It’s National Pollinator Week! ?

Post written by Alexa Leinaweaver, Live Animal Husbandry Coordinator.

?It’s National Pollinator Week!

June 22-28, 2020, is the 13th annual National Pollinator Week!

What Are Pollinators?

Pollinators are animals that move pollen from one flower to another flower of the same species in the first step toward the plant reproducing. While pollinators are primarily insects (bees, beetles, flies, moths, butterflies), there are also some birds and small mammals that pollinate plants too.

More than 70% — and possibly as much as 90%! — of flowering plants are dependent on pollination for creating seeds and fruit. It is estimated that one out of every three bites of food you eat was made possible by animal pollinators!

Many of the animals that pollinate are in decline. Pollinator habitats are shrinking or getting destroyed so they have no space to live or feed. In addition, overuse of pesticides, environmental pollution, and climate change are all adding risks to these animals.

Pollinators in Colorado

In Colorado, we have a wide range of habitats and extreme changes in altitude – different bees will thrive in each area. Because of that variety of habitat, Colorado is home to more than 900 species of bees! There are more than 200 bees in Larimer County alone. The smallest bee in Colorado is the Miner Bee (Perdita salacis) at 3.5mm/0.1in; the largest is the Nevada Bumblebee (Bombus nevadensis) at 26.5mm/1in. Colorado bees are colorful, too! Different species may be the usual yellow and black, or range to red, orange, green, blue, or brown.

Most bees in Colorado (and the rest of the world too) are solitary bees that don’t live in a colony like the familiar honeybee. Most of these solitary bees are ground nesters, digging burrows in the soil or using abandoned rodent burrows. Some of the bees here are cavity nesters, finding holes or cavities in twigs or logs.

In Colorado, bees are responsible for pollinating 80% of the crops in our state.

In addition to bees, other pollinators in Colorado include approximately 250 species of butterfly and more than 1,000 species of moth. There are also 11 species of hummingbird that migrate through the state from April through September.

How can you help pollinators?

Learn more about the pollinators in the space where you live. Spend some time outside and observe the animals that are visiting your garden. What kinds of animals do you see? What colors are they? How do they behave as they visit flowers?

Create good habitats for pollinators around your home. Whether you have acres of land or just a window box, you can help pollinators by offering them food and shelter. Plant a variety of flowering plants (preferably native – CSU has a great example list of native plants for pollinators) that offer food and nesting space. Provide several different kinds of blooming plants near each other, and use plants that have different bloom times, so that flowers are available to pollinators from early spring through late fall. Plant in sunny locations that are protected from the wind.

Don’t “clean up” your yard in the fall. Leave all the dormant or dead plants alone rather than trimming them back for the winter season — cavity nesting bees and other pollinating insects will use them as a safe home during the cold weather. Leave some leaf litter around for butterflies and moths to use as insulation over the winter, rather than raking it all up and dumping it in the landfill. If you can include materials in your yard such as logs or wood nesting blocks, you provide space for species that nest in wood to survive the snow. Leave some of the ground uncovered (i.e. don’t put mulch everywhere) for the native bees that nest in the bare dirt for the winter.

Reduce use of chemicals for controlling weeds and pests, as these can hurt or kill beneficial pollinators as well.

Protect natural habitat.

 Share what you know. Talk to your friends and family about what you have learned about pollinators and how and why you are helping them. Talk to your local and state government about how important it is to protect pollinators.

 

 

 

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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.

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

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Daily Discovery: “Three Lost Seeds” Seed Pod Stamps Craft

Post written by Lea Mikkelsen, Early Childhood Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Three Lost Seeds Seed Pod Stamps Craft

Follow along with FCMoD’s live stream Storytime in the Home: Three Lost Seeds. Then gather your supplies to make your very own nature inspired seed pod stamps!

Supplies:

• Colored paper
• Modelling Clay
• A pencil
• A plastic knife
• White paint
• A paper plate
• Optional: Paint brush

Instructions:

1. Place all your supplies on a clear surface with plenty of room to work.

2. Cut a small piece of clay off with a knife. Using your fingers, pinch part of the clay into a small handle and then press the clay flat on a surface to make the flat stamp end.

