Daily Discovery: Crazy Quilt Tie-Blanket

Post written by Morgan Wilson, Museum Assistant for Collections.

Daily Discovery: Crazy Quilt Tie-Blanket

What even is a crazy quilt? It is a pieced together blanket that is all about looking good and does not follow a pattern or have the quilting stitches joining its front to its back that define true quilts. Crazy quilts are often full of souvenir ribbons, fancy fabrics, and embroidered or painted pictures. We have several crazy quilts in our collections at FCMOD. Check them out to get inspiration for your own. Today, we will be making a tie-blanket crazy quilt. There is no sewing required! Don’t worry if you make a mistake, it will just add to the craziness of the quilt!

Supplies:

  • Fleece (2 yards total in at least 2 different colors but use as many as you like. Most fleece that you buy from a craft store will be 60 inches in width which is perfect for this project!)
  • Scissors
  • Tape Measure
  • Colored pencil or fabric marker

Instructions:

  1. Find a work surface to lay your fabric on.
  2. Use the tape measure and colored pencil to lightly sketch a 12 x 12-inch square on the corner of one piece of fabric.
  3. Cut out the square. You can use this first square as a template for the rest of them!
  4. Using your template, cut the rest of the fabric into 12 x 12-inch squares.
  5. Once you have all your squares cut out, take one square, your tape measure and pencil and mark every inch on each edge of the square.
  6. Make a 2-inch cut on each mark. This will create fringe around the square and cut off the corners!
  7. Repeat step 6 until all your squares have fringe.
  8. Take two squares that you want to tie together and line them up so that the tabs are lined up with each other.
  9. Double knot the tabs on either square together until you have 8 knots joining two squares together!
  10. Continue tying squares together lengthwise until you have 5 squares in a row. Make 6 rows of 5 squares.
  11. Now, join each row together width wise until you have a 5 x 6 square blanket –crazy!

Tips and Tricks:

  • You may knot the fringe on the edges of the blanket to give it a more finished look.
  • If your squares are not exactly even, that’s okay. As long as they all have an equal number of fringes it will come together just fine.
  • You can arrange the squares in any pattern you like since a crazy quilt has no pattern.

Image Credit: The Spruce Crafts

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.

Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Fort Fund.

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Daily Discovery: Bubble Science!

Post written by Hannah Curtis, Education Assistant.

Daily Discovery: Bubble Science!

Bubble baths, a carbonated summer time drink, bubble gum, or the result of the chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar. We all know and love bubbles, but what’s up with them always being round? Come explore the science of bubbles with us and experiment with non-spherical bubbles!

Why are Bubbles Always Round?

Bubbles are simply one substance inside of another forming a sphere. These substances are usually a gas inside a liquid. The bubbles we know best are made with dish soap or glycerin and water, and are created using the CO2 gas that we naturally exhale from our lungs. You’ve probably wondered why bubbles are always round, why can’t they be square or a triangle. Well, when you blow a bubble and it begins to float in the air, this bubble will always be spherical. The water and soap molecules that make up the bubble like to be close together creating a force called surface tension creating a shape that has the smallest surface area, which happens to be a sphere, rather than a cube or pyramid.

Bubble Cage for Non-spherical Bubbles!

Supplies:

  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Straw or bubble wand
  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Glycerin (optional)
  • Medium – large bin, bowl or container

Instructions:

  1. To create your cube bubble cage, start by cutting 6 full pipe cleaners in half to make 12 smaller pipe cleaners.
  2. Twist together the ends of four pipe cleaners to make a square. Do this again so you have two pipe cleaner squares.
  3. Now twist the remaining pipe cleaners to each corner of the two squares to form a cube. Remember a cube has 4 corners and 6 sides.
  4. Get your bubble solution ready. In a large enough bowl or container to fit your cube, fill it with water and add dish soap to make it nice a foamy. (As you test your experiment, you may need to add more soap as needed. You may also add glycerin to your solution to strengthen the bubble film).
  5. Submerge your bubble cage into the bubble solution and swish it around a few times.
  6. Remove the cage from the solution and ensure that each side of the cage has a bubble film.
  7. Now gently, but with some force move the cage from side to side. This will cause the bubble films to come together into the center of the cage. A square bubble may appear just from this movement so keep your eyes peeled.
  8. You can add in another bubble into the center with a straw or bubble wand by blowing a small bubble in the center of the cage, creating a cube bubble.
  9. This process may take a few times to get right. Experiment further and see what other bubble shapes you can create!

