got!





International Guitar Month

4 04 2012

International Guitar Month 2012

Guitars are highly popular  musical instruments. They have been around for many many years and have only developed into much greater sounding instruments since. Guitars can come in different shapes and designs, all chosen by the musician.

The Acoustic guitar have been used for thousands of years. The sound and tone of the acoustic guitar relies on the vibration of the strings which are then amplified by the hollow body of the guitar.

The Electric guitar however, was not introduced until the 1930’s. This guitar can be used with an amplifier to allow the player to change the volume and electronically manipulate the sound of the guitar.

Electric guitars can range in the amount of strings that they have. String amount can vary between 1 (very rare) to 12 strings. Some guitars even have two necks and twelve strings!

(Print and color this image and then add as many strings as you like)





Be my Valentine?

13 02 2012

It’s almost time for Valentine’s Day! What a great way to show those you love how much you care by creating something special!

Here’s one craft that will add a lot of love to your Valentine’s day!

Create a Stained-Glass Heart made out of melted crayons:

Materials:

  • Crayons (light & bright colors work best: think pinks, purples, and reds)
  • Hand held pencil sharpener or a pair of scissors (be careful, an adult may need to shave the crayons)
  • Waxed Paper
  • Permanent marker to write your own message
  • Optional: glitter to add a little shine!

Step 1: Peel the paper off of the crayons (try soaking in warm water for better results). Use a pencil sharpener or scissors to shave the crayons over a large sheet of waxed paper. Spread the shavings evenly on the paper. The more shavings, the better!

Step 2: This step is for parents–Set oven to 175 degrees and place the cookie sheet into the oven. Time may vary depending on how much shavings you use, but it should take about 5 minutes to completely melt. Keep checking on the progress every few minutes!

Step 3: After the crayon shavings have completely melted, take them out of the oven to let them cool for another 5 minutes.

Step 4: After allowing the crayons to cool, you can draw heart outlines to cut out! Try different sizes to see how many you can make!

Step 5: After you’re done cutting out your hearts, decorate them for your Valentine–add glitter, written messages, or anything you desire!

The hearts really start to shine when you hold them up to a light or place them in a window!


We hope you have a great Valentine’s Day!





Celebrate Chemistry Week with Lava…

6 10 2011

…in a cup! 

Did you know that volcanoes are just a bunch of lava?

Lava refers both to molten rock expelled by a volcano during an eruption and the resulting rock after solidification and cooling. Volcanoes form after the eruption of molten lava cools and leaves a raised platform, after repeated eruptions the volcano gets bigger and bigger. We find lava and volcanoes endlessly interesting here at ACM, we even have a featured volcano in our current exhibit Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice.

So what’s happening in this experiment? First of all, the oil floats on top of the water because it is lighter (less dense) than the water. Since the salt is heavier (or more dense) than oil, it sinks down into the water and takes some oil with it, but then the salt dissolves and the oil heads back to the top.

The lava in the cup is demonstrating something you might learn in chemistry class: density. Density refers to mass per unit volume of an object. Most objects have a fixed density, however temperature sometimes can affect this. For example, as lava cools it becomes harder and more dense, neat huh?

If you like this experiment, then you should check out the Museum on Sunday, October 9th, where you can get your hands on your own chemistry activities in honor of National Chemistry Week!