Daily Discovery: What’s With Weather? – Forecast It!

Post written by Heidi Fuhrman, Discovery Camp Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: What’s With Weather? – Forecast It!

One minute it’s sunny and the next you can build a snowman! We all experience weather, but what really is weather and how do we predict it? Learn about how meteorologists forecast the weather before building some forecasting tools and setting up a weather station of your own!

Supplies:

For Observation Journal:

  • Paper
  • Crayons/markers

For Barometer

  • Glass jar
  • Balloon or plastic wrap
  • Rubber band
  • Ruler
  • Straw
  • Tape
  • Scissors

For Thermometer:

  • Bottle
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Straw
  • Marker
  • Food coloring
  • Clay or playdoh
  • Pan of hot water, pan of cold water

Instructions:

Make Your Own Weather Journal:

Meteorologists track weather over multiple days to make the best forecasts. Weather data over decades gives us information about a place’s climate. You can track the weather from your home! Use your observation skills and the tools below! Keep your eye out for other Discovery at Home tools you can add to your weather station. Over time you will be able to forecast the weather too!

  1. Gather your supplies! You’ll need paper (or you can print the handy weather report sheets at the end of this pdf! Make sure to print double sided!) and a pencil/marker. If you want to make a book, you’ll need a stapler or hole punch and string too.
  2. Fold your paper and cover paper in half. Place your journal paper inside the cover. You can use plain paper or print off our journal pages. Decorate your cover! Attach the journal pages to the cover using stapler or by punching a hole at top and bottom and tying together with string!
  3. Fill out your observation journal! Try and fill it out at the same time every day to be able to make the most accurate forecasts. After a few days try forecasting the weather. Why did you forecast that? What data did you base your forecast off of?
  4. Try some of the other activities included here!

Make Your Own Barometer:

A barometer measures atmospheric pressure. Atmospheric pressure is the weight of the atmosphere overhead! Meteorologists track atmospheric pressure because a change in atmospheric pressure means a change in weather. Weather is controlled by changes in air pressure—high and low pressure systems (remember these are represented by “H” and “L” on our weather maps!). High pressure causes air to flow down and fan out near the ground, keeping clouds from forming—so nice weather! When air pressure is low, air flows together and then upward where it gathers, rising, cooling, and forming clouds—stormy weather! You can monitor the atmospheric pressure in your town by building your own barometer! TIP: It won’t be exciting at first, but if you watch for several days, you’ll notice the pressure is changing without
you realizing it!

  1. Gather your supplies! You’ll need a glass jar, ruler, straw, balloon or plastic wrap, scissors, tape, and a rubber band.
  2. Cut the long end off the balloon. Cut a small slit in the end of the balloon.
  3. Stretch the balloon so that it fits over the mouth of the jar. Make sure it’s nice and tight and secure with a rubber band. If you don’t have a balloon use plastic wrap. Make sure it’s not loose or saggy…we need our jar to be sealed nice and tight!
  4. Tape the end of the straw onto the middle of your balloon lid. A longer straw will make the barometer more accurate. You can put two straws together by cutting a small slit in the end of a straw, squeezing it to make the end smaller, and slipping it into another straw.
  5. Keep your barometer indoors and in a place where it won’t get bumped. Place a ruler behind your straw to observe it rising and falling.

Observe:

Observe your barometer for several days and record what you see in your weather journal. Be sure to observe at the same time each day. What do you notice? Does the straw point to the same place on the ruler each day? Is it rising and falling? What does that mean? Remember, a straw rising means increasing pressure— sunny and clear—a straw falling means decreasing pressure—cloudy and stormy!

Make Your Own Thermometer:

A thermometer measures temperature—how hot/cold the atmosphere is. Meteorologists report temperature using Celsius or Fahrenheit. In the U.S. we use Fahrenheit, but most other countries use Celsius. Temperature can tell us important things—for example it can’t snow until it’s below freezing (32°F)—but temperature is also relative (compared to something). A 70° day would feel chilly after a week of 90° weather, but hot after a week of 40° weather! Thermometers are some of the oldest tools we use to understand the weather. Try making your own thermometer and see what you observe!

