2018 Camp Descriptions

Outdoor learning

Kindergarten

(Half day camps for children entering Kindergarten in the 2018-19 school year)

Little Scientists (½ day)
You’re never too young to be a scientist! This camp activates your preschooler’s inner scientist, and help them become better critical thinkers. Campers will make observations while exploring the museum and outdoor learning landscapes, using the same kinds of tools scientists use every day. Dabble in chemistry, conduct a cockroach experiment and even meet an U of M scientist.  

June 11-15, 2018 (Morning)
July 16-20, 2018 (Afternoon)
August 13-17, 2018 (Morning)

Create, Tinker, Build (½ day)
Solve problems by building and inventing! Each day will involve time to tinker with materials and tools. Through exploration we will learn about cause and effect, what floats, what sinks, what is magnetic and what is not. Campers will build simple machines and learn how to use gravity to their advantage. We will also enjoy story time with fun science twists!

June 11-15, 2018 (Afternoon)
July 16-20, 2018 (Morning)
August 13-17, 2018 (Afternoon)


Grades 1-2

(Full day camps for children entering grades 1 & 2 in the 2018-19 school year)

Farm Foodies
Find out where food comes from and what it takes to grow crops. Campers will hike through the University’s nearby agriculture fields with scientists to learn about their important research. We will also learn about nutrition at the Cornucopia Organic Gardens managed by U of M students, and tour the dairy barn and see research livestock.

June 11-15, 2018
July 23-27, 2018
August 27-31, 2018

Pond Life Explorers
Dip into the amazing pond ecosystem in the Bell’s learning landscape while searching for aquatic invertebrates, bird watching with binoculars, and listening carefully for frogs or toads. We will test water quality using scientific equipment, meet with a U of M pond researcher, and work on a poster campaign to support water conservation.

June 18-22, 2018
June 25-29, 2018
July 30-August 3, 2018

Art in Nature
Our senses help us investigate nature’s many colors, textures, patterns, sounds, and scents. Campers will try their hand at Gyotaku—Japanese fish printing—and making paper from scraps and natural objects. They will learn how to sketch like a scientist and use chemistry to make sun prints!  At the end of the week, campers will host their own art show.

June 25-29, 2018
August 6-10, 2018
August 27-31, 2018

Tiny Curators
Kids who love to visit museums or have special collections will love this camp!  Campers enjoy an exclusive visit the Bell’s scientific collections. They will also visit other collections at the University including insects, art, fashion, and rare plants from around the world. U of M curators will share why it is cool to collect, how items are cared for over time, and how collections help people make new discoveries. Campers will curate their own collections, make mini dioramas, and more. 

July 16-20, 2018
August 13-17, 2018

Rot-o-Rama
There is a vast network of life happening right below your feet! Campers take a closer look at fungi, bacteria, and invertebrates living in the undergrowth that break down decaying material.  We will learn about the decomposition cycle and visit the museum’s vermicomposting bin to learn more about the world of sow bugs, snails, slugs, beetles, worms, millipedes, and other microorganisms. Camp also includes a visit to the Mycology Club’s lab and mushroom garden, to make spore prints and study bacteria under a microscope.

June 11-15, 2018
July 9-13, 2018
August 20-24, 2018

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Grades 3-4

(Full day camps for children entering grades 3 & 4 in the 2018-19 school year)

Sustainability Squad
Explore our natural resources and get your hands dirty. This camp’s interactive scenarios reveal ways to reduce our carbon footprint and support conservation efforts in the community. Campers will see sustainability in action at the University Campuses. They will also learn how the Bell Museum is addressing environmental concerns both inside and outside of our new building with energy-saving systems, bird safe glass, organics recycling, and rain gardens.

June 18-22, 2018
August 6-10, 2018

Prehistoric Creatures
Travel through time from the beginnings of Earth 4.5 Billion years ago to today. The journey starts outside where campers create a geologic time scale. Inside, campers travel through the Ice Age to see a woolly mammoth and other creatures, examining skulls, teeth, and fossils to discover the history of life on Earth. University researchers will visit to show off tools and techniques they use on field digs.

June 11-15, 2018
July 16-20, 2018
August 13-17, 2018

Potions & Magic
Explore natural phenomenons and the magic of science through extraordinary plant and animal adaptations, wonders in the night sky, the power of static electricity, and marvelous chemical reactions. From botany and mythology to zoology, chemistry, and astronomy--we’ll reveal the science behind potions, dragons, and more! There might even be time for a sporting game of quidditch. 

July 9-13, 2018
July 23-27, 2018
August 6-10, 2018

Field Biology
Get outside and discover the plants and animals all around us and their relationship to the environment. Campers track and observe flora and fauna, building their skills with key field tools like binoculars, a compass, and a logbook. Learn how to identify plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects and share your findings with a U of M field biologist. 