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.

Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Fort Fund.

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The Pollinator You Know: The Honeybee!

Post written by Alexa Leinaweaver, Live Animal Husbandry Coordinator.

The Pollinator You Know: The Honeybee!

When most people hear about pollination, the first thing they think of is the honeybee.

The oldest bee that scientists have found so far was in Myanmar, encased in amber and dated at 100 million years old! Bees that old were hunters, eating other insects. At some point they started visiting flowers for nectar and pollen, changing into the honeybees that we know and love.

Honeybee colonies have been kept in man-made hives since Ancient Egypt and have been important throughout human history. In addition to being delicious as a sweetener in food, honey can be used to make mead (an alcoholic drink), which works as an antiseptic. It has even been used to embalm mummies! Beeswax can be used in making many products, such as candles, soap, cosmetics, and waterproofing. Honey and bees are so important that people have named their children after bees. Deborah and Melissa both mean “bee” in different languages; Pamela derives from a word for “honey”.

When Europeans colonized the Americas in the 17th century, there were no native honeybees. Native Americans tribes at the time kept and traded other kinds of bees. European settlers brought the Western Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) along with their familiar crop plants when they moved to the Americas. As we have expanded across the planet, humans have deliberately expanded the range of the Western Honey Bee, and it is now found on every continent in the world except Antarctica.

Healthy Honeybee Colonies

In a healthy honeybee colony, you can see thousands of individual bees. Most of what you see are the worker bees, which are females that cannot lay eggs. There are usually 10,000-50,000 workers per colony. The workers care for the queen and young, defend the hive with their stingers, build comb for the young honeybees and the honey, and collect food. There are also drones, which are the male honeybees. There are about 1,000 drones in a given colony. Drones have no sting, do not forage for food, and cannot defend the hive. Their only purpose is to mate with the queen. There is only one queen bee in the colony. She is larger than all the other bees, and usually has a circle of worker bees around her (her “court”) that take care of her, bringing her food and cleaning her. The queen is the only individual who can lay eggs, and can lay as many as 2,000 eggs per day!

The worker bees leave the hive and may fly up to two miles away from their home to find food. They seek out flowers and collect nectar, which is a sugary solution that flowers produce in order to attract pollinators. The worker bee then returns to the hive and performs a dance to indicate to her fellow workers where she found food. The collected nectar is transformed into honey and may be consumed by any of the adult bees or fed to the young who cannot yet fly to find their own food. The honey can also be harvested by humans.

Honeybee colonies normally survive for several years, going dormant in the winter cold and then becoming active in the warmer months. During favorable conditions (an abundance of food), the hive will create “daughter queens,” and the old queen and much of her colony will relocate to make room for the new queens.

What is happening with the FCMoD colony?

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery has had a bee colony in the Animal Encounters exhibit for our visitors to watch and enjoy since the exhibit opened. However, our colony has collapsed several times since then. Each time we have obtained a new colony from our professional beekeeper.

There are a lot of environmental factors that can negatively affect a honeybee colony, and a lot of colonies around the world are struggling and collapsing right now. There are some pesticides that are worse for bees, especially the class of pesticide called neonicotinoids. There are diseases and parasites that can affect a colony. Climate change may also be playing a factor with bee colonies dying.

What our beekeeper thinks may be happening to the honeybee colony here at FCMoD is that the bees may have found a flower source in the area that has been sprayed with a certain kind of pesticide. They collect the nectar and pesticide, then carry it back to the colony and tell their sisters where to find more. The bees eat the poisoned nectar and honey, and die.

How can we stop honeybee colony collapse?

There are a lot of different pesticides that people use to control weeds and to get rid of bugs they don’t like. But since we do like the honeybees and the honey they make, we need to make sure that we use pesticides that won’t hurt the bees. Pesticide application can be done at night when bees are not foraging. Additionally, making sure not to apply pesticides to blooming plants will help prevent bee deaths.

