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Fourteen teams comprised of 64 kids from grades 5th – 9th came to show off their  innovative displays during the annual Kinetic Challenge on February 12. Projects like the “Very Complicated Toaster” and the “Frosty Eruption” lined the Science Center Clubhouse as judges reviewed the entries.

Students in grades 5th to 9th were asked to create unusual sculptures and wacky inventions using combinations of movable parts, everyday objects, and independent sources of energy. Teams used objects found, donated, or purchased for less than $100 dollars in the engineering and construction of their sculptures. The competition requirements incorporate the Florida Sunshine State Standards for Science. The Orlando Science Center Kinetic Challenge is presented by The Stephen H. Goldman Foundation, Inc.

Best in Fair for the Senior Division was awarded to The Mind Flexors from St. Mary Magdalen with their “Smarticle Particle Math Machine.” Traveling through obstacles and pathways, the final reveal in this creative project was a banner with the message “Math is Cool.”

Best in Fair in the Junior division was awarded to The Neon Blue Boys from Hillcrest Elementary with their “Sock-O's Food Chain Reaction.” This team had animal well-being in mind with their project designed to send a marble down a ramp to push a cup of food over to feed a fish below.

Each Best in Fair winner received a $500 prize for their school, and all other award winners received $250. Other award categories included Most Artistic and Most Scientific for both the junior and senior divisions. The Teacher Award went to both Debbie Gordon of St. Mary Magdalen and Heather Teager of Hillcrest Elementary.

Kinetic

For more photos from the competition, click here

 

 


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Make something special for that special somone! Making Valentine’s cards can be fun and easy. Here are directions to make it environmentally friendly as well. This is one way to make this Valentine’s Day unique by using everyday items that can be found around your house.

3-D Recycled Valentine Day Cards

YOU WILL NEED

  • Heart-shaped cookie cutter
  • Bowl of water
  • Old newspaper or leftover tissue paper
  • Glue wash (equal parts glue and water)
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • An old greeting card
  • A clean plate

HERE'S HOW

1. Tear newspaper or tissue paper into small pieces. Place the cookie cutter on the plate. Making sure each piece overlaps, position a few pieces of the paper inside the cookie cutter to create a thin layer. Dip your fingers into the bowl of water and then press it gently on the paper layer, making the paper damp. Continue layering, dipping, and pressing until the cookie cutter is about half full. Let it dry for at least a day.

2. When the paper mold is completely dry, gently press down on the mold and carefully lift off the cookie cutter. Using a clean paintbrush, apply a light coat of glue wash to the mold. As it dries, move on to step three.

3. Cover an old greeting card with things from around the house, such as construction paper, magazines, newspapers, or doilies. Write a poem or message inside the card and then glue the 3-D heart to the front. Now you’re ready to give this Earth-friendly valentine to someone you love!

Valentines_Card


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It has long been believed that all non-avian dinosaurs were made extinct 65.5 to 66 million years ago when debris from a giant meteorite impact blocked out the sun from the Earth’s atmosphere. The meteorite impact changed the climate of Earth and killed its vegetation and was thought to have killed off most dinosaurs. A new discovery, reported by geology journal, may prove otherwise.

A team of researches from the University of Alberta, led by Larry Heaman from the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, used Uranium Lead dating (a newer form of dinosaur dating) to determine the age of a hadrosaur femur bone to be 700,000 year after the supposed mass extinction. Heaman has a few different explanations as to how this dino could have escaped extinction; vegetation may not have been killed in all areas of the earth and this species of hadrosaur survived or the eggs of the hadrosaur may have been able to survive the extreme climate change. Heaman and his team plan to test more bones with uranium-lead dating and believe the end date of dinosaurs may have to be revised in the future.

Larry

Larry Heaman with the hadrosaur femur bone fossil

 


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According to National Geographic a group of 23 Mandrill Monkeys at the Colcester Zoo in England have been displaying a learned habit that could prove that monkeys have culture, too! For the last ten years this population of mandrills, regardless of sex and age, have been covering their eyes for up to 30 minutes or more at a time. Scientist cannot be positive but after observation they believe that when the monkeys cover their eyes it is a, “Do Not Disturb,” sign to the other members in the group.

It began with one individual, spread to the others, and has now been passed through one generation of the monkeys. Mark Laidre, an integrative biologist at the University of California, Berkley, has studied this population, 19 other mandrill communities around the world, as well as contacted other long term primate observers, and those studied at the Colcester Zoo are the sole exhibitors of this characteristic. Since the eye covering has been passed through a generation it can be seen as a learned cultural component to this particular group of monkeys!

Mandrill_Monkeys


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If you thought invisible cloaks were just used by Harry Potter, think again.  Two independent research teams have created carpet cloaks that allow you to experience an object vanishing.  The researchers discovered this with the use of crystals, called a calcite prism. The crystals are placed in a precise location so that when the correct light hits the cloak and the crystals' “optical properties” kick in, the object you are viewing disappears before your eyes.

They are currently only able to make smaller objects disappear, such as an ant or piece rice. Scientist still have a lot of work ahead of them in advancing the invisible cloak, making it 3-D and making larger objects disappear, but they are on the right track. Where does the future lead? Instead of hiding objects, scientist would love to reveal them, a new kind of ABRACADABRA!

For more on this amazing work, click here


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Do you ever walk outside in the early mornings and your vision is hazed by fog? Do you ever wonder what exactly fog is? Well, fog is simply a cloud that is in contact with the ground. There are numerous types of fog, but they all have one fact in common: they form when the relative humidity reaches 100% and the dew point drops below the dew point. Here are descriptions of different types of fog as described by World of Earth Science:

Radiation or ground fog is formed after sunset when there is a cooling of the land caused by thermal radiation in calm weather conditions. When the cool ground reaches its dew point, it then produces moisture in the air, which forms into condensation or fog droplets. The fog sometimes boils over to the next morning before the sun has come up to cool ground.

Advection fog forms when warm, moist air horizontally movesover a cold surface, which cools the air to its dew point. It is common along coastlines where moist air moves from over the water to over the land, or when an air mass moves over a cold surface (e.g., snow), and the moisture in the air condenses into fog as the surface cools it..

Evaporation fog forms by the mixing of two unsaturated air masses. This can occur when cold, dry air moves over warmer water. The air, quickly saturated by evaporation and condensation, creating a steam like fog. This most commonly takes place over bodies of waters and can be known as sea smoke.

Precipitation or frontal fog forms as precipitation falls into cool, almost saturated air. This can take place with warm, cold, or stationary fronts

No matter what type of fog is drifting in the air, it is important to always take extra caution when driving. Fog reduces visibility and can be very dangerous, so make sure that you’re light are on and know when the sun come out, there will be a clear day ahead!

Fog

 



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Who says playing with your food can’t be delicious and fun? Stay active inside all winter with this simple recipe for homemade peanut butter play dough. This is perfect for all ages, especially the little kids in the family. Clean up is sure to be a breeze, play and then enjoy! The kids will certainly help with cleaning up this mess.

Ingredients:

3 ½ cups peanut butter

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 ½ cups honey

4 cups dry milk powder

Directions:

In a large bowl, cream together peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar, then beat in honey and fold in milk powder. Divide into 15 equal portions and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

peanut_butter_playdough


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