June 18-22, 2018
July 30-August 3, 2018
August 27-31, 2018

Hive Minds
Catch the buzz on honey bees, pollination, and our food! Campers will study the Bell’s pollinator gardens, dissect flowers, observe our beehives with bee suits, extract honey, and make wax candles. Campers will also learn about native and non-native bees in Minnesota, and U of M research designed to keep bees happy and healthy. We will also play the Bell Museum’s PolliNation board game to learn how farmers across the country use bees to pollinate crops like apples, almonds, pumpkins, and more.

June 25-29, 2018
July 16-20, 2018
August 20-24, 2018

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Grades 5-6

(Full day camps for children entering grades 5 & 6 in the 2018-19 school year)

Chemistry: OMg!
Let's get into the lab! Campers will spend a week exploring elements--like oxygen (O) and magnesium (Mg). We will conduct hands on experiments with acids and bases, different states of matter, and even make our own polymer slime. We’ll also learn how to safely perform chemistry "magic" that campers can share with friends and family. Campers will get to visit a U of M chemistry lab, visit with university researchers, and end each week with a bang!

June 25-29, 2018
August 13-17, 2018

Extreme Weather
What are the forces behind the Earth’s weather and how has climate changed our weather to become more extreme?  We will use instruments, data, and maps to investigate weather patterns and make predictions. We will also learn about the causes of extreme weather like tornadoes, hurricanes,  tsunamis, mudslides, and forest fires. Campers will also explore how how these events impact people and animals, and build and test structures designed to stand up to extreme weather. 

July 9-13, 2018
August 20-24, 2018

Earth, Cosmos & Beyond
From space travel to black holes, investigate our place in the universe with telescopes, rockets and telescopes. Campers will discover what makes up “star stuff,” the power behind invisible light, and how to safely view our Sun with a telescope. We will also explore the challenges of space travel, how to build rockets, how we might discover life on other planets, and the oddities of the universe.

July 23-27, 2018
August 27-31, 2018

Science Super Sleuths
There is a mystery at the museum and campers need to crack the case using forensic science! Campers immerse themselves in the scientific methods of collecting evidence, fingerprinting, evaluating shoe imprints, DNA analysis, and more. We’ll also interview witnesses, analyze handwriting, evaluate body language, and studying crime scene photography for clues.

July 30-August 3, 2018

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Grades 7-8

(Full and half day camps for children entering grades 7 & 8 in the 2018-19 school year)

Birds & Birds of Prey
Explore the exciting world of ornithology in this new camp presented by the Bell Museum and Raptor Center. Campers gain the skills to go birding throughout various habitats, spend time with The Raptor Center’s outstanding winged ambassadors (eagles, owls, falcons and more). and visit the museum’s collection of birds from all over the world. Campers will also meet experts in field research, raptor medicine, bird training and nature art. Be ready to view the world from a bird’s eye view!

June 18-22, 2018
July 30-August 3, 2018

Innovators: Engineering & Tech
Learn about nanotechnology, aerospace engineering, circuitry, different materials used in the latest technology. We will start thinking like engineers, by taking machines apart to analyze what’s inside. Campers will visit the University’s Makerspace and Machine Shop to 3D print pieces for rockets that they will design, build and test during camp. We will also make a visit to the Nanotechnology Center on campus to learn about engineering on the microscopic scale.

July 9-13, 2018
July 23-27, 2018

Biomechanics & Biomimicry  (½ day)  
Can birds be the answer to faster trains? What can architects learn from termite dens? How do spiders lead to better robots? Discover the incredible ways plants and animals survive and thrive in the natural world, and how their exceptional adaptations continue to inspire human inventors. Campers will observe the museum’s live animal collection and other sources to identify different kinds of locomotion (from walking and running to jumping, soaring and gliding). We will also visit a U of M biomechanics lab and create a machine inspired by nature!

August 6-10, 2018 (Morning)
August 20-24, 2018 (Afternoon)

Brain Power (½ day)
How do brains work? Explore different parts of the brain, their function, and how these areas respond to different scenarios. Campers will visit a U of M neuroscientist, scan fruit with an MRI machine, and analyze scans to see how things like aging and sports injuries affect the brain. We will learn about other species brains, and match 3D printed brains with animals depicted in our famous dioramas.  

August 6-10, 2018 (Afternoon)
August 20-24, 2018 (Morning)

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Members get more

For just $95 your household can become a Bell Museum Member and receive discounted Summer Camp pricing—one of the many benefits of museum membership!

Our new membership program opens February 5. Also, Members that sign up before the Grand Opening of the new Bell Museum will receive benefits through July 31, 2019. Learn more about membership options and benefits.

Questions?

For more information about camps, please email our camp staff at bell-camps@umn.edu. Please contact UM Tickets with registration questions at 612-624-2345 or umntix@umn.edu.

Grades

Camps range from Kindergarten to grades 7-8. Campers should be registered according to the grade they will be entering in the 2018-2019 school year next fall.