Daily Discovery: Storytime in the Home – Going Around the Sun Solar System Craft

Post written by Lea Mikkelsen, Early Childhood Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Storytime in the Home – Going Around the Sun Solar System Craft

Follow along with FCMoD’s live stream Storytime in the Home: Going Around the Sun: Some Planetary Fun. Then gather your supplies to make your very own solar system art!

Supplies:

  • Construction paper in a variety of colors
  • Glue stick
  • Glitter Glue
  • Scissors
  • Stickers, Pom Poms, Sequins, crayons, or other craft supplies

Instructions:

  1. Place all your supplies on a clear surface with plenty of room to work.
  2. Start with a dark piece of construction paper. Outer space is very dark, so we used black paper.
  3. Cut out some circles in various colors for planets! Can you remember how many planets there are? (8)
  4. What color is the sun? Cut out the sun from yellow or orange (or be creative with other colors)!
  5. Glue the planets in orbit around the sun!
  6. Try using glitter glue to decorate your planets, make moons, rings, or sparkly stars, or glue other fun decorations to your solar system. Be creative!
  7. Share your creations with us on Instagram or Facebook! Use #dailydiscovery or tag us to share!

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 Buell Foundation. Their support helps make access to early childhood education at FCMoD possible for everyone in our community.

Continue Reading

Daily Discovery: “Milky” – Way Nebulas

Post written by Hannah Curtis, Education Assistant.

Daily Discovery: “Milky” – Way Nebulas

NASA, with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope, capture the colorful and mysterious formations of nebulas. They are created from the gas and dust from supernovas or become star nurseries where new stars will be formed. With chemistry and experimentation create your own nebula, but they won’t take billions of years to form!

Supplies:

  • Paper plate or glass dish
  • 3 colors of food coloring
  • 1 cup of milk (preferably higher fat content)
  • 1 Tablespoon Dish soap
  • Q-tips

Instructions:

  1. Pour the milk into your plate or dish.
  2. Add as many droplets of food coloring as you want into each plate. Observe how the droplets don’t disperse and remain as individual droplets. The fat content in the milk creates a denser environment making it difficult for the color to move.
  3. Dip one end of the Q-tip into the dish soap and then into the center of the plate.
  4. Watch as your nebula begins to take form. Milk and dish soap cause a chemical reaction when they come together. The food coloring allows us to see this reaction more clearly! The molecules of in the dish soap and the fat molecules in the milk are attracted to each other and work hard to join together. The dish soap also breaks the surface tension allowing the food coloring to move freely.
  5. Use the Q-tip to swirl the colors to create beautiful, mesmerizing patterns. Expand by mixing different
    colors together. What happens if you use different dairy products all with different fat contents, will it produce different nebulas?
  6. Learn more cool facts and check out more nebulas from NASA.

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.

Continue Reading

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.

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Daily Discovery: Constellation Scope/ Descubrimiento en casa: ¡Observa las constelaciones!

Post written by Sierra Tamkun, Learning Experiences Manager.

Daily Discovery: Constellation Scope

Have you ever searched the night sky for patterns in the stars? For thousands of years, humans have used easily recognizable star patterns, or constellations, to guide mythology, storytelling, and travels. Explore some well-known patterns in the night sky by making your very own constellation scope!

Supplies:

  • Toilet paper tube
  • Dark construction paper
  • Tape
  • Push pin
  • Constellation patterns (attached in PDF)

Instructions:

  1. Using your toilet paper tube, trace a circle on your dark-colored construction paper. Draw a larger circle around the outside – this is how we will attach the paper to the toilet paper tube!
  2. Cut along the outside circle. Fold the edges of your paper circle over the top of your toilet paper tube and attach it with tape. Tip: cut slashes along the edge of your paper circle to fold them over more easily!
  3. Place your constellation pattern on top the paper circle. Using a push pin, poke holes where the “stars” are.
  4.  Look through your viewer at a light source to see a shining constellation. Tonight, head outside and see if you can find this same constellation in the night sky!

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: ¡Observa las constelaciones!

¿Alguna vez has podido observar alguna de las constelaciones en el cielo nocturno? Una constelación es un grupo de estrellas en una región celeste que forma una figura determinada. Por miles de años, los seres humanos las han usado para guiar viajes, contar historias y crear mitologías. Crea tu propia mira telescópica y ¡encuentra algunas constelaciones famosas en el cielo!

Artículos necesarios:

  • Tubos de cartón (p. ej. de papel higiénico o de toalla de papel)
  • Papel de construcción o cartulina (de color oscuro)
  • Cinta adhesiva
  • Tijeras
  • Chincheta o tachuela
  • Plantillas de constelaciones (incluidas en la segunda página)

Instrucciones:

  1. Traza un círculo sobre el papel usando el tubo de cartón como guía. Luego dibuja un círculo mucho más grande a su alrededor, para que este sea el borde que nos va a ayudar a adjuntarlo al tubo de cartón.
  2. Recorta el círculo más grande y envuélvelo alrededor de uno de los extremos del tubo, fijándolo con cinta adhesiva. Consejo: Es más fácil doblar el papel si le haces unas cortadas paralelas.
  3. Imprime o dibuja las plantillas de las constelaciones que puedes encontrar más abajo. Corta y pega una de ellas sobre el papel que adheriste al tubo, y haz agujeros sobre los puntos negros, o “estrellas” que corresponden a cada constelación con la ayuda de la tachuela o chincheta. Puedes hacer una, o todas las constelaciones utilizando diferentes tubos de cartón.
  4. Apunta tu mira telescópica hacia cualquier fuente de luz para mirar una constelación simulada y aprender sobre ella. Esta noche, ¡puedes tratar de buscar la misma constelación en el cielo!

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

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

Continue Reading

At Home Education Resources

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing Assistant.

At Home Education Resources

Here at FCMoD, we believe in education. And during times like this, we want you to know that education can be found anywhere and learning does not stop!

In this blog post, we’ve compiled a list of our recommended education resources during this time. Learn more below!

  • Whether you’re in the mood to virtually explore ancient Rome, read past presidents’ personal papers or download coloring pages from dozens of international cultural institutions, this roundup has you covered. Check it out here!
  • The Adler Planetarium  shared this awesome #MuseumAtHome resource: 10 experiments from their “Let’s Do Science” series!
  • Here’s another awesome virtual resource for staying engaged with cultural institutions!
  • Have you ever wondered how space exploration impacts your daily life? NASA has put together this website about just that!
  • Missing Little STEAMers? Us too. But we found this handy resource of 100+ indoor craft activities for kids!
  • Speaking of online resources, here’s 13.8 billion years of history online for free!
  • Missing Storytime in the Dome? How about storytime in space?! Check out the latest storytime in space reading.

Even though the museum is closed, we want to continue to inspire creativity and encourage hands-on learning for all!

Continue Reading