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.

Girl Explore Science 7.1 050

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.

august 2011 029

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


Meet Intern Gabriel Vazquez

12 08 2011

The Museum has several summer interns who help out with everything from day camp coordination to marketing.  One such intern is Gabriel Vazquez who is at the Museum as part of the Smithsonian Latino Center Young Ambassador Program.  The mission of this leadership development program is to cultivate Latino culture while fostering education in the arts, science and humanities. The program matches graduating seniors with museums in their area so that they can get the professional and leadership experience.


Gabriel at camp Engineer It!

During his time at ACM, Gabriel has been an Assistant Teacher for the Engineer It! camp, conducted research about visitor demographics and given tours of the museum.  Gabriel says he serves an essential role to be a role model to children and motivate children to pursue scholarship.  He also remarks that he has learned a lot from working with kids and attending the camp field trips, where he was able to talk to the heads of the Bio-Medical Engineering department at University of Texas.

Gabriel is from San Marcos, TX, and is interested in Bio-Medical Engineering.  He will begin his freshman year at University of Texas at San Antonio this fall and after that join the Bio-Medical program at University of Texas here in Austin.

Thanks for all your help, Gabriel, and best of luck with your next adventure in college!

Calling All Super Sleuths: Get a Clue Camp

2 08 2011

The more you have it, the less you see. What is it?

Read this post to find out!

This week, the Museum is holding a Get A Clue camp. During the week kids get the chance to be a real gumshoe by learning about the mystery behind science and science behind the mystery. They have opportunities to explore optical illusions, learn problem solving skills by cracking codes, and even get to solve a real mystery!

Get A Clue campers navigate a "Laser" Alarm System to reach a vital clue!

Have you ever heard of a man named Sherlock Holmes? He is a fictional character famous for his sleuthing and detective skills. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is the author of four novels and fifty-six short stories about Holmes and his partner Dr. John Watson. They solved many mysteries together even when given only a small amount of clues. If you’d like to learn more about Sherlock Holmes, click here!

Keep reading this post to discover a list of detective supplies and to find the answer to the riddle!

Read the rest of this entry »

History of Fingerprinting

28 07 2011
At ACM’s Get a Clue camp, campers sharpen their  logic and detective skills by investigating mysteries, solving riddles and cracking codes.  One of the favorite activities at camp is to take each other’s fingerprint.
Imprinting the friction ridges of a person’s fingertip onto a surface is an easy way to uniquely identify someone.  No two people have been found to have the same fingerprint and because of this, fingerprinting is used for many purposes, including crime solving.
The first modern, official use of fingerprinting as a way of identifying people was July 28, 1858 when a British magistrate, William James Herschel in India requested a local businessman put his hand print on the back of a contract.  Herschel developed to the system because he thought locals felt more bound to a contract through this personal contact than if it was just signed.  After 40 years of observing the fingerprints over time, Herschel also determined that fingerprints never change with age.
Although fingerprinting had been used as early as ancient Babylonia to seal clay tablets, this was the first time a government made fingerprinting a protocol to use to distinguish people.  Almost 40 years later a policeman in Argentina began to keep fingerprints on file of criminals for investigating crimes.  Now fingerprinting is a fundamental technology used in criminal investigations.
You can take your fingerprint at home.  All you need is some tape, a pencil, some white paper and a magnifying glass. Read the rest of this entry »

Young Engineers Going Green

9 06 2011

This week the Museum has been hosting an all-day camp called Engineer It! A large group of kids are enjoying how fun and interesting engineering really is. Every morning the young engineers are invited to places such as the University of Texas Chemical Engineering Lab and the Nanoscience Center.

Back at the Museum the kids will be building, inventing and putting their minds to great use. They’ve constructed wind powered cars and contraptions to keep an egg from breaking as it is dropped to the floor.

The kids were split into small groups and during the first two afternoons of the camp they designed “Eco-Friendly Cities” out of egg cartons, cardboard, toilet paper rolls, and popsicle sticks. Each group needed to create a central theme that would reduce costs on electricity, water, or energy for their city. Each building was supposed to have some type of energy saving concept.

Here is a video of the kids working on their “Eco-Friendly Cities” and a couple of their finished products.

Engineer It! 2011 from Austin Children’s Museum on Vimeo.

A few kids had solar panels, some built farms and one little boy had an idea to create motion censored lights for his building to cut down on the amount of electricity that is used.

Next week the Museum is holding a camp called Get a Clue where the kids will get to be junior detectives and learn about mysteries behind science and science behind mysteries. Sign up Here!

Spring Break & Summer Camp at ACM!

7 03 2011

We’re looking forward to hosting camp at the Museum in less than a week and a half for Spring Break! We’ll have two different camps: Home Grown Cooking for ages 7-10 and Crazy for Critters for ages 4-6.

Now that the weather is getting warmer here in Austin, it’s time to plant gardens.  In addition to all the field trips and cooking experiments, we’ll be starting seeds in Home Grown Cooking. While you’re outside, notice what types of wildlife you see. We’ve been spotting lots of different bird species recently, but in Crazy for Critters, you’ll learn about all kinds of animals!

If you already have plans for Spring Break, be sure to join us over the summer!

Program a Robot

5 11 2010

The Museum runs an after school program where students build and program robots. You can learn about programing at home by playing this challenging and fun game online.  Program a robot to jump over  traps of certain colors or shapes using is/ is not commands. Do not worry if you do not get it at first, you will get a chance to try again.

We work with LEGO’s NXT Mindstorm robots and software to program sensors and motors in order to solve challenges. Once the robots are programmed, they can navigate mazes, “see” the difference between light and dark colors, “hear” noises, and much more.

We also offer robotics camps over the summer – registration will start in early 2011.