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The Dr. Phillips CineDome at the Orlando Science Center offers viewers breath-taking experiences that seem very realistic. This experience is made possible with the enormous size of the theatre and the special film-frame size.

To make a giant screen film, 15/70 mm film is the key ingredient, the largest ever used in motion picture history. Film-frame size directly correlates with picture clarity. Giant screen films are able to project the world’s largest images, coming in around 8 stories high, because they come from a projection of the world’s largest film frames.

Crystal-clear, multi-story visuals help to make the audience feel more thoroughly immersed in the film’s experience. Because of the screen’s enormous size, your peripheral vision takes an active role in watching the film, making you feel like you have been transported into the action of the film.

The gigantic film size is great for films like The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti because it brings a sense of realism to the breath-taking panoramic visuals of the French Polynesian, Tahiti, the region’s sea life and the action segments of Kelly Slater surfing massive waves.

Giant screen films are truly a rare experience, but don't take our word for it - come see for yourself. Tickets to any of our giant screen films are included in the price of a general admission ticket.


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The next time you pick up a glass of Cabernet, you might stop and think about the science that went into producing that fine wine. You will if you were one of the nearly 500 guests that attended The Science of Wine on May 14, 2011. Sommeliers, casual wine lovers and “newbies” alike enjoyed a variety of wines paired with samples from local restaurants.

In an event that was described by guests as “uniquely the Science Center”, sampling was complimented by seminars and workshops intended to create a better understanding of how wine is produced. Proceeds from the inaugural event will support the Science Center’s mission “To Inspire Science Learning for Life".


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Pinwheels are an age old craft that your Grandma will remember. Put together these pretty wind decorations and stick them in your garden.  Encourage your kids to observe the pinwheel to get a look at wind speed and direction.

What you'll need:
  • Colored card stock or construction paper
  • Thumbtack or stick pin
  • Pencil with new eraser
  • White craft glue
  • Scissors
  • Sequins
  • Pattern
How to make it:
  1. Print the pattern onto plain copy or printer paper.
  2. Cut the square pattern out, cutting on the solid lines.
  3. Lay pattern on top of colored paper and trace the square. Cut out the square from the colored paper.
  4. Keep the pattern square on top of the colored square. Either hold it in place with your fingers or tape it down lightly on two of the sides.
  5. Cut through the pattern and the colored paper along the dotted lines but do not cut in to the center circle.
  6. Use a thumbtack or stick pin to poke out the holes in every other corner as indicated on the pattern. Set the pattern piece aside.
  7. Take one corner (one with a hole) and fold it toward the center of the square. Fold the next corner that has a hole and fold it toward the center on top of the first holed corner. Repeat with the other two corners with holes until all four are folded into the center. Glue the folds to each other and to the center. Hold together until dry.
  8. Push the thumbtack through the center of the pinwheel and into the eraser of the pencil. Make sure the pinwheel isn’t touching the eraser or it won’t spin.
  9. Glue some sequins to the flaps of the pinwheel and let dry.
Obervations:

As your kids observe the pinwheel moving, ask them these questions...

  • If the pinwheel blows faster, what does that mean about the wind?
  • When the pinwheel blows this direction, where is the wind coming from?  What if it changes direction?
Pinwheel
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In a recent study, scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta found that fire ants form seals so tight that not even water can get through. The researchers say it’s as though the bugs are weaving a waterproof fabric out of themselves. The ants on the bottom don’t drown, and the ants on the top stay dry. Working together, the ants float to safety — even though a single ant alone in the water will struggle to survive.

Fire ants are famous for their construction projects (as well as their burning bites). When they need to, colonies of these insects turn themselves into ladders, chains and walls. And when floodwaters rise, a colony can float to safety by making an unusual boat. The ants hold tightly to each other, forming a buoyant disk atop the water. The ant-raft may float for months seeking safe harbor.

Ants_2

Fire ants and water don’t mix. The ant’s exoskeleton, or hard outer shell, naturally repels water. A drop of water can sit on top of the ant like a backpack.  When an ant does end up underwater, tiny hairs on its body can trap bubbles of air that give the bug a buoyancy boost.

But that’s just one ant. No matter how well it repels water, a single ant doesn’t explain how a whole colony stays afloat. To investigate the science behind the ant-raft, the Georgia Tech researchers went out and collected thousands of fire ants. The species the researchers collected was Solenopsis invicta, which is better known as the red imported fire ant, or RIFA.

The scientists placed hundreds or thousands of ants at a time in the water. A group of ants took about 100 seconds, on average, to build a raft. The researchers repeated the experiment multiple times. Each time, the ants organized themselves the same way, creating a raft about the size and thickness of a thin pancake. (The more ants, the broader the pancake.) The rafts were flexible and strong, staying together even when the researchers pushed the rafts underwater.