3. Images of seed pods can help inspire your seed pod stamp design.

4. Using a pencil or knife, shape the stamp to look like your seed pod.

5. Dip the stamper in the paint and press it on a piece of paper. Tip: Too much paint will look globby. Try brushing the paint on with a paint brush if you want a smoother stamp.

6. Use your stamp to make beautiful seed pod art! You can also make other nature inspired stamps with your clay. Have fun and be creative!

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: redtedart.com

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: Nature Among Us – Wildlife/ Descubrimiento en casa: La naturaleza entre nosotros- la vida silvestre

Post written by Bella Harris, Discovery Agent.

Daily Discovery: Nature Among Us – Wildlife

Use your scientific skills to research city critters around Fort Collins! All you need is a camera, a pen or pencil, and a love for exploration to be a wildlife researcher. Below is a table to check off different wildlife sightings around Fort Collins. Try to find as many as you can! You can print this table or simply use it as an online guide. When you finish, share a picture of your table and pictures from your natural place adventures on our social media pages listed below!

Here are some recommendations for natural places to look for wildlife:

  • Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area
  • Cottonwood Hollow Natural Area
  • Bobcat Ridge Natural Area
  • Pineridge Natural Area
  • Soapstone Prairie Natural Area
  • Check out here for more natural places to explore!

Before completing this worksheet, we welcome you to fill out a quick survey so we can learn more about your interests and how we can better adapt future programs!

Instructions:

  1. Put a check by every animal you find! Or fill out your own wildlife discovery at the bottom of the table. You can also document your discoveries on a piece of paper.

Please take about a week to fill out this worksheet. When you have completed as much of the table as possible, please take a photo of it! Be sure to photograph your exploration throughout natural places in Fort Collins, too!

You can upload your photos and share your adventures on the museum’s Facebook page. When creating your Nature Among Us post, please include a photo of your wildlife  chart/list, photos of the natural places you visited, and a short description of where you went, what you saw, and how many times you explored. And don’t forget to use the hastag #NatureAmongUs! You can also email your research results to Bella Harris.

Each week, we’ll highlight the work you have done! Stay tuned for next week’s Daily Discovery, where we will explore leaves and other green things in Nature Among Us: Plants.

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.

Learn more about local wildlife!

Traducido por Károl de Rueda y Laura Vilaret-Tuma.

Descubrimiento en casa: La naturaleza entre nosotros – la vida silvestre

¡Usa tus habilidades científicas para investigar animalitos que viven en tu área o en los alrededores de Fort Collins! Solo necesitas una cámara, algo para escribir, y el entusiasmo para explorar y convertirte en un/a investigador/a de la vida silvestre. Debajo encontrarás una tabla para marcar avistamientos de animalitos salvajes a tus alrededores. ¡Intenta encontrar tantos como puedas! Imprime esta actividad o simplemente úsala como una guía. Cuando termines, ¡comparte fotos de tus aventuras en nuestras redes sociales!

Les recomendamos estos espacios naturales en Fort Collins para buscar fauna silvestre:

  • Área natural de la pradera de Cathy Fromme (Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area)
  • Área natural hueca de álamos (Cottonwood Hollow Natural Area)
  • Área natural de Bobcat Ridge (Bobcat Ridge Natural Area)
  • Área natural de Pineridge (Pineridge Natural Area)
  • Pradera de piedra de jabón (Soapstone Prairie Natural Area)
  • Haz clic en el enlace https://www.fcgov.com/naturalareas/ ¡y encuentra más espacios naturales para explorar!

Antes de completar esta actividad, te invitamos a llenar una breve encuesta en tu propio idioma. Con tus respuestas, aprenderemos más sobre tus intereses y sobre las diversas formas en las que podríamos adaptar nuestros programas y actividades en el futuro. ¡Muchas gracias!

Instrucciones:

  1. Marca cada animal que veas. Si te topas con algún otro que no se encuentra en esta lista, puedes nombrarlo en los espacios de “nuevo descubrimiento” al final de la tabla, o también puedes documentar estas aventuras en cualquier hoja de papel o cuaderno.

