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Try this simple Earth Day craft. This uses simple ingredients and comes out great. This is a great way to start talking to your kids about the importance of sustainability and “Going Green”. Never too early to start recycling!

 

Materials

  • Coffee filter
  • Blue and green washable markers (we used crayola brand)
  • Squirt bottle or small glass of water
  • Black construction paper
  • Glue
  • Optional: white paint, old toothbrush and popsicle stick

Note: You can complete this project using food coloring instead of washable markers. However - I find this option to be very messy so would not do it with young children (if they get food coloring on their clothing you won't be able to get it out). I would only use this option with children over age 10, and even then would want a good amount of supervision and old clothes to be worn.

 

Instructions

  1. Flatten out a coffee filter on a plate.
  2. Scribble the filter with blue and green washable markers.
  3. Use a squirt bottle to spray the coffee filter 2 or 3 times.
  4. Squirt right in the center of the filter and then sit and watch the water wick the colors over the filter (this takes 4 or 5 minutes)
  5. Let dry (this takes about 1/2 an hour, but will take longer if the filter has been soaked by an over-zealous crafter!)
  6. Optional: Splatter paint a piece of black construction paper:
  7. Cover your work area with newspaper
  8. Dip a toothbrush into white paint and tap it off to get rid of the excess.
  9. Hold it over the black paper and lightly rub the edge of the popsicle stick against the toothbrush to splatter dots of white paint onto the paper.
  10. Repeat until your black paper looks like a star filled universe.
  11. Set aside to dry
  12. Glue your earth to a piece of black construction paper (or to a splatter painted piece of black construction paper.

 

Coffee_Filter_4.21.11

 


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Presenting 12th Annual Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition

Celebrating the Exemplary Achievements of Local Science Students
April 29 - May 1, 2011

ORLANDO, FL - (April 18, 2011) - Since 1999, Dr. Nelson Ying, local scientist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, has partnered with the Orlando Science Center to celebrate the exemplary achievements of local science students. From April 29- May 1, five finalists from area high schools will compete for the coveted “Ying Prize” during the Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition. The Grand Prize winner also receives a $5000 scholarship and an award of $1000 for the student’s science teacher or mentor and another $1,000 for the winner’s school.

To compete in the Ying competition, each entrant must perform a research project that has the ultimate goal of benefiting humanity.  Previous entries have investigated treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, faster delivery of mechanisms for medicine, and solutions for beach erosion, just to name a few. Projects reports are submitted and reviewed by a distinguished panel of judges, including current and retired engineers, scientists, educators and Dr. Ying himself.

Read more...


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The first nationally celebrated Earth Day was held in 1970 and next Saturday, April 23rd, we will continue the tradition of recognizing how humans play an important role in the future of our habitat, the Earth. The Orlando Science Center will be celebrating Earth Day looking at how science can help us to conserve energy and protect our environment.

In honor of Earth Day, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at something very small which has had a big impact on our environment in the last few years: bottled water.

Bottled water can cost anywhere from 1 to 6 cents per ounce, but tap water costs about 5 cents per gallon.  Interestingly enough, many bottling companies get their water from the same place we central Floridians do, the Florida Aquifer. So, what’s the difference between the tap water and bottled water? A bottle.

Some non-Florida natives, like me, will say there is quite a difference and it comes in the form of smell. Florida’s aquifers naturally filter the water so that it is amazingly clean even before it is pumped out. But there are sulfurous mineral deposits which give natural springs a distinctive smell. However OUC, the company which provides water to most of Orlando, has a process specifically designed to remove this sulfur smell by using ozone. Even if there is a little smell left over, it can be easily taken care of with a faucet-attached water filter. This makes it very easy to grab a reusable water bottle and fill it before leaving the house.

So, that leaves us with a plastic bottle. Plastic will takes hundreds of years to biodegrade but can be recycled.  However, even Zephyrhills notes on its packaging that less than 25% of water bottles get recycled. To do our part, the Science Center provides green colored bins outside of each elevator just for recycling.

This Saturday, come celebrate Earth Day with us and learn more about how to reduce, reuse and recycle. And if you’re interested in learning more about bottled water in Florida, check out the original article in the Orlando Sentinel titled “Water Everywhere: Which is for You?” by Kevin Spear.

