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


Israeli/Hebrew language

English language

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.

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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 Moon鈥檚 gravity is about 0.16 of the Earth鈥檚 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 鈥Earth鈥檚 Moon – In Depth鈥.

The first Moon landing

The Apollo 11 Prime Crew

Humans first landed on the Moon on 20 April聽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:

We鈥檙e so accustomed to seeing high quality images and video footage of modern space exploration that it鈥檚 easy to forget that the technology back then was not nearly as advanced. We鈥檝e certainly come a long way since then.

Aldrin Next to Solar Wind Experiment

What does the Moon look like?

Thanks to NASA鈥檚 Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, we have some incredible footage. Here are two videos of both hemispheres of the Moon, including the side we don鈥檛 see from Earth.

This video footage shows the Moon鈥檚 position throughout 2017 with a lot of useful data that includes the Sun鈥檚 relative position, the Earth鈥檚 relative position and the phases of the Moon in tremendous detail.

The Moon鈥檚 Northern Hemisphere

The Moon鈥檚 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 it鈥檚 titled 鈥Blue Marble鈥:

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 – 讘讬爪讛 诇诇讗 诪讜爪讛

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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.

讘谞住讜讬 讝讛, 讘讬砖诇谞讜 讘讬爪讛 讜讬爪专谞讜 讜讗拽讜诐 讘讘拽讘讜拽 讘讗诪爪注讜转 谞专. 讛讜讜讗拽讜诐 诪爪抓 讗转 讛讘讬爪讛 诇转讜讱 讛讘拽讘讜拽.

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 seal聽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!

转讜讚讛 诇讗住祝!

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. 聽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

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The Biodiversity Heritage Library has a wonderful collection of resources about our shared biodiversity online. What is 鈥渂iodiversity鈥? Wikipedia explains it as follows:

Biodiversity, a contraction of 鈥渂iological diversity,鈥 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 鈥渞esearch methodology by collaboratively making biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community鈥.

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 鈥渟erves as the foundational literature component of the Encyclopedia of Life鈥 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 鈥 anywhere 鈥 at a moment鈥檚 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. I鈥檝e added both sites to our Sources page.

Image credit: Biodiversity Heritage Library

Seeing our planet from the International Space Station

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NASA publishes a large collection of photos and videos of our planet as seen from the International Space Station. They offer a truly spectacular view of our home.

What really stands out, particularly when you watch the videos, is that you don鈥檛 see borders and the many differences that divide us. Instead, what you see is the one, beautiful planet that we all share.

A wonderful example of this is astronaut Jeff Williams鈥 video of the Earth as he passed overhead during a recent visit to the International Space Station. This video, titled 鈥Jeff鈥檚 Earth鈥 is mesmerizing on a big HD TV:

This 2012 video titled 鈥Earth Illuminated: ISS Time-lapse Photography鈥 is another wonderful opportunity to see what the astronauts see from the ISS as they orbit the Earth:

It is easy to forget that the Earth is the only home we have and that we share it. Fortunately, photos and videos from organisations like NASA help remind us of what we have in common.

Here are some photos from the NASA Johnson Space Center collection on Flickr:

Featured image credit: NASA Johnson Space Center

Unbreakable Prince Rupert’s Drops

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I came across these awesome glass drops in a video by Destin Sandlin from Smarter Every Day.

When you drop a piece of molten glass into cold water, the result is a tadpole shaped piece of extremely hard glass.

Three Prince Albert drops
Prince Rupert’s聽drops

Well, at least the head of the drop is very strong. The tail is actually quite delicate.

A shattering Prince Albert drop
A shattering Prince Rupert’s聽drop

The reason Prince Rupert’s Drops are so strong is that the outer layer of glass hardens almost straight away, while the inside takes a bit longer. When hot glass cools down (and this happens with water turning into ice too), the glass shrinks. This means that the inside of the glass drop is cooling down and shrinking but the outside is already cold and hard so the glass pulls towards the centre of the drop and makes it really, really strong inside.

Before we look at聽a really cool video of Destin from Smarter Every Day trying to break one of these drops using a bullet, take a look at his video that shows you how the drop is formed.

Right, now you have seen how the drop is formed and that hitting it on the head with a hammer won’t break it but if you nip the tail then the whole thing explodes.

Destin takes it a step further and shows us that even a speeding bullet won’t actually break the head of the drop itself.

Tip: try watch this on a large,聽high resolution screen for an even better experience.

How cool was that?!

Will a bowling ball fall faster than a feather?

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If you dropped a feather and a bowling ball at the same time, which would hit the ground first? You would probably say that the bowling ball would hit the ground first, right? After all, a bowling ball is so much heavier.

It turns out that the relative weight of the objects doesn’t make a difference to which object will hit the ground first, as strange as that may sound.

One of the parents in our class chat group shared this terrific video from the BBC that explains what really makes a difference and, surprisingly, that a bowling ball and a feather will hit the ground at the聽same time under the right conditions:

So, as you can see, the factor that makes the difference in normal conditions isn’t the objects’ weight, it’s air resistance! When you remove the air, both objects fall at the same rate and hit the ground at the same time.

Image credit: Pixabay