It was a week filled with launching eggs, erupting elephant toothpaste, and other fun science activities that ended with a trip to Rapid City’s Journey Museum to learn more about history and space. To say the least, the Starbase camp sure had St. Joseph’s Indian School fifth graders busy, busy, busy, August 21-25.
“The students love it. They really like all of the hands-on activities. The Starbase teachers do a great job of grabbing the students’ interest and then explaining the science behind the activities afterward,” said Brock, fifth grade teacher at St. Joseph’s.
Starbase and St. Joseph’s Indian School have partnered for 18 years. Through this on-going partnership, Starbase works together with St. Joseph’s teachers to give our Native American students hands-on experiences through interactive experiments, which are in-line with South Dakota Dept. of Education standards of learning.
First on the list of activities was to design a vehicle that could crash and keep Eggbert safe. Who’s Eggbert? Well, as the name suggests, it’s a raw egg, and students had a limited budget of resources to create or fashion a safe vehicle. Students then had to track how their vehicle performed in a test against a collision between Eggbert’s vehicle and a block of wood.
“There seems to be a limited amount of survivors,” joked Brock during the exercise. However, several students were able to keep Eggbert safe from becoming “scrambled”. In fact, tin foil was a popular material that proved useful in several of the successful collisions.
A few days later came a class favorite: elephant toothpaste. Named for the reaction that occurs inside of a bottle — that soon becomes a foamy fountain — it was a fun reaction students made by mixing yeast, dish soap and hydrogen peroxide.
“Elephant toothpaste was my favorite of all of the activities we did this week,” said Treya, a fifth grade student.
More experiments and activities took place throughout the week leading up to Friday when students headed west 220 miles to Rapid City, S.D., to The Journey Museum. Upon arrival, students watched a film about the history of Native Americans and the Black Hills and went on a virtual tour of the planets and moons of the solar system. They then explored the museum that included digging for dinosaur bones, dressing-up in primitive clothing or lab coats, and sitting inside of a tipi.
As the Lakota students left the museum and said goodbye to their Starbase instructors, they said “Pilamaya!” which means thank you, in their Lakota Language.
“But how do we say, ‘You’re welcome’?” asked an instructor.
“Oh-ha!” the students responded.
“Then a big, ‘Oh-ha’ to you all!”