At the end of last week, we went to the annual Tulip City Gem and Mineral Show in Holland, Michigan. During the week we reviewed the rock cycle (check out our fun experiment we posted last year on this here), types of rocks and also crystals.
We then headed to the kitchen to make our very own.,, This is the recipe we used. It was for beach glass candy, but we didn’t round the edges on ours. Super fun and oh! VERY delicious!!! We flavored ours with vanilla in the pink and peppermint in the blue. Very refreshing!
Lucky us! Today we joined a local horticulturist, Hannah Nendick-Mason to participate in the University of Kansas’s citizen science program, Project Monarch Watch. You might remember an earlier post where we shared our experience on raising monarchs in our home. If not, check it out here. This made it extra exciting to experience the next level of the monarch journey.
We were quite surprised to see how many Monarchs were at the site where we met! It took some patience and many, many tries before we got the hang of the best way to catch them in the butterfly nets. Once caught, careful handling was in order, a sticker applied to their hind wing and data was collected and recorded. Then, with a good luck wish and blink, they were back on their way, fueling up for their epic flight ahead.
Special thanks to Hannah for having us “tag” along with her on this super fun adventure!
…At the Field Museum! We were so lucky to get the chance to meet with Dr. Corine Vriesendorp who is the director of their Andes-Amazon program. She is a field biologist and a plant ecologist…. and may we say – super FUN! She had just returned from a research trip in Columbia so we were extra excited that the timing worked out for us to go to Chicago (who doesn’t love Chicago!?) and meet with her.
We started our behind the scenes adventure in the Rare Book Room. We saw the Audubon Ottoman, (well, it had a cover on it, but we were able to see one of the 4 Audubon Double Elephant Folio books), a rare, historical piece that was donated to the Museum in 1969.
From there, we went to the bird specimen area. There we learned about the consistent way nature solves problems, how species are collected and how huge the Field Museum’s collection of birds is. We loved seeing all the tiny hummingbirds and the birds of paradise. They are so dramatic!!!
We also revisited the beetle room. The room where hard, detailed, and wildly smelly work gets done by flesh eating beetles, who, for a place to stay, will eat birds and mammals to the bone, ready for organizing and storing by the most patient people on earth! They sort the freshly cleaned bones, some tinier than we could believe existed, tagged them and placed them in boxes to add to their massive collection.
After our tour was complete, we experienced the Specimens exhibit and the rest of the museum, including, meeting another scientist who is an entomologist. We held hissing cockroaches, spiders and a giant millipede.
A SUPER inspiring trip to meet some amazing scientists and hear about their work. A special thank you to Corine for taking us behind the scenes of her workplace!!!
Yesterday, we went to a STEAM exhibit at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. It showcases some of the work by Sarah and Jon Vanderbeek of Sweet Spot Studio. In the room there were many dinosaur toys, cars and airplanes, and many work-in-progress toys. The intent of the exhibit was to show the development process and how Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) work together to bring products to life. In the middle of the room, stood a giant word, STEAM and on it was a obstical course for a large orange ball, which once you turned a wheel the ball traveled down a ramp, through a loopy loop, up another ramp, around a large M, down through a large tube and using air under high pressure, rolling across a trigger which made a small foam rocket shoot to the ceiling! Finally, the ball rolled back where it originally started. We did this several times yipping and jumping up and down every single time! It was SO fun!!
Although fun, we only saw gender specific toys, so we would’ve appreciated just a touch of diversity! As you might know from our blog posts, we love science and building and art and math, so this was the perfect exhibition for us!
As a fun school project involving rotation, inertia, torque and velocity, we made a couple tops! Made out of wood, these laser cut spinners are smooth to the touch and they are easy to put together. Adding color to the patterns was fun and it was cool to see how they changed once in motion. The faster they rotated, the more the colors blended. The tops are made by a company in Texas named Bright Beam Goods. Check them out, they also have cool puzzles!
It is time for the bright yellow flowers across the midwest to come into season o lawns everywhere. It’s dandelion season! Before the flower turns to seed (the ever-fun make a wish stage!), we thought it would be fun to try making something delicious from the bright yellow flowers to accompany the salad we made from its leaves.
Overall, we thought it was fun to make them, but thought the texture was too fiberous. Kind of hairy, if you will. In addition to the ingredients in the recipe below, we added in additional seasoning like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and chocolate chips. We shared them with friends and neighbors for the novelty of it, and they each said they loved them. Our crew, on the other hand, will probably stick to apricot oatmeal cookies and leave the little sunny flowers to go to seed so we can make more wishes instead of cookies with them!
This week is all about Spinning! Interita! Friction! Momentum!
What a better test for all those concepts than to take our Spheros on their first outing to the beach. It was a very windy day at Lake Michigan, that is for sure! We got Nubby covers for them so they could handle the terrain, but they didn’t work at all…. Sphero just spun inside the cover – a good demonstration of a very low coefficiet of friction – not what we were looking for, so it never really got any traction at all on the sand and therefore, never moved. So we came up with a different version of the cover – we call it the PLASTIC WRAP PROTECTOR!!!! Made with two simple layers of plastic wrap. Amazingly, the PLASTIC WRAP PROTECTOR worked better than the $15 nubby cover.
With tech in hand we began our grand journey up and down mini sand dunes, across the parking lot, jumping through mountains of sand, and (here’s the scary/ unnerving part) through the WATER!!! AAAAHH!!! Nuts, I know but as students, we seemed to handle it fairly well… seeing it going into the base of the waves, it just tempted us to jump in after it. The water seemed like it was in the mid 40’s, so a quick rescue would have to be in order. Technology in WATER. It was WILD! Happily, we never had to rescue it :0)
After the lovley morning at the beach with our both our Sphero friends, practicing our spelling words in the sand and getting plenty of exercise, we are looking forward to a morning when the wind is still, the lake has no waves and we can take them back to the beach and see them swim!