 

Stephanie is a Science Interpreter at the Science Center and often is found in Dino Digs or Careers for Life. Paleontology, Anthropology and Anatomy are her passion and jumps at every opportunity to talk about it. Stop in and say Hello!


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Throughout the year the sun appears at different locations at the same time of day. At 6 P.M. in July it's still sunny outside, while at 6 P.M. in January the Sun has already set. These differences are easily seen month by month, but not easily seen by the days or the weeks.

The sun tracking experiment will allow you to see that the sun appears in different locations at same specific time everyday. This is a great outdoor summer activity that will be fun for you and your family!  Here is how it works:

Sun_Track_1

  1. Glue a wooden stick to a cardboard square so that it stands upright at the edge, so the whole shadow can be seen on the square.
  2. Place the cardboard square outside where it can be exposed to the sun on a flat surface. Every day at the same time make a mark on the cardboard where the tip of the shadow is located and write the date. (It is important for the board to be in the exact location, facing the same direction everyday. It may be useful to mark the ground location where you will be putting the cardboard)
  3. Repeat this daily or weekly at the same exact time each day.
  4. Look at the results to discuss with your family about how often the sun moves compared to your expectations.

Sun_Track_2

The tilt of the Earth’s axis which causes the Earth to Face the Sun at an 23 degree angle is what causes the change in the shadow’s location. Depending on where the Earth is located in its orbit around the sun is what determines the length of day. The length of the days changes because the Earth’s location around the sun is contantly changing.


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This article is from last year, but the research continues. Neanderthals, or cavemen, have long been thought to be dull, slow and stupid, (thus the whole Geico thing about being so easy a caveman could do it). Ever since the reconstruction of the remains at La Chapelle aux Saints in 1911 by Marcellin Boule, the general public has had the idea that Neanderthals stood hunched-over, with their arms drooping down and that they moved slowly. In fact, this is a mistake. The remains from La Chapelle Aux Saints turn out to be those of an old man who had severe arthritis. Of course he would have walked slowly and been hunched over, but Boule thought this idea applied to all Neanderthals.

Much work had been done since then, but analyzing bones can only get you so far. That’s where this study comes in; a group of researchers from the Max Planck Institute are looking into DNA preserved in different specimens. What can we tell from this? For one, we can see how different Neanderthals really were from modern humans and we can get ideas about why you don’t see more cavemen around today.

For more information, click here to view the full article.

Stephanie is a Science Interpreter at the Science Center and often is found in DinoDigs or Careers for Life. Paleontology, Anthropology and Anatomy are her passion and jumps at every opportunity to talk about it. Stop in and say Hello!

 


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If you find normal crocodiles to be a little frightening check out the jaws on this guy!

Pepesuchus deiseae is a newly discovered crocodyliform, a group that includes modern-day alligators, which lived during the late Cretaceous period, between 99 million to 65 million year ago. The fossil skull was found at a site called Sao Paulo in Brazil by paleontologists from the Brazilian National Museum. It can currently be found in the Federal University of Rio de Janerio’s National Museum with other fossils that were discovered In Brazil.

Croc


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Wondering why you always feel hotter when wearing black instead of a light color? Try this experiment to prove that there are valid reasons for this to occur. This experiment looks at different types of colors reacting to the sun and which one will generate and capture more heat. Check it out!

What You Will Need:

  • 2 Identical Drinking Glasses or Jars
  • Water
  • Thermometer
  • 2 Elastic Bands
  • White Paper
  • Black Paper

Instructions:

  1. Wrap the white paper around one of the glasses using an elastic band or sellotape to hold it on.
  2. Do the same with the black paper and the other glass
  3. Fill the glass with the exact same amount of water
  4. Leave the glasses out in the sun for a couple of hours before returning to measure the temperature of the water in each.

What is Happening?

Dark surfaces such as the black paper absorb more light and the heat than the lighter one such as the white paper. After measuring the temperatures of the water, the glass with the black paper around it should be hotter than the other. Lighter surfaces reflect more light, that’s why people with lighter colored clothes in the summer keep cooler.


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