Podrías completar esta actividad durante el curso de varios días. Cuando hayas terminado la mayor parte de la tabla, tómale una foto. También asegúrate de fotografiar tus exploraciones en los varios espacios naturales que visitaste en Fort Collins. ¡Sobre todo si viste alguno de estos animales!

Puedes subir tus fotos y compartir tus aventuras en nuestra página de Facebook. Cuando estés escribiendo tú publicación, por favor incluye los resultados de la tabla más arriba, una pequeña  descripción sobre los lugares a los que fuiste, lo que observaste, y el número de veces que visitaste un espacio natural. Podrías utilizar la etiqueta #NatureAmongUs. Si quieres, también puedes mandar tus investigaciones por correo electrónico a Bella Harris.

Durante cada semana, estaremos presentando estos trabajos ¡incluyendo el tuyo! a través de las redes sociales.

Mantente sintonizado con nuestro próximo Descubrimiento en casa, titulado “La naturaleza entre nosotros: las plantas,” donde observaremos las hojas y otro follaje verde.

¿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: Water Week – Clean It Up!/ Descubrimiento en casa: Semana del agua- ¡Fíltrala!

Post written by Heidi Fuhrman, Discovery Camp Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Water Week – Clean It Up!

Water is important to life on Earth but how can we make it safe to use and can we re-use it? Learn about the importance of water and take on a challenge to create your own filtration system and clean up some polluted water!

Supplies:

  • Water
  • Plastic bottle, milk jug, or other clear container
  • Assortment of “filtration” materials:
    • Napkins
    • Paper towels
    • Coffee filters
    • Cotton balls
    • Clay
    • Sand
    • Gravel/small pebbles
  • Assortment of “pollution” materials:
    • Dirt
    • Small objects like paperclips
    • Food scraps like peels
    • Pieces of leaves/grass
    • Food coloring
    • Oil
    • Salt/other spices
  • Tape or rubber bands
  • Scissors

Importance of Water

How have you used water today? Stop and think about it! Make a list!

You probably thought of things like drinking or cooking or taking a shower, but did you think about things like brushing your teeth? Going swimming? Watering your yard? Giving your pets a drink? Flushing the toilet? Water is very important to our life on earth, we need it to survive! In fact, you can survive several weeks without food but only a few days without water! And we use a LOT of water each day. The average American uses 80-100 gallons of water each day. . .that’s 2-3 bathtubs full for just one person! How many people live in your house? How many bathtubs full of water are you using each day?

We use a lot of water each day, but there isn’t a lot of usable water in the world. Even though our planet is covered with water (over 70% of Earth is water!) only about 3% of the water on Earth is not salt water. . . and only about 1% of that 3% freshwater is usable (not locked up in glaciers, ice, the soil, or too polluted)! We have just a tiny amount of water to share with this whole globe, and as population and pollution increase that amount gets smaller and smaller! In dry or arid places (like here in Colorado and other parts of the American West) water is even more valuable!

Since water is so valuable it’s important to use every last drop! But water that flows in our rivers and streams isn’t usable for drinking, cooking, and cleaning right away. . .it contains pollutants and microorganisms that are harmful to humans. Is there a way to clean this water so it is safe to drink and use? We also waste a lot of
water down our sinks, drains, and toilets. . . is there a way to clean and re-use this water too?

There sure is a way to clean and re-use our water! Filtration is one of the best ways to start cleaning up our water so it’s safe to use. Filtration is the process of removing particles and pollutants from a liquid, and it’s how we start cleaning up our water (we also use safe chemicals and other to kill microorganisms an make the water potable which means “safe to drink”). While anyone can build a simple filtration system, Civil Engineers1 help design and build water treatment plants for our cities to help filter our water and make it safe for us to use. Today in our engineering challenge see if you can come up with a filtration system that can filter your polluted water! (Check out the worksheet at the end to help guide you!)

Note: The filtration methods used in this activity are a simple demonstration and the water should not be considered safe for drinking.

Engineering Challenge: Design A Water Filtration System!

