08 September 2011

School of Ants

Here is a great opportunity to participate in real science research.
North Carolina State University (NCSU) is collecting ants from all over the United States. They are creating a map of the varieties. This is a chance for you to gather ants in your yard or at your school. Then you will send them back and have them mapped.

See this web site for more information. I am planning to gather some from my yard and I will report back with the results. Let me know if you, your class, your family or anyone that participates.


08 April 2011

Decorah Eagles

Here is a great opportunity to see a live Eagles nest. This is located in Iowa and being studies by the Raptor Resource Project.


24 October 2010

They Might Be Giants - Here Comes Science

I am not musically trained but I did find a CD that I would like to comment on. They Might Be Giants (tmbg) is a band that does some creative no conventional music. I have enjoyed their previous albums but this is the first educational one that I have listened to (they have done 3 previous ones).

This is "Here Comes Science". It is a combination of CD and DVD. I have not watched the DVD but the CD is very cleaver. With songs like "I am a Paleontologist", "Roy G. Biv", and "Solid Liquid Gas" they are covering physics, scientific theory, biology, and other branches of science.

The songs are short enough for children and the music is catchy. The lyrics are easy to sing along with. I think that children from 3 to 10 would enjoy this.

As a devout Christian I do need to let you know that there are two songs that each person needs to decide for themselves if it is right for their children. The songs are "Science is Real" and "My Bother the Ape" The first talks about the Big Bang being real and the second refers to the relation between animals in the animal kingdom. I personally did not find it to be offensive and would use them as a teaching opportunity about science and religion. (that I will save for another posting).

I also really appreciated that they did a pair of songs that help stimulate conversation about how science has changed as new things are learned. "Why Does the Sun Shine?" and "Why does the Sun Really Shine?". These songs indicate that we had one theory and fact to support it but as more study reveiled new facts the theory changed.

I would recommend this CD for anyone who wants to share some fun songs about science.

16 July 2010

Book Review

Unfortunately I am a slow reader due to the busy nature of my life. But I do eventually get them done. Here is the one that I just finished.

Flotsametrics and the Floating World by Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Eric Scigliano
"How one man's obsession with runaway sneakers and rubber ducks revolutionized ocean science"

I really enjoyed this book. It was part memoir and part oceanography text. This was Dr. Ebbesmeyer's journey to becoming an oceanographer and how he studied the currents of the sea. He was particularly interested in flotsam (all the junk/stuff/lost items/etc.. that travel on the ocean currents. There was a lot of description about all the items found from shipping containers of Nike shoes and bath toys that were lost in storms at sea. They would open and the contents would then be subject to the whims of the ocean currents. He followed them and predicted them. He also talked about his love of the ocean and a desire to clean the giant floating trash islands that are in the oceans. They are causing harm to the waters and the animals. They interfere with the shipping lanes and are generally unsightly. As I read the final chapters of this I could not help but think of how he would respond to the tragic oil spill in Gulf of Mexico occurring right now.

I would recommend this book to anyone that is interested in oceans, scientific memoirs, or environmental issues. It reads at about a 9th grade level (that is just my guess) and could be appropriate for children as young as 10 if they have a higher reading comprehension and an interest. Some of the science is a little involved for the younger children. In most cases I would probably wait until 12 or 13 to recommend it to your children.

I want to end this review with a quote from the last chapter of the book. “We will only save what we love, goes the classic conservationist syllogism. And we can only love what we know. Knowledge is power – the power to mend the world. This logic in some form or other drives and consoles the legions of scientists, naturalists, activist, and teachers who struggle, often in arduous conditions for meager compensation, to uncover and share the secrets of a natural world they see being assaulted and diminished daily.”

Hope someone enjoys this book as much as I have. Hopefully more reviews are to come.

14 March 2010

happy pi day!

14 January 2010

Here is a show that may be coming to your area. "Walking with Dinosaurs" Arena Spectacular I have not seen it because it is not coming to my area but the website makes it look like it is a cool show. The website also has some good information about dinosaurs and some fun games for the kids (or the kid in all of us). If anyone attends please post comments about how it was.

08 November 2009


I was asked is there anything smaller then a quark. Well that can be a tough question and to think it was posed by an 8 year old. This will be a very basic overview of the characteristics of a Quark. Quarks and the associated Leptons are complicated. This will be a basic overview and more questions are bound come from this so please ask me and we will learn together.

Lets start with what are Quarks and Leptons: Quarks and Leptons are the building blocks of matter.

Because they are so small they are normally referred to in cross section as that is a better way to understand them then by mass. But to give you an idea molecules are made of Protons, Neutrons and Electrons. One Proton is made of 3 Quarks. Quarks can be found in 6 different varieties and all have different characteristics or "colors"

But if you look at Leptons there are smaller particles called Neutrinos. These are referred to in experiments as: "the results are consistent with zero mass for the neutrino".

This is all part of Quantum Physics. As I stated before this is a complicated question with varied answers. The physicists have more questions then answers about these small particles that cannot be seen only their effects on each other is observed.

Please continue to explore this field and ask more questions. Below are a few links that I used to help my understanding.