Daily Discovery: What Does it Mean to “Flatten the Curve?”

Post written by Angela Kettle, School Programs Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Slowing the Spread – What Does it Mean to “Flatten the Curve?”

Note for Caregivers: This activity is meant to help older children (and adults!) better understand how quickly diseases like COVID-19 can spread. Most importantly, though, it is meant to start a conversation about what we can do to slow the spread through social distancing and healthy habits. Recommendations by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention state that giving  children factual, age-appropriate information, along with providing action steps they can take, can help children cope with stressful information. Therefore, we recommend this activity for ages 10+, with the guidance and reassurance of a caregiver, though we encourage you to use your discretion. You know your child best! More tips on talking with children about COVID-19 are available here!

Mathematicians use statistical models to make predictions about the future. These predictions help people like you and me make decisions about how we should behave, and they also help policy makers create policies that are in the best interest of the public.

Right now, many mathematicians are making statistical models to predict the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus. These models help us predict how human behavior will affect the spread of the virus. Let’s make our own model to see how it works! (Bonus: you get to tear up paper into tiny pieces!)

Definitions to Know:

  • Statistical Model: An equation used to predict what could happen under a certain set of circumstances. Statistical models range from quite simple to very complex.
  • COVID-19: According to the World Health Organization, “COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.”
  • Social Distancing: Social distancing is intentionally increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness (most sources recommend 6 feet minimum between people). Examples include staying away from large gatherings of people, canceling school, and encouraging employees to work
    from home.
  • Rate of Reproduction: Often seen as R0 and pronounced “R-nought,” this figure helps scientists explain how intense an outbreak is. It predicts how many other people will catch the virus from one infected person.
  • Infectious Period: The time during which an infected person can spread the disease to others. This is often different than the total time a person feels sick.  Sometimes, the infectious period begins before a person starts showing symptoms whatsoever. The infectious period differs for each disease.
  • Disease: Illness or sickness characterized by specific signs and symptoms.
  • Virus: A microorganism that cannot grow or reproduce apart from a living cell. Viruses cause human infections, and infections often result in disease.

Supplies:

  • 1 piece of paper for experiment (we recommend scratch paper if you have it)
  • 1 piece of paper for graph
  • Pen or pencil
  • A calculator
  • A straight-edge (optional)

Instructions:

  1. We are going to make a model for the spread of an imaginary disease. Technical note: Scientists usually call the disease caused by a virus something different than the virus itself. For example, the name of the virus that causes the disease COVID-19 is actually SARS-CoV-2. Let’s call our imaginary virus IMAGINATION-1, and the disease caused by the virus  IMAGINE-1. We’ll say that with no social distancing measures in place, IMAGINATION-1 has a Rate of Reproduction (abbreviated R0) of 2 – meaning that every person who catches the virus will spread it to 2 other people during their infectious period. We’ll also say that the infectious period for IMAGINATION-1 is 24 hours, or 1 day.
  2. We are going to make a graph to chart how many new cases of IMAGINE-1 (the disease) there are each day. Draw a graph by making a large L-shape on a piece of paper (use a straight edge if desired). Title your graph so that others know what it represents (a good title might be “New Cases of IMAGINE-1 per Day”). Label the x-axis (the line going sideways) with your unit of measurement – in this case, Time in Days. Place 7 tick marks along this line. Label these tick marks from Day 1 to Day 7. Label the y-axis (the line going up and down) with your unit of measurement – in this case, Cases of IMAGINE-1. Place 20 tick marks. Label each tick mark, counting up from 5 (5, 10, 15, etc.).
  3. Let’s say that 1 person caught the first-ever case of IMAGINE-1. Find Day 1 on your x-axis. Find the value 1 on your y-axis (just barely up from the bottom of your graph). Place a dot where the x-axis and y-axis meet. This shows that on Day 1, there is 1 new case of IMAGINE-1.
  4. Now, we’ll move on to Day 2. Based on our R0 of 2, the first infected person would spread the disease to 2 other people during their infectious period. Now it’s time to tear up some paper! Get out your blank sheet of paper. Tear your sheet in half, representing that 2 new people now have the disease. Find Day 2 on your X-Axis, find where the value 2 falls on your Y-Axis, and plot this on your graph with a dot.
  5. Tear your 2 pieces of paper in half again. How many pieces of paper do you have now? Plot this number above Day 3.
  6. Repeat tearing your pieces and plotting your points for Days 4, 5, 6, and 7 (Note: Want to check if you’re on track? Look at the end of this document for the number of new cases each day.) Draw a line to connect one point to the next point.
  7. Now it’s time to get out your calculator! Multiply Day 7’s result by 2 to get your new number of cases on Day 8. Multiply that number by 2 to find your new cases on Day 9. Continue this process. How many new cases do you have on Day 15?
  8. This model just showed us how many new cases there were on each day — not the total number of cases over the whole 15 days. Find the total number of cases by adding together all the new cases for each day.
  9. Save your little pieces of paper for other crafts and activities!

