Summer STEAM Academy

Daniel Bartels, Carolyn Villanueva, Dan Bell
Rising 6th – Rising 8th Graders
Session I: July 8 – 12   9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Session II: July 15 – 19   9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
$375 per session
Bring a healthy snack and filled water bottle from home each day.
Lunch will be provided.
Our 2019 Summer STEAM Academy is an exploration of the intersection of science and history through the lens of astronomy. The STEAM Academy is a full-day camp and runs for two weeks, but campers may also register for just the 1st or 2nd week. Campers will receive their own Raspberry Pi to keep.
Consider the Big Dipper, Orion the Hunter and other constellations in the night sky. Where and when did their stories originate? Dozens of other cultures from the dawn of time have imagined the night sky differently. We will begin our exploration sharing some of these cultural tales while designing and constructing our own planetarium. Inspired by tales and this construct, students will imagine their own Constellation Stories.
Moving on from constellations and starlore we will investigate phenomena such as the wandering of planets against the night time sky, eclipses, the appearance of comets and supernovae (exploding stars!) and how these events have influenced history – Genghis Khan believed Halley’s comet was his personal star and its westward motion across the sky influenced the westward expansion of the Mongol Empire and his invasion of Eastern Europe in 1222. Mark Twain was born in 1835 alongside the comet and predicted he would die with its return in 1910 (and he did!).
Where will you and the world be when it returns again in 2061? We will conclude our explorations in the modern era – many of us were saddened when Pluto was demoted from planetary status, but did you know why? Not too long ago we wondered if there were a 10th planet in our solar system and we had no evidence of any solar systems beyond our own. Today, using space based telescopes, computers and mathematics, we are confident that there are more planets in our visible universe than there are grains of sand on all of Earth’s beaches. The next era of astronomy – your era – will produce telescopes that can peer through the atmospheres of these exoplanets and detect signs of photosynthesis – life.
SESSION I – Starlore and Historical Explorations
During this session we will use:

• a Raspberry Pi (yours to keep!) and Mathematica to explore ancient geometry
• CAD software and a CNC router to design and build a planetarium
• state of the art planetarium software, Stellarium, to explore starlore of cultures from around the world and more
• the magic of the Web to discover and explore ancient texts from the dawn of science
• the method of Eratosthenes to determine the size of the Earth
• modern data science tools to explore the work of the 1st data scientist, Johannes Kepler
• graphic arts software to produce posters documenting our exploration
SESSION II – Historical Explorations and The Modern Era
During this session we will use:

• a Raspberry Pi (yours to keep!) in clusters to participate in current astrophysics research:
o mapping the Milky Way,
o identifying new pulsars,
o searching for signs of extraterrestrial life, or
o creating a database of the universe from early stars to black holes
• CAD software and a CNC router to design and build solar scopes
• our planetarium (from Session I) and Stellarium to identify astronomical objects in the night sky that have influenced the course of human history
• the magic of the Web to discover and explore period documents from the age of enlightenment and determine the size of the solar system
• graphic arts software to produce posters documenting our exploration
For more information, contact Daniel Bartels at daniel_bartels@collegiate-va.org.
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