Aramco Summer Science Institute
July 14-18 and August 4-8
Five Museum’s curators - Dr. Carolyn Sumners, Dr. Dan Brooks, Dr. Nancy Greig, Dr. Dirk Van Tuerenhout, and David Temple, are teaching a hands-on week-long lab course for teenagers in which students learn to use scientific instruments, pose research questions, control variables, and collect data at the Museum and on a Friday field trip to the George Observatory in Brazos Bend State Park.
9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Monday – Thursday
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Friday, with option to stay at the George Observatory to meet parents there
Research Area 1: The Environment
a. The Cockrell Butterfly Center (with Dr. Nancy Greig)
Students make predictions about butterfly behaviors and then collect and analyze data in the Cockrell Butterfly Center and at the George Observatory.
b. Light pollution assessment (with Dr. Carolyn Sumners)
Students learn to identify planets, star patterns, and deep sky objects and estimate how many stars they can see and the number of stars in the visible universe.
Research Area 2: Energy Flow
a. Managing solar energy, lessons from Native Americans (with Dr. Van Tuerenhout)
Students investigate Native American clothing and homes – experimenting with cloth and with home designs for different climates and latitudes.
a. Solar energy collection (with Dr. Sumners)
Students use solar cells and concentrators to collect solar energy while building a solar cooker and a solar car. They observe the sun at the George Observatory.
Research Area 3: Vertebrate Zoology
a. Vertebrate zoology adaptations (with Dr. Brooks)
Students examine skulls, skins, and mounts to identify animal adaptations and eating habits. They learn to identify birds in Hermann Park and lots of vertebrates at Brazos Bend State Park.
b. Gravity affects Life (with Dr. Sumners)
Earth has the strongest surface gravity in the solar system. Students experiment with how sports and games will change in space and learn to drive a Moon truck and fly a Mars plane.
Research Area 4: Paleontology Research
a. Interpretation of fossil finds (with David Temple)
Students identify fossils in stratified samples from the Eocene Stone City site, determine the history of the site and explore the Paleontology Hall.
b. Impact cratering/Asteroid hunting (with Dr. Sumners)
Students use real photographs to identify an asteroid, learn to identify a meteorite, investigate how much damage an asteroid can do, and meet astronomers who discovered asteroids at the George Observatory.
Friday: Visit to the George Observatory in Brazos Bend State Park
Students travel by bus to the George Observatory for a day of science experiments and can stay for evening stargazing with their parents. Activities include:
1. Observing alligators and other vertebrates in the park, including bird watching.
2. Observing the Sun through solar telescopes and learning how to operate a telescope.
3. Sampling insects including butterflies to determine what affects insect behaviors
4. Comparing environmental conditions in the park to those in the Butterfly Center
5. OPTIONAL: Evening stargazing with parents
$235 for members and $275 for non-members