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:
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.
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.
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.
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 Moon’s gravity is about 0.16 of the Earth’s gravity so objects on the lunar surface weigh about a sixteenth of what they would weigh on Earth.
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’re so accustomed to seeing high quality images and video footage of modern space exploration that it’s easy to forget that the technology back then was not nearly as advanced. We’ve certainly come a long way since then.
What does the Moon look like?
Thanks to NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, we have some incredible footage. Here are two videos of both hemispheres of the Moon, including the side we don’t see from Earth.
This video footage shows the Moon’s position throughout 2017 with a lot of useful data that includes the Sun’s relative position, the Earth’s relative position and the phases of the Moon in tremendous detail.
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.
בנסוי זה, בישלנו ביצה ויצרנו ואקום בבקבוק באמצעות נר. הוואקום מצץ את הביצה לתוך הבקבוק.
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:
A hard-boiled egg (with the shell peeled off);
A bottle with a neck slightly narrower than the egg;
A candle and matches (always be careful with matches – as a grown-up to help you); and
A clear space to do the experiment, away from anything that could catch fire.
How this experiment works
If you seal 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.
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. 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.
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 has a wonderful collection of resources about our shared biodiversity online. What is “biodiversity”? Wikipedia explains it as follows:
Biodiversity, a contraction of “biological diversity,” 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 “research methodology by collaboratively making biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community”.
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 “serves as the foundational literature component of the Encyclopedia of Life” 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 – anywhere – at a moment’s notice.
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’ve added both sites to our Sources page.