Instructions for Cardboard Animals: Pangolin Project

Follow the instructions for cardboard animals and make a new friend. Literally! 

Pangolins are strange little creatures. They are very hard to keep in captivity, so you probably have never seen one in a zoo. So what are these animals, and why are they important? As you follow along with the instructions for cardboard animals, learn a little more about our pangolin pals!

Pangolins are mammals that are completely covered in scales. They are solitary animals and primarily nocturnal. Pangolins eat ants and termites specific to their region of the world. They have no teeth, so they catch bugs with their sticky tongue. They curl up into a ball when under attack; their scales protect them against most predators. There are eight species of pangolin across Africa and Asia, and all of them range from vulnerable to critically endangered. The primary threat to pangolins is illegal wildlife trade for their meat and their scales. This severely harms the pangolin population, and sometimes harms humans – removing scales can subject people to disease.

Pangolins are extremely important to their ecosystems! They eat most of the time they’re awake, so they control the insect population in a huge way. They also dig up soil while they look for food or when they burrow, which aerates it and creates a healthier surface for plants to grow in. When their burrows are abandoned, other animals move in and are protected.

Materials you will need:

  • A soda box (or a few cereal or granola bar boxes)
  • A hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Optional: a strip of paper for the pangolin’s tongue
Materials for making cardboard pangolin

Instructions for Cardboard Animals: Pangolin

Step 1: Cut out a body shape (like a rounded x) and strips for the neck and tail – make sure it’s wide enough to hold some scales!

Step2: Make a small cone for the head. You can do this by cutting a strip of the box and rolling it tightly from one corner, then cutting off the excess. Glue the cone together.

Step 3: Glue the head cone to the neck and onto the body. DON’T glue the tail on yet.

 

Instructions for Cardboard Animals pangolin steps 1 - 3

Step 4: Now for the tough part – let’s cut some scales! Scales are teardrop shaped, but they don’t all need to be exactly the same. Variety looks natural.  

  • 20 small scales, about the size of your thumbnail 
  • 35 medium scales, about the size of your thumbprint 
  • 40 large scales, about the size of a guitar pick 
Make scales- Instructions for Cardboard Animals pangolin step 4

Step 5: Start gluing scales to your pangolin's head, legs, neck, and tail.

  • Glue a small scale to each leg with the point facing down.  
  • Glue 7 small scales to the head, layering on top as you move backwards on the pangolin’s body.  
  • Glue 7 small scales to one end of the tail, layering on top as you move forwards on the pangolin’s body.
glue scales- Instructions for Cardboard Animals pangolin step 5

Step 6: Now, let’s create some body structure. Create a trapezoid shape where the smaller end is about the size of the back of the pangolin’s head with the scales on.  

Step 7: Create a slightly larger trapezoid than the first one. Then, create one more, larger than the middle one.  

Give each trapezoid shape some curve, like an arch. 

create body structure for- Instructions for Cardboard Animals pangolin steps 6-7

Step 8: Glue some scales onto the smallest trapezoid, starting with layers of small scales. You can use all the rest of your small scales and move onto medium if you have room. Don’t over layer – just fill in spots where you can see the trapezoid underneath.  

Step 9: Glue the smallest trapezoid to the body shape. 

add scales to body structure for- Instructions for Cardboard Animals pangolin

Step 10: Repeat steps 6-7 with medium and large trapezoids. 

  • Glue some scales onto the medium trapezoid, a row or two of medium and then large.  
  • Glue the medium trapezoid so it’s layered slightly underneath the smallest trapezoid.  
  • Glue some scales onto the largest trapezoid. 
  • Glue the largest trapezoid so it’s layered slightly underneath the medium trapezoid.  

    *If you need it, you can fold up a piece of cardboard to slip between the body shape and the trapezoid for support.  
add body structure to body for- Instructions for Cardboard Animals pangolin

Step 11: Add the finishing touches

  • Glue the tail onto the largest trapezoid.  
  • Fill in the tail with medium or large scales.  
  • Fill in the legs with medium scales with the point facing downwards. 

    *Optional: curl up a thin strip of paper and glue it in the mouth to represent the tongue.  
add body structure to body for- Instructions for Cardboard Animals pangolin

Step 12: Name your pangolin!

How can you help pangolins? The biggest challenge is education – most people don’t know that pangolins exist! Tell your friends about these cute little creatures. You can also support wildlife sanctuaries and advocacy groups.

results of instructions for Cardboard Animals pangolin

Expand on this activity

  • Learn more about pangolins!
    • Why do we know so little about pangolins? Because of their natural behaviors and specific diet, only a few sanctuaries exist where their natural behaviors can be observed or they can be studied up close.
    • Check out The Libassa Wildlife Sanctuary in Liberia, Save Vietnam’s Wildlife Rescue, and even some zoos in the United States are working hard to get the pangolin population back up.

  • Have you been online shopping? Check out more ways to get creative with cardboard!

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Science Facts About Dogs: Unleash Fun Facts About Your Furry Friends!

How much do you know about our canine companions? Test your knowledge with these fun science facts about dogs!

How much do you know about your pet? Are their behaviors a mystery to you? Let’s unleash some fun science facts about dogs!

Dogs see color the same way that a red-green colorblind person would.

Dogs can only distinguish a few hues, mostly blues and yellows. This is why some dogs have trouble finding red toys on green grass. They can’t see them!

Graphic depicting how dogs see color differently

A dog’s mouth isn’t actually cleaner than a human’s.

Dogs have about the same number of germs in their mouth as we do. Keep in mind that dogs use their mouths like we use our hands, so wash up after playing a slobbery game of tug o’ war!

Dog with its tongue out

Dogs can sweat!

Dogs can sweat through their paw pads. They do this in addition to regulating their temperature by panting. Some dog owners say that their dog’s paws smell like stale corn chips. Eww!

close-up of dog paw

Dogs are omnivores.

Over years of selective breeding, humans were actually able to change the diet of dogs! Domestic dogs are able to eat meat and plants. Most wild dog species are carnivores.

puppies eating

Dogs have about 300 million olfactory receptors.

Humans only have about 6 million! Dogs are known for their keen sense of smell – that's why they’re used for search and rescue and sniffing out crime.

close up of a dog nose

Expand on the Activity:

  •  Learn how our animal handlers in NatureWorks teach our animal ambassadors positive reinforcement.
  • Put your Animal Kingdom knowledge to the test with a Bee identification game To Bee or Not to Bee.

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6 Important LGBTQ Scientists Who Left a Mark on STEM Fields

These important LGBTQ scientists changed the world through science! 

June is Pride Month in the United States, commemorating the Stonewall Riots in June 1969 which are largely regarded as a catalyst for the LGBTQ+ movement for civil rights. The riots inspired LGBTQ+ people and allies throughout the country to organize in support of gay rights. Pride Month is a time to recognize past and present struggles and successes in the ongoing fight for civil rights, as well as to celebrate the accomplishments of LGBTQ+ individuals.

In honor of Pride Month, we’ve rounded up a list of incredible scientists who self-identified as members of LGBTQ+ community and have left a lasting mark on the STEM fields with both their activism and scientific research. Learn more about these important LGBTQ+ scientists and their impact.   

 

Sara Josephine Baker, known for tracking down Typhoid Mary, was openly gay. She contributed greatly to public health in New York City and took particular interest in helping communities of immigrants. She fought to provide access to medical care for all areas of the city and helped train new healthcare professionals. 

 

important LBGTQ scientists included Sarah Josephine Baker

 

Ben Barres was a pioneering neurobiologist at Stanford University. His work on a type of brain cells called glia revolutionized our understanding of the brain. In 2013, Barres became the first openly transgender member elected to the US National Academy of Sciences, an organization that includes many of the United States’ leading scientists.

important LBGTQ scientists include Ben Barres

 

Colin Turnbull was one of the first anthropologists to study ethnomusicology (the study of the music of different cultures). He was an activist in many causes, including prison reform and the celebration of immigrant cultures. He and his partner, Joseph Towles, both died of AIDS. 

important LBGTQ scientists include Colin Turnbull

 

Lauren Esposito is an arachnologist (a scientist who studies spiders and related animals such as scorpions) and the only woman expert on scorpions in the world. She is the co-founder of 500 Queer Scientists, a visibility movement and professional network that boosts the recognition and awareness of LGBTQ+ people working in STEM fields.

important LBGTQ scientists include Lauren Esposito

 

Ruth Gates was a leading marine biologist and conservationist who studied coral reefs. Her work on creating “super corals” that are more resistant to climate change can be seen in the documentary Chasing Coral. She was an inspiration to LGBTQ+ scientists as an out lesbian at the top of her field. 

 

important LBGTQ scientists include Ruth Gates

 

Richard Summerbell is a prominent mycologist (a scientist who studies fungi) and a leading expert on how fungi affect the health of humans and the environment. He has been an LGBTQ+ activity and commentator on HIV/AIDS since the 1970s during the gay liberation movement.

important LBGTQ scientists include Richard Summerbell

Learn more about the LQBTQ+ science community!

Remembering our nation's history is important, and it is equally important to continue working toward our bright future.

The 500 Queer Scientists website is a visibility campaign for LGBTQ+ people and their allies working in STEM and STEM-supporting jobs — a group that collectively represents a powerful force of scientific progress and discovery. You can learn more about this project via their website at www.500queerscientists.com

How are you celebrating Pride at home? Share your decorations, experiments, or lessons with us using #OSCatHome!

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Bee Identification Game: To Bee or Not to Bee

Put your bee identification skills to the test!

Bee identification can BEE tricky when many bees, hornets, wasps, and other insects can have similar yellow patterns (or jackets).

 

Let’s find out as we play a bee identification game – a bee or not a bee! Test your knowledge of our pollinating pals, and find out what makes a bee a bee? 

 

Guess whether the picture is a bee or not a bee, then reveal the answer and some fun facts about our buzzing buddies! 

American Bumble Bee

Bumble bees live in underground colonies with a queen and many workers. They are the only bees that can perform buzz pollination - certain plants like tomatoes require specific vibration to release pollen. Bumble bees are the fuzziest bees. Because bumble bees are bigger and warmer, they can be out earlier and later in the day, at colder temperatures, and higher altitudes than other bees.

Hover Fly

These flies may hover around flowers like bees, but you can tell them apart if you look closely! Bees have four wings while flies only have two. Also, check out the antennae – fly antennae are usually small and hard to see, but bee antennae have a bend in them that’s pretty visible.

Blue Orchard Mason Bee

Mason bees are solitary; they use individual nesting holes but live near each other. These are the bees that you may have made bee houses for in the Hive! These bees use mud, like masons, to build walls in their nest tunnels. They can pollinate many plants including apple, peach, pear, and plum trees. Because of their efficient pollination, many farmers like to have them around.

Yellow Jacket

Wasps and bees have similar coloration, wings, and both have stingers so they are often confused. While most bees are gentle and solitary, wasps can be more aggressive and territorial. How do you tell them apart? Wasps often have brighter colors and a smooth texture. Wasps are not as hairy looking as bees are.

European Honey Bee

Of about 20,000 bee species, only seven produce honey! Honey bees are not native to the United States. Although they can pollinate plants, they are not nearly as efficient as native bee species. These bees are social and live in hives with up to several hundred bees.

 

Every bee performs specific tasks to accomplish goals for the hive. Because honey bees live in a community and have a home to defend, they will be upset and may sting if you disturb a hive. It’s important to respect animals and leave them alone to do their important job in our ecosystems.

Hornet

Hornets are the largest group of wasps. Remember how to tell bees and wasps apart? Wasps usually have brighter colors and are less hairy looking than bees!

Mud Dauber Wasp

Mud dauber wasps build their nests by molding mud with their mouths. You probably have seen mud dauber nests before – we have a lot of them in Florida! These wasps are carnivorous – they eat other creatures, such as spiders.

Snowberry Clearwing Moth

Moths and bees both have fuzzy bodies and both have two sets of wing per side. Most moths are nocturnal, but some are out during the day and are easily confused with bees. How do you tell them apart? Moths have slender legs, with no fluff or obvious pollen basket like a bee. Moths have a unique mouthpart, the long proboscis they use to feed.

Drone Fly

Drone flies look and sound like bees, but you can tell them apart by their antennae and wings. Flies have short antennae and two wings, not four like a bee.

Sweat Bee

Most types of sweat bees nest in the ground, but a few nest in rotten wood. Like most bees, they eat nectar and pollen. Sweat bees often hover around or land on sweaty humans because they want the salt in their sweat, not because they think humans are flowers.

Expand on the activity:

What was your score? Are you a bee expert?

  • Learn how you can help our pollinating pals at www.thehoneybeeconservancy.org/

  • You may have heard about the Asian giant hornet, an invasive species to the United States, starting to make its way here and harming the local bees. 

    We're not likely to see any of these hornets in Florida as sightings so far have been limited to the West Coast. Here are some tips to help you differentiate helpful bees from these and other hornet species: www.agr.wa.gov/departments/insects-pests-and-weeds/insects/hornets

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Embroidery Techniques to Try: From Basics to Sashiko

Stitch outside the box with these different embroidery techniques

There’s something to be said about a hobby that requires you slow down and build something bit by bit, piece by piece. Embroidery can be a fantastically fulfilling way to find some peace while beautifying your home along the way. It’s important to cultivate hobbies to calm your mind! 

 

First, let’s address the difference between cross-stitch and embroidery techniques. Embroidery, simply, is making patterns and designs on fabric or other materials using a needle and thread (or sometimes yarn). You can use different embroidery techniques, like satin stitch, chain stitch, backstitch, ladder stitch, and many others. Cross-stitch is a form of embroidery using a specific x-shaped stitch in a counted, grid pattern, much like pixel art, counting stitches to create a uniform design.

 

We’re going to focus on embroidery overall in this post.

Beginning with the basics:

Here is a great Instructables class to get you started with basic embroidery technique – it provides a really good overview of the materials, techniques, and terminology you need to understand to get going.

 

Visit https://www.instructables.com/class/Embroidery-Class/ for more tips and techniques 

If you can dream it, you can stitch it:

 Jessica Marquez, a Brooklyn maker who runs a shop called Miniature Rhino, wrote a series of beautiful articles for Design Sponge on how to use different embroidery techniques to make a unique scarf, constellation table runner using the French dot stitch, an embroidered pillowcase, as well as a playful way to embellish a plain t-shirt if you need a bit of extra luck.  

Simple yet stylish Sashiko:

Sashiko is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching (or functional embroidery) from Japan that started out of practical need. The Sashiko embroidery technique creates a beautifully geometric design using a simple running stitch. 

Watch and Learn:

If you’re a visual person, Cutsey Craft's YouTube channel has a variety of playlists that allow you to watch someone hand sew different stitches with expert insider tips and tricks!

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Tie-Dye Milk Experiment: Learn Chemistry in Your Kitchen

Learn about molecules and more with this tie-dye milk experiment

Make a rainbow of colors swirl around with materials you can find in your kitchen and a dash of science!

 

Atoms and molecules are the particles that makeup everything. What element or elements they are, how they’re arranged, how they move, and how they interact with each other determines how a substance looks, acts and reacts. However, atoms and molecules are very, very small. You could line up 70 million helium atoms in a row across a pencil eraser!

 

This makes them way too small to see with our own eyes or even with many microscopes. But we can observe molecules in motion with this tie-dye milk experiment.

Materials you will need:

  • Milk or cream
  • Food coloring
  • Cotton swabs or toothpicks
  • Dish soap
  • A dish or plate with a rim that can hold liquid.

Directions:

Step 1: First, add some milk or cream to your dish. You want to make sure the milk completely covers the bottom of the dish, but you don’t need to completely fill it.

A dish of milk for tie dye milk experiment

Step 2: Next, add 4 drops of food coloring to the center of the dish, being careful not to let them mix. Don’t stir the milk and food coloring! You want them to stay separate for now.

Add dye to milk

Step 3: Pick up your cotton swab or toothpick. Carefully cover one end of it with dish soap.

Add dish soap to a qtip to create tie-dye milk effect

Step 4: When you’re ready, touch the center of the milk with the soapy end of your swab and watch the colors move!

The result of tie-dye milk experiment

The Science of Tie-Dye Milk

  • Milk is a mixture. It’s mostly water, but it also has proteins, fats, and other molecules mixed in.
  • Because milk is mostly made up of water, it acts a lot like water and has many of the same properties.
  • One of these properties is called surface tension. Surface tension is how resistant a liquid is to external force, or how strong the surface of the liquid is. It’s a bit like the surface of water having a sort of “skin.” This is how some insects can walk on water.
  • Soap is what we call a surfactant. It lowers the surface tension of a liquid.
  • When we dip the soap in the milk, it lowers its surface tension and causes not just the water molecules, but fat and protein molecules, to move as they quickly rearrange themselves.
  • By adding food coloring, we can see the movement caused by lowering the surface tension.

Expand on This Activity:

  • Ask Your Scientist the Following Questions:
    • What new colors do you see?
    • How are the colors moving?
    • Why do you think this happened?
  • Keep Experimenting:
    • Press down on the bottom of the dish with the soap-covered cotton swab for three seconds, then lift up. How is the movement of the colors different than when you quickly touch the cotton swab to the milk’s surface?
    • Touch the cotton swab to areas where the colors have collected to watch the colors continue to move.
    • Try the experiment with more or fewer colors of food coloring. How is the tie-dye different?

The Science of Tie-Dye Milk

  • Milk is a mixture. It’s mostly water, but it also has proteins, fats, and other molecules mixed in.
  • Because milk is mostly made up of water, it acts a lot like water and has many of the same properties.
  • One of these properties is called surface tension. Surface tension is how resistant a liquid is to external force, or how strong the surface of the liquid is. It’s a bit like the surface of water having a sort of “skin.” This is how some insects can walk on water.
  • Soap is what we call a surfactant. It lowers the surface tension of a liquid.
  • When we dip the soap in the milk, it lowers its surface tension and causes not just the water molecules, but fat and protein molecules, to move as they quickly rearrange themselves.
  • By adding food coloring, we can see the movement caused by lowering the surface tension.

Learn More: Chemistry

  • Many atoms and molecules have positive (+) or negative (-) charges. An atom or molecule with no charge is called neutral. Positive and negatively charged atoms attract, just like the north and south poles of a magnet.
  • Molecules can be polar or nonpolar. Polar molecules have one side that is much more positive or negative than the other. Nonpolar molecules don’t have a difference in charge. Polar molecule likes to mix with other polar molecules, and nonpolar molecules like mix with other nonpolar molecules. Polar and nonpolar molecules don’t mix. This is what keeps oil and water separate; oil is made of nonpolar molecules and water is made of polar molecules!
  • Water molecules have a positive side and negative side. This makes water a polar molecule. Because of this, water molecules can stick to each other. Molecules in liquid sticking to each other is known as cohesion. The cohesion between the water molecules at the surface is what creates surface tension.
  • Soap molecules have a negative side and neutral side, so it has both a polar and nonpolar end. The negative side of the soap molecule is attracted to the positive side of the water molecule, weakening the attraction between the water molecules and lowering the surface tension.
  • But that’s not all. The neutral sides of the soap molecules also interact with the nonpolar fat molecules, separating them out of the milk. This is how soap is able to clean up greasy messes!

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How to Talk to Kids About COVID-19: An Interview with Family Therapist Tonya Ramsburg

Family Therapist, Tonya Ramsburg shares tips on how to talk to kids about COVID-19

We spoke with licensed Family Therapist, Tonya Ramsburg, MA, LMFT, in a virtual conversation about the concerns of families during this time. Tonya Ramsburg has 15 years of experience providing therapy to children and families all over the world, and is a mother to a five-year-old and a two-year-old.

 

In our conversation, we explore how to talk to kids about COVID-19 and balance the needs of everyone in your family and how to address some of the challenging situations that come from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Have more questions?

We’re dedicated to providing our community with expert-approved answers. If you have questions that were not covered in our conversation, please email sciencelive@osc.org

Looking for more?

The resources listed below provide valuable information, tips, and materials to help your family navigate our ever-changing world during this pandemic.

Everyday Help and Information for Caregivers During COVID-19 and Beyond:

  • Vroom

    “This period of change with COVID-19 may bring new challenges, but you already have what it takes! We’ve collected some simple and fun ways to boost brain building at home together with your child. Even a few minutes count.”

    Vroom provides convenient tips for caregivers to bring learning into your everyday routines. These tips are science and research-based and center around a child’s developing brain, with easy-to-understand explanations included for adults.

  • Zero to Three

    “The following resources offer tips for families including age-appropriate responses to common questions, a guide to self-care, and activities for young children experiencing social distancing.”

    Zero to Three provides research-based information for our youngest children. They have created and compiled many informative, empathetic resources for parenting babies and toddlers

  • Conscious Discipline

    “For 20+ years, “We’re all in this together,” has been a core tenet of Conscious Discipline. It seems ironic that a virus that requires social distancing to slow its spread has drawn our attention to how intimately connected we truly are as friends, neighbors, communities and nations. Safety, connection and problem-solving are the most valuable contribution we can offer to those around us as we navigate these unprecedented times (and beyond). Breathe with me. We can handle this … together.”

    Conscious Discipline focuses on evidence-based social emotional learning and is often used in schools to help children feel safe, welcome, and ready to learn. They have put together many great resources for appropriate and wise guidance for your family during the pandemic. Be sure to scroll through the whole page for webinars, printables, and podcasts.

  • Child Mind Institute

    “We know parents are struggling to balance work, child care and self-care while keeping worries — both your children’s and your own — under control. You don’t have to do it alone.”

    Child Mind Institute is a national non-profit organization dedicated to helping children who have mental and learning differences. Their COVID-19 resource page includes helpful information for families with children who have specific needs such as autism, anxiety, and PTSD. They provide parental guidance on a wide range of subjects and for a wide range of ages. 

  • National Geographic: Talking to Kids About Xenophobia

    “In time, coronavirus infections will likely start to slow—and perhaps the related hate incidents against people of Asian descent will slow with it. But xenophobia is something that’s always with us, which is why it’s important for parents to teach their kids to fight it.”

    This article from National Geographic talks about ways to recognize, understand, prevent, and address xenophobia with our children. (Please be aware that National Geographic only allows access to a limited number of digital articles each month. If you have already hit your limit of free articles, you will need to purchase a subscription to read this article right away or wait until the next month.)

  • Unicef: 5 Ways to Fight Racism and Xenophobia

    “Celebrating other cultures emphasizes the fact that we are all people and sends the message that racism and xenophobia will not be tolerated in a civil society. It is our job, as people, as parents, as citizens of the world, to combat racism and xenophobia wherever we can.”

    This article provides guidance for individuals and parents in responding to racism as a result of COVID-19. 

  • Teaching Tolerance: Speaking Up Against Racism Around the New Coronavirus

    “Even if your students do not represent the identities likely to be harmed by racist comments around the coronavirus, or you believe they’re not spreading misinformation and repeating racist tropes, exploring anti-AAPI rhetoric around the virus is still worthy of critical conversations in the classroom.”

    While this article is geared towards educators, it also includes helpful context and information for parents around bias and rhetoric our children are exposed to beyond what we may be aware of.

  • Coronavirus Books for Children

    “Several medical organizations and countless child educators and health teachers have been involved in the creation of storybooks for children. While many coronavirus books for children are likely to be soon published, here’s a closer look at a few outstanding and widely different examples…”

     

    This listing includes a variety of books and comics available for free and provided by experts from varying fields and backgrounds.

These stories provide you with a tool to talk to your children about COVID-19 and help answer some of their questions with age-appropriate language and images.

 

  • A Curious Guide for Courageous Kids

    “To prevent the virus from having too much fun jumping from one person to the next, day and night, scientists and doctors are studying how to defeat it. They say that we shouldn’t be too afraid, we should be cautious. But there is something you can do to keep it from spreading. It’s called prevention.

  • Tara Tuchel: Seeing Other People Wearing Masks

    “Some people wear glasses, some people wear hats, and some people wear masks. Seeing people wearing masks is different But, it’s okay!”

Tools to Help Children with Anxiety and Other Big Emotions

  • Save the Children: Relaxation Activities

    “School closings, sick friends and family members, isolation at home – these and other factors can cause anxiety and stress for children during this coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As the world’s leading expert on childhood, we’re sharing these drama-based relaxation exercises that are part of our global Healing and Education through the Arts (HEART) program for children living in stressful situations.”


    In this list, you will find specific breathing and relaxation techniques that use visualizations and dramatic play to help children de-stress.

 

  • PBS: How You and Your Kids Can De-Stress During Coronavirus

    “Research shows that just being in the presence of a compassionate, safe adult con help kids calm down. As families, we can be “that person” for each other.”


    PBS shares various techniques for relaxing and combating anxiety using familiar characters from their children’s shows.

  • Messenger Kids

     

    “Messenger Kids is a free video calling and messaging app for smartphones and tablets*. Parents manage the contact list, and kids control the fun. Keep in touch with close friends and family with fun-filled features like filters and stickers.”

Kids News

These websites can help you share current world news with your children in simpler, more age-appropriate language. Please take some time to review these websites before sharing since all of the content may not be appropriate for your child. Check in with your children as you review the news and start conversations about how they are feeling and what concerns they might have about what you are learning together. 

 

  • News for Kids

    “We believe the name says it all. NewsForKids.net was created by a teacher to make the news accessible to kids. We carefully choose high interest stories appropriate to the audience, and present them in a way that is easy to understand. News is necessarily complicated and messy. There’s a lot to know. We strive to make each article as self-contained as possible, giving the necessary background and not assuming that the reader already has certain knowledge.”

  • DOGO 

    “DOGO Media is the leading online network empowering kids to engage with digital media in a fun, safe and social environment. Used by millions of students and teachers from around the world, our websites have quickly grown into a community of kids and educators engaging positively with current events, books, and movies. DOGO [doh-GOH] means young or small in Swahili. While our young fans may be small, they act BIG as they engage with our websites and express their opinions on the content that interests and inspires them.”

  • Time for Kids

    “Since 1995, TIME for Kids has published a weekly magazine for elementary school students. With exclusive access to TIME’s award-winning content, TIME for Kids is uniquely positioned to teach kids to recognize and value authentic and trustworthy journalism.”

  • Scholastic: Kids Press

    “Scholastic Kids Press is a group of talented Kid Reporters, ages 10–14, from across the country and around the world. Since 2000, our award-winning young journalists have reported "news for kids, by kids," covering politics, entertainment, the environment, sports, and more in their hometowns and on the national stage.”

Pulse Nightclub Tribute ♥ How to Fold an Origami Heart

Celebrate Pride by Making These Pulse Nightclub Tribute Origami Hearts

This month, we celebrate Pride – a celebration of both the amazing people who fought for the rights of LGBTQ+ people and honoring the diverse self-expression and love of our LGBTQ+ community.

 

If you’ve been to the Science Center, you may have seen our Love Bridge – an installation of crystal hearts that hang above you as you walk across the bridge from the garage. This was originally made of origami hearts as a Pulse nightclub tribute in memoriam of the 49 people who lost their lives in June of 2016.

 

The Pulse tragedy deeply affected our community and the people of Orlando have continued to honor the souls we lost that night by working to make sure our city becomes a more welcoming place for all people. Inside each origami heart, our guests and staff wrote messages of what love means to them. We invite you to create your own reminder of love with this origami heart tutorial.

 

As we celebrate Pride, and remember the victims of the Pulse tragedy, we invite you to create your own reminder of love with this origami heart tutorial. 

Materials you will need:

  • Origami paper or a sheet of printer paper you can turn it into a square. 
    Learn how to use any paper for origami paper here.

Before you make any folds in your paper, write a message about love – what does it mean to you? 

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The "Love Bridge" is a community art project created by guests of the Orlando Science Center to show support for the OneOrlando.org fund and those affected by the PULSE Nightclub tragedy.

 

The 7 colors of the rainbow span the length of the bridge in rows of 4. Each row holds a total of 49 origami hearts which represent the lives lost on that tragic night. The origami hearts were made by the community on One Orlando Night at the Museum and are filled with messages of love and hope.

 

The original origami heart installation has been replaced with a crystal version that will withstand the test of time. The original project was reimagined into a permanent tribute called Facets of Love, which hangs in our STEAM Gallery for all to enjoy. 

A girl fold paper into origami heart for Pulse nightclub tribute
Orlando Science Center One Orlando night, photo by Roberto Gonzalez

 

Expand on the activity!

June is Pride Month in the United States. Pride Month is a time to recognize past and present struggles and successes in the ongoing fight for civil rights, as well as to celebrate the accomplishments of LGBTQ+ individuals.

 

Meet some of the incredible scientists who self-identified as members of LGBTQ+ community and have left a lasting mark on the STEM fields with both their activism and scientific research.

 

Are Lionfish Safe to Eat? How You Can Help Advance Ocean Conservation

Are lionfish safe to eat? If they are, why should we have lionfish for lunch?

Deadly. Beautiful. Devastating. While lionfish may be stunning to look at, this invasive species has been wreaking havoc among marine ecosystems such as coral reefs along Florida coasts since the 1990s. In Florida waters, lionfish have no predators and have been eating many native species of fish, causing great ecological damage, with some areas showing an 85-90% decrease in their native fish.

 

The good news is you can help by having a snack! You probably won't see them on the menu at many seafood restaurants, so you may be wondering "Are lionfish safe to eat?" The answer is yes! 

Lionfish spines are venomous, not poisonous. Meaning, once the spines are removed, the rest of the fish is completely edible – and quite delicious. Not only does eating lionfish help remove these pesky fish from Florida’s waters, but it also offers a sustainable fishing alternative.

 

By including lionfish in your diet, you’re promoting sustainable fishing which is a great way to help advance ocean conservation. Growing demand for seafood has led to fishing practices that are depleting populations of fish and other aquatic creatures. Together, we can make a difference by purchasing seafood from responsible, sustainable fisheries and by creating demand for lionfish by purchasing it directly from reputable sources.

 

This information was sourced from National Geographic and NOAA Fisheries

How to be a Conservation Hero! 

Did you know oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth's surface and contain 97 percent of the Earth's water? Although many of us, especially in Florida, think of the oceans as a place to relax and soak up the sun – they are also vital to life on Earth and home to an estimated one million species. It is our duty to help conserve and protect our oceans, and the marine life that inhabit them.

 

There are many ways you can help protect the oceans and marine life. Check out these six ways you can practice ocean-friendly habits and help save our oceans. 

Florida Sea Grant is Making Waves with New Education Program

Florida Sea Grant Presents: Bite-Sized Science

Florida Sea Grant is a university-based program from the University of Florida with a mission to support integrated research, education, and extension to conserve coastal resources and enhance economic opportunities for the people of Florida. Florida Sea Grant taps into the research expertise of over 800 coastal and ocean scientists across Florida’s 16 major universities and research laboratories. Through their efforts, they support ocean education for students ranging from K-12 to graduate school. OSC's committed effort to improving students' and visitors' understanding of sustainability and conservation aligns with the Florida Sea Grant’s numerous activities that educate people on the importance of preservation and sustainability of Florida’s economically and environmentally vital coastal and marine resources.

 

Florida Sea Grant staff work closely with residents in a variety of educational and outreach programs across the state and in response to social distancing measures scientists and researchers are sharing their research and programming virtually with the public. We wanted to share resources and activities from our friends at Florida Sea Grant about environmental education! Visit their website to learn more!

 

What is Bite-Sized Science?

The Bite-Sized Science webinars are presented by UF/IFAS Extension Florida Sea Grant agents. During the webinars, viewers have the opportunity to listen and engage with researchers and scientists while learning about topics ranging from Florida marine life and invasive species like Lion Fish to learning the science behind artificial reefs and bioplastics.

 

Starting in June, Florida Sea Grant webinar topics will focus on harmful algal blooms and cover a range of marine-oriented themes. Webinars are 30 minutes long and include a Q&A with the presenter. Presentations will be recorded and participants will be sent a link to playback the recordings. While the webinars are for a general adult audience, upper-middle and high school students may benefit from supplementing their curriculum and we would encourage families with children to listen in and watch together.

 

Things You Can Make At Home

  • Edible Estuary 
    • Discover how biotic and abiotic components influence our ecosystems
  • Estuary Food Web 
    • This activity shows different animals and plants that live in estuaries and shows the complexity of a food web.
  • Beach Coloring Book
    • Great for kids to color, cut out and assemble. Best for K-2nd
 

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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!