Like all animals, bees need good quality and abundant food. We can plant native flowers at our homes so honeybees and all the native Colorado bees have healthy and nutritious food sources.

We should also look for ways to reduce our impact on the environment around us, improving the lives of all animals that we share our environment with. Find reusable products instead of single use items you throw away. Turn off the lights in empty rooms. Compost. Take shorter showers. Each of us can have a huge positive impact on the wild animals that live around us.

Learn more about how pesticides can affect bees and other wildlife:

EPA Tips for Reducing Pesticide Impacts on Wildlife

National Pesticide Information Center: Protecting Wildlife from Pesticides

Learn about native plants you can use in your garden:

Colorado Native Plant Society plant lists

Find out how to reduce your impact on the environment:

World Wildlife Fund’s Tips for Reducing Your Environmental Impact

Can you spot the queen bee in this picture? She is larger and a slightly different color.

The FCMoD honeybee colony, in Spring of 2018.

Photos courtesy of Alexa Leinaweaver

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Daily Discovery: Celebrate our State Fossil- Build Your Own Stegosaurus/ Descubrimiento en casa: Celebrando el fósil oficial de Colorado – Crea tu propio estegosaurio

Post written by Angela Kettle, School Programs Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Celebrate our State Fossil – Build Your Own Stegosaurus

Did you know that the Stegosaurus was named Colorado’s state fossil in 1982? Build your very own Stegosaurus using household materials. Then, discover a little bit about how the Stegosaurus lived!

Supplies:

All supplies are optional. Use what you have!

• Air dry clay or play-doh for the Stegosaurus body
• Cardboard or paper plates for the Stegosaurus plates
• Construction paper for the Stegosaurus spikes
• Glue or tape
• Markers
• Paint

Instructions:

1. Build your Stegosaurus! Be innovative with your materials, and use the graphic to help guide you! Here is one way you could build your stegosaurus:

  • Did you know that the Stegosaurus was around 21 feet long and 30 feet tall in real life? Since we’ll be making a model in this activity – or a smaller version of the original — decide how big you want your Stegosaurus to be for this purpose.
  • Use play-doh to make the body. The Stegosaurus is known to have a small skull, short upper limbs, broad feet, and a  relatively long tail.
  • Use the cardboard to make the Stegosaurus’s plates. The plates are mostly triangular. Press these cardboard plates into the Stegosaurus body in an alternating pattern. (Fun fact: did you
    know that no two plates from the same Stegosaurus are  identical?)
  • Cut down your construction paper. Use the pieces to make 4 spikes. Press these spikes into the Stegosaurus tail.
  • Paint or color your Stegosaurus if desired.

2. Behold your 3D Stegosaurus creation!

Questions to Ponder:

1. How might a Stegosaurus use its plates? What about its spikes?Why do you think?

2. Stegosauruses have very small, flat teeth. What other animals have flat teeth? What do you think Stegosaurus was eating based on its teeth?

3. Study the picture of the Stegosaurus, along with your 3D creation. Based on its anatomy (how it is structured), how do you think a Stegosaurus would look when it moved?

4. Research your answers here.

References and Additional Information:

Povid, K. (n.d.). A Stegosaurus brought to life. Natural History Museum. https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/stegosaurus-brought-to-life.html

Encyclopedia Britannica. (2019). Stegosaurus. In Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/animal/Stegosaurus

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.

Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Fort Fund.

 

Traducido por Károl de Rueda y Laura Vilaret-Tuma.

Descubrimiento en casa: Celebrando el fósil oficial de Colorado – Crea tu propio estegosaurio

¿Sabías que el estegosaurio fue nombrado el fósil oficial del estado de Colorado en el año de 1982? Crea tu propio estegosaurio utilizando materiales que ya tienes en casa, y ¡descubre un poco más sobre cómo vivió este dinosaurio asombroso!

