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Moment of Science: Pi Explains Practically Everything!

Moment of Science: Pi Explains Practically Everything!

by Discovery Cube – March 1, 2018


Pi Explains Practically Everything! On March 14, math fanatics all around the world celebrate pi.  This is because the first three digits of pi are 3.14.

Pi is the ratio between the circumference of a circle (the distance around the circle) and its diameter (the distance across). This means that regardless of the size of the circle, the ratio will always be the same. Pi is also an irrational number, which means the digits never end or follow a set pattern. But why exactly does pi have so much fame?

Well, pi can explain practically everything!

In the natural world, pi can be found everywhere, from the pupil of the eye to the spiral of the DNA double helix. You can also use pi to think about Earth’s rotation. Mathematicians depend on pi to help them figure out the volume and surface area of spheres, as well for determining the rotations of circular objects, such as wheels.

Scientists, such as those at NASA, also commonly use the number pi. Pi is important for learning more about planetary objects. Scientists at NASA also use formulas involving pi to calculate the length of time it takes a spacecraft to orbit Ceres, the dwarf planet that is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars.

Since pi is a never-ending number, computer scientists and even supercomputers do not really know all of pi’s digits. But that should not stop you from experiencing pi! Come check out Bubblefest and be inspired to learn more about pi as you watch giant soap bubble spheres fly through the air. Where else can you find pi? Try this fun project at home.

Materials 

  • Construction Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick
  • Random Household Items with Circular Shape

Directions

Step 1: Using the items found around your house, trace a bunch of circles ranging in size on several different pictures of construction paper.

Step 2: Create a picture using all the circles you have traced and cut out – such as this bear! Can you make a pig, or a dog, or a room full of bubbles?

Moment of Science: Patterns in Nature

by Discovery Cube – February 2, 2018


Patterns in Nature

The patterns found in nature have fascinated scientists for many years. Humans have looked at the stars to find patterns – called constellations. Each day we experience a sunset and a sunrise – patterns caused by the Earth’s rotation around the Sun, which we call time. Patterns help us organize information and make sense of the world around us.

A pattern exists when a set of numbers, colors, shapes, or sound are repeated over and over again. Patterns can be found everywhere: including in animals, plants, and even the solar system!

Some specific patterns are called fractals or spirals. Fractals are patterns that repeat at different scales. This means if you zoom in on a picture, you will see the same pattern replicated, and much smaller, inside the larger image. Broccoli is a great example of a fractal because a small piece of broccoli, when zoomed in, has the same pattern as the larger head of broccoli.

Another pattern found in animals and plants is a spiral. If you take a close look at a pine cone you will see a double set of spirals running clockwise and counterclockwise. Seashells and red cabbage are also organized in a spiral pattern. In fact, mathematicians have been able to create equations using spiral patterns that explain why the world works the way it does.

There are so many reasons why understanding patterns in nature is important. People have built cities and created art based on the patterns they see. We have used patterns, like the alphabet and sign language to help us communicate with one another. But since our world is always changing, so do patterns. Next time you go outside, look around – what are some of the patterns you see?

Materials: 

  • Multiple colors of Tissue Paper
  • Scissors
  • Paper Plate
  • Pencil
  • Glue
  • Green Construction Paper
  • 1 Green Pipe Cleaner
  • 1 Googly Eye (Optional)

Directions:

Step 1: Cut your colored tissue paper into small squares

Step 2: Arrange the colors in a pattern and then glue them onto the paper plate to form a spiral-like pattern

Step 3: Cut the green construction paper into an oval shape (this will represent the foot, or visible part of the body, of your snail)

Step 4: Glue the green construction paper behind the paper plate

Step 5: Glue the googly eye and the green pipe cleaner to your green construction paper (the pipe cleaner represents the snail’s antennas)

Step 6: Admire your snail’s spiral-patterned shell – and compare it to the spiral pattern on the next snail you encounter!

