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"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

DIY Medieval Fantasy Camp, part 3: Meeting The Mentor, part 3: The Wizard's Guild

Wizard's Guild

The idea of the Wizard's Guild is for physical science to be reviewed and applied to a Medieval Fantasy setting by translating these laws into possible "spells." Just as with the Healer's Guild, students will be able to use their pretend spells both in defensive and offensive measures in the battles we will be having later on in the camp. Just as with the Healing "spells," students will make them sound mystical by translating the key commands in Latin. All students need for this is a English-Latin dictionary or access to the Internet through Smartphone or laptop computer. Students write these spells as long as they can justify them with the correct laws of physics. If they need to research additional physical laws, this should be encouraged. As long as students correctly identify the appropriate laws of physics and convert these instructions into Latin, they are able to "cast their spells" during battle and have a chance to "injure" or subdue their opponents. 


You might want to start off your discussion of physics with the question, How Does Weight Affect the Speed at Which an Object Falls? If you would like an example of how you can teach physical science concepts in this way, you can see it done in this Youtube video. This is a bit more campy (no pun intended) than is my taste, but it may appeal to younger students.

Newton's Laws of Physics

1. Newton’s first law of motion: Objects at rest will stay at rest, and objects in motion will stay in motion in a straight line unless they are acted upon by a force.
See how force causes an object to change in motion?

2. Newton's Second Law: Force is equal to mass multiplied by acceleration. (F = ma)

projects:1 Make a Catapult 
2 Using the Zoom Ball, have your students pull their hands apart at differing speeds; the faster they pull their hands apart, the greater the force exerted on the ball, which will make the ball zoom to the other end faster.
3 Balloon Rocket: (see below) the more air initially in the balloon, the further the balloon travels along the string because the action force is greater. You can have your students experiment with this by putting different amounts of air in the balloon and noting how far the balloon propels.

3. Newton's Third Law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Although this activity demonstrates all three of Newton's laws of motion,the focus of the activity is Newton's third law of motion. The air pushing its way out of the balloon is an action force, and it causes an equal reaction, which is the movement of the balloon.

Weather Cycle

The same came be done with the weather, with students learning about weather and then making spells such as ones that call lightning or rain. You can begin this study with a demonstration on the water cycle.

Put some water in a saucepan and begin to heat on the stove, to speed up the evaporation process.
While you are waiting for the water to come to a boil, take a zippered sandwich bag and fill it full of ice and then zipper shut. Place a bowl next to the saucepan and get a pot lid that is larger than the saucepan. Put the bag full of ice on top of the lid and hold the lid so that part of it is over the pot of boiling water and part is over the bowl, tilting toward the bowl, as shown above. (You might want to use a potholder, so you don't burn your hand.) When the steam, or water vapor, hit the pan lid, the coolness caused by the ice should turn the vapor back into liquid form, or condensation. This represents what happens when clouds form.
Eventually you will see water dripping off the pot lid and into the bowl.  This represents precipitation. (source)
Demonstrations can also be done to illustrate lightning. Instructions for a simple demonstration using readily available household materials can be found at Web Weather for Kids, but I actually prefer this one at Education.com because the students can actually feel the "lightning."

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