  1. Gather your supplies! You’ll need a clear bottle, water, straw, rubbing alcohol, food coloring, and clay (playdoh works too!)
  2. Start by filling your bottle ¼ of the way with equal parts rubbing alcohol and water. Add a couple drops of food coloring. We’re using red like in a real thermometer. PRO TIP: If you’re not using a clear straw add extra drops. The darker the water, the easier it will be to see it in the straw. Mix in the coloring.
  3. Form a small clay pancake (we’re using playdoh!) and poke a hold through for your straw. Be sure there is no clay inside your straw!
  4. Stick your straw into the bottle. The end should be in the liquid but SHOULDN’T touch the bottom of the bottle.
  5. Secure the straw at the top of the bottle with your clay. Be sure you have a tight seal. Pinch it tight against the straw but don’t crush it. Make sure
    the top of your straw is poking out the top and is open to the air.

Observe:

Note where the water level IN THE STRAW is. Make a mark on the outside of the bottle. You can calibrate your thermometer by noting what the air temperature is (say how warm it is in your home) and noting that next to the mark.

Place your bottle in a pan of hot water. What happens to the water level in the straw? Label the level and temperature. What happens when you take your thermometer out? What happens to the level when you place it in cold water? Label that level and temperature.

Forecast It!

Use your new tools to set up a weather station! Observe the weather over the course of a week or two at the same time every day. What do you notice? What patterns do you see?
After a few days of data can you forecast the next few days of weather? Were you right?

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

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Daily Discovery: What’s With Weather? – Rain

Post written by Heidi Fuhrman, Discovery Camp Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: What’s With Weather? – Rain

We’ve learned about forecasting weather, but what about one of the components of weather—rain?! Learn about precipitation and create your very own water cycle before building another tool for your weather station! (If you haven’t checked out our “What’s With Weather: Forecast It!” Discovery at Home you might want to start there!)

Supplies:

For Experiment:

  • Ice cubes
  • Pot & Stove top
  • Cookie sheet or pan

OR

  • Glass jar
  • Plate
  • Ice cubes & water

For Rain Gauge:

  • Empty plastic bottle (2 liter soda bottle works best!)
  • Scissors
  • Rocks, gravel, or marbles
  • Ruler
  • Tape & Marker

Instructions:

Experiment: Make It Rain

Precipitation, including rain, is just one important part of the water cycle! The basics of the water cycle are evaporation, condensation, and precipitation but scientists who study our climate also think about how runoff from mountains, groundwater, plant uptake and more effect our water cycle! What can you think about that might effect where water goes and how it gets to the oceans? What might impact how it gets to the skies and back to us? Start by building your own water cycle!

  1. Gather your supplies! You’ll need a pot, stovetop, ice cubes, a cookie sheet or similar pan, and an adult’s help!
  2. Put your cookie sheet into your freezer. You’ll need to let it get cold for a few minutes!
  3. While your cookie sheet freezes, take out a good handful or two of ice cubes and put them in a pan. What do you notice about the ice cube? What do you notice about water in its frozen form?
  4. With an adult’s help, put your pan full of ice cubes on a stove burner and heat them up. What do you hypothesize will happen to the ice? What happened? As the ice warms up, the molecules water can move! It’s now a liquid! What do you notice about water in its liquid form? As the water gets warmer and warmer the water molecules can move faster and faster until they bump each other out of the pan! What you see isn’t smoke but water vapor! What do you notice about water in its gas state? Carefully, with your adult’s permission hold your hand way above the pan and see what happens. Is your hand getting wet?
  5. Take your cookie sheet out of the freezer and hold it a few inches over the pan. You can put some extra ice cubes on top for good measure! What do you hypothesize will happen? What do you notice now? What is happening to the water vapor? Keep holding the cookie sheet there and watch the bottom where the water vapor is hitting. After a few minutes what do you notice? Is the water condensing? As the water vapor hits the cold cookie sheet it cools down and turns back into a liquid, condensing on the bottom of the sheet and falling back to the pot as rain!

You just made a mini-water cycle!

If you can’t use a stovetop, you can do this rain experiment a different way!

  1. Gather your supplies, you’ll need a glass jar, hot water, a ceramic plate, and some ice cubes.
  2. Pour your hot water into a glass jar and place your plate flat on top. What do you notice?
  3. Wait a few minutes and then place some ice cubes on the plate. What is happening on the bottom of the plate?

Make Your Own Rain Gauge:

Meteorologists and other scientists track precipitation to better understand a place’s climate. Knowing how much precipitation has fallen in an area also helps them better predict droughts and floods. This helps farmers and keeps communities safe! NASA helps track precipitation using satellites in space, but meteorologists track it from the ground too! You can track precipitation in your neighborhood by building your own rain gauge to measure how much rain and snow falls in your backyard! Does more or less rain fall then you hypothesized? Add your rain gauge to the weather station you might have built from “What’s With Weather: Forecast It!” You can also track how precipitation your backyard gets in your weather journal you created with that activity or help out real scientists by checking out the citizen science opportunity at the end of this section!

