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GRASP-Mentos & Coke

2011 GRASP Summer Camp

The 4th Annual Girls Reaching to Achieve in Sports and Physics (GRASP) Summer Camp was held June 13-17 and June 20-24, 2011. GRASP was created in 2008 and is hosted by the OSU Department of Physics Undergraduate Studies Office and the Society of Women in Physics in coordination with physics faculty, staff, and students. The main purpose of GRASP is to encourage young females to pursue a career in science, engineering, or math. The camp is open to middle school age girls and each day consists of a hands-on, interactive physics demonstration or project followed by a physical activity that shows how physics relates to everyday life.

This year, more than 80 students from local middle and high schools applied for GRASP and 60 were accepted. 30 campers attended each week and both weeks consisted of the same activities. On Monday we discussed the physics of football, including projectile motion, gravitational forces, and the difference between mass and weight. In the afternoon, we met up with OSU football players who taught the girls how to kick, throw, and catch a football. On Tuesday the campers learned about the physical similarities between bicycling and gymnastics. This included discussions and demos involving torque, friction, rotational motion, and center of mass. Later in the day on Tuesday, the camp took a field trip to Fliptastic Gymnastics to learn some basic gymnastics skills from experienced coaches. They also got to see a trained gymnast flex her skills on the uneven bars and a floor routine. On Wednesday the campers learned about the physics of archery, including kinetic energy, potential energy, and impulse. In the afternoon on Wednesday, the girls learned how to shoot a bow and arrow from a trained professional. On Thursday, the camp took a field trip to COSI (Center of Science and Industry) in downtown Columbus. The campers spent their time exploring exhibits, attending a roller coaster workshop, seeing live shows, and watching movies about science. On Friday, the campers went over to the ARC on West Campus to climb on the climbing wall. During this time, the camp volunteers reiterated the science behind rock wall climbing including energy and gravity. In the afternoon on Friday, the girls got to see a live physics demo show, including "What Not to Put in a Microwave".

Additional activities of the camp consisted of building catapults, gliders, and magnetic cars; making ice cream using liquid nitrogen; making Non-Newtonian Liquid; demonstrating the Coke and Mentos experiment; and participating in a relay race with science-related questions and riddles.

Presenters of the 4th Annual GRASP Summer Camp were: Dr. Amy Connolly,

Dr. Adam Hauser, Dr. Richard Hughes, Dr. Nancy Santagata, Dr. Brian Winer, and Dr. Linn Van Woerkom.

Thank you to the GRASP Contributors: The Ohio State University Department of Physics, Center for Emergent Materials (CEM), and Continuum Lasers for their generous help in funding the 2011 GRASP Summer Camp.

For additional information, please contact one of the GRASP Co-Directors, Lindsey Thaler at or Robin Wyatt at or visit the GRASP website here.

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