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: MilwaukeeMag.com

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Daily Discovery: Make Your Own Bug Box

Post written by Lea Mikkelsen, Early Childhood Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Make Your Own Bug Box

Creeping, crawling, flying, chirping… bugs are everywhere outside! Take a look down in the dirt and see if you can catch one for your very own bug observation box.

Supplies:

  • A clear plastic container. Tip: Try looking in your recycling! I used a produce container that had tomatoes in it. Try to find one without too many large holes.
  • Mesh or net with very small holes. Tip: I found a potato bag made of mesh.
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Insect, Myriapod, and Arthropod learning sheets

Instructions:

  1. Place all your supplies on a clear surface with plenty of room to work.
  2. Ask an adult for help with cutting the plastic or attaching the mesh to your container if you need it.
  3. Look at your container. Is there a lid or a way to open it to put your bug inside?
  4. Decide where to cut a hole for air. Tip: Some containers may already have a hole like my tomato container.
  5. Cut your mesh to fit the shape of the hole. Tip: I folded the mesh in half to make sure bugs could not get out!
  6. Use tape to attach the mesh to the container.
  7. Make sure there are no holes around the mesh or in the container that could let a bug out! Cover any
    big holes with a little extra tape.
  8. Go outside and fill your bug box with dirt, leaves, and sticks for your bug to climb on.
  9. Finally, catch a bug to observe in your bug box! Be sure you let them go back outside after a few hours.
  10. Learn about the differences between Insects, Myriapods, and Arthropods, on the learning sheets and try to determine what kind of bug you caught!

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: supersimple.com “Bug Hotel”

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Daily Discovery: Black-Footed Ferret Masks!

Post written by Hannah Curtis, Education Assistant.

Daily Discovery: Black-Footed Ferret Masks!

Stay connected to BFFs Stevie Nicks and Patty Ann while at home! Head over to our ferret cams to see what they’re up to throughout the day, and night. During your virtual visit, get creative and create your own ferret mask!

Supplies:

  • BFF mask template
  • Crayons, markers or colored pencils
  • Scissors
  • String or yarn

Instructions:

  1. Print out the BFF mask template or design your own template.
  2. Color and decorate your mask.
  3. Cut out two side holes to attach your sting, and don’t forget to cut out the eyes!

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: Make Your Own Harmonica!

Post written by Eisen Tamkun, Music Education Lead.

Daily Discovery: Make Your Own Harmonica!

Is it a Harmonica or a Kazoo? Who knows but it sure is fun to play!

Supplies:

  • Tongue depressors/ jumbo craft sticks
  • Tape – duct or scotch tape
  • Wide rubber band
  • Scissors
  • Stiff paper – cardstock or flashcard

Instructions:

  1. Once you have all the supplies, cut two strips of paper half an
    inch thick and two inches long.
  2. Place both craft sticks together and wrap both strips of paper
    around them. Tape the paper strips closed around the sticks
    creating sleeves (do not tape them to the sticks). Slide both
    sleeves off the craft sticks.
  3. Next, place the rubber band lengthwise on one of the craft
    sticks.
  4. Replace the sticks together and slide the sleeves back one.
  5. Finally, duct tape each end of the harmonica.
  6. Congratulations you have your own harmonica!