Moment of Science: Reasons for the Seasons

by Discovery Cube – January 9, 2018


Earth’s seasons do more than help us tell time or determine which fruits and vegetables will be available at the local grocery market. The changes that come with each season are a result of Earth’s tilt. Instead of standing straight up and down, the Earth leans slightly on its axis.

The axis is an imaginary line that helps Earth move around the Sun. It takes 365 days, or an entire year, for the Earth to make a full trip around the Sun. Depending on where Earth is on its journey around the Sun, our exposure to sunlight changes. This means different places in the world experience the seasons at different times.

Earth has four seasons throughout the year: winter, spring, summer, and autumn. Summer happens when the Northern hemisphere, or the part of planet we are on in Southern California, is tilted toward the Sun. The hemisphere tilted towards the Sun has warmer, longer days and shorter nights because the Earth is receiving more sunlight. When a hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun, it is winter. During this time of year, the days are colder and shorter because the Earth receives less sunlight. But when the Earth is partially tilted toward the Sun and partially not, we experience spring and autumn. Both “in-between” seasons are a bit warm and a bit cold.

Each season brings different changes to the Earth, impacting how we go about our day. Most importantly, seasons help many ecosystems stay in balance. So next time you go outside, take in the beauty of the season before it changes.

Materials: Leaf Rubbings 

  • White Copy Paper
  • Crayons
  • Leaves

Directions:

Step 1: Collect leaves ranging in size and shape

Step 2:  Select one leaf and place the bottom/underside of the leaf face up

Step 3: Place the sheet of paper over the leaf and start rubbing the side of a crayon on the piece of paper

Step 4: Continue rubbing on paper until you have rubbed over the entire leaf

Step 5: Repeat Step 3 and Step 4 using different colors and other leaves

Step 6: Compare and contrast your rubbings – How are the leaves similar? How are they different? (Look at their shapes, sizes, and colors or feel their textures) How might these leaf rubbings compare to leaves you find during another season from the same tree or plant?

Moment of Science: The Science of Gingerbread Houses

by Discovery Cube – November 5, 2017


Kick off this holiday season by creating a gingerbread house with family and friends! Once you’ve designed and built your gingerbread house, enter your creation in Discovery Cube’s annual Science of Gingerbread competition. But how can you ensure your gingerbread house is strong enough to hold a roof-full of candy?

Start with the right choice of dough so you can build the gingerbread house of your dreams!  If you are making your own gingerbread, aim for tough dough with a springy texture to avoid cracked walls.  Since all materials have the ability to resist change, having springy dough can help maintain its original shape.  You can also choose to use a pre-baked gingerbread house kit.

A strong sealant can go a long way as you construct.  Icing is traditionally used as “glue” to hold the gingerbread house together.  What makes the icing dry like glue?  The secret ingredient is egg whites, which create a thick and strong paste. Cement-like textures can also be created by melting caramels, gummies, or marshmallows, making the house sturdier.

Finally, design matters.  In order to avoid cracked or collapsed structures, think about the difference between a flat rooftop versus a narrow A-frame rooftop.  Also, keep in mind how the height of the house influences the stability.

Now that you have carefully thought about your choice of dough, icing, and architectural design – start building. Once you are done building – it is time to decorate! This is a great way to re-use your leftover Halloween candy.

Once you are finished with your creation, enter your gingerbread house in the annual Science of Gingerbread competition. For additional details on the competition and entry form, click on the campus below.

Discovery Cube Orange County                                   Discovery Cube Los Angeles



For more tips on how to best build your gingerbread house, check out the video below.


Mary Tran: Bubblefest at Discovery Cube!

What child doesn’t love bubbles? Just in time for Spring Break, Bubblefest is back in Orange County, and they’re celebrating 20 years of all things bubbles. Now through April 10th at the Discovery Cube OC, families can roll around in water spheres, take a family photo being inside a bubble, learn the science of bubbles in the Bubble Lab, watch an exciting performance of the Mega Bubblefest Laser Show performed by Deni Yang, and more! There’s even a Cube Jr. Playground for the littles.