  1. Gather your supplies! You’ll need rocks or gravel, a marker, ruler, scissors, tape, and clear bottle. A 2 liter soda bottle works best, but you can also use a water bottle, juice bottle, or even an empty milk jug!
  2. With an adult’s help, cut the top of the bottle or jug off, about 2-3 inches below the top. If you’re using a jug with a handle, be sure to cut above the handle.
  3. To keep your rain gauge from blowing over or away fill the bottom with some rocks or gravel. Then Flip the top portion of the bottle over and fit inside. It should form a funnel! This will allow your rain gauge to better collect rain as it falls!
  4. Tape the two bottle pieces together. Then, using a ruler, mark the side of your rain gauge! Place your rain gauge outside. You’ll need to pick a good spot! You want somewhere level, open to the sky, and not likely to get too windy. Make sure nothing is hanging over the gauge (like a tree or roof).

Observe:

If it rains or snows within 24 hours, check your gauge and see how high the water is! That’s how much rain has fallen in the last day! In your weather journal make a note of the day and amount of rain. Then go online and find the official rainfall amount…how closely did your amount match? Repeat whenever it rains!

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

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Daily Discovery: Photosynthesis Science! / Descubrimiento en casa: ¡La ciencia de la fotosíntesis!

Post written by Hannah Curtis, Education Assistant.

Daily Discovery: Photosynthesis Science!

Arbor Day is a holiday celebrated in the spring, that encourages and inspires people to plant trees in their communities and learn the importance of trees on Earth. Even though we can not gather with others, check out some ways in which you can still participate in this “tree”rific holiday!

Trees provide many services to the environment and to humans. They help save energy for our homes and businesses by providing shade, and contribute to human mental health. They are homes for animals, and many produce fruit to eat. Most importantly, trees help keep our air and water clean, and reduce the effects of climate change by producing oxygen (O2) for humans and animals to breath!

For trees to produce oxygen, they need sunlight, carbon dioxide (CO2), and water (H2O) to complete the process of photosynthesis, when tree leaves use the suns energy to synthesize or alter CO2 and H2O into sugar (glucose) and O2. Trees “breath” out the oxygen from their leaves. A mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year, about 260 pounds of oxygen! In this experiment, observe different trees and leaves to see photosynthesis in action! Since deciduous trees have yet to produce their new leaves this year, you can do the same experiment using evergreen tree needles.

Supplies:

  • Two jars or clear containers
  • Water
  • Area with lots of sunlight
  • Dark room with no sunlight
  • Leaves (conifer needle sprigs, indoor house plant leaves)

Instructions:

  1. Fill containers full with water.
  2. Place one leaf into each container.
  3. Place one container in a sunny area so that your leaves are fully exposed to the sunlight.
  4. Place the other container into a dark room or is covered with an object so that it does not receive any sunlight.
  5. Check back over the course of the day and notice any air bubbles forming on your leaves.

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

 

Traducido por Károl de Rueda y Laura Vilaret-Tuma.

Descubrimiento en casa: ¡La ciencia de la fotosíntesis!

El Día del Árbol es una fecha festiva que se celebra en muchos lugares del mundo y que inspira a las personas a sembrar árboles en sus comunidades, a la vez que crea conciencia sobre la importancia de su función en nuestro planeta. La fecha de la celebración del Día del Árbol varía de país a país, porque plantar un árbol con éxito depende del clima y de condiciones naturales óptimas. En Colorado, el Día del Árbol se celebra cada tercer viernes de abril, y aunque durante estos días no nos podemos reunir con otras personas, ¡aún hay maneras en que podemos participar en esta celebración!

Los árboles proveen muchos servicios al medio ambiente y a la humanidad. Nos ayudan a ahorrar energía en nuestros hogares al proporcionarnos su sombra, y también contribuyen al bienestar y salud mental de las personas. Son casas de muchos animales, y muchos de ellos producen frutas deliciosas. Pero su contribución más importante es su capacidad de ayudar a que nuestro aire y agua se mantengan limpios. Usando un proceso especial, los árboles producen oxígeno (O2) para que los animales y los humanos respiremos, y a la vez, estos reducen los efectos del cambio climático.