Artículos necesarios:

Todos estos materiales son opcionales. Puedes usar lo que tengas disponible en casa.
• Arcilla o plastilina (para el cuerpo de estegosaurio)
• Cartulina o platos desechables/de papel (para las placas)
• Papel de colores (para las púas)
• Pegamento y/o cinta adhesiva
• Marcadores
• Pinturas

Instrucciones:

1. ¡Construye tu estegosaurio! Sé innovador/a con tus materiales y utiliza la imagen a continuación como guía. Sigue estos pasos para construir este dinosaurio único:

  • ¿Sabías que el estegosaurio medía 6.2 metros (21 pies) de largo y 9.1 metros (30 pies) de alto? Para esta actividad, tú decide el tamaño que quieras. Tu dinosaurio puede ser pequeño, mediano o muy grande.
  • Una opción es utilizar arcilla o plastilina para moldear el cuerpo del estegosaurio. Esta creatura es conocida por su cráneo pequeño, extremidades delanteras muy cortas, patas anchas, y una cola larga y rígida.
  • Utiliza la cartulina o platos desechables para formar las placas. Estas son mayormente triangulares. Presiónalas contra el cuerpo de tu estegosaurio en dos hileras. Dato curioso: ¿sabías que ningunas de las placas de un estegosaurio eran idénticas una de la otra? ¡Todas eran diferentes!
  • Corta tu papel de colores en formas puntiagudas para hacer cuatro púas, y presiónalas contra la cola de tu estegosaurio.
  • Si quieres, pinta o colorea tu modelo. Como mencionamos antes, todavía no se sabe de qué color eran estos grandiosos animales, así que puedes pintarlo y decorarlo con tus colores favoritos y de la manera que quieras.

2. Cuando esté completamente terminado, ¡admira tu propio modelo de estegosaurio en tercera dimensión hecho por ti mismo y muéstraselo a tu familia!

Y hablando de estos dinosaurios, ¿puedes contestar a estas preguntas?

1. ¿Para qué crees que un estegosaurio usaría sus placas? ¿Y sus púas? ¿Para qué servirían?

2. Los estegosaurios tenían dientes relativamente pequeños con facetas planas. Basándonos en la estructura de sus dientes, ¿qué crees que este dinosaurio comía? ¿Hoy día, cuáles otros animales tienen sus dientes así?

3. Estudia la imagen del estegosaurio que está más arriba, y también tu propio modelo. Observando su anatomía (su cuerpo/estructura) ¿cómo crees que estos animales se movían?

4. Investiga tus respuestas aquí (enlace en inglés para el National History Museum): https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/stegosaurus-brought-to-life.html

Referencias y más información:

Povid, K. (n.d.). A Stegosaurus brought to life. Natural History Museum. https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/stegosaurus-brought-to-life.html

Encyclopedia Britannica. (2019). Stegosaurus. In Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/animal/Stegosaurus

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

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Daily Discovery: Life Cycle of a Star Mobile/Descubrimiento en casa: Móvil del ciclo vital de una estrella

Post written by Sierra Tamkun, Learning Experiences Manager.

Daily Discovery: Life Cycle of a Star Mobile

One star, two star, red star, white dwarf star! Throughout it’s billion-year life, a low-density star, just like our Sun, goes through many changes. Learn about the different stages in a star’s life cycle, and make your own star mobile!

The Life of a Star

A star’s life cycle is determined by how big it is, or how much mass it has! The greater the mass of the star, the shorter its life. Depending on the amount of matter in the nebula where the star is born, it will either be a high-mass star, or a low-mass star, like our Sun. We’ll use this life cycle for our mobile.

But how are stars formed, anyway? As clouds of gas and dust move around in a nebula, hydrogen gas is pulled together by gravity and begins to spin faster and faster, heating up to become a protostar. When hot enough (about 15,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit!), a reaction called nuclear fusion occurs at the star’s core, pulling in more gas and dust and causing the star to stabilize and glow bright! It will continue shining in this phase as a main sequence star for millions to billions of years. Our closest star, the Sun, is currently at this stage.

Over time, hydrogen at the star’s core is converted to helium through nuclear fusion. Once the hydrogen runs out, the star isn’t able to generate enough heat to maintain its size. The core contracts, while the outer shell expands and cools, glowing red. This is known as the red giant phase. As the core continues to cool, the helium begins to fuse into carbon. Once all the helium is gone, the core collapses, and the outer layer is expelled into gases and dust, creating a planetary nebula! The collapsed core remains as a white dwarf, slowly cooling to become a black dwarf.

A high-mass star undergoes a supernova explosion after its red giant phase. If the explosion is small, it become a neutron star. But if the explosion is large, the core of the star is swallowed by its own gravity, becoming a black hole!