Start by thinking about some sources of water pollution. If you turned on your faucet and no water came out, where would you find water near your house to use? What do those places look like? What could be polluting that water? Would you be okay drinking it?

Instructions:

  1. Thinking about the things that can pollute our water, mix up some polluted water of your own! Fill a jar or cup with some water and add pollutants! You could use bits of grass and leaves, dirt, oil, spices, small objects like paperclips, and food coloring. Ew! Gross!
  2. Gather your filtration supplies. You can use a variety of items, but we suggest a combination of napkins, coffee filters, paper towels, cotton balls, clay, sand, and gravel.
  3. Create your filtration system base. Cut the top off a plastic bottle, jug, or carton several inches below the top. A 2 liter soda bottle works best, but you can use a water bottle, juice jug, or even the top of a milk jug or carton. Place the top of your bottle inside the bottom or suspend over a pitcher or jar. Secure the two together with tape.
  4. Now we’re ready to start thinking like an Engineer and designing our filtration system! We’re going to use the Engineering Design Process to help us reach a solution today! (see steps on left). First, let’s think about what is the problem that we’re trying to solve? (Our water is polluted, and we need it clean!) Look at that polluted water you made:
    • What types of pollutants do we need to filter out?
    • Which of the filtration materials we have could help filter them out?
    • What are some possible solutions to our problem? How could you design your filtration system?
    Next, draw your idea for your design.
  5. Build your filtration system! Using the materials create layers in the top half of your filtration system base. At the end you’ll be pouring your polluted water into the top and watching it go through your filters to drip into the bottom. You want the water in the end to be as clean as possible! Think about:
    • Which materials can filter which size pollutants?
    • How can you order the layers to work the best?
    • Predict which layer will filter which pollutants.
  6. Once you’re done designing it’s time to test your filtration systems! Give your polluted water a mix and then pour it in the top! Watch the water move through your filtration
    system. Observe what the water looks like at the end.
    • Does the water look cleaner?
    • Are there any pollutants you weren’t able to filter out?
    • Are there pollutants you can’t see but are probably still there (e.g. oil)?
    • How could you remove the pollutants that you can’t see or couldn’t filter?
    • How would you feel about drinking this water? Do you think you’d get sick? What about microscopic pollutants and organisms?
    NOTE: The filtration methods used in this activity are simple demonstration and the water should not be considered safe for drinking.
  7. Take apart your filter and look at each of the different layers. Can you tell what each material filtered out? Did any of the materials surprise you by doing a better (or worse) job than you expected?

Level Up:

  1. Real engineers learn from their tests and try again to create an even better system! Empty the bottle, throw out your old filter materials, wipe out the bottle and try again! See if you can make the water even cleaner!
  2. Challenge someone! Make a big batch of polluted water and see who can filter it best!

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: Semana del agua – ¡Fíltrala!

El agua es básica para sostener la vida, pero ¿cómo podemos hacerla más segura para nuestro uso? ¿Es posible reutilizarla? Aprende más sobre su importancia y además ¡crea tu propio prototipo de un sistema de filtración para purificar agua contaminada!

Artículos necesarios:

  • Un vaso con agua
  • Botella, galón de leche o cualquier otro recipiente transparente de plástico
  • Cinta adhesiva o bandas elásticas (ligas)
  • Tijeras
  • Variedad de materiales para filtrar el agua:
    • Servilletas
    • Toallas de papel
    • Filtros para café
    • Bolitas de algodón
    • Arcilla/barro
    • Arena
    • Grava o piedritas
  • Variedad de materiales para “contaminar el agua”:
    •  Tierra
    • Objetos pequeños como clips para papeles
    •  Desechos de comida como cáscaras
    • Hojas o hierba
    • Colorante vegetal
    • Aceite
    • Sal/otras especias

La importancia del agua

¿En qué formas has usado el agua durante el día de hoy? Haz una lista.

