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Is that a bird? Or a plane? Nope, it’s a weather balloon! Regularly misinterpreted as a UFO, weather balloons can serve as a reliable source when looking at the weather. Weather balloons were first used in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Now, they are not as common as they once were but still can be used to find out more facts about the atmosphere around us. Weather balloons are packed with instruments and then sent up to receive information about the weather around us. The weather balloon reports information about the atmosphere pressure, temperature, humidity, and wind speed.

The actual instrument used is called a radiosonde. The radiosonde is actually what receieves and transmits the information. The balloon is used as a hoisting method and the radiosonde does the rest of the work. Weather balloons can be used as a prediction tool or to measure weather in current time. Weather balloons are also used to monitor pollution, research, aviation interests, photography, and videography. So next time you look up and think you see a UFO, you might just see a weather balloon doing its job.

Weather_Balloon


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National Geographic’s Little Kids website has found a fun and messy experiment to teach your little kid about the liquid and solid phases of matter. Before conducting the experiment read over all the directions with your child and have them form a hypothesis, what they think will happen. Encourage their curiosity by having them feel all the components of the experiment, water and cornstarch, before making their hypothesis. Once they have decided on their hypothesis conduct the experiment.

Blue_Goo

Here’s what you’ll need for this cool experiment:

  • Newspapers (This can get very messy!)
  • Mixing Bowl
  • 16 ounces of Cornstarch
  • Measuring Cups
  • Water
  • Blue Food Coloring (or whichever color your child prefers)

 

Experiment Procedures:

  1. Pour the 16 ounces of cornstarch into the mixing bowl.
  2. Use the measuring cups to add 1 ½ cups of water to the cornstarch.
  3. Add about 15 drops of food coloring to the mix.
  4. Here is the fun part! Use your hands to mix the experiment ingredients.

Now they you’ve made your blue goo ask your child some questions as they play with it. Was their hypothesis correct? Or was it incorrect? How does the blue goo feel? Does it feel more like the water or the cornstarch? Point out to your child that if you squeeze the blue goo in your hand it feels like a solid but if you open your hand it spreads out like a liquid. The blue goo can act as both a liquid and a solid!


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According to the Jane Goodall Institute, there were approximate 1 million wild chimpanzees at the turn of the 20th century today there are only 170,000 to 300,000. Wild chimpanzee communities have been negatively impacted by deforestation and the bush meat trade. In order to save the chimps, JGI supports communities so that they can manage their own natural resources.

You don’t have to travel all the way to Tanzania to see where a difference is being made. The Center for Great Apes in Wachula, Florida provides a sanctuary for both chimpanzees and orangutans - their larger, hairier (and more orange) cousins. Many of their residents were used in research and the entertainment industry. Some of these great creatures were even kept as house pets!

The individual intelligence and complex social structure of primate society make in next to impossible for chimpanzees raised as pampered pets or actors to interact with their own kind. They simply lack the social skills necessary to survive in the group environment most zoos provide. Desperate owners of what were once adorable baby chimps search for a home for the beloved pet that has simply grown to strong to handle safely. As a result, these creatures are often sold to breeders or other unscrupulous businesses. At this time there are 12 chimpanzees on the waiting list to live out their days at the sanctuary. Due to the high cost of caring for these animals ($10,000 to $20,000 per year) the center must limited the number it can care for.

To learn more about what you can do to save the great apes visit www.janegoodall.org or www.centerforgreatapes.org.


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Answer: They both are going to help save the very endangered cheetahs in Africa!

Dr. Laurie Marker proposed using wood chippers and guard dogs to help out wild cheetahs in Africa. Because cheetahs move so fast, up to 70 miles per hour, running through thick, prickly thorn bush undergrowth was blinding them. This prickly thorn bush is starting to cover Namibia, so the injured cheetahs were preying upon livestock, causing farmers to trap and/or kill them. The wood chipper will cut down the prickly thorn bushes and the chips from the bushes will be sold as ecoblocks, which is used for fuel in South Africa and Europe.

Dr. Marker, along with the Cheetah Conservation Fund, have set up a program to give farmers large Turkish Kangal dogs to scare off cheetahs. These dogs are special because they bond with the herd. The result of these dogs have shown an 80% drop in livestock losses, which means fewer cheetahs are being killed by farmers.

