Once you have mastered the challenge, show your family and friends. And remember, “When you ask the right question, everything changes.”
Now that you know to line up all the straight edges, can you figure out how to form different letters? Can you spell your name? If you need help figuring out the math, visit: http://erikdemaine.org/fonts/simplefoldcut/.
September Moment of Science:
Did you know that the Moon does not change size? Nor does it’s orbit change enough to make the moon look bigger or smaller to people on Earth. So why does the moon sometimes look bigger or smaller in the night sky? It’s all an optical illusion!
A common misconception about the Moon is its distance from the Earth. The Moon appears to be larger at times, so some people think that the Moon moves substantially closer to the Earth. While it is true that the Moon’s orbit around Earth is not exactly circular, the difference in distance from the Earth is so small that it does not affect how large the Moon appears in the sky. Many people think the phenomenon of the Moon appearing larger at times may be due, perhaps, to some sort of magnification caused by the Earth’s atmosphere. However, this is strictly an optical illusion ~ the eye is tricked into measuring the Moon against nearby objects such as buildings, trees, and hills. These types of objects, located on most horizons, create the illusion of increased size. (The scientific term for this is oculomotor macropsia.) This optical illusion is known more commonly as the Moon Illusion.
First, gather your materials:
– A variety of round cookies/candies (M&Ms, mini Oreos, Lifesavers, Chips Ahoy cookies, Mother’s oatmeal cookies, etc.)
How big do you think the Moon is in proportion to the Earth? If you look at the Moon when it’s full, how big does it look? Which of these cookies and candies can be compared to the size of the Moon in the sky when held at arm’s length?
Use the same cookies and candies and try to determine the approximate comparison of the size of the Earth and Moon. Have them select the two items that they think represent the relative sizes.
Once your scientists have made their guesses, tell them that Earth’s moon diameter is about one-fourth the size of the Earth’s diameter. Therefore the correct selection is the M&M (Moon) and the Chips Ahoy cookie (Earth).
Next have them place these two items so that they are at a scale distance from one another. The correct distance is approximately 156 cm from each other (the Moon is approximately 30 Earth diameters distance from the Earth). Have them use a ruler to see if they are correct in their approximation by measuring their items and the distance between them. [Note: the M&M diameter will be about 1.3 cm; the Chips Ahoy diameter will be about 5.2 cm; and the distance between them will be 5.2 cm X 30 = 156.0 cm…. or 62.4 inches]
After making your guess for which of the treats (when held at arm’s length) is the same apparent size as the Moon, explain that the Moon will fit inside of the hole of the Lifesaver….always! Then, on the next full moon take your Lifesaver candy and head outside and see how perfectly the moon fits inside of the Lifesaver.
August Moment of Science:
Put on your paleontology hat and get ready to make some fossils during this month’s Moment of Science! Scientists categorize fossils into three main groups – impression fossils, trace fossils, and replacement fossils. Fossils are bits of plants or animals that have been preserved from the past. There are three types of fossils based on how they are formed. The three types of fossils are:
1. Impression Fossils
These fossils contain prints, or impressions, of plants or animals from long ago. The plant or animal lands in mud, silt, or sand and makes an impression. Over time, it disappears, but the impression remains. The mud, silt, or sand hardens into rock, and an impression fossil remains.
2. Trace Fossils
These types of fossils capture the activities of ancient animals. The animals leave its footprints or scat, which makes an impression in the soft mud, silt, or sand. Just like impression fossils, the soil hardens to form rock, preserving a trace of the animal.
3. Replacement Fossils
These fossils are replicas of things that were once alive, such as trees or sea creatures. These living things are trapped, die, and are covered by mineral-rich water. As they rot, the organic parts are replaced by a hard mineral called silica. The minerals fill in the spaces and create a replacement, or replica, fossil of the living thing.
Now that you know about the different fossils, it’s time to make your own!
- Flatten Playdough into small disks or squares, large enough to fit one of the plastic figures or plants you will be fossilize
- Firmly press dinosaur/insect figures into the Playdough (you can press your figurine sideways, on its feet/hands, etc.)
- Carefully remove plastic figure to preserve the imprint
- Repeat steps 1-3 with a different figure or from a different angle
As each fossil is imprinting talk to your paleontologist about the fossil they are making. Which fossil are they creating, an impression fossil or a trace fossil? If they were looking for fossils, how could they use different parts of the imprint to identify what animal had been there? Can they think of anything else that could turn into a fossil? Try gathering leaves, plants, and flowers from the backyard and see how each one creates a different impression. Once they’ve created multiple fossils, can they pair up the original animal/plant to the fossil? Share photos of your experiment with us on social media by tagging @discoverycubeOC and @discoverycubela.
Don’t miss the Extreme Dinosaurs exhibit now open through September 5, 2016 at Discovery Cube OC to see real and replica fossils on display!
This blog post was inspired by and features images from http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2014/05/playdough-bug-fossils.html.
July Moment of Science:
Oobleck is a fun science experiment that involves a substance often referred to as a Non-Newtonian Fluid. When Oobleck is being poured, it acts like a liquid, but it acts like a solid when pressure is applied. Can you think of any other substances that you think might be a Non-Newtonian Fluid? Oh, the science! Oobleck gets its name from the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck where a gooey green substance, Oobleck, falls from the sky and wreaks havoc in the kingdom.
We recommend reading the book with your children first, however if you want to do the experiment today, you can listen to the story here. Now it’s time to make your own Oobleck!
First, gather your materials:
2 Cups Cornstarch
1 Cup Water
Food Coloring (can be any color you’d like – please note food coloring may leave color behind on hands, feet, clothes, etc.)
- Pour cornstarch into a medium sized bowl.
- Slowly add water and stir. (Note: you may not need all of the water, pour slowly and test as needed.)
- Pour in drops of food coloring and mix in.
Once made, there are several things you can do with the Oobleck. If you hit the liquid, it will feel like a wall, but if you touch it gently it will flow like a liquid (Oobleck may splatter a bit, but will wash off with some water). After some experimenting, try having your children create a boat of materials found around the house that won’t sink in the Oobleck. Does weight, size, or shape seem to make an object float or sink? Share photos of your experiment with us on social media by tagging @discoverycubeOC and @discoverycubela.
To purchase the book online visit http://www.amazon.com/Bartholomew-Oobleck-Caldecott-Honor-Classic/dp/0394800753.