SLC Young Ambassador Blog: Week 2

22 07 2013

Hello, my name is Alana Zamora from San Marcos, Texas. This year, I was selected as a 2013 Smithsonian Latino Center Young Ambassador; Up to twenty-four graduating high school seniors are selected each year and are given the amazing opportunity to intern in a museum/cultural institution in their local community for four weeks. Currently, I am interning here at the Austin Children’s Museum. I will be posting weekly blog posts to describe my journey here at ACM, as well as, insights into the different summer camps that we offer at the Museum.

This week, I helped lead the ‘Young Scientists’ half day summer camp program for children, ages 4-6. For every half day camp, we have story time, hands-on activities and free play in the Museum. I assisted in leading science and art activities, playing with the children in the Museum and supervising them throughout their time at the camp. At this week’s camp, I had the opportunity to prepare the activities for each day, so I was able to see how much work goes into organizing a camp. Also, I was able to give feedback in ways to improve the activities for next ‘Young Scientists’ camp.

On Monday, July 8th, the theme for the day was measurement. The children learned about time, weight, temperature and length. Some of the activities for that day were, measuring and weighing sand, taking the temperature of warm and cold water, and creating a clock. Another activity that we had the children do was draw a picture of what they think a scientist looks like.


On Tuesday, July 9th, we learned about chemistry, reaction and slime. Camp leaders demonstrated baking soda experiments and helped the children create slime. The slime activity was very messy, but so much fun!Image

     On Wednesday, July 10th, the theme was color and magnification. Some activities that we had were, color mixing with paint, making a solar bead bracelet and Play-dough mixing. One of my favorite activities of the day was creating our own ‘rainbow’ using a flashlight and glass prism.Image

     On Thursday, July 11th, we learned about architecture and electricity. We had the children build houses out of wooden blocks and we had them create their own circuits.

     On Friday, July 12th, we learned about flying. The children learned about bats and made their own ‘bat hats’. They also created their own kite and roto-copter.

     Again, this week was amazing! I enjoy working with the children and watching them learn. Also, my fellow interns and volunteers are truly great individuals! I am amazed with all the learning that takes place during camp and I really do wish that I had the same opportunity at a younger age that all of these children are having now. Learning is fun!

     If you haven’t had the chance, check out my blog post from the first week of my internship!


Everyday Science at C-Day Camp!

16 02 2010

On Monday at the Museum we had a C-Day Camp. We did a bunch of activities like writing secret messages, growing Lima bean plants and creating Shrinky Dink charms.

As part of the day, we made polymer slime. A polymer is made up of long chains of molecules, and in this experiment the polymer is glue.  When Borax is added to the glue it turns it into slime. To find out how to make this slime yourself, click here!

After we made our slime, we discovered how the inside of a diaper works. Seems icky, but it’s scientific! The special polymer inside of a diaper can absorb eight times its weight, allowing nothing to leak. Cool, huh? Check out a C-Day video of it here.

Because we know how well this polymer works, we poured two cups of water into the diaper and trusted it enough to put it over our heads. Then we cut open the diaper and actually felt the polymer.

Before the day ended, we made Shrinky Dinks. Shrinky Dinks are also made of a polymer.  When you put them in heat they shrink and harden as their long strands of molecules are forced closer together.

First we colored the Shrinky Dinks with permanent markers.

Then we heated them up in the oven until they shrank and became hard.

After the Shrinky Dinks cooled, we could put them on to string and make necklaces or bracelets with the charms.

These activities can all be done at home, so be sure and try one!


How to make Polymer slime

29 07 2008

The slime that we made in camp this week with Elmer’s Glue with Borax and water produces a putty-like material. It’s easy to make, fun to play with, and will teach you something about the properties of polymers. Go ahead, give it a try!

Materials: 2 baggies, bottle of food coloring, eye dropper, bottle of glue, water, borax (find it at the grocery store with the laundry detergent)

1. First mix 2 teaspoons of borax and 1/2 cup of water in a bowl. Set aside for later.  

2. Put 1 Tablespoon of glue into a baggie.  

3. Scoop 1 Tablespoon of plain water and add it to the bag.  

4. Puts 2 drops of food coloring into the bag. 

5. Squeeze the bag gently with hands to mix it. 

6. After mixing, get the bowl of borax water, stir it vigorously, tilt it, and scoop a Tablespoon of the borax water from the very bottom and add it to your baggie.  

7. Seal the bag and squeeze for 2 minutes in order to thoroughly mix the liquids. (now is a good time to observe what is happening to the runny glue. What changes are taking place?)

8. When the slime is thoroughly mixed, over a garbage can, turn the bag inside out and scrape the slime together into a ball with your hand. Throw bag away immediately. 

9. Get a fresh baggie to put your glue slime in when done. Wash your hands and try to keep it off your clothes and the carpet or it will stain!


What’s going on here? Glue is a polymer, which means it’s made up of long chains of molecules. Borax causes the glue chains to link together, making a stretchy, gooey slime!


What cool things can YOU do with slime? Let us know by leaving a comment!