Can Snakes Be Venomous AND Poisonous?

Are snakes venomous or poisonous? Can some snakes be venomous and poisonous?

Florida is home to 44 different snake species, from the large and dramatic eastern indigo snake, to the teeny tiny ringneck. All of our serpentine friends, even the venomous ones, serve important roles in our ecosystem by helping to regulate rodent populations, and by providing food to larger predators. Notice, we said venomous snakes, not poisonous ones. That’s because venom and poison aren’t the same things. But can some snakes be both venomous and poisonous?

First, let's break down what it means to be venomous versus poisonous. Both venom and poison are toxins, which means they can cause harm to our bodies. The difference between venom and poison is how the toxin gets into a body. Poison is either eaten or touched, like poison ivy or arsenic. Those can only hurt you if you put them in your mouth or on your skin. Venom, on the other hand, is injected. Think of the fangs of a snake or the stinger of a scorpion. Venomous animals must puncture the skin of their victims to get their venom into the victim’s blood. 

 While unusual, there are a few species of snake that are actually poisonous. Rhabdophis keelback snakes are both venomous and poisonous – their poisons are stored in nuchal glands and are acquired by sequestering toxins from poisonous toads the snakes eat. Similarly, certain garter snakes from Oregon can retain toxins in their livers from ingesting rough-skinned newts.

Of these 44 different species of snakes that call Florida home, only six are dangerous to people, those being:

  • Eastern coral snake
  • Southern copperhead
  • Cottonmouth
  • Eastern diamondback rattlesnake
  • Timber rattlesnake
  • Dusky pygmy rattlesnake

That all sounds pretty scary, but don’t worry! It’s actually very unlikely to be bitten by a snake in the state of Florida. In fact, it is much more likely for a person to be struck by lightning than to be bitten by a venomous snake! This is because snakes want nothing to do with people. They usually are very likely to flee at the first sight of a person. They don’t want to end up as a larger animal’s dinner after all!

Can Snakes Be Venomous and Poisonous

Unfortunately, the majority of reported snake bites are due to handling snakes or even trying to hurt them. If you’re still concerned about snakebites, educate yourself and family about them, make sure not to reach into dense bushes where you can’t see your hands, and seek out snake avoidance training for your pets. Fortunately, even those who do get bitten are almost always fine, as long as they seek out medical attention immediately. Snake venom has been heavily researched by medical scientists for creating new highly effective medicines.

Take a few minutes to find out which venomous and nonvenomous Florida snakes are your favorites, and see which ones you can find in NatureWorks next time you slither into Orlando Science Center!

Indoor Obstacle Course: Make Your Own Superhero Training Camp

OSC challenges you to make an indoor obstacle course Superhero Training Camp in your own home!

Through working together and using the Engineering Design Process to build your obstacle course, you may discover that you have superpowers of your own!

We'd like to thank our longtime friend and corporate partner, FINFROCK for sponsoring this blog!

  1. Ask: Can you make a training camp that shows you what it takes to be a Superhero? What skills does a superhero need? How can you create challenges that highlight some of those skills?
  2. Imagine: Think about different things you could use around your home to make obstacles. Imagine how those objects can work together to make the best superhero course.
  3. Plan: Draw or write out your materials list so you can plan your course. Create layout of what you want your course to look like.
  4. Create: Assemble your course! Think about the different steps needed to bring your ideas to life. Adjust your diagram as necessary and make sure the course is safe!
  5. Improve: Once you’ve given it a try, think about if there are ways you could improve your training course. Can you make it more challenging? Did everything work the way you planned? If not, you can use the Engineering Design Process to help you improve your course!
Engineering Design Process Circle Diagram: Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve

Here are some suggestions to get started:

Item: Couch cushions or pillows

 

Uses:

  • Stand them up and weave around them
  • Climb over them
  • Jump on them
  • Crash through them

Item: Laundry basket

 

Uses:

  • Toss small items into them
  • Duck inside them
  • Use them as large obstacles to maneuver around

 

Item: Clothing

 

Uses:

  • Gear up with different clothing items throughout the course such as hats, jackets, gloves, scarves, etc.

Some of our other favorite prop ideas:

  • Cardboard boxes are great for tunnels!
  • Masking tape on the floor makes for an instant DIY balance beam.
  • Blankets make good tunnels and can separate one challenge from the next.
  • Chairs or stools are great obstacles that you can also drape blankets over.
Child in superhero costume navigating obstacle course at Science Center

More ways to conquer the obstacle course:

Spy Mission: Go through the course as quietly as possible! Shhh!

Save the Citizen: Grab your favorite stuffed animal and go through the course while keeping your citizen safely by your side.

Freeze Blast: Grown-ups can freeze their hero in training during different parts of the course to catch them off-guard.

“Superman Says”: Grown-ups can choose what actions their superhero in training does while going through the course.

Grown-ups can also act as a cheering section or blow bubbles while little ones conquer the course!

Share your design, results, and in-action photos with us!


Orlando Science Center relies on partnerships with industry experts to provide insight on how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and the incredible innovators within the industry are pushing the boundaries of possibilities. As a longtime friend and corporate partner, FINFROCK helps us inspire the next generation of STEM professionals and industry leaders. With their commitment and generous support, we are able to bring pivotal technology and engineering learning to life.

FINFROCK is committed to revolutionizing the technological advancement of engineering design and manufacturing. FINFROCK handles the design, manufacturing, and building of hundreds of projects a year for clients throughout Florida and across the nation. Learn more about FINFROCK

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

Facebook Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo Twitter Logo

Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

3..2..1.. Blast Off to Fun With This DIY Stomp Rocket Activity!

Space exploration requires more than brave astronauts. They won't get far without engineers to build their space crafts! Do you think you can build a rocket that could launch astronauts into orbit? Build your engineering skills with this DIY stomp rocket project!

We'd like to thank our longtime friend and corporate partner, FINFROCK for sponsoring this blog!

You Will Need:

  • Paper
  • Cone and Fin Templates
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • 3 ½” x 12” pieces of PVC pipe
  • 1 ½” x 2” piece of PVC pipe
  • 1 ½” x 15” piece of PVC pipe
  • 1 ½” PVC Cross Fitting Connector
  • 1 ½” 45° PVC Elbow
  • 1 ½” 90° PVC Elbow
  • 2 ½” PVC End Caps
  • 2 Liter Bottles
  • Printable Template

Making Your Rocket:

  1. Tightly wrap your sheet of paper length-wise (so you have a longer rocket rather than a shorter one) around one of the pieces of PVC pipe. The paper should fit snugly around the tube, but not be wrapped so tight that the tube can’t be slid off. Tape the paper tube shut. The entire seam should be covered so that it is airtight. This will be your rocket’s fuselage.
  2. Cut out the cone template. Bring the straight edges together to create the cone and tape shut. Make sure that entire seam is covered so that it is airtight. If air escapes from the seam in the cone, the rocket won’t launch or won’t go far.
  3. Tape the cone over one end of the fuselage. Be sure the cone is taped on securely and is airtight. If the cone isn’t on tightly enough or air can escape from this part of the rocket, the cone may fly off the rocket when you try to launch it.
  4. Now choose how many fins you want and what shape they should be. You can use the templates provided, or make your own.
  5. Cut out the fins you want. Fold on the dotted line, the tape the small flaps to end of the fuselage opposite the cone. The fins work best when they are evenly spaced and all facing the same way.

Making Your Launcher:

  1. Fit 2 of the ½” x 12” pieces of PVC pipe in the cross fitting connector across from each other.
  2. Place the end caps on these two pieces of PVC pipe to prevent air from escaping through the sides.
  3. Fit the ½” x 2” piece of PVC pipe in the cross fitting connector between the two longer pieces.
  4. Attach either the 45° or 90° PVC elbow on the other end of the 2” pipe. The angle of the elbow will determine the launch angle. If you want to launch the rocket straight up, use the 90° elbow. If you want to launch the rocket outwards, use the 45° angle.
  5. Fit the remaining ½” x 12” piece of PVC pipe in the other end of the elbow. This will be where you place the rocket.
  6. Fit the ½” x 15” piece of PVC pipe in the remaining opening of the cross fitting connector.
  7. Tape the 2 liter bottle onto the end of the 15”-long piece of PVC pipe.

Launching Your Rocket:

  1. Slide your rocket all the way onto the 12”-long piece of PVC pipe connected to the 45° or 90° elbow.
  2. Stand next to, not behind, the bottle on your launcher.
  3. Stomp down or jump on the bottle to launch the rocket.
  4. To re-inflate the bottle, remove the 15”-long piece of PVC pipe from the cross fitting connector. Blow into the end of the PVC pipe. The bottle will inflate. If the bottle is damaged, it can be removed and a new bottle can be taped on.

Can you make your rocket go higher or farther? What happens if you change the shape and/or number of fins? Make changes to your rocket and launch it again to find out!


Orlando Science Center relies on partnerships with industry experts to provide insight on how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and the incredible innovators within the industry are pushing the boundaries of possibilities. As a longtime friend and corporate partner, FINFROCK helps us inspire the next generation of STEM professionals and industry leaders. With their commitment and generous support, we are able to bring pivotal technology and engineering learning to life.

FINFROCK is committed to revolutionizing the technological advancement of engineering design and manufacturing. FINFROCK handles the design, manufacturing, and building of hundreds of projects a year for clients throughout Florida and across the nation. Learn more about FINFROCK

Outdoor Safety for Kids • 7 Survival Tips for Any Scenario

Check out these 7 outdoor safety tips for kids! 

When the sun is shining, there’s nothing better than getting outside, breathing in a breath of fresh air, and communing with nature! But don’t forget to keep safety in mind! Whether you’re camping or hiking the great outdoors — or just exploring your own backyard — check out these 7 outdoor survival and safety tips for kids! 

Get more safety and survival tips, and put your hero skills to the test with new, interactive exhibit RESCUE now on display! 

1. Not all who wander are lost. But if you are lost, stop wandering

If you find your surroundings are starting to become unfamiliar, it’s easy to want to retrace your steps, or find the last familiar setting. However, staying put

is the most important survival skill to teach your children. The farther they wander from the site where they were last seen, the harder it’s going to be for rescuers to find them. Staying in one place will also conserve energy and reduce their risk of falling or getting injured.

2. Wear bright colors 

Bright colors will help you stand out from your surroundings, and even more so if your whole party is wearing matching colors. However, be mindful of your surroundings. If you’re spending time in or near water avoid blue, and if you’re spending time in a wooded area, avoid green.

 

Outdoor safety for Kids - a picture of what different colored swimsuits look like underwater

3. Keep calm and carry an explorer’s kit

Even on a short adventure, it’s always best to bring supplies! Here are some fundamentals to keep any adventure safe and fun.

  • Sunscreen and bug spray
  • A whistle
  • A flashlight or glow sticks
  • A poncho
  • Water and non-perishable snacks
  • A laminated emergency contact card
  • For basic first aid, include: adhesive bandages, hand sanitizer, antibiotic cream, and antiseptic, wipes or spray, and any personal medications, inhalers, or EpiPens

4. Build a shelter

This is not only a good survival tip, but a fun one to practice! Children are naturally creative and, with a little guidance, design excellent shelters. Can a jacket or a poncho make a tent? What kind or sticks or foliage are around you? Next time you’re enjoying the outdoors, challenge your junior explorers to see what kind of shelter can be made from their surroundings.

5. Always wear sunscreen. Even on a cloudy day

Can you get a sunburn on a cloudy day? While clouds do reduce some of the sun’s UV rays, they don’t block all of them. UVA rays can penetrate clouds, and they can also reach below the water’s surface.

UVB rays can also damage your skin year-round, cloudy or not. Reflective surfaces like snow and ice also intensify UVB rays and their effects on the skin so be sure to apply sunscreen anytime you plan on spending time outside.

6. Know when it’s okay to ask for help

Children who are lost or in another emergency situation can often fear rescuers, in part because they learn about “stranger danger” at an early age. Sometimes, they’re so afraid, they hide from the very people searching for them or trying to help.

Explain to your children that if they find themselves in an emergency, the people calling their name are trying to help them. Show them what emergency professionals look like in their various uniforms: firefighters, law enforcement officers, and search and rescue dogs.

outdoor safety for kids - kids dressed up in first responder gear

7. Expect the unexpected

No one ever plans an emergency situation, but you can plan for when one happens. Like fire drills or seatbelts, the best way to plan for the unplannable is to practice and incorporate safety into as much as your daily life is possible. Whether you’re just taking a walk in the park or exploring the wilderness, make sure you always have a plan, and know the plan! 

Check out some outdoor activities!

Inspirational Queer Makers Who Made an Impact on Orlando Science Center’s Makerspace

Do you love The Hive: A Makerspace? Meet some of the inspirational queer makers who inspired your favorite activities!

Pride month is celebrated in June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots in 1969, which is considered to be the igniting spark that began the gay liberation movement. Pride month is a time for the LGBTQIA+ community to celebrate – to be openly proud to be queer. Queer people have made countless visible and invisible contributions to culture and society. Here at Orlando Science Center, we want to celebrate some inspirational queer makers who have inspired or influenced The Hive: A Makerspace.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of LGBTQIA+ makers, but ones we have felt inspired by here in The Hive.

Keith Haring was a gay artist who painted public murals and graffiti in the 1980s.

He got his start painting subway murals with chalk and was arrested a number of times for his illegal street art.

Keith Haring contracted HIV which later developed into AIDS and became very involved in AIDS activism. His diagnosis propelled him to make as much art as possible as quickly as possible in the time he had left, as he felt his art was the most important thing he could leave. He died in 1990 at age 31.

inspirational queer maker keith haring painting

Jasika Nicole is an actress most well known for her role as Astrid Farnsworth on Fringe, however, she is an accomplished sewist and artist.

Nicole makes almost all her own clothes, many of her shoes, and works in other media like ceramics, illustration, and fiber arts. She documents many of these pursuits on her blog Try Curious.

She is a strong advocate for the rights of people of color and the LGBTQIA+ community.

inspirational queer maker Jasika Nicole

Cressa Maeve Beer is a stop-motion animator and video producer who has worked in commercials, music videos, makeup tutorials and independent short films.

She recently gained visibility with her short film Coming Out, where Little Godzilla comes out as trans and is welcomed with love and acceptance.

Anna Villanyi is a museum professional, artist, crafter, musician, and animal enthusiast. Their passion for making and fascination with the natural world converge in their design of intricate animal snowflakes, which they cut by hand and translate to laser cut designs for their shop called Annamalflakes.

Their creative force helped shape The Hive's design, ethos, and early programming.

Anna Villanyi

Grace Bonney is an author, blogger, and entrepreneur. Bonney wrote a New York Times book, In The Company of Women, featuring over 100 stories about women entrepreneurs overcoming adversity. She also wrote the DIY interior design book Design*Sponge at Home. Her blog, Design*Sponge, ran for 15 years and connected and taught countless makers.

Grace Bonney

Nick Cave is best known for his soundsuits, which are wearable fabric and mixed media sculptures intended to move and make sound when the wearer moves or dances.

His first soundsuit was created as a reaction to the beating of Rodney King in 1992. Cave has created over 500 soundsuits since then, including one currently on display at the Orlando Museum of Art.

He currently lives and works in Chicago.

Wendy Carlos is an American electronic music composer credited with pioneering synth-pop music. She worked with Robert Moog on his invention of the Moog synthesizer, and released an album called Switched-On Bach, composed of Bach music played on a synthesizer, popularizing synth music sound.

She went on to compose the film scores of A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, and Tron.

In 1979, she disclosed that she had been living as a woman for over ten years and was transgender.

Wendy Carlos by a piano

Learn more!

Are Jellyfish Older Than Dinosaurs? And 7 Other Fascinating Facts

Did you know jellyfish can age backward? Are jellyfish older than dinosaurs? Check out these seemingly immortal invertebrates!

What’s the first animal you think of when you think of the ocean? Chances are it probably isn’t a jellyfish. Many people don’t think about them beyond being careful not to be stung by one in the ocean or watching them gracefully float by in an aquarium.

But did you know that there is a jellyfish that can grow to be the length of a blue whale? Or that the answer to "are jellyfish older than dinosaurs" is an incredible YES! How about that many jellyfish can glow in the dark?

In honor of World Ocean’s Day on June 8th, let's dive into these eight extraordinary facts about jellyfish!

A jellyfish is a very simple animal.

But what exactly is a jellyfish? A jellyfish isn’t a fish but an invertebrate, which means it doesn’t have a backbone. In fact, it doesn’t have much of anything. Jellyfish don’t have a brain, a heart, or even blood, and have a very simple digestive cavity with a single opening for eating and expelling waste. What they do have is water – lots of it. Jellyfish are about 95% water. This makes them highly camouflaged in the ocean. Going a little deeper, the body of the jellyfish is divided into three main parts: the bell, the oral arms (long appendages that move captured prey into their mouths), and the stinging tentacles.

anatomy of a jellyfish

Jellyfish come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes.

Though the basic parts of the jellyfish are fixed, the bells, oral arms, and tentacles can be different shapes, sizes, and colors. Thought to be the smallest jellyfish in the world, the Irukandji jellyfish has a bell that only reaches a maximum of 25 millimeters across, about the size of a quarter. A species of box jellyfish, they are one of the most venomous jellyfish in the world despite their tiny size.

The lion’s mane jellyfish (featured in the Sherlock Holmes story “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane”) is the largest known species of jellyfish by length, reaching up to 120 feet from the top of the bell to the bottom of the tentacles. This is about the length of 4 school buses, making it longer than a blue whale! Nomura's jellyfish are the largest by weight; they can weigh up to 450 pounds. That’s the weight of a piano!

two images: tiny creature in a test tube and a very large one with long tentacles

Are jellyfish older than dinosaurs?

Jellyfish have been around for more than 500 million years. That means they appeared more than 250 million years before the first dinosaurs. However, because jellyfish are soft-bodied and almost all water, jellyfish fossils are incredibly rare. Of those that do exist, the oldest-known jellyfish fossils, found in Utah, date to 505 million years ago and have enough detail to show clear relationships with some modern species of jellyfish.

a close up of a jellyfish

Like butterflies, jellyfish undergo metamorphosis.

Have you ever wondered what a baby jellyfish looks like? What we usually think of as a jellyfish is called a medusa. Medusas lay eggs. Eggs grow into larva called planula – which have been described as looking like furry tic-tacs – and they start swimming until they find somewhere to stick themselves. Once a planula finds a rock, dock, or other place to attach itself to, it stretches into a tube called a polyp. When a polyp is ready, the tube becomes longer and separates out into a series of snowflake-like discs. Each disc will begin to wiggle then pop off the stack. The disc, called an ephyra, is a baby medusa. It pumps its body to swim away. It can grow an inch every few days until it becomes mature medusa. 

There is a species of jellyfish that is basically immortal.

Now that we’ve talked about the jellyfish life cycle, the real fun can begin. Turritopsis dohrnii, a species of tiny jellyfish discovered in the Mediterranean Sea, can turn from medusas into polyps when damaged or starving. This would be like a butterfly turning back into a caterpillar or a frog turning back into a tadpole. T. dohrnii can go back and forth between its polyp and medusa stages, leading to it being known as “the immortal jellyfish.” Further research shows that other species of jellyfish may be able to reserve-age, too. Studying the cells of these jellyfish has potential uses for medicine.

a clear jellyfish with a bright red center

Some jellyfish get sleepy.

Since they lack a brain, jellyfish have a very different kind of nervous system from many animals. Jellyfish have what are called “nerve nets,” which are loose networks of neurons and sensors spread out across their bodies. Even with this very simple nervous system, jellyfish can carry out a variety of behaviors, including some once thought impossible. A 2017 study showed that one type of jellyfish (Cassiopea, or the upside-down jellyfish) enters a sleep-like state at night and were sluggish when they didn’t get a full night of sleep. This was the first time an animal without a brain was observed sleeping!

a cluster of jellyfish sleeping

Glow-in-the-dark jellyfish revolutionized biotechnology.

Bioluminescence is the ability of living things to make light through chemical processes. The jellyfish species Aequorea victoria, also known as the crystal jelly, glows bright green due to both bioluminescent and fluorescent proteins. The green fluorescent protein (GFP), which glows green under blue light, has since been cloned and inserted into other organisms’ genetic codes, allowing scientists to literally see how genes and cells work. According to Juli Berwald, scientists have used fluorescent proteins made from GFP to see how bacteria divide; how cancer, Alzheimer’s and HIV affect cells; to trace neurological pathways in the brain; to test for diseases like malaria and ebola; to build solar cells, and to make low-temperature, energy-efficient lasers.

bright green glow in the dark jellyfish

Scientists are making robo-jellyfish.

Scientists and engineers have created robotic jellyfish to assist them in studying the ocean. In 2018, Erik Engeberg, an associate professor of engineering at Florida Atlantic University, and his team tested prototypes of a soft-bodied robot that moves like a jellyfish. The robot can monitor and study the underwater environments of coral reefs without harming them, since these robo-jellyfish are quieter and safer for marine life than underwater drones. Dr. Edie Widder developed an electronic jellyfish as a lure to attract large, deep-sea predators. Her e-jelly, which used the bioluminescent patterns of the jellyfish Atolla wyvillei, was used to capture the first video footage of a living giant squid in 2012.

Expand on the activity! 

Want more jellyfish?

Check out these jellyfish live cameras from the Georgia Aquarium and Monterey Bay Aquarium!

Can Purple Martin Birds Build Their Own Nest? How YOU Can Help!

They travel over 5,000 miles a year, but can purple martin birds build their own nest?

Purple martins are the largest swallows in North America and we are preparing for their arrival here at the Orlando Science Center. Martins spend the winter and fall in Brazil but, like many of our tourists, they make their way to Orlando every spring! The martin families spend their time in the states raising their young and gobbling up their favorite foods – dragonflies, wasps and bees!

You could almost call them people martins because they depend entirely on human-made nests to raise their chicks. Can purple martin birds build their own nest? For several hundred years, humans have provided hollow gourds and other birdhouses for purple martins. The martins have adapted to this practice, so they can not build their own nests or steal nests from other birds. Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment department has built a specialized martin house for us at the Science Center. Our high-rise, waterfront condo features 22 different nests for new martin parents to raise their young (and it’s already furnished!) Our house is located in Loch Haven Park, just outside the 4Roots Cafe.

After just a few short weeks, we have already noticed purple martins using the house and hope to see them nest next season which will encourage them to return each year.

Several days a week, members of our NatureWorks team lower our purple martin house to make sure it is in tip-top shape for potential martin parents. They observe every nest compartment, record what they see, and send the information to scientists who are working to preserve purple martin populations.

The purple martin population in Florida declined about 50% from 1995 to 2015 due to loss of habitat and decreased insect populations.

a group of kids looking a a purple martin nest at orlando science center

Purple martin birds can not build their own nests, but the good news is that we can all help these beneficial birds in our very own yards! By adding native plants to your yard, patio, school, or business, you can provide a much-needed rest stop for martins on their 5,000 mile journey. The martins will also appreciate the buffet of native insects living in your garden!

Enter your ZIP code HERE  to find local nurseries and websites where you can get native plants for your home or community garden. To learn more about our house and help us create the perfect home for baby birds, visit the NatureWorks exhibit and join us for a Purple Martin Tour or read more about purple martins!

This project was made possible with support from Disney Conservation.


 

What Happens If You Don’t Wear a Spacesuit? The Science of Space Travel

Have you ever wonder what happens if astronauts don't wear a spacesuit in outer space? Take a Peep and find out! 

