Topic - Informal Science Education
By Blog Editor Susan Wells
My family and I visited Yellowstone last week. The girls and I had never been, but my husband had spent a few summers in the Youth Conservation Corps back in his youthful days. I knew Yellowstone was full of geothermal features and a lot of wildlife, but I wasn’t prepared for just how much science abounds in the park. If you are looking for an unplugged, family learning vacation, head to Northwestern Wyoming and Yellowstone.
Yellowstone was the first national park established in 1872.
As we drove into the park on a hot Friday evening, it was quiet. Just the forest and the setting sun. Until we reached the center of the park and the edge of the caldera. Steam was rising into the air from vents along the road. Even more steam was rising from the edge of the lake. The edge of the lake!! I felt like a kid as I was surrounded by geology. Living geology. The stuff I read about in school – geysers, vents, mud volcanoes, hot springs and fumaroles. Even after reading about Yellowstone,
By Jane Goodwin
There have been some awesome sights in the night sky lately – the triangle of Jupiter, Mars, and Venus, for example, and right now, the brightly shining Saturn. Every night sky is full of wonders, and every night sky has many stories to tell.
It is impossible to study the heavens with science alone – we need the stories to explain the whys and wherefores of the objects “up there.”
Yes, I said “stories.” Let’s talk about the planets. We’ll talk about constellations later.
Put yourself in the place of an ancient Roman or Greek, standing outside in every season, gazing up at the night sky, and seeing patterns. Patterns that stay the same, and patterns of movement and color, as well.
The gods of Olympus ruled, during these times, so these ancient skywatchers and philosophers called these objects in the sky after the gods or goddesses that seemed to resemble them in some way.
Mercury was the messenger of
By Blog Editor Susan Wells
Earlier this week I had the extreme pleasure of shadowing some students from Rooney Ranch Elementary who came to our office before appearing on the Denver NBC affiliate 4:00 news program. The students’ were chosen to appear for their creative science fair projects and speaking abilities.
The students arrived with their parents at our offices around 3:00p.m. A little less than two hours before air time. Steve chatted with them and got them naturally talking and explaining their experiments. The kids were so excited and wound up, but Steve knew exactly how to get them to focus and share.
Next, they went into our studio at the Spangler Labs and did a little trial run to practice for the real television studio. The kids got a small-scale run through complete with bright lights and a desk. They had an opportunity to really begin to sharpen their chops.
Move over Shark Tank inventors and patent attorneys get ready for some amazing, new kid-invented products. Third graders at Wilder Elementary in Littleton, Colorado joined Steve early one morning to share their inventions and solutions to common everyday problems.
The annual Invention Convention takes the lead over the classic science fair in asking kids to solve problems with their own inventions. Many parents and teachers in elementary schools are organizing “Invention Conventions” in place of the traditional science fairs and kids are responding in record numbers with great ideas. The non-competitive, highly supportive nature of events these inspire kids to identify everyday problems, brainstorm creative ideas, and, ultimately, invent a solution that makes us all say, “I wish I had thought of that!”
Many inventors find things that happen in their daily life that cause them to think of some problem in a
This past Monday, we shared our annual April Fools Day science prank video. Many of our customers and fans look forward to our prank each year. This year, we shared step by step instructions on how to build your own lightsaber from the Star Wars movies. The materials list included an empty can, Dilithium Crystal (actually a Ring Pop) and duct tape. We were selling the crystal and an Energy Modulation Circuit (regularly priced $7,597.13 on sale for $11.38).
Here’s the video and instructions. There is also a sneak peek at some genuine Jedi training at the end.
We thought it was pretty obvious that this was a hoax and not really an actual experiment that people would go and try. We should have known better. Here’s an email from a mom that we received this week -
I have a six year old who found your light saber project through our school library. Of course I wanted to encourage his interest in science so we immediately took the list from your video to the store to