Los árboles necesitan luz solar, dióxido de carbono (CO2), y agua (H2O) para poder producir oxígeno usando un proceso natural que se llama fotosíntesis. La fotosíntesis es un fenómeno científico en el cual se sintetizan o alteran moléculas de CO2 y H2O. Usando estas moléculas alteradas, los árboles y otras plantas convierten la energía del sol en moléculas de glucosa y O2. ¡Los árboles “exhalan” este oxígeno a través de sus hojas! Un árbol adulto y frondoso produce hasta 117 kg (approx. 260 lbs) de oxígeno en cada estación del año, el cual es suficiente para que respiren hasta 10 personas ¡durante un año entero! En este experimento, observa diferentes árboles y hojas para ver cómo se manifiesta la fotosíntesis. Si no encuentras árboles con follaje (nuevas hojas) todavía, no te preocupes. Esta actividad también se puede hacer usando ramitas de pinos.

Artículos necesarios:

  • Dos recipientes transparentes (jarras, vasos o botellas de plástico–lo que tengas disponible en casa)
  • Agua
  • Un área con bastante luz natural
  • Un área con mucha oscuridad y sin luz natural
  • Hojas de un árbol o de una planta. Si no encuentras ninguna, también puedes usar una ramita de pino

Instrucciones:

  1. Llena a los recipientes transparentes con agua.
  2. Pon una hoja o ramita de pino en cada recipiente.
  3. Colocar uno de ellos en un área con suficiente luz natural para que las hojas estén completamente expuestas al sol.
  4. Coloca el otro recipiente en un cuarto oscuro, o simplemente cúbrelo con un paño o tela para que no entre la luz.
  5. Revisa tus recipientes durante el curso del día. ¿Se está formando algún burbujeo sobre las hojas? ¡Estás observando a la fotosíntesis en acción!

¿Te gustaría descargar esta actividad? Haz clic aquí para obtener un archivo PDF.

Para encontrar actividades, ideas y mucho más descubrimiento en casa, ¡síguenos!

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Daily Discovery: Investigating Clouds / Descubrimiento en casa: Investigando las nubes

Post written by Charlotte Conway, Public Programs Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Investigating Clouds

NASA scientists study clouds to better understand and predict how Earth’s climate is changing. Community members can collect data about clouds and share it with scientists to help do this important research. In this activity, you will record cloud observations and learn how you can share data with researchers who collaborate with NASA!

Supplies:

  • Pencil
  • Book, clipboard, notebook, or other hard surface to write on
  • Investigate Your Sky Today activity sheet, or a blank piece of paper

Instructions:

  1. Investigate the sky! If you are able to, go outside or observe the sky from a window.
  2. Notice and observe the shapes of the clouds you see. Are the clouds puffy with clear edges, thin and whipsy, or layered and sheet-like?
  3. Then draw a detailed sketch of what you see. The sky is big. To make an accurate observation, it is helpful to orient yourself north, divide the sky into quadrants, and sketch what you see in each one. If there are no clouds today, that’s okay! That is real data too, so make a note.
  4. Now, estimate the cloud coverage. How full is the sky today? Make an estimation how much the sky is covered with clouds from 0-100%.
  5. When you are finished sketching, go inside. Write down the date and time of day that you make your observations. Write down observations about the shape, size, color, and any features you noticed about the clouds next to your drawings. Try to use some of the scientific vocabulary below to classify the clouds you observed!
  6. If you enjoyed observing the clouds, join a community of participants working with NASA to collect important scientific data about clouds. Learn more and download an app to contribute your cloud observations: observer.glove.gov.

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

 

Traducido por Károl de Rueda y Laura Vilaret-Tuma.

Descubrimiento en casa: Investigando las nubes

Los científicos de la NASA estudian las nubes para entender su función y también para predecir cómo está cambiando el clima. Pero, ¿sabías que tú también puedes colectar datos sobre ellas y compartirlos con los científicos? ¡Tus observaciones podrían resultar en investigaciones muy importantes! En esta actividad, vamos a observar a las nubes haciendo varias anotaciones mientras aprendemos cómo compartir estos datos ¡con los investigadores que colaboran con la NASA!

Artículos necesarios:

  • Página de actividad incluida ¡Investiga el cielo de hoy! o papel blanco
  • Una superficie firme para escribir (como un libro, un portapapeles, o un cuaderno)
  • Algo para escribir (lápiz, pluma o marcador)

Instrucciones:

  1. ¡Investiga el cielo! Si puedes, ve afuera, o también puedes observar el cielo desde una ventana.
  2. Presta atención a la forma de las nubes. ¿Son densas con bordes claros, delgadas y tenues, o tienen capas con áreas grises?
  3. Ahora dibuja detalladamente lo que ves. ¡El cielo parece ser infinito! Para formar una observación precisa, es útil orientarse hacia el norte, dividir el cielo en cuadrantes (o cuatro partes), y dibujar lo que observas en cada uno de ellos. Si no hay ninguna nube, ¡no te preocupes! Apúntalo de igual manera porque este dato también provee información importante.
  4. Estima su cobertura. ¿Qué tan lleno está el cielo de nubes? Haz un estimado desde 0-100%.
  5. Cuando termines de anotar tus datos, apunta la fecha y hora en las cuales hiciste tus observaciones. Al lado de tus dibujos, escribe sobre sus formas, tamaño, color y otras características que hayas notado. Puedes tratar de utilizar el vocabulario científico incluido abajo para clasificarlas.
  6. Si esta actividad te ha gustado, únete a la comunidad de participantes que trabajan con la NASA para recopilar datos científicos importantes sobre las nubes. Obtén más información y encuentra una aplicación para contribuir con tus observaciones en: observer.glove.gov.

¿Te gustaría descargar esta actividad? Haz clic aquí para obtener un archivo PDF.

Para encontrar actividades, ideas y mucho más descubrimiento en casa, ¡síguenos!

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Earth Day 2020: 50th Anniversary

Post written by Harli-Jo Rachel, Education Intern.

Earth Day 2020: 50th Anniversary

What is Earth Day?

Since it was officially launched, Earth Day has always been a day to bring about awareness of our planet’s needs – whether it’s climate change, protecting endangered and threatened species, or cleaning the ocean. Over one billion people around the world come together every year to rally for change, advocacy, education, and further awareness about our shared planet.

In celebration of Earth Day 2020, we’re looking back at how this day came to be, while also looking ahead to today’s 50th anniversary milestone, and beyond!

History of Earth Day

The official Earth Day began on April 22, 1970 with U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson’s idea to start a national day where he could combine anti-war protests and the public consciousness of the air and water pollution and something political could come out of it. This was all due to a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969, and he wanted the environment to get on the national political agenda. Gaylord Nelson then created a team where Pete McCloskey, a Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair and a man named Denis Hayes to serve as his national coordinator. Hayes then recruited 85 people to promote events across the nation.

The team chose April 22 as the day to rally because it was between spring break and final exams for college students.  Around 20 million people in America protested about the deterioration of the environment and wanted to start making a change. The first Earth day made such an impact that led to political change and to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the clean air, clean water, and endangered species act.  

As Earth Day 1990 was approaching, a bigger change was about to happen. Denis Hayes was approached by a group of environmental leaders to help promote Earth Day globally. That year more than 200 million people from 141 countries came together to promote recycling efforts. This year was also the year that Senator Nelson was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton for his efforts to affect change in the world. With the mark of the new millennium, it allowed for the internet to become a bigger force in rallying more people to help make the change for the environment.  

Earth Day Today

Now, Earth Day is widely celebrated each year. Earth Day events are planned in major cities to help bring people together to make a change on this day. Whether it is planting a tree at your school or learning about energy saving techniques one small thing that a child or parent can do to help protect the Earth can make a major impact.  Each year since it first began, the day has seen participation of around 1 billion people from 191 countries!

This year’s focus on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day is climate action. To celebrate while responsibly social distancing, Earth Day organizers have launched a 24 hour digital action plan to bring about awareness about this year’s theme and the important conversations surrounding. 

“While Earth Day may be going digital, our goal remains the same: to mobilize the world to take the most meaningful actions to make a difference.”

Earth Day Everyday

While Earth Day itself falls on April 22, everyday is Earth Day. Learn more about how you can get involved today and everyday by visiting www.earthday.org.

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Daily Discovery: Pollination Investigation

Post written by Angela Kettle, School Programs Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Pollination Investigation

Did you know that one out of every four bites of food you eat comes courtesy of bee pollination, according to the United States Department of Agriculture? In their search for nectar, bees bring pollen from one flower’s anthers to another flower’s stigma, paving the way for cross-pollinating plants to bear new seeds. Find out how it works in the activity below!

Supplies:

  • Pencil and paper
  • Colored pencils, markers, or crayons (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • 1 pipe cleaner or 3 cotton swabs
  • A fine powder, such as powdered sugar, cinnamon, turmeric, paprika… or even the ‘chip dust’ at the bottom of a bag of chips

Instructions:

  1. Draw two flowers of the same species and one bee, or print the template out (included in the PDF). Color your bee and your flowers if desired. Cut the bee and the two flowers out.
  2. If you are using a pipe cleaner, cut it into 6 pieces and tape on to the bee as legs. If you are using double-ended cotton swabs, cut in half and attach 6 the halves to the bee as legs.
  3. Fly around like a bee! Land your bee in the center of the first flower, in search of nectar. Have your bee take a big drink of nectar (which it will later use to make honey!), then fly off to the second flower. Did your bee accidentally bring some pollen from the first flower to the second? This is pollination!
  4. How can you help bees do their important work? Check out these tips from National Geographic!