Space travel is an experience that only a few people get in their lifetimes. Becoming an astronaut requires a lot of training in both science and safety. You may have noticed that astronauts wear special protective gear, but have you ever wondered what happens if astronauts if you don't wear a spacesuit? From freezing temperarures, to extreme radiation, take a peep into the science of space travel!

So why wear spacesuit?

  1.  Space is COLD!
    The coldest place on Earth is Antarctica at about -128 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold, right? Space is about four times as cold with temperatures at -454 degrees Fahrenheit. Spacesuits keep the astronauts warm while on spacewalks or doing repairs on the spaceship. Taking this off would cause the astronauts to freeze and shrink!

  2.  It’s a big vacuum
    Space is one large vacuum which means there’s little to no air and, of course, humans need air to live! Spaceships have special machines to make oxygen gas to keep astronauts breathing - even in the vacuum of space! And the suits are pressurized, which keeps the astronauts nice and human-shaped.
  3.  Radiation for days
    You’ve probably heard your parents tell you to always wear sunscreen when you’re outside. The sun gives off a lot of radiation that can hurt our skin. Thankfully Earth has a few defenses to protect us from the sun’s harmful rays, like the ozone layer and a powerful magnetic field. Space allows astronauts to get closer to the sun but there isn’t a layer to protect them. The suits and helmets completely cover the astronaut to act as a portable ozone layer.

More Out-Of-This-World Fun!

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

Facebook Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo Twitter Logo

Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

Demonstrate Laminar Flow at Home with this Water Optical Illusion

We'd like to thank our partner, Florida Prepaid, for sponsoring this colorful activity! Today’s young scientists are tomorrow’s college graduates. Saving early for college sends your child a powerful message that you believe in their future — and want them to avoid debt later. Learn more about Florida Prepaid’s College Savings Plan at myfloridaprepaid.com

Florida Prepaid College Savings Plan Logo

What if we told you that you could freeze time with just a balloon, tape, and some water? Now what if we showed you how to demonstrate laminar flow at home?

 We promise this isn’t CGI magic or a trick of the camera. What you are seeing is a particularly interesting fluid dynamic, which is a scientific way of saying the flow of a fluid (which is any liquid or gas), called laminar flow. 

Below we are going to explore the following questions: What is laminar flow? What is laminar flow used for in everyday life? And most importantly, how can you demonstrate laminar flow at home? 

Laminar flow demonstration GIF

What is Laminar Flow? 

Laminar flow is a type of flow pattern of a fluid in which all the particles are flowing in parallel linesopposed to turbulent flow, where the particles flow in random and chaotic directions. A flow is either turbulent, laminar, or somewhere in between. This is measured by the Reynolds number which is a ratio between velocity (the speed of the flowand viscosity (how thick or thin the fluid is). The more viscous, or thick, the fluid is the faster it can flow without going turbulent 

What is Laminar Flow Used For?

Laminar flow has a wide range of real-life applications. A type of laminar flow is achieved everyday by pilots. A smooth flight occurs when the flow of the air over an aircraft’s wings is laminar. If the pilot runs into a very turbulent patch of air the wing cannot correct the air to make it laminar, causing turbulence.

 A different example of laminar flow occurs everyday inside of you. Blood flowing throughout your body is flowing laminarly. 

One last example of laminar flow is syrup, or honey, flowing out the nozzle. Because the liquid is so thick, or viscous, the Reynolds number indicates that the flow is very laminar.  

How Can I Demonstrate Laminar Flow at Home?

The following video and steps below it are detailed for you to try and recreate laminar flow at home. 

Adult supervision is required as this experiment involves the usage of sharp and potentially dangerous objects.

  • Step 1: Gather the following materials: 
    • One balloon 
    • Duct Tape or electrical tape 
    • Water 
    • A sharp object (to pierce the balloon)
  • Step 2: Fill the balloon with water and tie it off.
  • Step 3: Make a square on your balloon out of tape.
    Make sure you pat down the 
    tape, so its smoothly secured. Different sized squares result in different sized flows.
  • Step 4: With adult assistance pierce the balloon inside the square with your sharp object and watch as the water flows out laminarly 

How did it go? Try taking your own spin on the experiment, does the amount of water change the results? How about where you place the square? Do you think you can get multiple flows to happen on the same balloon?   

