DIY Summer Science Camp
Summer’s here! And what better way to spend those long hot days than diving straight into the universe? If you’re looking to spruce up your summer with a bit of learning, look no further.
We’ve gathered everything you need to design your own DIY summer science camp with Perimeter activities and resources, for kids of all ages and interests:
Escape the Museum! (middle school to high school)
Escape the Museum is a free downloadable escape room, which you can play alone or with friends. Solve puzzles and find clues, all while uncovering details about some of the greatest achievements of women in science, past and present. As a tease, here’s the escape room’s opening scene:
“Awakening from a dream, you look around sleepily, expecting to see the familiar surroundings of your bedroom. Instead, you see a grand room full of portraits!
“You remember that you are in the Great Hall of the Forces of Nature Museum, a collection of exhibits celebrating some of the most influential women scientists of our time. You recall finding a comfortable bench at the end of your fascinating visit. You must have dozed off! You try to open the doors leading out of the Great Hall, but they are locked. You pick up your phone to call for help and notice that it is 10:55 pm – and then the battery dies. Great. How are you going to get out of here?”
Forces of Nature colouring pages (all ages)
Get creative with these colouring sheets that celebrate women scientists, including Emmy Noether, Annie Jump Cannon, and Canadian Nobel Prize–winner Donna Strickland.
Free posters (all ages)
Colouring not your style? That’s okay – you can still brighten up your room with these full-colour Forces of Nature posters, or hang them in your locker come September and let your geek flag fly.
You might also like these posters featuring the first images of a black hole from the Event Horizon Telescope.
Kitchen Wars (all ages, with supervision)
Let the gravitational mayhem begin. These eight awesome science demos use stuff you can probably find in your own kitchen. Be sure to try “Hearing free-fall” – it’s got a little arts-and-crafts, a little physics, and a little (carefully supervised) fire.
Also, be sure to check out the winning Kitchen Wars entry, “The rave of hot particles,” and learn more about the demonstration’s creator, Sonia Castro, of Bogota, Colombia.
Take a walk in the park (all ages)
The outdoors is full of physics! Think about how light interacts with water on a lake, or how the wings of a bird keep it aloft. There is always something to see and do, and there’s always something more to learn by digging into the processes at work underlying the natural world.
While you’re out walking, try a ‘random walk’ model like the one created by Perimeter graduate students. See how long it takes to cross a park by taking random turns at every intersection, and watch this video to learn how random walking replicates foundational principles in particle physics such as Brownian motion.
Quantum to Cosmos scavenger hunts (elementary school to high school)
Visit Quantum to Cosmos, a website that shows the scale of the universe, from the very smallest particles to the very largest astronomical distances, and everything in between. Zoom in and out to compare the size of an apple with the size of a galaxy or an electron.
When you’re ready, you can use the website to complete the scavenger hunts below (there are two difficulty levels available).
Read a book (various ages)
Looking for some good old-fashioned reading? Here are some cool graphic novels that allow you to explore the mysteries of the universe from the comfort of a hammock under a tree.
If you want to learn more about the process of writing and illustrating graphic novels with a focus on science, check out this Perimeter Public Lecture by Clifford Johnson, a graphic novelist and physicist, who’s worked on TV and movies, including Avengers: Endgame and Star Trek: Discovery.
Younger children will love this picture book about Emmy Noether (pronounced Ner-ter), the most famous physicist you’ve probably never heard of.
Take a quiz (middle and high school)
Test your knowledge or quiz your friends – you might discover something that surprises you.
Learn from Katie Mack – she’s as excited about science as you are! (high school)
Physicist and science communicator extraordinaire @AstroKatie – otherwise known as Katie Mack – recently joined Perimeter. Earlier in the year, she cheerfully explained the end of the universe on Perimeter’s podcast, Conversations at the Perimeter. You can watch the episode here.
Follow Katie on Twitter (@AstroKatie) or pick up her book, The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking), at your local library or bookstore.
Conversations at the Perimeter (high school)
Conversations at the Perimeter certainly doesn’t end with Katie Mack. The recently launched Perimeter podcast features discussions with physicists that highlight cutting-edge science and the personal stories of the people behind it. The first 10 episodes are available wherever you get your podcasts, with some episodes on YouTube.
Meet an astronaut (all ages)
If you live in or around Waterloo Region, don’t miss your chance to see Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen give a free public talk on July 23 at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex. While there, be sure to check out the various STEAM and space displays provided by Perimeter and other local educators and businesses.
Learn about the path to a physics education and career and what you can do with it (middle and high school)
Do you wonder if science might be for you as a career, but aren’t sure what that could look like, or how to get there? Here are some resources to give you a taste:
- Career options for physics graduates
- Being a women in physics
- Graduate students share their stories
- How physics has enhanced medical science
- Juliet Daniel shares her story: “From Barbados to the cutting edge of cancer research.” Learn what inspired Daniel’s research journey – and the many kinds of STEM careers you can explore – even if you’re an artist.
- Finally, for high school students interested in a more formal summer science experience, check out the International Summer School for Young Physicists (ISSYP) and consider applying for 2023. ISSYP is an exciting and challenging program that brings together physics keeners from across Canada and around the world for a summer program like no other. Many ISSYP alumni are now successful professional scientists – you could be next.
And there you have it – everything you need for a summer full of fun and physics. From all of us here at Perimeter, we hope you get the chance to get out there and explore your world, learn a little, and discover something new. Pass the sunscreen!