Who knew two very simple solutions would help save endangered cheetahs?

Cheetah

Misty is an Animal Care Technician at the Science Center and is found in NatureWorks. Animals and Ecology are her passions and she jumps at every opportunity to talk about it. Stop in and say Hello!


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Central Florida Families Can Enjoy the Science Center, Mission Nutrition 4, Curious George and More for Just $5/Person

Saturday, February 19, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

ORLANDO, FL - (February 14, 2011) - The Orlando Science Center, in partnership with the Walmart Foundation, has announced the next “Walmart $5 Day” will be Saturday, February 19. Thanks to Walmart’s generous support, all guests to the Science Center on February 19 will enjoy exhibits, films and live programs for the significantly discounted price of $5. General admission fees are usually $17 for adults and $12 for kids (ages 3-11).

This year marks the second year for this partnership between the Science Center and the Walmart Foundation. Walmart $5 Day provides admission to all the Science Center’s exhibits, films and programs, including a special day of activities and displays on health and wellness. For many, this event presents the opportunity to experience the Science Center for the first time. Walmart Market Manager for Central Florida Steven Daniel said, “These are the types of community programs we are proud to sponsor for our Central Florida neighbors.”

Read more...


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Fourteen teams comprised of 64 kids from grades 5th – 9th came to show off their  innovative displays during the annual Kinetic Challenge on February 12. Projects like the “Very Complicated Toaster” and the “Frosty Eruption” lined the Science Center Clubhouse as judges reviewed the entries.

Students in grades 5th to 9th were asked to create unusual sculptures and wacky inventions using combinations of movable parts, everyday objects, and independent sources of energy. Teams used objects found, donated, or purchased for less than $100 dollars in the engineering and construction of their sculptures. The competition requirements incorporate the Florida Sunshine State Standards for Science. The Orlando Science Center Kinetic Challenge is presented by The Stephen H. Goldman Foundation, Inc.

Best in Fair for the Senior Division was awarded to The Mind Flexors from St. Mary Magdalen with their “Smarticle Particle Math Machine.” Traveling through obstacles and pathways, the final reveal in this creative project was a banner with the message “Math is Cool.”

Best in Fair in the Junior division was awarded to The Neon Blue Boys from Hillcrest Elementary with their “Sock-O's Food Chain Reaction.” This team had animal well-being in mind with their project designed to send a marble down a ramp to push a cup of food over to feed a fish below.

Each Best in Fair winner received a $500 prize for their school, and all other award winners received $250. Other award categories included Most Artistic and Most Scientific for both the junior and senior divisions. The Teacher Award went to both Debbie Gordon of St. Mary Magdalen and Heather Teager of Hillcrest Elementary.

Kinetic

For more photos from the competition, click here

 

 


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Make something special for that special somone! Making Valentine’s cards can be fun and easy. Here are directions to make it environmentally friendly as well. This is one way to make this Valentine’s Day unique by using everyday items that can be found around your house.

3-D Recycled Valentine Day Cards

YOU WILL NEED

  • Heart-shaped cookie cutter
  • Bowl of water
  • Old newspaper or leftover tissue paper
  • Glue wash (equal parts glue and water)
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • An old greeting card
  • A clean plate

HERE'S HOW

1. Tear newspaper or tissue paper into small pieces. Place the cookie cutter on the plate. Making sure each piece overlaps, position a few pieces of the paper inside the cookie cutter to create a thin layer. Dip your fingers into the bowl of water and then press it gently on the paper layer, making the paper damp. Continue layering, dipping, and pressing until the cookie cutter is about half full. Let it dry for at least a day.

2. When the paper mold is completely dry, gently press down on the mold and carefully lift off the cookie cutter. Using a clean paintbrush, apply a light coat of glue wash to the mold. As it dries, move on to step three.

3. Cover an old greeting card with things from around the house, such as construction paper, magazines, newspapers, or doilies. Write a poem or message inside the card and then glue the 3-D heart to the front. Now you’re ready to give this Earth-friendly valentine to someone you love!

Valentines_Card


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Orlando Science Center • 777 E. Princeton Street • Orlando, Florida 32803 • Phone: 407.514.2000 • Toll Free: 888.OSC.4FUN • Email: [email protected]
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