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

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Daily Discovery: Pine Cone Science!

Post written by Hannah Curtis, Education Assistant.

Daily Discovery: Pine Cone Science!

Arbor Day is a holiday celebrated in the spring, that encourages and inspires people to plant trees in their communities and learn the importance of trees on Earth. Even though we can not gather with others, check out some ways in which you can still participate in this “tree”rific holiday!

Pine cones play an important role in nature. Only found growing from pine trees, their function is to keep a the tree’s seeds safe! They close their scales to protect the seeds from cold temperatures, wind, or even animals, then open up to release their seeds when it is warm. This allows the seeds to germinate and grow into a pine tree. Check out this cool adaptation for yourself with the following experiment!

Supplies:

  • Three pine cones
  • Three medium bowls or jars
  • Paper and pencil
  • Hot and cold water

Instructions:

  1. Gather pine cones from your backyard, natural space or community. With a variety of different pine cones you can experiment further with this activity.
  2. Place one pine cone into each container. Label each container with either cold water, hot water or air.
  3. Pour cold water into the “cold water” jar, and hot water into the “hot water” jar (be sure to use adult supervisor for this step). Leave the jar labeled “air” empty.
  4. Observe what happens to the pine cones when they are exposed to different temperatures and conditions!

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

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Daily Discovery: Asteroid Mining

Post written by Charlotte Conway, Public Programs Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Asteroid Mining

People have been mining on Earth for thousands of years. Yet someday in the near future, scientists might to go to space to mine in our solar system!

This is a future technology. Scientists and engineers are still just imagining how they will mine asteroids. Children in school today will be the workers who develop these technologies! Now is your chance to get a head start – how would you design a machine that can mine materials on an asteroid?

Supplies:

  • Asteroid drawing sheets (Included in PDF)
  • Markers or colored pencils
  • Challenge cards (Included in PDF)

Instructions:

Your mission: travel to a distant asteroid to mine for minerals and other resources.

  1. Use your imagination to design a mining machine. How does it work? What special instruments or tools does it need? Does your machine need to communicate back to Earth? How would it get power to operate?
  2. Draw a picture of your mining machine on the asteroid drawing worksheet. If you need inspiration for your design, or would like an extra challenge, choose a challenge card. Imagine you are the person on the card. How does this change your thinking about mining asteroids?
  3. Consider the following questions, or if you have a partner or caregiver available, start a discussion using these questions: Why would you mine an asteroid? What does the asteroid look like after mining? How do you think life on Earth would be different after mining?
  4. Great job on your design. You are helping to imagine the humans’ future of working and living in space!

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

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Daily Discovery: Over on a Mountain Diorama Craft/Descubrimiento en casa: Sobre una Montaña: maqueta de montañas

Post written by Lea Mikkelsen, Early Childhood Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Over on a Mountain Diorama Craft

Follow along with FCMoD’s live stream Storytime in the Home: Over on a Mountain. Then take a walk in your neighborhood to see if you can find a good view of our very own Rocky Mountains. Look around for twigs, small stones, leaves, and dry grass for your Mountain Diorama.

Supplies:

  • A paper plate OR a piece of cardboard
  • Craft glue
  • Scissors
  • Craft paint OR scraps of colored paper
  • Egg carton
  • Natural materials such as twigs, stones, leaves, or dry grass
  • A mountain animal Tip: if you can’t print out one of animals to cut out, try cutting one out a magazine or drawing one yourself!

Instructions:

  1. Place all your supplies on a clear surface with plenty of room to create.
  2. Cut out a mountain range from the egg carton bottom. Try using the pointy parts in the middle for tall peaks, or the round parts that hold the egg.
  3. Use a piece of cardboard or a paper plate to build your scene. Glue the egg carton mountains down.
  4. Use paint or little scraps of craft paper to decorate the scene. Green makes lovely plants, blue can make a nice river, and even white can make some stunning snowcapped peaks!
  5. Glue in your natural materials wherever you want them to be.
  6. Cut out your mountain animal and glue it into your scene! Tada!

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

Image Credit: Dawn Publishing

 

Traducido por Károl de Rueda y Laura Vilaret-Tuma.