Supplies:

  • Paper Plate
  • Colorful beads, pom-poms, sequins, colored paper, cotton balls, pillow stuffing, etc.
  • Paints, markers, or crayons
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • String

Instructions:

  1. Decorate your paper plate like outer space! This will be the backdrop for your star’s life cycle.
  2. Carefully use the scissors to cut your paper plate into a spiral. Ask an adult to help you if needed! Leave a small circle at the center of your spiraled plate.
  3. At the top of your spiral, attach your sting so you can hang your mobile when you’re done! You can use glue or tape, or poke a hole through the plate and tie your string to attached it.
  4. Select different objects to represent each stage in the life of your star. Pick any materials you like, or follow these suggestions:
    a. Star-forming nebula: cotton balls or pillow stuffing
    b. Protostar: small light-colored bead or sequin
    c. Main Sequence Star (like our Sun): yellow bead or pom-pom
    d. Red Giant: large red pom-pom or red paper circle
    e. Planetary Nebula: small bead and cotton balls or pillow stuffing
    f. White Dwarf: white bead or pom-pom
    g. Black Dwarf: small black bead or pom-pom
  5. Start by gluing your nebula materials at the very top of your spiral plate, around the string. Next, glue your black dwarf to the end. Evenly space out the rest of your representative objects and glue them to your spiral plate in the appropriate order.
  6. Use the string to hang up your mobile! As it spins, follow along with the different life stages of a star just like our very own Sun!

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: Móvil del ciclo vital de una estrella

Durante los billones de años que podría durar su existencia, una estrella de densidad baja (al igual que nuestro Sol), experimenta muchos cambios. Aprende más sobre las diferentes etapas de la existencia de una estrella, y crea tu propio móvil.

El ciclo de vida de una estrella

El ciclo de vida de una estrella se determina por su tamaño o por su masa. Mientras más contenido tenga de esta, más corta resulta su vida. La cantidad de sustancia retenida por una nebulosa determina si va a nacer una estrella de masa alta o baja, como el Sol. Vamos a representar estas etapas de vida en nuestro móvil.

Pero, ¿y cómo se forman las estrellas? Mientras nubes de gas y polvo trastean en una nebulosa, hidrógeno molecular empieza a unirse por la fuerza de la gravedad. Girando más rápido, el hidrógeno se calienta y se vuelve una protoestrella. Cuando está suficientemente caliente, (¡8,333,315 grados Celsius, o 15,000,000 grados Fahrenheit!), comienza una reacción llamada fusión nuclear en el centro, atrayendo más gas y  polvo. En un corto tiempo, la estrella se estabilizará y emitirá un resplandor brillante. Esta continuará a emitir su luz por millones o hasta por billones de años. La estrella más cerca de la Tierra, el Sol, está actualmente viviendo esta etapa.

Cuando pasa el tiempo, el hidrógeno presente en el centro de la estrella se convertirá en helio a través de la fusión nuclear. Cuando el hidrógeno se haya agotado, la estrella no tendrá la capacidad de conservar la temperatura que necesita para mantener su tamaño. El centro de la estrella se contractará mientras que su capa exterior se expandirá y enfriará, brillando en un color rojo. Esta etapa de su vida se llama “la gigante roja.” Mientras se enfría el centro de la estrella, el helio se convierte en carbón. Cuando se extingue el helio, el centro se derrumba y su capa exterior expulsa gases y polvo, formando una nebulosa. El centro de la estrella sigue desprendiendo capas y enfriándose, existiendo como una “enana blanca.” Eventualmente se convertirá en una “enana negra.”

Una estrella de masa alta experimenta una explosión supernova después de ser una gigante roja. Si la explosión es pequeña, la estrella colapsa a un tamaño compacto, una “estrella neutrónica.” Si la explosión es grande, la gravedad puede comerse el centro de la estrella y convertirse en un “agujero negro.” Después de esta información tan interesante, ¿estamos listos para nuestra actividad?