Probablemente escribiste algunas maneras típicas de usarla, como para bañarte o para tomarla. Pero también usamos el agua en maneras menos obvias, como por ejemplo, para lavarte los dientes, al nadar, al regar las plantas, al darles agua a tus mascotas, ¡y hasta descargando el inodoro! Este elemento es muy importante para nuestro planeta, y definitivamente la necesitamos para poder sobrevivir. Es cierto que los humanos podríamos subsistir muchas semanas sin comida, ¡pero solamente unos días sin agua! ¿Y cuánta usamos generalmente? La persona promedio en Estados Unidos usa aproximadamente 80-100 galones de agua ¡en un solo día! Lo que equivale a 2-3 bañeras o tinas llenas de agua por persona. ¿Cuántas personas viven en tu casa? ¿Cuántas bañeras de agua están usando cada día? ¡Vamos a averiguar!

Usamos bastante agua todos los días, pero ¿puedes creer que en el mundo hay muchas fuentes de agua que no se pueden utilizar? Aunque nuestro planeta está cubierto con agua (más del 70% de la Tierra está compuesto de ella) solamente 3% es agua dulce. . . y solo 1% es utilizable (o sea, no es salada, no está en glaciares, congelada, en la tierra, o contaminada), así que tenemos un suministro finito de agua para compartir con el globo entero. Mientras la población y la polución ascienden, la cantidad de agua disminuye. En lugares secos o áridos (como aquí en Colorado) ¡el agua es todavía más valiosa!

Como el agua es un recurso tan precioso, es importante aprovecharla bien. Cuando este elemento fluye en ríos y arroyos no se puede usar inmediatamente para tomar, cocinar o limpiar, porque contiene contaminantes y microbios que son dañinos para los humanos. ¿Conoces alguna manera de purificarla y hacerla segura para su consumo? Además, también gastamos mucha agua potable a través del fregadero, en los drenajes y en el inodoro. . . ¿Habrá alguna manera para purificar y reutilizar esta agua?

¡Afortunadamente, la respuesta es sí! La filtración es una de las mejores maneras para limpiar nuestra agua y hacerla segura para su uso, ya que es el proceso utilizado para remover partículas y contaminantes de un líquido, siendo este el paso básico para empezar a purificar el agua (también se usan químicos seguros para eliminar microorganismos, lo que hace que el agua sea potable, o segura para consumir.)

Mientras que cualquier persona puede construir un sistema de filtración básica, los ingenieros civiles diseñan y construyen plantas purificadoras de agua para nuestras ciudades.

El reto de esta actividad incluye el que te conviertas en un ingeniero al diseñar tu propio prototipo de sistema de filtración para purificar el agua de tu casa. (Puedes utilizar la guía de abajo para facilitar esta actividad).

Aviso: Los métodos de filtración usados en esta actividad son únicamente para propósitos de demonstración y el agua resultante no debería ser considerada segura para consumir.

Reto de ingeniería: Diseña un filtro purificador de agua

Inicia pensando en las diferentes maneras en que se contamina el agua. Si no hubiera agua en tu casa, ¿a dónde irías para encontrarla? ¿Cómo sería ese lugar? ¿Aceptarías tomarla?

Instrucciones:

  1. Vamos a hacer nuestra propia “agua contaminada.” A tu vaso con agua, agrégale unos “contaminantes.” Puedes usar hierba, hojas, tierra, aceite, especias, objetos pequeños, colorante para alimentos, etc. ¡Ahora sí quedó muy sucia!
  2. Reúne los artículos que vas a usar para filtrar tu agua contaminada. Puedes utilizar una variedad de cosas, pero sugerimos una combinación de servilletas, filtros para café, toallas de papel, bolitas de algodón, arcilla, arena, o piedritas.
  3. Crea la base para tu sistema de filtración. Usando las tijeras, corta 10-15 centímetros de la parte superior de algún recipiente transparente. Una botella de 2 litros sirve mejor, pero también podrías usar cualquier otra o hasta un galón de leche. Pon la parte cortada de tu botella bocabajo dentro de la otra parte, y pégalas con cinta adhesiva o únelas con una liga.
  4. ¡Estamos listos para pensar como un ingeniero y diseñar nuestro propio sistema de filtración! Vamos a usar el proceso del diseño de ingeniería (el gráfico a tu izquierda) para
    llegar a una solución. ¿Cuál es el problema que estamos tratando de resolver? El que nuestra agua está contaminada y necesitamos purificarla. Pensando en el agua contaminada que creaste, pregúntate lo siguiente:
    • ¿Cuáles contaminantes tenemos que filtrar?
    • ¿Cuáles de los materiales de filtración que tienes disponibles crees que puedan ser más eficientes para purificar el agua?
    • ¿Cuáles son algunas soluciones posibles, y cómo podrías diseñar tu sistema para mejor resolver el problema?
    Después, dibuja tu diseño.
  5. Construye tu propio prototipo de sistema de filtración. Pon los materiales (descritos en el paso #2) en forma de capas dentro de la base. Luego vierte el agua por encima de ellas y observa cómo se van filtrando los contaminantes. ¡El agua filtrada debe de aparecer lo más clara posible!
    • ¿Qué materiales pueden filtrar eficientemente contaminantes según su tamaño?
    • ¿En qué orden podrías reorganizar los materiales para que filtren mejor?
    • Predice las capas que podrían filtrar a ciertos contaminantes.
  6. Después de fabricar tu filtro purificador, ¡es hora de ponerlo a prueba! Mezcla tu agua contaminada otra vez para incorporar todos los ingredientes y viértela por encima de tu sistema. Observa al agua pasando a través de las capas y también al agua que sale al fondo.
    • ¿El agua filtrada parece más limpia?
    • ¿Hay algún contaminante que no se pudo filtrar?
    • ¿Crees que todavía hay contaminantes en el agua filtrada que no se pueden ver a simple vista, como por ejemplo, el aceite?
    • ¿Cómo podrías eliminar los contaminantes que todavía existen o no se ven en el agua filtrada?
    • ¿Cómo te sentirías si tuvieras que tomar esta agua? ¿Crees que te enfermarías?
    ¿Crees que quedan contaminantes y microbios microscópicos?
    Aviso: Recuerda que los métodos de filtración usados en esta actividad son únicamente para propósitos de demonstración y el agua resultante no debería ser considerada segura para consumir.
  7. Empieza a desarmar tu filtro y observa cada una de las capas. ¿Puedes decir cuál de ellas filtró cada material? ¿Cuál funcionó mejor (o peor) de lo que esperabas?

Al siguiente nivel:

  1. ¿Sabías que los ingenieros verdaderamente utilizan este tipo de pruebas mientras continúan investigando para mejorar los sistemas que están diseñando? Ahora, vacía tus recipientes, límpialos bien, ¡y prueba otra vez! ¿Puedes lograr que el agua sea aún más limpia?
  2. ¡Convierte este experimento en un juego divertido y educativo para todos! Reta a tus familiares para averiguar quién puede crear el prototipo de filtración más eficiente. Y ahora que ya sabes más sobre el agua, ¡a seguirla cuidado!

¿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: Storytime in the Home – What’s This Tail Saying? Peacock Craft

Post written by Lea Mikkelsen, Early Childhood Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Storytime in the Home – What’s This Tail Saying? Peacock Craft

Follow along with FCMoD’s live stream Storytime in the Home: What’s this Tail Saying? Then create your very own beautiful peacock with a stunning tail of feathers.

Supplies:

  • 2 sheets of green construction paper
  • 1 sheet of blue construction paper
  • 1 small triangle of orange construction paper
  • Glue (glue stick and craft glue will be helpful)
  • Tape
  • Googly eyes or some black craft paper to cut out eyes
  • A small cardboard tube
  • Crayons
  • Optional: pencil, 1 blue pipe cleaner.

Instructions:

  1. Place all your supplies on a clear surface with plenty of room to create.
  2. Glue together the short ends of the two sheets of green construction paper making a longer piece of green paper and then decorate with crayons! Peacocks generally have green, blue, orange, teal, and yellow in their feathers. But you can be creative!
  3. Fold the entire long green paper accordion style (along the short end). Then tape the bottom together creating a point. It should look like a fan when you are done.
  4. Measure the size of the paper towel tube on the blue paper making sure the paper will wrap all the way around it. Use a pencil to trace it if that helps you. Then add a little bump around the middle top of the tube to make your peacocks head and cut the whole thing out.
  5. Wrap the tube in the blue paper and glue it down.
  6. Glue the small orange triangle beak and eyes onto your peacock’s head.
  7. Cut the optional pipe cleaner head feathers, curl them to create a feather shape, and then tape them to the inside of the cardboard tube.
  8. Glue the tube with the head facing out to the center of your accordion folded feathers.