Place your lips on the harmonica and blow until the rubber band starts to vibrate creating noise. Try moving the sleeves closer or farther apart. How does this change the sound?

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: TUK Crafts

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Daily Discovery: Nature Diorama

Post written by Lea Mikkelsen, Early Childhood Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Nature Diorama

With supplies from your backyard, you can bring nature indoors and create a beautiful diorama! Take inspiration from our own Rocky Mountains and prairies or ask an adult to help you research other animal habitats.

Supplies:

  • Cardboard box
  • Colored paper (or paint)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Clay (if you have it)
  • Natural materials: rocks, sticks, pine cones, dry grass, leaves, etc.
  • A plastic animal toy for your habitat: bear, fox, deer, etc. Tip: Don’t have one? Try cutting out a picture from a magazine or drawing your own!

Instructions:

  1. Take a nature walk or visit your backyard to collect materials!
  2. Turn the cardboard box on it’s side.
  3. Use colored paper or paint to decorate the background of your nature scene.
  4. Use clay to make the ground and press your natural materials into it. Tip: Use glue if you don’t have clay.
  5. Get CREATIVE! Then, when you are ready, place (or glue) your plastic or paper animal into the diorama!
  6. Share a photo of your nature scene with us on social media using #dailydiscovery

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: Wonder Women Citizen Science – Birds!

Post written by Heidi Fuhrman, Discovery Camp Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Wonder Women Citizen Science – Birds!

Many superheroes are inventors and innovators! They create new technologies and harness the atmosphere, physics, space, and the power of flight to make this world safer! You can be a superhero too by innovating new ways to help our natural world and by helping scientists in your own community!

Supplies:

  • Markers/crayons/colored pencils
  • Scissors
  • Yarn or string
  • Glue or tape
  • An innovative mind!
  • Optional: paper, colored paper, foil, assorted recyclables

Instructions:

  1. It’s estimated that nearly 1 billion birds die by flying into windows each year in the U.S. alone! Why? Birds see reflections of the outside world on the glass and think its habitat they can fly into. You can help by indicating that your windows are, well, windows, and not the great outdoors, by creating and hanging up bird deflectors!
  2. Start by collecting supplies. Solid color construction paper, foil, colorful ribbons—use your imaginations! Get creative! Cut out shapes, maybe some animals and attach them to yarn or ribbon using glue or tape. Hang these up in your windows!
  3. Do you have a different idea for something that could help birds, bugs, or other animals in your backyard? Maybe it’s a feeder, maybe it’s helping them find habitat or creating a more friendly ecosystem in your backyard, maybe you have your own idea! Using materials here or other things around your house (make sure to check with an adult that it’s ok to use!) invent it!
  4. . Want to do more? You can become a local superhero by becoming a citizen scientist! Citizen scientists are ordinary people—adults and kids—that help real scientists collect important data! Check out some of these awesome organizations to see how you can be involved! It’s often as simple as keeping track of the birds, bugs, or trees in your own backyard or neighborhood!
    Nature In The City (Fort Collins)
    Bird Conservancy of the Rockies
    Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, & Snow Network
    SciStarter
    Citizen Science Projects for All Ages
  5. Go learn about some real superheroes that invent, innovate, and study science! Check out our Wonder Women guide, search for famous scientists and inventors online, or visit your local library to find books!
  6. What do you care a lot about? Do you have a great idea to make this world better? Protect your native animals? Solve a problem? Try it out! You’re never too young to make a  difference and be a superhero!

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: Wonder Women – Smart Stuff

Post written by Heidi Fuhrman, Discovery Camp Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Wonder Women – Smart Stuff

Not all superheroes use their physical strength to fight evil! Oracle fights with her hacking skills and She-Hulk uses powers of  persuasion as a lawyer—just like many of our real-life wonder women who use their smarts to make a difference!