Artículos necesarios:

  • Plato desechable de papel
  • Abalorios, cuentas o chaquiras, pompones, lentejuelas, papel de varios colores, bolas de algodón, relleno de almohada, etc.
  • Pinturas, marcadores y lápices de colores
  • Tijeras
  • Pegamento
  • Cordel/cuerda/hilo

Instrucciones:

  1. Decora tu plato de papel como el espacio. Este será el telón de fondo para el ciclo de vida de tu estrella.
  2. Con cuidado, usa las tijeras para cortar tu plato de papel como un espiral. Si es necesario, pídele ayuda a un adulto, dejando un centro redondo y bien pronunciado.
  3. Usa pegamento, cinta adhesiva, o haz un agujero en el centro del plato para atar un cordel.
  4. Selecciona varios objetos para representar las diferentes etapas de la vida de tu estrella. Escoge los materiales que prefieres o que tengas disponibles. Si quieres, sigue estas sugerencias:
    a. Nebulosa de vivero estelar: bolas de algodón o relleno de almohada
    b. Protoestrella: chaquira o lentejuela pequeña y de color claro
    c. Estrella de secuencia principal (como el Sol): abalorio o pompón amarillo
    d. La gigante roja: pompón grande o recorte de círculo de color rojo
    e. Nebulosa planetaria: bola de algodón, abalorio pequeño, o relleno de almohada
    f. Enana blanca: abalorio o pompón blanco
    g. Enana negra: abalorio o pompón negro pequeño
    Pega los materiales a tu espiral empezando de arriba hacia abajo y en orden. Asegúrate que estén uniformes y bien espaciados.
  5. Cuando termines de armar tu móvil, cuélgalo. Mientras gira, ¡observa las diferentes etapas de la vida de una estrella!

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

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Daily Discovery: Bending Light and Eyesight

Post written by Angela Kettle, School Programs Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Bending Light and Eyesight

Have you ever noticed that your legs look out of place when you dangle them in the pool, or that the straw in a glass of water looks bent? This is called refraction. Refraction occurs when light bends as it passes from one medium to another – for example, from the front of a glass, to the water inside, to the back of a glass. Experiment with refraction for yourself in the activity below!

Supplies:

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Crayons, colored pencils, or markers (optional)
  • 2+ different kinds of drinking glasses, filled with water – make sure the glasses are transparent
  • Your Observation Journal (find out how to make one here), or use another sheet of paper to record your findings

Instructions:

Part 1

  1. Draw an arrow on a sheet of paper. Note which way the arrow is facing (right, left, up, or down).
  2. Fill up a glass of water.
  3. Put your glass of water down, and put yourself at eye level with the water in the glass. Hold your drawing at arm’s length, so that you can see it through the glass. What do you notice about the way your drawing looks now? What about if you look at the image through the glass from a different angle?
  4. Repeat the experiment, this time with a different kind of glass. Does the image stay the same as the last glass, or does it change?
  5. Write or draw your findings in your Observation Journal.

Part 2

  1. Draw something new – whatever you like! Make sure that whatever you draw has certain parts facing one way or another (for example, you could draw a face with the eyes looking left, or a cat with its tail on the right side of the paper and its head on the left side).
  2. Look at your drawing through your glass of water, like you did with the arrows. What do you notice?
  3. Play around with your drawing and your glass. Try looking at the image from lots of different angles, through as many different kinds of drinking glasses as you can. How many different images can you create from your original image, just by experimenting with refraction?
  4. Record your findings in your Observation Journal. Share what you find by tagging us on social media and using #DailyDiscovery.

From Drinking Glasses to Eyeglasses

Refraction might seem like a fun magic trick, but did you know that refraction is what makes it possible for humans to see? Light is refracted as it passes through the cornea and the lens of the eye. This allows the light to come into focus on the retina, where it is converted into a message that the brain can understand.

Sometimes, though, refraction can go wrong, causing what’s called nearsightedness or farsightedness. When people are nearsighted, it means they can see things that are close to them, but not far away. Usually, this is caused by the eye being too long, causing light to focus in front of the retina. When people are farsighted, it means they can see things that are far away, but not things that are close. Usually, this is caused by the eye being too short, causing light to focus behind the retina. Both nearsightedness and farsightedness can also be caused by problems with the shape of the eye’s lens.

