Mashing up STEAM activities at the Inventors Jumble

VIVITA’s first ever summer camp has come to an end. These three action-packed days were a crazy cool mashup of science, engineering, mathematics and arts activities.

To get to know each other better we kicked off the camp with an icebreaker game of bingo. What better way of learning to know who is left-handed or who has a dog as a pet.

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Photo: Getting to know each other with a game of bingo. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia

On the forenoon of the first camp day, we challenged the kids to build robot-powered speed boats and then to race with these. During this challenge we explained the basics of hydrodynamics and reasons why ships sink or swim.

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Photo: What materials can be used for building a ship. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia

The kids had a large variety of materials in use to build their ships, such as styrofoam, ice cream cartons, straws, wood, cork etc. As engines we used Sphero Bolt robotic balls. Some of the kids had equipped their boats with sails, and an occasional gust of wind would every now and then help the boat gain a faster speed. However, at other times the wind had an adverse effect and moved the boat to the opposite direction. Luckily, this didn’t cut down the participants’ enthusiasm in the race.

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Photo: ships waiting for the race. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia
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Photo: The happy ship racers. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia

The lunch was followed by a quick ice cream break served by our lovely neighbour the artisan ice cream factory La Muu, and a team building exercise of getting the golf ball across the Telliskivi city square in a meter long pipe without dropping it.

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Photo: Team building activity. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia

The last activity of the day was building a pinhole camera. The kids were tasked to take photos with their self-built cameras and develop these using regular kitchen ingredients such as lemon juice, instant coffee, vitamin C and washing soda as basis for the developer. This home-made developer is called caffenol.

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Photo: Building pinhole cameras. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia
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Photo: Self-developed photographs. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia

The second day had a dramatic start with a challenge “Save the Eggstronaut”. The aim of the challenge was to understand how a “space capsule” manned by an uncooked egg can land on ground without breaking the egg.

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Photo: Eggstronaut challenge about to begin. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia

During this activity the children learned about space missions and gravity. All kids built their own space capsules and tested if they are able to land the eggs without breaking them.

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Photo: Eggstronauts and their capsules. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia

Of course some of the eggstronauts got bumpy during the experiment, but these we could keep for the next challenge of making home-made ice cream using liquid nitrogen.

The lunches of all our summer camps were hosted by our lovely neighbour, the photographic art centre Fotografiska Tallinn. Prior to the lunch, the children were given a short introduction to Fotografiska kitchen’s zero-waste policy. In short, this means that the kitchen at Fotografiska uses up all the raw ingredients and there are no leftovers. The leftovers that cannot be turned into a delicious dish to be eaten, will be used for creating food compost that Fotografiska uses as a fertiliser to grow their own plants.

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Photo: Fotografiska served us delicious lunches at all our summer camps. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia

After lunch, our own true kitchen challenge was about to begin. The kids had a chance to make their own ice cream using liquid nitrogen, an extremely cold substance that is used for quick freezing by both food and cosmetic industries.

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Photo: getting ready to make some ice cream. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia

The ice cream base was made by whipped cream, egg yolks, milk, sugar and vanilla. We heated the ice cream base and each kid could freeze their own ice cream using the -196 degrees celsius cold liquid nitrogen.

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Photo: Stirring liquid nitrogen into icecream base. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia

In order to get a creamy texture, the base had to be quickly stirred during the time when liquid nitrogen was poured in. Each ice cream master could develop their own flavour by using various ingredients we had stocked up for them (chocolate chip, strawberry powder, fresh berries, cookies etc). The self-made ice cream turned out really delicious.

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Photo: A delicious home-made ice cream. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia

The final challenge of the second camp day was building a Lego skyscraper. The challenge resulted in a building that well-resembles the Empire State Building.

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Photo: Building a LEGO skyscraper. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia
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Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia

On the third camp morning, we decided to build a massive Goldberg machine. The machine was to start the chain reaction from the rooftop of Fotografiska and finish by ringing the doorbell of VIVITA. The children grouped into 4 smaller teams, with each team building one part of the chain reaction. Right before we activated the Goldberg machine, the rain started pouring and we had to take a short break from the activity and seek for shelter. When we finally could activate the chain reaction, it almost worked perfectly and our ultimate goal — having the machine ring the doorbell of VIVITA — worked.

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Photo: Bulding a Goldberg machine. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia
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Photo: The chain reaction started from the rooftop of Fotografiska. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia

In the final workshop of the day, we created some music using Playtronica synths. Each kid could develop their own tune and together we created a cool melody and rhythm. It was fun to discover that a 20-member band can effortlessly create a sound that soon starts resembling a noise :)

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Photo: Creating some noise with Playtronica. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia

We concluded the camp with a party that was fully organised by kids themselves. Once again, the kids split into four teams and each team had a responsibility area to take care of — be it catering, drinks, decorations or programme for the party. The total budget for arranging the party was 30 euros which the children had to divide between the teams. The total time for preparing the party was 45 minutes. The party was a blast, with a full set of snacks, soft drinks, beautiful decorations, dance playlists and party games. It is quite astonishing what can be achieved in such a short preparation time.

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Photo: Preparations of the final party. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia
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Photo: Party Games at Inventors Jumble. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia

The Inventors Jumble was our first ever summer camp and we were eager to learn how both the children and their parents welcome this new set of summer activities. It was really heartwarming to get the super positive feedback from the camp, and we were equally happy for the lovely feedback that our lunch partner Fotografiska got on the lunches they served.

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Photo: Successful camp done. Photo credit: VIVITA Estonia

We truly enjoyed arranging the inventors jumble and meeting all these bright young inventors. We thank all our superb volunteers without whom the camp would not have happened. Another huge thanks goes to our collaboration partners — Fotografiska Tallinn, La Muu, Särgid-Värgid, Uuskasutuskeskus and Insplay.

More photos of the camp activities are available here

Written by

Kids and Youth Creativity Accelerator

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