BONUS: Here are some activities including a mix & match that relate to What’s This Tail Saying? Here are some coloring pages!

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.

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Daily Discovery: Meet the Arthropods!/ Descubrimiento en casa: Conoce al animal- ¡los artrópodos!

Post written by Hannah Curtis, Education Assistant.

Daily Discovery: Meet the Arthropods!

Tarantulas, cockroaches, and millipedes, oh my! These “creepy” crawly animals are often characterized as gross, scary, or straight up “eww,” but they all have unique traits and play an important role in their wild ecosystems. Meet FCMoD’s arthropods and become an entomologist in your own backyard!

What are arthropods?

Arthropods are characterized as invertebrate animals, mean they don’t have a spine but they do have an exoskeleton. Their body is segmented by a head, thorax and abdomen. Insects, arachnids (spider species), myriapods (millipedes and centipedes) and crustaceans (crabs, lobsters, shrimp) are all part of the arthropod (Arthropoda) phylum.

At FCMoD we care for a variety of arthropods such as the Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, Whip Scorpion, Assassin Bugs, and many more! Check out some of their individual life histories!

Observations in the Backyard!

Whether it is in your backyard, neighborhood or at a Natural Area, animals can be observed just about anywhere! Entomologists are scientists who study all types of insects. They study and observe these animals in the wild to learn about their behaviors and identify their role within the ecosystem. You can be a backyard entomologist to observe similar animals as the museum’s arthropods and record what you discover!

Many arthropods are decomposers, which means they break down organic material, flesh of dead animals, poop, rotting leaves and other foliage. This process provides nutrients to the soil which is essential for plants to grow. Without this process, the organic material and waste would pile up and take longer to decompose.

Supplies:

  • Writing utensil
  • Paper
  • Computer and internet access (optional)

Instructions:

  1.  If you created an observational chart, write down your animal observations in the “explore your world” section. If not, create your own observational chart, using the provided guiding questions.
  2. Head out to your backyard or take a walk to explore some of the smallest animals that live near you. Check under rocks, in the grass and even in the trees.
  3. Check out this BBC Earth video:  and see how the Garden Orb Weave spider weaves their web.

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: Conoce al animal – ¡los artrópodos!

Tarántulas, cucarachas, y milpiés, ¡ay, ay, ay! Estos animales tienen la reputación de dar miedo y de ser “repugnantes,” pero en realidad sus características únicas sirven un rol importante en el ecosistema. Conoce a los artrópodos del Museo del Descubrimiento de Fort Collins (FCMoD) y ¡sé un entomólogo en tu propio patio!

¿Qué son los artrópodos?

Los artrópodos son animales invertebrados, lo que significa que no tiene columna vertebral pero sí tienen un exoesqueleto. Su cuerpo está compuesto de una anatomía segmentada: una cabeza, un tórax y un abdomen. Los insectos, los arácnidos (especie de arañas), los miriápodos (milpiés, ciempiés), y los crustáceos (cangrejos,
langostas, camarones) son parte del filo artrópodo (Arthropoda).

En el museo, cuidamos a una variedad de artrópodos incluyendo a cucarachas gigantes de Madagascar, a escorpiones látigo o vinagrillos, a chinches asesinas ¡y muchos más! Conoce la historia de algunos de ellos.

Observaciones a tu alrededor

Estos tipos de animales se pueden observar en un patio, en un jardín, en un área natural o ¡en cualquier sitio! Los entomólogos son científicos que estudian una variedad de insectos, observándolos en su medio ambiente para aprender sobre sus comportamientos e identificar su rol en el ecosistema. Observa animales similares a los artrópodos del museo ¡y documenta lo que descubres!

