How Plants Grow

Today, our daughter asked how plants grow, so I looked around for answers for her. Here are some options that look really interesting:

How does a seed become a plant?

SciShow Kids is a great go-to channel, and they have a video on this topic, here:

They also have a terrific playlist titled “Watch It Grow!” with more videos, here:

How plants grow

DK Findout!

DK FindOut has a pretty cool, interactive page with a diagram of a plant, and clickable options to explore it too:

How Plants Grow | Facts About Plants for Kids | DK Find Out

Lovetoknow

Lovetoknow also has a great page explaining how plants grow. This page has more text, and some interesting diagrams too.

More options

We also have other resources that we shared here previously:

ื”ื—ืžืžื” ืฉืœ ืืœื™ื–ื‘ื˜ – Elizabeth Kay

Elizabeth Kay has a great video series of fun activities you can do with your kids in the garden. You can find her video series on her Facebook Page, and more information about her on her site. You can also find Elizabeth on Instagram:


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Learning to Draw

Our daughter asked us about video tutorials that can help her learn how to draw. I asked my colleagues for suggestions, and they gave me a few awesome channels, and playlists. I thought I’d share them here.

Art for Kids Hub

How to Draw

Here’s a handy playlist (one of the videos might be a little NSFW):

Andymation

This is an interesting channel that can teach you how to create some pretty cool flipbooks:

Hubble Telescope And 30 Years Of Cosmic Wonder

Celebrating 30 Years With Hubble Telescope

The Hubble Telescope was launched about 30 years ago, and it has given us a spectacular view of our Cosmos. NASA has published a wonderful retrospective with a sampling of the imagery that this telescope has given us:

As with other NASA missions, you can find all of the imagery, and videos from the Hubble Telescope on the mission website. You’ll probably recognise many of the images you see there, as they’ve become iconic images of wondrous parts of our visible universe.

There’s a terrific video about the Hubble Telescope on one of our favourite YouTube channels, It’s Okay To Be Smart

You can follow the Hubble Telescope’s updates on the mission site, and on Twitter:

Distance Learning Resources

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing us to rethink how we remain productive in an era where the trend is currently towards isolation in an effort to manage the spread of the virus.

A positive outcome of this trend is the wealth of resources for kids to keep learning, and discover new knowledge in awesome formats. Here are resources that we’re sharing with our kids to help them continue learning. Some of these resources are in Hebrew because they may be designed for Israeli school kids.

If you’d like to share this post with others, you can also use this shortlink: http://j.mp/distlearnstuff


Contents

Israeli/Hebrew language


English language

Virtual Museum Tours

Smithsonian Open Access

List of Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions Due to School Closings

Khan Academy schedules

Fun at Home โ€” Breakout EDU

PBS Kids

Scholastic Learn at Home

Colouring Books from 113 Museums

Torah Live

Raddish

ื”ื—ืžืžื” ืฉืœ ืืœื™ื–ื‘ื˜ – Elizabeth Kay

San Diego Zoo Kids

Virtual Tours of Yellowstone National Park

Access Mars with Google

Museum of the World – Tour the British Museum with Google

Free Children's Books


It’s also helpful to keep our kids on a schedule that’s close to their regular school week. Here’s an example schedule that we’re using for one of our kids:


Suggest resources

Have you come across helpful distance learning resources too? You’re welcome to send them through to us to include in this collection, using this form:

Featured image by Element5 Digital

The awesome Saturn V rocket

Our son is interested in the awesome Saturn V rocket that carried Humans to the Moon. I thought I’d add a couple resources that I found here, rather than to some Google Doc or email.

As usual, NASA has a collection of free multimedia resources. I found this album on Flickr.

There are also a number of terrific videos on YouTube, too. Here are three that I like:

The first flight of a Saturn V rocket on the Apollo 4 mission.
This is the original coverage of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.
This is a terrific video about the broader Apollo 11 mission to the Moon

I also visited the NASA website, and found more interesting links:

Pew pew pew. The physics of your favourite blaster sound.

I came across this awesome video from SKUNK BEAR explaining how the sound engineers on the Star Wars movies came up with the sound of those iconic blasters and I knew I had to share it with you.

Now I also want to go throw stones at a frozen lake and dig out a slinky.

Basically the sound the blasters make comes from sound waves dispersing along a metal wire. The sound waves expand and as they do that iconic sound is heard.

Take a look at the video for a much better explanation that I could ever give.

 

 

Back to the Moon for fresh perspectives

I thought we could head back to the Moon for an updated visit and marvel at our first off-world landing site.

Listen to this:

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We see it in our skies regularly and we forget what a momentous achievement it was for humanity to land on the Moon. As exciting as the planned Mars missions are, there is still so much to learn about our nearest neighbour.

Did you know?

  • The Moon was probably formed when an object about the size of Mars collided with the Earth a long time ago. The debris from that collision formed what we now know as the Moon.
  • Our rocky satellite orbits the Earth at a distance of roughly 384 thousand kilometers.
  • It takes the Moon about 27 days to orbit the Earth. This is also about the length of a lunar day so we only ever see one side of the Moon from Earth.
  • It has a very weak atmosphere called an exosphere. It is not enough to support human life so visitors to the Moon need to wear spacesuits.
  • The Moonโ€™s gravity is about 0.16 of the Earthโ€™s gravity so objects on the lunar surface weigh about a sixteenth of what they would weigh on Earth.

There are many more facts about the Moon on the NASA page titled โ€œEarthโ€™s Moon – In Depthโ€.

The first Moon landing

The Apollo 11 Prime Crew

Humans first landed on the Moon on 20 Aprilย 21 July 1969. The astronauts who took part in the Apollo 11 mission were Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin.

The mission to the Moon captivated the world. You can get a sense of how people must have felt as the astronauts headed to the Moon and eventually landed on the lunar surface from this CBS footage of that momentous day:

Weโ€™re so accustomed to seeing high quality images and video footage of modern space exploration that itโ€™s easy to forget that the technology back then was not nearly as advanced. Weโ€™ve certainly come a long way since then.

Aldrin Next to Solar Wind Experiment

What does the Moon look like?

Thanks to NASAโ€™s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, we have some incredible footage. Here are two videos of both hemispheres of the Moon, including the side we donโ€™t see from Earth.

This video footage shows the Moonโ€™s position throughout 2017 with a lot of useful data that includes the Sunโ€™s relative position, the Earthโ€™s relative position and the phases of the Moon in tremendous detail.

The Moonโ€™s Northern Hemisphere

The Moonโ€™s Southern Hemisphere

A virtual tour of the Moon

Have you ever wondered what all those features of our rocky satellite are? Here is a terrific tour of the Moon from NASA:

Blue Marble

One of my favourite views from the Apollo missions is this iconic photograph of our home. It was taken by the Apollo 17 crew on their way to the Moon and itโ€™s titled โ€œBlue Marbleโ€:

The Blue Marble

There is so much more for us to explore in our solar system. At the same time, we know so little about our own planet and have a lot of work to do to preserve it for new generations of explorers.

Header image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, licensed CC BY 2.0

The egg experiment with a bottle vacuum – ื‘ื™ืฆื” ืœืœื ืžื•ืฆื”

Listen to this:

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This egg experiment involves creating a partial vacuum in a bottle that sucks a boiled egg into the bottle. The video is in Hebrew but you can see how it works.

ื‘ื ืกื•ื™ ื–ื”, ื‘ื™ืฉืœื ื• ื‘ื™ืฆื” ื•ื™ืฆืจื ื• ื•ืืงื•ื ื‘ื‘ืงื‘ื•ืง ื‘ืืžืฆืขื•ืช ื ืจ. ื”ื•ื•ืืงื•ื ืžืฆืฅ ืืช ื”ื‘ื™ืฆื” ืœืชื•ืš ื”ื‘ืงื‘ื•ืง.

The idea is to use the candle to create a vacuum in the bottle. The reason this works is because the flame consumes the available oxygen in the bottle, creating a partial vacuum.

What you need for the egg experiment

You can probably find the items you need to run this experiment at home. Make sure you ask an adult to help you, though. You need:

  1. A hard-boiled egg (with the shell peeled off);
  2. A bottle with a neck slightly narrower than the egg;
  3. A candle and matches (always be careful with matches – as a grown-up to help you); and
  4. A clear space to do the experiment, away from anything that could catch fire.

How this experiment works

If you sealย the lip of the bottle with the egg, you essentially seal the bottle. The flame will extinguish when there is no more oxygen to keep it burning and the resulting partial vacuum should suck the egg in.

What happens is that the air pressure inside the bottle drops much lower than the air pressure outside the bottle. The air pressure outside the bottle basically pushes on the egg and the lower air pressure inside the bottle practically sucks it in.

The effect of the higher pressure outside and the lower pressure inside results in the egg being sucked inside the bottle even though it is a little too big to fit without squeezing it in.

Here is another example of this experiment by Steve Spangler:

A note about our experiment

The bottle we used was a little narrow around the neck but it was a partial success at least.

Of course it is also really important to use a boiled egg or your experiment either won’t work or you’ll just have a big mess.

Big thanks to our friend, Assaf, for demonstrating the experiment for us!

ืชื•ื“ื” ืœืืกืฃ!

Slo-Mo Popcorn

I came across this fantastic video of popping corn in slow motion from Warped Perception and had to share it with you.

So, how does popcorn actually pop?

First of all, there are a few types of corn that are grown. But only one kind can be popped. Popcorn.

And the reason that popcorn can be popped is that the outer layer, the hull, is thicker than any other type of corn. This comes in handy when the kernel is heated up.

You see, each kernel of corn has a small amount of water inside as well as a little blob of starch. When the water is heated up it turns into steam. ย Super heated steam. The steam mixes with the starch and changes it into a gel like substance.

Now the steam continues to heat up and expand, this causes pressure on the hull of the corn kernel. Since the popcorn hull is thick, it contains the heat for a slightly longer time than other corn, giving the starch time to form into that gel like substance.

Once the pressure gets too high, the hull bursts open and the starchy gel expands outwards, cooling as it goes, forming the puffy, yummy substance we love to eat.

Fun Facts

  • Popcorn can jump up to 3 feet/1 meter into the air.
  • There are two types of popped popcorn, Snowflake and Mushroom shaped.

 

  • The oldest ear of popcorn was found in a bat cave in Mexico in 1948. It is believed to be over 5,000 years old.
  • A kernel will pop when it reaches a temperature of 175 degrees Celsius.
  • Popping popcorn is one of the most popular uses for microwaves.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library

Listen to this:

The Biodiversity Heritage Library has a wonderful collection of resources about our shared biodiversity online. What is โ€œbiodiversityโ€? Wikipedia explains it as follows:

Biodiversity, a contraction of โ€œbiological diversity,โ€ generally refers to the variety and variability of life on Earth. One of the most widely used definitions defines it in terms of the variability within species, between species and between ecosystems. It is a measure of the variety of organisms present in different ecosystems.

The goal of the Biodiversity Heritage Library is to improve โ€œresearch methodology by collaboratively making biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity communityโ€.

A Sperm Whale

It is a remarkable resource, especially for school projects and for all you science geeks. One of the best parts of the Library is its extensive Flickr collection which has an enormous collection of scans and imagery.

The Library โ€œserves as the foundational literature component of the Encyclopedia of Lifeโ€ which you can find here. What is the Encyclopedia of Life?

Our knowledge of the many life-forms on Earth – of animals, plants, fungi, protists and bacteria – is scattered around the world in books, journals, databases, websites, specimen collections, and in the minds of people everywhere. Imagine what it would mean if this information could be gathered together and made available to everyone โ€“ anywhere โ€“ at a momentโ€™s notice.

Its mission:

To increase awareness and understanding of living nature through an Encyclopedia of Life that gathers, generates, and shares knowledge in an open, freely accessible and trusted digital resource.

Between the Library and the EOL, these are wonderful biodiversity resources. Definitely worth bookmarking for all those school projects and personal exploration. Iโ€™ve added both sites to our Sources page.

Image credit: Biodiversity Heritage Library