Description of the camps (summer)

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© Armand-Frappier Museum

Through its eight science camps, the Armand-Frappier Museum offers 6 to 13 years old kids the opportunity to have fun while discovering the universe of the biosciences. The program's activities take place in French.



Supervision

With a ratio of one moderator to eight participants, supervision of the Museum campers is exceptional. The moderators hold or will soon obtain university degrees at the undergraduate or graduate levels in biosciences. Experts in the life sciences and passionate about their work, the moderators are well prepared to help the young participants discover the diversity of the living world. The result is a unique immersion in the world of scientific research, in a completely safe environment.



Cell biology camp - New in 2019

The cell biology camp is for young people from 6 to 8 years old. The objective is to learn about cells, the link that unites all living beings from the microorganism to the human being. Throughout their laboratory experiments, the campers will gather clues that will help Lucy, an amnesic cell, to understand where she comes from. Here are a few examples of experiments that will be carried out during the week:

  • Monitoring cell growth
    Do bacterial, algal, and animal cells grow at the same pace? By creating and monitoring three different "breedings", the campers will be able to follow and compare their rates of division!
  • A thousand and one cell shapes
    The cells of our muscles, of our brains, and of our digestive tracts have very diverse shapes. Using stereomicroscopes and cute plush toy models, the young scientists will discover what advantages our cells gain by specializing!
  • Discovering organelles
    A plasma membrane to communicate with the outside world, a power plant known as a mitochondrion to produce energy... several experiments will help the children discover the cells' precious organelles. For example, the campers will create bladders to pass drops of colored water through a layer of oil.

No virulent microorganisms or hazardous products will be used in these experiments.

Environment camp

The Environment camp is mainly geared to young people from 6 to 8 years of age. Participants will discover various life forms and learn how human activities can affect those life forms and the environment. Here are some examples of experiments that will be carried out by the participant:

  • Invisible to the naked eye but very present in soil!
    It is not because we can't see them that they are not there! Microorganisms are found everywhere in the environment, even in soil. In this experiment, participants will isolate microorganisms present in soil to better observe them and their diversity.
  • Oil spillages
    The participants will simulate the effect of an oil spillage on a fresh water environment, a salt water environment, and on the feathers of birds.They will discover that microorganisms that feed on petroleum are very useful for cleaning the environment and repairing human errors.
  • Who eats whom?
    With this experiment, the participants will gain an understanding of the food chain in which plants are eaten by herbivores, who, in turn, are ingested by carnivores, who, when dead, are decomposed by microbes into food for the plants.
  • Visit with an animal expert and his exotic animals
    By participating in this workshop with live animals (insects, reptiles, amphibians), the children will discover the animal kingdom and the richness of biodiversity.
  • Experiment on animal behavior
    What is an innate behavior and what is an acquired behavior? How do animals protect their territory? By studying animal behavior in fish, the participants will realize that not all individuals of the same species react in the same way to stimuli.
  • In the shoes of an entomologist
    Put on your explorer's clothes, it's time to go hunting insects. Various tools will be available to the participants to observe, identify, and discover what makes insects unique.

No virulent microorganisms or hazardous products will be used in these experiments.

Biosciences camp

The Biosciences camp is for young people from 6 to 8. This camp allows the children to discover multiple facets of the biosciences: microbiology, biology, biochemistry, immunology, and company! Here are some of the experiments that will be done by the participants during the week:

  • Living or nonliving?
    Plant, animal, rock... What is alive? The children answer this big question, using their sense of observation… and their magnifying glasses!
  • Nutrients in my food: for my growth and development
    By working with different foods from the food groups in the laboratory, the children discover that foods contain lipids, proteins, carbohydrates,vitamins and minerals. No food containing peanuts, nuts, or fish will be used.
  • Decomposition, can this be considered recycling?
    With both hands the children will discover what is biodegradable and how this is possible. They will meet living organisms, invisible to the naked eye, but who work overtime!
  • Put the human back together for me!
    I have two eyes, that’s wise; two feet, that’s neat; one nose, I suppose! But where are they? We need to put all the missing organs on our human and discover what they can be used for.
  • White blood cells are fascinating !
    The campers discover white blood cells, genuine little soldiers that protect us from microscopic invaders! The program: white blood cell Olympics, and a giant memory game.
  • The chemistry of bread-making
    After their aprons, the young bakers will discover the various steps in bread-making, mainly the important role of microorganisms in obtaining a good, soft, and chewy bread. Bread making, it’s science!
  • Germ-chasing spices
    The campers put on the lab coats of food microbiologists and study the antimicrobial power of well-known spices, such as cinnamon and oregano. Their discoveries could lead to the development of more natural and safe food preservatives…

No virulent microorganisms or hazardous products will be used in these experiments.

Immunology camp

The Immunology camp is intended for young people between the ages of 8 and 10. It aims to demonstrate the amazing defense system of the human body, the immune system that drives away thousands of invaders on a daily basis. Here are a few examples of experiments that are carried out during the week:

  • Observation of white blood cells under the microscope
    This experiment is designed to teach how to manipulate a microscope and to develop an appreciation of its utility in discovering the types of white blood cells that make up the immune system. Lymphocytes, macrophages, basophils...will the campers succeed in distinguishing them? The challenge is on!
  • Chasing molds
    Swab in hand, search for areas favorable to the presence of molds and take some samples. Inoculate the nutrient gels on which the collected molds will grow. Discover the means to reduce the presence of these microscopic fungi that are sometimes the target of the immune system and the cause of allergies.
  • Searching for antibodies
    Micropipettes in hand, search for IgE antibodies in the serum of a fictive patient whom we suspect suffers from an allergy to various pollens. Carry out a key experiment in immunology: an ELISA test. With your team, discuss the results obtained and come up with a diagnosis!

No virulent microorganisms or hazardous products will be used in these experiments

Microbiology camp

The Microbiology camp is geared towards young people from 8 to 10 years of age. Its goal is to introduce the participants to the world of the infinitely small. Here are some of the experiments that will be carried out by the participants:

  • Observation of microbes under the microscope
    This experiment teaches the student to manipulate a microscope and to appreciate its usefulness in discovering the great diversity of the "microworld".
  • Recognizing bacteria
    What do microorganisms look like? Do they all have the same shape and the same color? Just like real microbiologists, the campers will learn to identify bacteria in their environment using various laboratory tests. They will also make them grow on special food in order to observe them with the naked eye!
  • Coloring microbes
    Thanks to a staining technique used by scientists, participants will be able to transform transparent microorganisms into pink and mauve microorganisms in order to characterize them.
  • Beware of the spread of germs…
    The young people will discover that there are several ways to become contaminated by a microbe and that it’s easy for them to transmit it to others. What can be done to prevent the spread? This is what the campers will explore through this amusing experiment!
  • Production of food products using microorganisms
    They will also carry out some control tests to ensure that their products are fit for human consumption, as in industrial production.
  • Destroying harmful microbes
    Are mouthwash, bleach, or vinegar effective in eliminating microbes? Could we use viruses to kill bacteria? This is what the participants will verify this week.
  • Why must we wash our hands
    Thanks to this experiment, participants will see the effect of washing one's hands on the microbe population that inhabits them. Antiseptic soap, hand soap or dishwashing soap? Which is more effective? This is what we will discover!

No virulent microorganisms or hazardous products will be used in these experiments.