The scientists then froze the rafts in liquid nitrogen and studied them under powerful microscopes to figure out how the ants kept everyone safe and the water out.

The team found that some ants used their mandibles, or jaws, to bite other ants’ legs. Other ants joined their legs together. Thanks to these tight bonds, say the scientists, the ants did a better job at keeping the water away than any one ant could do on its own. By working together, thousands of ants can stay alive in the face of a crisis like a flood by using their own bodies to build a boat.

Ants_1


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Cady_Coleman

While thousands looked to cross “Witness a Space Shuttle Launch” off their Bucket List, Endeavor Astronaut Catherine (Cady) Coleman knocked “Play with LEGO’s in Space” off NASA’s. This is not the first time Cady has made history in space, as she was also the first person to play a flute in space.

lego-space-shuttle

Cady now gets to be the first Astronaut in History to experiment with Lego’s, in a microgravity environment, on STS 134. Astronauts will also and share results with teachers, students and classrooms via Lego Education beginning in September.

Lego

Don’t forget to check out our exciting Summer Camps, including dates for LEGO specific camps. For more info on LEGO’s in space, visit the following links:

http://www.legospace.com/en-us/Default.aspx

http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/04/space-shuttle-endeavor-launches-tomorrow-with-a-special-payload/

http://gizmodo.com/5802503/these-are-the-first-lego-sets-ever-launched-into-space

 


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Fossils can connect children to the history of our planet. It allows them to simultaneously imagine how ancient life might have been, while examining current habitats and species that could become the fossils of the future. This fun activity from Kaboose.com let’s kid creative their very own fossils that can be ancient or modern!

What you'll need:
  • 1 cup of used coffee grounds
  • 1/2 cup of cold coffee
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • Wax paper
  • Mixing bowl
  • Some small objects to make impressions in the dough (Shaped cookie cutters work well.)
  • Empty can or a butter knife
  • Toothpicks, optional
  • String to hang your fossil, optional
How to make it:
  1. Stir the together the coffee grounds, cold coffee, flour, and salt until well mixed.
  2. Knead the dough together and then flatten it out onto the waxed paper.
  3. Use the can to cut out circles of the dough or use the dull knife to cut slabs large enough to fit your "fossil" objects.
  4. Press your objects firmly into the dough. When you take the object out, you have your "fossil". If you want to hang the fossil, poke holes into the edge to hold the string.
  5. Let the fossil dry overnight (and up to two days) and then hang it if you wish.
Tips:

To reduce the drying time, bake the fosils for a short period of time.

Baked_Fossils


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National Geographic reports that exotic plants may make your yard look beautiful but in the long run they will cause harm to our ecosystems. Dr. Doug Tallamy an entomologist (insect expert) at the University of Delaware explains why having only plants native to your area is so important.

Ever since non-native people started to arrive on America's shores, they've carried along with them trees, flowers, and vegetables from other places. Now there are so many of those outside plant species that they are crowding out the native plants that have lived here since before settlers arrived. This may not seem like too much of an issue until you consider the fact that the type of plants has an impact on other living things in the environment, like insects and animals.

Think of it as a web, which starts with the plants, goes to the insects, and ends with birds. Almost all the plant-eating insects in the United States—90% of them—are specialized, which means they eat only certain plants. When those certain plants aren’t available for the bugs to eat anymore the insects die off. In turn, insects are the food source of birds and when the insect population drops so does the bird population.

Dr. Tallamy points out that, "we cannot let the plants and animals around us disappear," and, "the way to preserve them is to give them food to eat. But when we plant non-native plants, we are clobbering the food web, because then we don't have the insects the birds need to live."

What can you do to help this situation? It’s simple! "Just Google 'native plants' and your location, and you can find out which plants really belong where you live," says Tallamy. He also suggests getting your children involved with the planting process or even having them, “adopt a bird species in trouble and see if [they] can't plant some things that will attract the insects they need."

Milkweed

Photo Above: Milkweed is a flower native to Central Florida. Monarch butterfly caterpillars dine on Milkweed. A small milkweed patch planted in Spring can produce beautiful Monarch butterflies in the Summer!


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777 E. Princeton Street • Orlando, Florida 32803 • Phone: 407.514.2000 • TTY: 407.514.2005 • Toll Free: 888.OSC.4FUN • Email: [email protected]
  Orlando Science Center is supported by United Arts of Central Florida, host of power2give.org/centralflorida and the collaborative Campaign for the Arts.
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