Thankfully, errors in refraction can be corrected with eyeglasses. First, an eye doctor (an optometrist) tests a patient’s vision to figure out her prescription (a way of measuring a person’s vision). From there, an engineer uses this prescription to make unique lenses. This lens is engineered to refract light so that it focuses in just the right spot on the retina, allowing the patient to see clearly.

Eyeglasses through the Ages

Eyeglasses have undergone many changes as engineers have figured out more efficient ways to craft them… and as fashion has changed, too! Here are a few historical photos from our Archive and a piece from our Collection at the museum! You can learn more about eyeglasses and fashion from our recent blog post, parts of which are adapted below:

The museum’s artifact collections offer a retrospective look (which is 20/20, of course) at the history of innovation in eyewear. Pince-nez spectacles, which had no earpieces and stayed in place with a nose clip were quite popular early in the 20th century but fell out of fashion as they became associated with older generations.

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.

References & Additional Resources

Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Fort Fund.

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Daily Discovery: Shadows! / Descubrimiento en casa: Sombras y siluetas!

Post written by Hannah Curtis, Education Assistant.

Daily Discovery: Shadows!

The simple relationship between light and dark. Shadows are everywhere, and we all have a shadow, well sometimes! Explore the realms of natural light during the day and artificial light at night and experiment with how shadows change.

Supplies:

  • Sunlight
  • Toys or objects around your house
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Sidewalk space
  • Flashlight
  • Paper
  • Coloring utensils

Instructions:

Natural Light Shadows

  1. During a sunny day, find space on the sidewalk to which you can draw with chalk or use paper and coloring utensils.
  2. Place a household object or a toy on the sidewalk and check out the shadow that is created. Move your object around and observe how the shadow changes.
  3. Find a spot where you will leave your object all day. Draw the shadow the object on your canvas. Check back every 30 minutes or hour to trace the shadow at that time without moving your object.
  4. At the end of the day before the sun goes down, pick up your object and see the different shadows that were created by one object over the course of the day!
  5. You can also experiment with the shadows of nearby trees or even family member.

Artificial Light Shadows

  1. After the sun sets and there is not more sunlight, you can create your own light and shadows using a flashlight or lamp.
  2. Turn off indoor house lights and direct the flashlight onto a bare wall or ceiling.
  3. Using your hands to form different shapes, you can create different shadow images onto the wall. Test out these different hand shapes or create your own shadow puppet shows.
  4. Try taping a piece of paper onto the wall, and draw the silhouette of a family member.
  5. Discover what happens when you bring objects closer to the flashlight, what about further away? How does the shadow change?

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: Rookieparenting.com

 

Traducido por Károl de Rueda y Laura Vilaret-Tuma.

Descubrimiento en casa: Sombras y siluetas!

La relación entre la oscuridad y la luz es muy simple. Las sombras están por todas partes, y algunas veces, ¡hasta nosotros también las proyectamos! Vamos a explorar la luz natural durante el día y la luz artificial por la noche para experimentar cómo se forman las sombras y cómo se cambian las siluetas.

Artículos necesarios:

  • Luz natural
  • Juguetes/objetos que tengas en casa
  • Una acera o banqueta
  • Tiza o gis para la acera y/o utensilios para colorear
  • Una linterna o lámpara eléctrica portable
  • Papel

Instrucciones:

Para formar sombras en la luz natural

  1. Durante un día soleado, busca un sitio en una acera o banqueta donde puedas colorear con tiza o usar papel y utensilios para colorear.
  2. Pon algún objeto o juguete sobre la acera y mira la sombra que forma. Mueve y gira tu objeto para observar cómo esta cambia.
  3. Busca un lugar donde puedas dejar tu objeto todo el día, y colócalo encima de una hoja de papel. Dibuja su silueta sobre este, y regresa cada treinta minutos o cada hora para trazar una nueva silueta en ese tiempo sin mover tu objeto.
  4. Antes del anochecer, recoge tu objeto y observa la evolución de las sombras que dibujaste durante el curso del día.
  5. ¡También puedes experimentar con las siluetas o sombras de los árboles alrededor, o hasta con algún miembro de tu familia!