Muchos artrópodos son descomponedores, lo que significa que ayudan a desintegrar materiales orgánicos como la carne de animales muertos, excrementos, hojas podridas y otro follaje. Este proceso provee nutrientes necesarios para la tierra y es vital para el crecimiento de las plantas. Sin estos animales, materiales y residuos orgánicos se acumularían en grandes cantidades y tomarían más tiempo para descomponerse.

Artículos necesarios:

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

Instrucciones:

  1. Crea una tabla de observaciones usando la guía de preguntas que puedes encontrar más abajo. Anótalas en un cuaderno, un diario o en hojas de papel.
  2. Da un paseo con tu familia por los alrededores o ve a tu patio para observar algunos de los artrópodos que viven cerca de ti. Encuéntrenlos bajo las piedras, en la hierba, o inclusive viviendo entre las ramas de los árboles.
  3. Si quieres aprender más sobre algunos artrópodos, haz clic en este enlace:  ¡Ahí puedes ver cómo la araña de seda dorada construye su telaraña!

¿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: “If You Love Honey” Bee Headband Craft

Post written by Lea Mikkelsen, Early Childhood Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Storytime in the Home – If You Love Honey  Bee Headband Craft

Follow along with FCMoD’s live stream Storytime in the Home: If You Love Honey: Nature’s Connections. Then gather all your supplies to create this adorable honeybee headband. Buzz Buzz!

Supplies:

  • Yellow and Black craft paper
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Yarn
  • Hole punch

Instructions:

  1. Place all your supplies on a clear surface with plenty of room to create.
  2. Cut a long strip of yellow craft paper.
  3. Cut a second strip of black craft paper and cut that into small bee stripes.
  4. Glue the black bee stripes to the yellow strip of craft paper leaving some yellow bits in between.
  5. Punch a hole in the ends of the strip and thread the yarn through to use as a tie.
  6. Curl one end of each pipe cleaner to make a small ball.
  7. Tape the pipe cleaners to the inside of the headband where you want each antenna to go.
  8. Tie your headband on and do a honeybee dance! BUZZZZZzzzz!

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: Agriculture in Action!

Post written by Hannah Curtis, Education Assistant.

Daily Discovery: Agriculture in Action!

Agriculture and farming have a long history in Fort Collins and all over the globe. Most of the time we only see the end product, the fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. With this activity, see what happens under the dirt through experimentation with the scientific method!

Follow along through Facebook and Instagram with museum educator Hannah as she demonstrates this experiment in her own home. Happy Farming!

Supplies:

General:

  • Water
  • Indoor space with sunlight
  • Sharpie or marker
  • Paper and pencil to record daily observations
  • Potting soil and planter (optional)

Growing Produce from seeds:

  • Seeds (dried beans, flower seeds, other fruit or vegetable seeds)
  • Baking tray or cutting board
  • Paper towels
  • Spray bottle (optional)
  • Ziploc bags

Re-Growing Produce from Kitchen Scraps:

  • Kitchen scraps (celery base, lettuce heart, green onion base, yellow onion top)
  • Small bowls or containers
  • Sharp kitchen knife and adult supervision

Instructions:

For ages 3-5:

  1. Review what plants and flowers need to grow and walk through the stages of plant growth.
  2. The Ziploc bag method can be easily monitored and observed, but we recommend setting up a method together that works best for your household. See procedures below.
  3. Ask your young scientist what they think will happen to the produce or seeds? Talk about different plants they have seen and discuss how they grow or where their favorite fruits and vegetables come from.
  4. Observe and talk about what is happening to your produce or seeds every day.

For ages 6 and up:

  1. Review what plants and flowers need to grow and walk through the stages of plant growth.
  2. Work through the scientific process before proceeding with the experiment. Decide on an experiment you want to test.
  3. Write down your answers for the scientific process and create your method for observation.
  4. Depending on your growing method, follow the procedures below.
  5. Record your observations every day in an observational chart, farming journal or a photo archive. As your produce grows you can look back on previous days, predict what will happen next and share with family and friends!
  6.  Follow along with Hannah as she tests her experiment in her home.

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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