Discovery Cube Bubblefest Courtyard Bubble Wands Photo LetsPlayOC
Mega Bubblefest Laser Show
The laser show never gets old. This is our third year seeing the show, and it’s still fun to watch. Bubble Artist, Deni Yang, has been doing it for over 20 years along with his family, and they even hold the Guinness Book of World Record for longest soap bubble wall. Deni does a great job captivating everyone in the audience especially the little ones. The Snow Story about his niece is super cute, and Deni creates all kinds of bubbles including smoke bubbles, square bubbles, and putting two children in a bubble. Toward the end of the show, we were in a bubble blizzard which lasts several minutes. It’s pretty funny, and we couldn’t see anything until it ended.

Discovery Cube Bubblefest XX Laser Show Photo @letsplayoc.com

My kids especially enjoyed the laser show, bubble wall, rolling around in the water spheres, racing through the obstacle challenge, and playing with bubble wands in the courtyard. My favorites are the laser show and the Me-in-a-Bubble photo. Please note that general admissions is required with Bubblefest tickets. I have some details for you below and an opportunity to for one lucky reader to win an annual family membership at the Discovery Cube. Good luck!

discovery cube bubblefest water spheres photo letsplayoc

Discovery Cube Bubblefest Obstacle Challenge Photo letsplayoc

Have fun,
Mary

Shelby Barone: ¡Vámonos! to Discovery Cube OC for the Dora and Diego Exhibit


Dora-and-Diego-Lets-Explore-at-Discovery-Cube-OC-1024x1024

“Backpack, Backpack, Backpack, Backpack.” Load up your backpack and bring the family to Discovery Cube OC to explore the ‘Dora & Diego Let’s Explore’ exhibit. Your children will be immersed in the world of their favorite television series “Dora the Explorer” and “Go, Diego, Go,” while visiting Discovery Cube OC until May 15th.

Diego-Photo-Opportunity

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I brought my younger son to explore the exhibit over the weekend, and while I thought that he might be a little too old for it at first (age 9), he had so much fun that he didn’t want to leave. The exhibit starts with families being greeted from Dora and Boots which makes for a perfect photo opportunity for parents.

Dora-exhibit-at-Discovery-Cube-OC

Dora-exhibit-at-Discovery-Cube

Dora-Puzzles

Once we were inside the exhibit, there was a giant pirate ship for children to climb, a giant yellow car to pretend to drive, a toddler play area, and more. My son navigated towards Tico’s Tree and car where he played with Swiper while swiping the nuts (orange balls) and watching them shoot up and over into Tico’s basket. My son could have does this for hours!

Dora-the-Explorer

Exploring-the-Dora-and-Diego-Exhibit

Gas-Station-Interactive-Game

His other favorite part of the exhibit was the animal rescue center. In the center, children are encouraged to pretend to be a veterinarian and help cure the injured animals. There are stuffed animals along with everything children need to be an animal rescuer for the day.

Pirate-Ship-Play-Structure

Purple-Planet-Slide

Swiper-Game

Once we were done playing with Swiper, and exploring the the animal rescue center, my son got all of his energy out while running around the rainforest maze. There is a mini rock wall (perfect for toddlers), monkey bars, and interactive learning stations. Your children will feel like they are right in the middle of the rainforest while playing.

Toddler-area-at-Discovery-Cube

Toddler-Flower-Garden

The one thing that stood out to me about this exhibit was how there is so much for toddlers to do. There is Isa’s Flowery Garden where toddlers can touch and feel pretend flowers/butterflies, and use insect puppets on a nicely padded surface. Then there is the purple planet toddler slide and a rocket ship with interactive experiences.

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We ended our visit by getting a healthy snack at the Bean Sprouts Cafe before going home. The ‘Dora & Diego Let’s Explore’ exhibit is only at Discovery Cube OC until May 15th. Don’t miss bringing your children for an interactive day of fun. Discovery Cube OC is located at 2500 North Main Street in Santa Ana. The exhibit is include with the price of admission: $17.95 (adults), $12.95 (children 3-14, and $14.95 (seniors).

Ticos-Car


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