Para formar siluetas usando luz artificial

  1. Después del ocaso y cuando ya no haya más luz natural, podrás crear tu propia luz artificial usando una lámpara o linterna.
  2. Apaga las luces de un cuarto y enciende la lámpara dirigiéndola hacia una pared o hacia el techo.
  3. Crea diferentes formas con tus manos y colócalas al frente de la lámpara para hacer diferentes imágenes. Más abajo te damos algunas ideas para crear personajes ¡y organizar tu propio espectáculo de sombras!
  4. También podrías pegar un papel blanco sobre la pared y trazar la silueta de un miembro de tu familia.
  5. ¿Qué pasa cuando acercas o alejas tus manos de la fuente de luz? Descubre cómo cambian las sombras y siluetas, mientras te diviertes en familia.

¿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 Fort Fund.

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Daily Discovery: Be a Noise Control Engineer – Quiet that Phone!

Post written by Eisen Tamkun, Music Education Lead.

Daily Discovery: Be a Noise Control Engineer – Quiet that Phone!

Pollution. We often hear about the different kinds, from air and water to light pollution. But have you ever heard of sound pollution? Sound pollution can have harmful effects on both our health and the environment. It is the job of Noise Control Engineers to design and test noise insulation technologies and sound-adsorbent materials to help limit the harmful impacts of noise and sound pollution. Try your own hand at being a Noise Control Engineer and quiet that phone!

Supplies:

  • Smart Phone
  • Box or container large enough to hold phone and surrounding
    materials
  • Materials- A variety of should be gathered. Start with clothes, plastic bags, bubble wrap, blankets, rain jackets, and anything else that comes to mind
  • Song to play during testing
  • Pen and paper for recording

Instructions:

  1.  Once you have gathered a variety of materials it is time to begin! Start by picking only one kind of material such as t-shirts.
  2. Begin playing that rocking song you chose.
  3. Next, surround the phone with the t-shirts and place it in your container. Try to have the phone be positioned in the very center of the box with equal amount of t-shirt material on all sides. If the phone is touching one side of the container the whole experiment is off.
  4. Close the lid and listen. Did the music get quieter or not? Go ahead and record with your pen and paper the material you used (t-shirts) and how successful it was in quieting the phone on a scale of 1-10. 10 being you can’t hear the music at all and 1 being no change in sound level.
  5. Chose another material and repeat steps 1-4.
  6. Repeat step 5.
  7.  Repeat step 5 again.
  8. Now instead of using only one kind of material switch it up and try combining the materials together. Perhaps both t-shirts and plastic bags or bubble wrap and rain jackets. The possibilities are endless! Just don’t forget to record your results.
  9. Once you are finished testing each materials and combinations of materials got back and check out your recordings. Which material did the best in canceling out noise? Why do you think that is? What other materials do you think might work better? These are questions Noise Control Engineers ask themselves.

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: 3-D Constellation

Post written by Sierra Tamkun, Learning Experiences Manager.

Daily Discovery: 3-D Constellation

Twinkle twinkle little star… I wonder how far away you are! From Earth, stars in constellations look like they grouped together in the same area of space. In reality, they are at different distances from us, and only look grouped together because of our perspective. Make your own 3-D constellation and see how close (and far away!) the different stars in the constellation Orion are to Earth!

Supplies:

  • Piece of cardboard or cardstock
  • Thin string or thread
  • 8 small beads (pony beads work well!) or buttons
  • Tape
  • Orion constellation images (attached)
  • Needle or pushpin
  • Pen or pencil
  • Ruler

Instructions:

  1. Draw out the constellation Orion on your piece of cardboard, or print the constellation provided and glue it on. Tip: if drawing the constellation, don’t forget to add the names of the stars!
  2. Poke a hole through the cardboard where each star is located.
  3. Cut 8 pieces of string. Each piece should be about 18 inches long.
  4. Tie a bead onto the end of each piece of string. These will be your stars!
  5. Thread the end without a bead through each of the holes on your cardboard.
  6. Using your ruler and the chart below, pull your string through until the bead is the correct distance from the cardboard. This distance will be different for each star. Place a piece of tape over the back of the string to keep it in place at the right length!
  7. Hold your constellation board above your head and allow the beads to hang towards you as you look up. From this perspective, the beads align to form the constellation Orion, just like on Earth!
  8. Now hold the board in front of you, allowing the beads to hang towards the floor. From this different perspective, see how the stars are not on the same plane but all in different locations in 3D 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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