Neurosciences camp

The Neurosciences camp will interest mainly young people between 8 and 10 years of age. They will learn to demystify one of the most complex and fascinating organs, the human brain! Here are a few experiments that will be carried out by the participants:

  • Evolving brains
    Skull replicas and preserved brains in hand, the budding scientists discover how the skull and brain of man have changed with evolution. Using microscopes, they observe the differences between the brains of birds, fish, and mammals as well as cerebral tissue.
  • The electric brain
    The participants demystify the functioning of brain neurons, unique cells that function, among other things... with electricity! Using electroencephalograph helmets, they measure the electric activity of their own brains. Demanding mental arithmetic, lively discussions, relaxation, listening to music: how will the brains of the young campers react?
  • Skull stories
    The participants discover a few significant and sometimes surprising steps in the history of the neurosciences.
  • The brain under high protection
    The participants learn more regarding the structures that protect their brain, notably the skull and the meninges. They manipulate a semi-permeable membrane to demystify the functioning of the blood-brain barrier. Like a very selective filter, this barrier will allow only certain molecules to reach the brain from the blood...but which ones?
  • Test your stress!
    The budding neuroscientists test the effect of adrenaline, one of the stress hormones, on the heart rate of small shellfish. They also carry out an amusing experiment on human stress.

No virulent microorganisms or hazardous products will be used in these experiments.

Biotechnology camp

The Biotechnology camp is geared towards young people from 11 to 13 years of age. This camp revolves around the discovery of DNA and its functions, the building blocks of life. Here are some examples of experiments carried out during this camp::

  • What is DNA
    A series of activities and experiments will be devoted to the discovery of DNA, the molecule present in every living being. Like an instruction leaflet, DNA dictates how a human, a plant, or a microbe is made! During these activities, the participants will extract the DNA from the cell of an onion, cut this DNA into small segments, have these segments advance in a sort of gel, color them, and finally make the DNA visible.
  • Why do I have brown eyes?
    During this activity, the participants will discover the rules that govern the transmission of characteristics such as the color of eyes or hair.The participants will have a better understanding of why they resemble their mother or their father, their brothers and sisters.
  • DNA: a little, a lot, passionately!
    DNA is the recipe to build and keep every living being alive. But what happens when it fails? And what if it is used too much or too little? To find out, you will need to work with the DNA chip an advanced technique used by scientists..
  • Creation of a fluorescent microorganism
    Participants will insert genetic information, originating from a jellyfish, into a bacterium. The bacterium will then become visible in the dark!
  • Meeting with a scientist
    In this mentoring activity, some scientists at the INRS- Institut Armand-Frappier open the doors of their laboratories and allow the campers to ask all their questions regarding scientific research.

No virulent microorganisms or hazardous products will be used in these experiments.

Human health camp

The Human health camp is geared to young people 11 to 13 years of age. This camp will reveal to the participant the mysteries of human anatomy and physiology, and help him understand how the human body interacts with its environment. Here are a few examples of experiments carried out by the participants:

  • Come to your senses!
    Hearing, smell, sight…The senses that allow living beings to interact with the environment are controlled by the nervous system. During this workshop, participants will test their senses through a series of amusing experiments.
  • Well-oxygenated blood, please!
    The participants will test their lung capacity and listen to their heart rate using sensors.
  • From the kitchen to the lab!
    Carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, saturated and unsaturated fats, mercury…What does our food contain and what does it do to the human body? In the laboratory, the participants will verify the vitamin C content of various foods using colorimetric determination.
  • Dissection
    The incredible complexity of living anatomy and physiology is revealed to the campers in these practical activities, the dissection of a fetal pig and of a cow's eye.
  • An army of white blood cells
    Participants will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with immunology while helping some travelers to determine if their vaccination record booklet is up-to-date. The campers will use a laboratory test to verify that the travelers are immunized against yellow fever, tetanus, tuberculosis, and hepatitis B.
  • Meeting with a scientist
    In this mentoring activity, some scientists at the INRS- Institut Armand-Frappier open the doors of their laboratories and allow the campers to ask all their questions regarding scientific research.

No virulent microorganisms or hazardous products will be used in these experiments.

Outdoor activities

Sport and recreational activities are organized to keep the children entertained between laboratory periods and during lunch hour. Rest and lunch periods are held outdoors, weather permitting.