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


Summertime, Sunny Days, and Sunglasses Day!

27 06 2012

As of last Wednesday, the 20th of June, it is summer!

During summer, the days are longer and hotter because the sun rises earlier and sets later than it does during the other three seasons.  That means we’ll be seeing a lot of the sun for a couple of months!

Did you know that the sun is the Earth’s main source of energy and light?  It’s energy and light both come to the Earth as electromagnetic radiation.  Electromagnetic radiation (or EMR) has many different forms with which you may be familiar.  There are microwaves which are used by the microwave ovens in your kitchens, visible radiation which is the light we can see, and X-rays which hospitals use to see through our bodies.

Sunbeams are visible types of electromagnetic radiation.
Photo by Ronnie, flickr.

There’s another type of radiation that the sun sends that is harmful to humans.  This type is called ultraviolet radiation (UV radiation).  This radiation is very strong and can cause damage to the cells of our bodies.  Luckily, the Earth’s atmosphere absorbs the most-damaging of the ultraviolet rays.  But the atmosphere can’t absorb all of the UV rays which come to Earth, so we have sunscreen and sunglasses to help protect our skin and eyes from harmful rays.

Sunglasses work by reflecting or filtering the light travelling into our eyes and only allowing visible light (which does not cause harm) to enter our eyes.  They use different tints and films on the lenses to filter different types of light.  With the various tints, frames, and colors, sunglasses can also be pretty cool-looking!

Photo by EndOrfinaS~, flickr.

Sunglasses are a great invention because they keep our eyes safe and healthy when the sun is the brightest.  Remember, even when you are wearing sunglasses, it’s not safe to look directly into the sun. So celebrate Sunglasses Day, but also celebrate sunglasses on all of these bright summer days and look great while being safe!

Heat is not the straw that breaks a camel’s back

22 08 2011

Caravanning around Central Texas is seemingly getting hotter and hotter. The highest temperatures in Austin have been above 100 degrees during the day and moderately humid. Check out the Kids Weather Channel page for more information on the weather in Austin. Ever wish you could keep cool like a camel does?

This is a Bactrian camel.

Camels are natives to places with extreme weather such as hot summers or cold winters. A camel keeps itself cool during periods of heat by it’s use of the very recognizable hump or humps on its back. Many people think that camels store water in their hump but actually they have a fatty tissue that can be converted into energy and water when there is need. Camels can survive many warm days and nights without food or water. A camel also keeps itself warm in the winter with its very thick, shaggy coat that protects it from cold temperatures. When summer comes around again a camel sheds its thick fur by molting, so that it will be able to stay cool.

There are two species of camels the Dromedary and the Bactrian and you can tell the difference by the shape of their back. Dromedary camels have one hump and are native to the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. Bactrian camels have two humps and are native to Asia and are critically endangered.

The Jungle Store has collected information on camels such as:

  • They are very smart animals with great eyesight and near perfect hearing
  • They are so strong that they are able to carry loads of 900 pounds, but usually carry no more than 450 pounds
  • Baby camels have no hump at birth. They will not develop one until they begin eating solid food
  • A camel is often called the “ship of the desert” because when being ridden they gallop and the person may feel seasick

National Geographic Kids tells us that a very thirsty camel can drink up to 30 gallons of water in only 13 minutes. Did you know that a baby camel is born with a white coat which will eventually turn brown as it grows up? Just like this baby and its mother:

We hope you’ve learned as much about camels as we here at ACM have. Can you answer this question?

Tell us what else you know!

Summer Reading Club

8 08 2011

Finding ways to spend your vacation is half the fun of summer. But after many, many days without school sometimes you may find yourself bored. Well, writer Jenny Rosenstrach was taught by her mother that “Only boring people get bored”.

Have you ever thought about the challenge of a summer reading list? Jenny has playfully created a point system to encourage her children to entertain themselves with fabulous books whether it be a picture book, a chapter book or even a comic book. After reading a few books and obtaining a specific number of points, her child will be able to collect prizes. Here is Jenny’s detailed account of her Summer Book Club.

Scholastic gives kids the task of logging the minutes that they read not just how many books that are completed. Scholastic invites kids to Read for the World Record and attempt to have the name of their school placed in the 2012 Scholastic Book of World Records.

If you’d like a list from Scholastic of books for ages 3-5 click here!

Ages 6-7? Click here!

Ages 8-10? Click here!

Ages 10-12? Click here!

Take a look at how we use children’s stories here at the Museum.

Read the rest of this entry »

Getting “Gear-ed” up!

2 06 2010
This week is full of inventing for our ACM campers enrolled in ‘Inventioneers’. Today at our Inventioneers Camp we learned about tools , simple machines and electricity.  Gears are one of the types of simple machines that our campers learned about, and they had a great time making their own “gear” shaped cookies! Yum! Campers also explored  electricity  by helping put together a circuit board and assembling electricity conductors. Check out our inventors in action…

Creating Electricity Conductors

Creating Gear Shaped Cookies!

Connecting the Circuit Board

Make your own “Gear” shaped cookies at home:


-Pre made sugar cookie dough

-Rolling Pin

-Flour to sprinkle on rolling pin

-“Gear” Shaped cookie cutters (Flower shaped will work too)

-Biscuit or Circular shaped cutter (to cut out the middle of the cookie)


1. Sprinkle flour on flat surface and on rolling pin

2. Roll out the pre made sugar cookie dough on a flat surface (you may want to use wax paper) 1/4 inch thickness

3. Use “Gear” shaped cookie cutters to cut cookies out of the dough

4. Place cookies on a baking sheet and follow baking directions from pre made cookie package.

5. Use biscuit cutter to cut out the middle of each cookie and remove the dough. You can use the cut outs to make more cookies.

6. Make sure to let the cookies cool when they come out of the oven!

7.  Think of creative ways to decorate your gears…you can use icing, sprinkles or any other eatable decoration to make the cookie look like a gear.

8. Enjoy!

Make a smoothie, learn math!

13 05 2010

Did you know that making food can teach you a lot about math? Today we’re going to make a smoothie and find out how many combinations of fruit we can put in it.


1-2  cups of 3 different kinds of fruit, frozen or fresh. I like bananas, blueberries and raspberries.

1/2-1 cup of fruit juice

1 cup of ice

1/2-1 cup of vanilla yogurt

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Add more juice to make the smoothie more drinkable, or more yogurt to make it thicker.

2. Enjoy your smoothie while learning about math.

Think about how there are many different combinations of smoothies you can make.

First, there are 6 fruits that taste great in smoothies:

Bananas, raspberries, mangoes, strawberries, blueberries and pineapple

Then there are 3 juices that help combine the fruit:

Then you add ice by itself:

Then there are 3 yogurts to choose from:

Vanilla, fruit flavored, or plain

To figure out how many combinations we have to make a smoothie we need to multiply all of our options.

6 fruits x 3 juices x 1 ice x 3 yogurts=54 combinations of smoothies! Wow!

The First Day of Summer

19 06 2009


Summer is officially here! The summer solstice is this Sunday, June 21st. It marks the first official day of summer. The sun appears to stand still in the sky a few days before and after the solstice. June 21st is also the longest day of the year. This is because the earth revolves around the sun on a tilt. Texas is in the northern hemisphere. We are tilted toward the sun in the summer and away from the sun the  in winter. Be sure to go outside an enjoy the beautiful sunshine!