BRADENTON -- Holding up two cans of blue spray paint, Sebastian Windhan aimed at the ground and unleashed two short sprays outside the South Florida Museum for a color comparison.
"They look the same," Windhan, 12, said to fellow students as he looked at the labels on the cans.
"That's because they are the same color," Coraline Glover, 13, responded after a quick inspection of the color spots.
Windhan then discarded one can and walked barefoot over to his canvass to add some blue color to his creation, an imaginary planet in a fictional galaxy.
Middle-schoolers participating in the museum summer camp this week used spray paint to create space-themed artwork while learning about planets and stars.
The six middle-schoolers in class Monday wrapped plastic bags around
their shoes and feet to keep them clean. By 2 p.m. Tuesday, students had decided it was easier to paint in bare feet.
Kathy Fitzgerald is science instructor at the museum this summer.
"We talked about recognizing how the Earth is not the center of the universe," said Fitzgerald, a retired art teacher from Manatee County. "Then we jumped right into the artwork."
For six weeks, the museum offered summer camps for elementary- and middle-school students.
Next week will be the last for 2014 camps. This is the first year the museum offered camps for middle-school students and about six enrolled in each. The elementary-level camps, which have been around for five years, were capped at 25 students.
Each camp costs either $180 or $225, depending on whether the student's family holds a museum membership.
Summer camps focused on veterinary science, the ocean, electricity, space and wild animals. Students can use the camps as research resources and were also able to see Planetarium shows and visit Snooty and the manatees.
On the elementary side, students learned about different types of deep sea "monsters" from Sarah Hammock, the camp coordinator and instructor who works at Bayshore Elementary during the school year.
Students created models from drawings by Hammock and printouts to create different monsters that have either evolved into different animals or gone extinct.
"It takes a lot of work to shape them just right, but it's fun," said 9-year-old Duncan Marmash, who created a miniature version of a 20-foot dunkleosteus, a fish that existed between 360 and 380 million years ago.
Officials said they hope to expand middle-school camp offerings next summer.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 94-1745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney