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ScienceScape sends 40 kids on a 'Mission to Mars'


Forty girls and boys from as far away as North Carolina and Maryland immersed themselves in a week of chemistry, biology, physics and more on Purdue campus.

The annual ScienceScape summer camp, as organized by Women in Science Programs, led the children through experiments in labs, class projects and some science friendly fun, of course.

After arriving on June 22, the kids representing grades six, seven and eight began the camp learning about lab safety. Goggles, protective aprons or lab coats, gloves, tied-back hair and closed-toe shoes are essential in labs at their schools as well as the historic facilities at Purdue. They then got out “in the field” – the hallways of Brown Laboratory to test their measuring skills, which included finding the diameter of Nobel laureate Dr. Herbert C. Brown’s glasses. The former Chemistry professor’s bronze bust resides in his namesake building’s second floor. ScienceScape instructor Candice Kissinger revealed that Purdue students rub Dr. Brown’s nose for luck before finals.

The ScienceScape students mastered lab equipment throughout the week including pipettes to introduce more carbon dioxide into a sealed bag planting experiment, and they used droppers, burners and beakers to make medicine “beads.” This experiment was to see if a painkilling drug would dissolve faster as a bead or tablet.

The young future scientists were under the guidance of College of Science graduate and undergraduate students along with instructors.

On the final day of ScienceScape (June 27), the campers gave PowerPoint presentations on what they learned and what kind of Mars rover they would build. With the theme of “Mission to Mars,” the students learned concepts that would be of use when exploring Mars – water and soil analysis, gauging light through a spectroscope and measuring data found on the Red Planet.

The rover designs were intricate and the students were well spoken as they gained public speaking experience in the process.

While the students may or may not make it Mars one day, the College of Science’s mission to inspire potential scientists was accomplished.


Two ScienceScape campers have fun in a Purdue lab during the week-long event.

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