Descubrimiento en casa: Sobre una Montaña- maqueta de montañas

¿Sabías que en el museo contamos con programas de transmisión en vivo presentados en nuestras cuentas de redes sociales? Uno de ellos es Cuentos en Casa (Storytime in the Home), y en esta ocasión, te presentamos “Sobre una montaña” (Over on a Mountain). Inspirándonos en el libro y en las bellas Montañas Rocallosas, busca palitos, piedritas, hojas y hierba seca en tu patio o en algún otro lugar para crear una maqueta de montañas.

Artículos necesarios:

  • Plato desechable de papel o un cartón
  • Pegamento
  • Tijeras
  • Pinturas o retazos de papel colorido
  • Materiales naturales como ramitas, palitos, hojas, o hierba seca
  • Cartón de huevos vacío
  • Juguetes de animales que vivan en las montañas (también podrías imprimir los dibujos de más abajo, recortar animales de una revista, ¡o dibujarlos!

Instrucciones:

  1. Usando la mitad inferior del cartón de huevos, construye un rango de montañas. Para formar cimas variadas, corta las partes puntiagudas del cartón o las partes redondas que sostienen el huevo.
  2. Ensambla y pega el rango de montañas sobre el plato desechable o cartón.
  3. Decora tu escena natural con pintura o retacitos de papeles de varios colores. El color verde sirve muy bien para la vegetación, azul para un río, y si quieres las cimas de tus montañas cubiertas de nieve, usa blanco.
  4. Sigue pegando los materiales naturales a tu gusto.
  5. Recorta los animales de tu preferencia y sitúalos en tu maqueta. ¡Listo! Aprende mientras te diviertes.

¿Te gustaría descargar esta actividad? Haz clic aquí para obtener un archivo PDF.

Para encontrar actividades, ideas y mucho más descubrimiento en casa, ¡síguenos!

Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Buell Foundation. Their support helps make access to early childhood education at FCMoD possible for everyone in our community.

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Daily Discovery: Fancy Rats / Descubrimiento en casa: Ratas de compañía

Post written by Hannah Curtis, Education Assistant.

Daily Discovery: Fancy Rats

FCMoD’s fancy rats ( Rattus norvegicus domestica ) are some of the museum’s most charismatic animals, but are they really all that fancy? Learn more about these furry creatures and channel your inner zoologist as you observe animals in your own backyard!

Fancy Rat Life History:

Being a fancy rat simply means that they are domesticated; they are tame animals and common household pets. The word “fancy” means that humans “appreciate or like” them more than the non-domesticated brown rats. What other animals are considered domestic? Do you have pets or farm animals that live with you? What animals do not make good pets?

Physical Characteristics:  Rats are mammals and vertebrates. This means they are warm-blooded, have hair or fur, and have a backbone. Fancy rats have a wide range of different colors of fur, unlike wild rats who are usually dark brown (an adaptation to help them blend into their environment). All rats have a long, furless tail that are used for balance when they are climbing and exploring their habitat.

Habitat: Wild rats can live almost anywhere! They are found on all continents except Antarctica. If they are not living in people’s homes as pets, they prefer living in damp environments where they can tunnel.

Diet: Rats are omnivores – they’ll eat almost anything! In the wild, they eat a mixture of plants and small animals. At FCMoD, our fancy rats eat a bunch of fruits and vegetables. Naturally, they are scavengers who love to seek out food, which is why they like to live around humans – to break into food storage and help themselves!

Fun Facts:  Rats are often stereotyped in untrue ways, but they can be affectionate, intelligent and clean. They are highly social animals and at the museum, the rats are all siblings and love to snuggle while they nap!

Backyard Observations: Pets!

Whether it is in your backyard, neighborhood, or at a Natural Area, animals can be observed just about anywhere! Zoologists use science to observe animals and learn about their behaviors and their habitat. You can be a backyard zoologist and observe similar domesticated animals like the museum’s fancy rats and record what you discover!

Supplies: 

  • Writing utensil
  • Paper
  • Computer and Internet Access (optional)

Instructions: 

  1. Create a way to record your animal observations and behaviors. You can write a journal entry or maybe create an observation chart, or use our guiding questions to think deeper about the animals you see!
  2. If you have a pet who live with you at home, watch them throughout the day and record what they do. If you have multiple, compare and contrast their behaviors.
  3. If you don’t have any pets, take a walk with your family and look for pets, farm animals or other domesticated animals on your walk. You can also visit https://explore.org/livecams/farm-sanctuary/wisconsin-pasture-farm-sanctuary to observe farm animals though camera live streams!

Guiding Questions:

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.


