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At a glance
Winter break camps
Science Central has several activities open to children next week as part of the winter break camps series.
Half-day camps for children ages 3 to 5 run from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. daily and cost $25 for non-members and $20 for members per session. Full-day camps for ages 3 to 5 run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the cost per camp is $35 for non-members and $30 for members.
Full-day camps for ages 5 to 11 cost $30 for non-members and $25 for members per session.
For more information about individual camps or to register online, go to or call 424-2400, ext. 451.
Monday – Candy Factory: Children ages 3 to 5 and 5 to 11 will use scientific skills to make lollipops, jelly beans and gobstopper art.
Thursday – Sky Watcher: Children ages 3 to 5 will learn about the wonders of the sky, including watching up-to-the-minute weather on the Science On a Sphere exhibit; Disease Detectives: Students ages 5 to 11 will investigate viruses, bacteria and everything germy from across the globe.
Friday – Dynamite Dinosaurs: Children ages 3 to 5 will dig and discover what scientists know about beasts from the past; In a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Students ages 5 to 11 will explore to infinity and beyond as they make their own light saber, take a spin on the Millennium Falcon and travel the galaxy with the Science On a Sphere exhibit.
Photos by Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
With camp teacher Starr Martin looking on, Zach Bauermeister, 9, creates tsunami-like conditions to test the staying power of the house he built Thursday during Building Winter Fun at Science Central.

Avoiding disasters at science camp

Luca McGee, 8, left, and her sister Zoe, 10, concentrate as they build houses to withstand tsunami-like conditions.

FORT WAYNE -- The classrooms at Science Central bustled with excitement Thursday as students learned about natural disasters through a variety of science experiments.

About 45 students participated in the Earth 3-D camp, designed to teach students about natural disasters such as volcanoes, tsunamis and earthquakes – and to give students something to do during winter break.

In the morning session, the students created volcanoes out of yogurt cups, baking soda and vinegar and studied the way the explosion occurred.

Vishnu Varma, 9, said he knew the combination would cause an explosion, but he liked doing the experiment to learn about the reaction.

“Once you added the vinegar, it exploded, and it was coming out of the yogurt cup and everything,” Varma said.

Thursday afternoon, the students learned about tsunamis.

Students were given construction paper, tissue paper, manila folders and lightweight lined paper and asked to build a house that could withstand the tsunami simulator – a container filled with a sand hill and water that created a wave-like motion when a tray was used to push the water around inside.

Many people who live in areas prone to tsunamis build their homes on stilts, camp teacher Starr Martin told the students.

And unlike regular waves, a tsunami’s wavelength is much longer and can reach all the way to the ocean floor, she said.

Zoe McGee, 10, said she would use toothpicks to make sure the bottom of her house was high enough to avoid the makeshift waves from the tsunami simulator.

“I think it needs to be a big and tall house, something that sticks up high enough that it probably won’t be flooded at the bottom,” Zoe said.

One by one, the students brought their paper creations to the simulator and watched as some shook but stayed standing, and others took a ride across the water.

After watching a few of the houses crumble and fall, Logan Gipe, 10, decided he would stuff his paper house with tissue paper.

“If it’s got something inside, it will hold together better, I hope,” Logan said as he taped the sides of his construction paper house together.

Logan carried his small, box-like paper house to the front of the room, eager to see whether it would pass the test.

As the water rushed under the structure, it shook but stayed standing – and Logan did a quick victory dance.

“I knew it would work,” he said.