If you tried to demonstrate laminar flow at home, be sure you submit you photos and videos of your experiments to our Science Showcase here or tag Orlando Science Center on social media and use hashtag #OSCatHome for a chance to be featured on our channels!   

Until next time, STAY CURIOUS! 

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

Facebook Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo Twitter Logo

Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

Books About Exploring Space for Any Planet Pioneer

From the moons of Endor to the moons of Jupiter, astronaut enthusiasts will love these books about exploring space!

Scientists from Albert Einstein to Carl Sagan have emphasized the importance of imagination. For something to be achieved, it must first be imagined. It’s little wonder then that science fiction has time and time again become reality.

Jules Vern imagined landing on the moon as far back as 1865 with From the Earth to the Moon. In 1953, Ray Bradbury described listening devices that sounds suspiciously like Bluetooth headsets in Fahrenheit 451. In 1898, the internet was described in a short story called “From the ‘London Times’ of 1904” by none other than Mark Twain. These are but a few examples.

In this spirit, here are some books about exploring space that you can find on your library’s shelves that complement the Science Center’s exhibit Planet Pioneers. They’ll have you imagining what could be next!

Books selected by the Acquisitions Services department of Orange County Library System.


Whether you're a Trekkie or a Wookie, these books about exploring space are phenomenal for all sci-fi fans! 

Artemis
by Andy Weir

Taking place in 2080, this novel is set in Artemis, the first and thus far only city on the Moon. The main character finds herself caught up in a conspiracy to control the city.

Artemis by Andy Weir

The Martian
by Andy Weir

The story follows an American astronaut, Mark Watney, as he becomes stranded alone on Mars in 2035 and must improvise in order to survive.

The Martian by Andy Weir

Aurora
by Kim Stanley Robinson

Jumping forward in time quite a bit, this novel is set in 2545 and concerns an interstellar ark starship launched to being a human colony. The story is narrated by the ship’s artificial intelligence.

books about exploring space - Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson

The Terranauts
by T.C. Boyle

A similar ark theme but set in a biosphere in 1994 as climate change threatens Earth. Human nature is under the microscope as eight scientists live and work in a prototype of a possible off-earth colony.

Books about exploring space - The Terranauts by T.C. Boyle

Saturn
by Ben Bova

Part of the author’s Grand Tour Series, each novel follows the colonization of the Solar System by humans in the late 21st century.

Saturn by Ben Bova

Check out the history, herstory, and future of space travel with this non-fiction selection!

 

Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto
by Alan Stern and David Grinspoon

The story of the men and women behind this amazing mission and their decades-long commitment and persistence. You’ll also get a look into the political fights within and outside of NASA.

non fiction books about exploring space - Chasing New Horizons_ Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto by Alan Stern and David Grinspoon

Spaceman
by Mike Massimino

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to look back on Earth from outer space and see the surprisingly precise line between day and night? This author has been there and he puts you inside the astronaut suit with his book.

Spaceman by Mike Massimino

Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars
by Nathalia Holt

Based on extensive research and interviews with all the living members of the team, this is the riveting true story of the women who launched America into space.

non fiction books about exploring space -Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt

The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity
by Elizabeth Rusch

For younger readers, this books tells of two Mars rovers that were intended to do research for three months and wound up exploring the red planet for six years.

The Mighty Mars Rovers_ The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity by Elizabeth Rusch

Packing for Mars
by Mary Roach

From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA's new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Roach takes you on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.

Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

The Mars challenge: The Past, Present, and Future of Human Spaceflight
by Alison Wilgus

This nonfiction graphic novel in which a teen who dreams of being the first woman on Mars is taken on a conceptual journey of what that might be like.

non fiction books about exploring space - The Mars challenge: The Past, Present, and Future of Human Spaceflight by Alison Wilgus

 

Try a Stellar Activity!

Have you ever looked up at night and thought "what does the moon feel like?"

Using our DIY Moon Sand recipe, you too can experiment and make your own moon craters and touch the surface of the moon!