Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Take A Trip Through The Skeletal System With Articulated Hands!

Take A Trip Through The Skeletal System With Articulated Hands!

This project will be featured in my upcoming book: Pop Zizzle Boom! 101 Experiments for Your Mad Scientist, hitting stores in June 2017!


Take a good look at your hands. Bend your fingers back and forth, and pay attention to the joints in your knuckles as you move. There is a lot involved in moving your hands! Under your skin you have bones, muscles, nerves, and tendons, all working together at the same time to allow you to move and flex your fingers. But they don’t just move on impulse, by themselves. Something needs to pull them down! With this project, you’ll be able to explore how tendons work to move your body, as you make your very own articulated model of a hand!

Materials Needed

Craft Foam
Yarn
Beads
Double sided sticky tape
Paper Straws
Wide mouthed beads
Scissors
Markers
Ruler
Pen

Instructions:

Begin by tracing your hand on a piece of craft foam, making sure to include your wrist. Then cut it out.




Cut 14 1/2“ pieces out of your straws. These will represent the bones in your fingers. Cut another five 2” pieces. These will represent the bones in your hand.





Tape your straw bones onto your hand You will have three small ones on each finger, except for the thumb, which will have two. These small pieces will represent the short bones in between the knuckles in your fingers. Make sure to leave a nice space in between each piece of straw, so you can move your fingers later!




Leaving a ½” inch gap between the bottom piece of straw, and your hand, tape the larger straws onto your hand. These will represent the long bones that go from your bottom knuckle, down to your wrist.




Cut your yarn into five 12” lengths. These need to be long enough to reach from the tips of the fingers, to a few inches past the wrist.



Tie a bead at the end of each piece of yarn. This will stop your string from pulling through the straws.





Thread each piece of yarn through your fingers. Make sure you follow the path so one piece of yarn goes through all of the bones in your thumb, index finger, middle finger, etc.






Finally, pull on each of the strings to move your fingers! Now you have a working articulated hand!



How Does it Work?
Your fingers are all connected with bones, muscles, and tendons. Your tendons are the strings that pull your muscles and your bones! When you curl your fingers, these are all working together to keep your body moving. The nerve cells within your tendons and muscles act as the fuel to keep things going, as they fire off electrical impulses sent from your brain! There are so many pieces working together to keep you going, and now you can see some of them in action!
 
Take it further!


 Can you use your articulated hand to pick up or move any objects? What you if you made it out of stronger materials, or rolled poster board into a tube? You can come up with all kinds of different designs to strengthen your articulated hand, and gain a greater appreciation for how your tendons, muscles, and skeleton all work together to make your body move!


HAPPY EXPLORING!



Thursday, June 16, 2016

Atomic Adventures Summer Science Camp!


If you live in the Phoenix Metro area and you've got a budding chemist in your house, then check this out! We're hosting the Atomic Adventures Summer Science Camp at the Burton Barr library!

We'll be running around, pretending to be atoms and molecules as we turn ourselves into polymers! We'll bounce around as we demonstrate static electricity! We'll make messes with slime, explore color changing chemistry with acids and bases, explore the sweet science of strawberry DNA extractions, and more! We'll have games! We'll have experiments! We'll have sweet treats and candy science! Your kids will fall in love with science as they explore the wonderful world of chemistry!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Earth Day Under Pressure!

You can catch us on Channel 12's Arizona Midday on Monday, April 18th from 12:30-1:30 as we demonstrate the crushing power of air pressure on live television! 
Happy Earth Day!
Image Credit: CC Kate Ter Haa Flickr

Every year around Earth Day, my daughter and I try to come up with ways to help protect the environment, with a big focus on the Three R's, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle! We've held Earth Day Parades, toured recycling facilities, and have built a model town for Katie's toys out of recycled materials! This year, we wanted to spend Earth Day thinking about our atmosphere, and exploring some of the more interactive properties of it. Namely.... air pressure!

Every day, we sort our trash into recycling. We go through a lot of aluminum cans in our house, as we all enjoy sparkling water. I crush these cans every day, and one day I got to thinking, what if I could crush these cans, not with my hands, but with AIR? Thus, our Earth Day experiments were born!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Earth Day Review: Climate Change and Renewable Energy!

This is a review of the coolest books I've ever seen on climate science for kids! We did some incredible experiments (crushing cans and experimenting with dry ice!) that you can find at the end of this post. 

Our Spaceship Earth, hurtling through the Milky Way.
Image Credit: CC Pexels

How would you feel if you had to spend your whole life hurtling through space, with all of your food, water, air, and general supplies limited to what you could find or make on your ship? That's the premise of Erin Twamley's and Joshua Sneideman's activity books, Climate Change: Discover How it Impacts Spaceship Earth, and Renewable Energy: Discover the Fuel of the FutureWritten by educators within the Department of Energy, these are both power packed books on climate change, citizen involvement, and a lot of fun for kids!
These are hands down some of the coolest Earth Science books I’ve ever seen! We begin on Spaceship Earth, which immediately brings to the mind a space station filled with the food, water, oxygen, and other supplies you would need to survive. Everything you need to thrive is on the ship, and while there is a cycle of energy to replenish your supplies, if anything were to happen to the delicate balances operating your ship, you might just find yourself doomed to the cold grips of space!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Kitchen Chemistry: Exploring Density with Eggs!


Now that Easter is over, what are we going to do with all of these eggs?!



Easter lends itself to a lot of wonderful traditions with our families. First, we spend time coming up with new and unusual ways of dyeing them, like these silk tie dyed eggs we make every year! But once we're done with the dyeing, the painting, the Easter Egg hunting, and the festivities... what's left? We've got all these eggs lying around, surely we can put them to some use?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Silk Tie Eggs and Easter Egg Chemistry!

Exploring the chemistry of Easter Eggs, with silk ties and egg dyes! 


Image Credit: NBC Channel 12, Arizona Midday, Republic Media

We took this project to the studios of NBC Channel 12, and demonstrated them on Arizona Midday! 


Easter is right around the corner and like so many other families, we're in the midst of figuring out how we're going to get creative with our favorite Easter tradition - Egg dyeing!

For the last few years, we've taken a new twist to this Easter tradition and have begun dyeing our eggs not with boxed dyes, but with silk ties! The process is surprisingly simple and the results are absolutely stunning. The best part is, you only need a few basic ingredients, starting of course, with the ties!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Kitchen Science with Cookie Continents!


We're always looking for ways to add some fun into our learning. So, when we were making gingerbread cookies over the holidays, I thought, why not incorporate some geography into our cookie baking, and a little bit of climate science while we're at it? Thus, the idea of cookie continents in milk oceans was born! Katie would map out the continents on our cookie dough and cut it out, and then she would put them in their proper place in the world! We would also map where some of her favorite countries are located on our gingerbread continents! We could talk about how the continents look like a puzzle, and bring in plate tectonics and shifting continental plates! We would include some ocean currents and polar ice caps while we're at it, and look at how, with the melting of Earth's polar ice caps, we could see an impact of erosion from rising seas!