Traducido por Károl de Rueda y Laura Vilaret-Tuma.

Descubrimiento en casa: Ratas de compañía

¡Bienvenidos al descubrimiento en casa!

Nosotros en el Museo del Descubrimiento de Fort Collins estamos muy contentos de invitarlos a visitar nuestro contenido lleno de actividades, creatividad, conocimiento ¡y mucho más! Con ideas nuevas cada semana, descubran un mundo mágico lleno de aprendizaje y diversión ¡para toda la familia y en su propio idioma!

Las ratas de compañía (Rattus norvegicus domestica) son uno de los animales más carismáticos que viven dentro del Museo del Descubrimiento de Fort Collins (FCMoD). En general, las ratas no tienen buena reputación, entonces, ¿por qué tenemos algunas de ellas como mascotas? ¿En realidad, hay alguna diferencia entre los diferentes tipos de ratas? Vamos a aprender más de estas criaturas peludas. ¡Encuentra a tu zoólogo interno mientras observas a los animales que hay a tu alrededor!

La historia de las ratas de compañía:

¿Cuál es la diferencia entre una rata salvaje y una rata de compañía? Las ratas de compañía son animales que pueden ser domesticados; son dóciles y comúnmente se vuelven mascotas que se llevan bien con los humanos. ¿Puedes pensar en otros animales que también son domésticos? ¿Tienes mascotas o animales de granja que viven contigo? ¿Puedes observar cuáles animales no podrían ser mascotas?

Características físicas: Las ratas son mamíferos y vertebrados. Esto significa que tienen sangre caliente, pelo o pelaje y una columna vertebral que les ayuda a mantener su cuerpo recto. Las ratas de compañía pueden variar en el color de su pelaje, mientras que el de las ratas salvajes usualmente es de color marrón oscuro. Las ratas salvajes adoptaron este color para poder ocultarse en su medio ambiente. Todas las ratas tienen una cola larga y sin pelo, y esta parte del cuerpo les ayuda a trepar y mantener el equilibrio, superando obstáculos mientras exploran su ambiente.

Ambiente natural/hábitat: ¡Las ratas salvajes pueden vivir casi dondequiera! Se pueden encontrar en todos los continentes excepto en la Antártida. Cuando no están viviendo en nuestros hogares, prefieren vivir en un ambiente húmedo donde puedan cavar túneles y hacer sus escondrijos.

Dieta: Las ratas son omnívoras—¡comen casi de todo! En la naturaleza, comen una variedad de plantas y animales pequeños. En el museo, nuestras ratas comen muchas frutas y vegetales. En su estado natural son carroñeras y les encanta buscar comida, por eso les gusta vivir alrededor de los seres humanos. ¡Así pueden colarse en nuestras despensas y tener todo un banquete!

Datos curiosos: A menudo, a las ratas se les da un estereotipo falso, sin embargo, son cariñosas, inteligentes y limpias. Son animales muy sociables y, en el museo, todas las ratas son hermanas. ¡Les encanta acurrucarse cuando se duermen!

Observación al aire libre: ¡Mascotas!

Ya sea en tu patio, en tu cuadra o en un área natural, se pueden observar animales en cualquier sitio. Los zoólogos utilizan la ciencia para aprender sobre los comportamientos y hábitat de ciertos animales. ¡Tú también puedes ser zoólogo empezando en tu propia área! Observa a los animales domesticados que hay alrededor -como las ratas del museo- ¡y apunta lo que descubres sobre ellos!

Artículos necesarios: 

  • Algo para escribir (lápiz, pluma o marcador)
  • Papel
  • Computadora y acceso al Internet (opcional)

Instrucciones:

  1. Observa el comportamiento de algún animal. Puedes escribir tus notas en un diario o hasta hacer un dibujo. Si deseas, usa la guía de preguntas que está abajo para pensar más profundamente sobre los animales que estudias.
  2. Si tienes una mascota en tu casa, obsérvala durante el día y toma nota de lo que hace. Si tienes más de una mascota, compara sus comportamientos y su interacción.
  3. Si no tienes ningún animal en casa, da un paseo por los alrededores con tu familia y observa algunas mascotas, animales de granja u otros animales domesticados.
  4. También puedes visitar el sitio web: https://explore.org/livecams/farm-sanctuary/wisconsin-pasture-farm-sanctuary  para observar videos de animales de granja ¡en vivo!

Guía de preguntas: 

¿Te gustaría descargar esta actividad? Haz clic aquí para obtener un archivo PDF.

Para encontrar actividades, ideas y mucho más descubrimiento en casa, ¡síguenos!

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