Supplies:

  • Pencil & Paper
  • Scissors
  • Brass brad
  • Printed Cipher Wheels (file included in PDF)
  • All your spy skills!

Instructions:

  1. Put your smarts to the test! Like some real life wonder women—spies like Virginia Hall & codebreakers like Elizebeth  Friedman—see if you can crack our codes! Learn about  different types of cryptology below and take a stab at becoming a codebreaker.
  2. Using what you learn about codes, write your own and see if a friend or family member can crack it! You can even send them the codes via text to connect across the city or country! How did they do?
  3. Go learn about some real-life superheroes that used their smarts to make this world better and safer!
    Check out our Wonder Women guide or look online or at your library for stories about inventors, spies, mathematicians, doctors, and scientists.
  4. Think: What do you know a lot about? What are you an expert at? What “smarts” do you have? How can you use your knowledge to help other people and make this world a better place?

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: Medium

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Daily Discovery: Who’s Your Wonder Woman?

Post written by Heidi Fuhrman, Discovery Camp Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Who’s Your Wonder Woman?

We all know a real-life wonder woman! They support us, help us, show us what it means to be a leader, innovator, teacher, scientist, artist, mother and more! Who’s the wonder woman in your life? What’s their superpower?

Supplies:

  • Your Wonder Woman coloring sheet (included in PDF)
  • Crayons, markers, colored pencils!

Instructions:

  1. Think about a woman in your life you think is a superhero! Maybe it’s a mom, a grandma, a sister, friend, teacher…it could be someone you’ve never met, but they inspire you! Talk with your friends or kids about their wonder women.
  2. Think about what superpower that person has! Are they kind? Strong? Brave, smart, compassionate…? Do they create, listen, invent, solve problems, use their voice for good, run fast? Maybe they helped you find your superpower! Share the superpowers of your wonder woman with the people you’re doing this activity with! Add their superpowers to the sheet.
  3.  Color your wonder woman!
  4.  Share your drawing with the wonder woman you chose! Give it to them, send them a picture, or stick it in the mail. Share it with us (@focomod)! We’d love to celebrate all the incredible women in our community!
  5. Go learn about some real-life wonder women! Check out some books from your library or search for some incredible women online! We’re all stronger #BecauseOfHerStory!

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: Make Your Own Maraca!

Post written by Eisen Tamkun, Music Education Lead.

Daily Discovery: Make Your Own Maraca!

Shake shake shake, shake it! Create your very own maraca using household items!

Supplies:

  • Tape – any kind will do (the more colorful the better)!
  • Spoons – disposable work best
  • Filler – rice, beans, or dried corn
  • Scissors
  • Plastic Easter Egg

Instructions:

  1. Gather all the supplies.
  2. Start by insertion your filler in the egg. Only fill it half way so there is plenty of room for it to rattle around.
  3. Tape the spoon handles together keeping the bowls of each spoon facing each other.
  4. Secure the egg between the two spoons with some tape.
  5. Lastly, continue wrapping up and around the entire egg

Now that you’ve made your very own maraca, try rocking out to some of your favorite songs! Shake your maraca along to the rhythm!

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: fun365

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Daily Discovery: Cardboard Box Creations

Post written by Lea Mikkelsen, Early Childhood Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Cardboard Box Creations

Have you ever wondered what a box could become? Follow along with Rabbit in the story Not a Box by Antoinette Portis, to imagine all the things a box can become!

Then create and take your own amazing box on an adventure at home!

Supplies:

  • A cardboard box
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Glue
  • Markers, paint, stickers
  • Metal brads, paper clips, clothespins
  • Loose parts such as: lids and bottle caps, sticks and leaves, beads, buttons, pipe cleaners, string, cardboard tubes, recyclables, any old junk around the house!

Instructions:

  1. Place all your supplies on a clear surface with plenty of room to create.
  2. Brainstorm some ideas for what your box could become. Tip: try drawing your idea on a piece of paper!
  3.  Build and create with all your loose materials. Use your imagination!
  4.  Ask an adult for help with cutting or attaching things to your box if you need it.

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: parenting.firstcry.com

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