Monday, August 26, 2013

What the Wind Can Do as an Energy Source

The Gooru Corner featured wind as an energy source earlier in this month and as fall approaches and there's more breezes passing through, we couldn't think of a better time to highlight all the things wind can do.

The wind has many practical uses: flying a kite, going sailing, paragliding or just cooling off on a warm day. But did you know that wind can be harnessed as a renewable energy source as well? Check out this multimedia collection brought to you by Gooru Corner to learn about the benefits and consequences of wind power.

What would you do with wind power?  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to School: Be STEM Ready

You want to be STEM ready this year but getting together all of the resources - like, say a brand new multi-million dollar facility, STEM-prepared training for your staff and a plethora of STEM materials to name a few - can be tricky to say the least. But there's good news: your school is not alone. Go ahead and categorize yourself with all of the other schools doing everything they can to just get this STEM thing off the ground.

Nevertheless, Anne Jolly shows you how you can ramp up for some great STEM learning by following advice gathered from educators who have been teaching STEM classes successfully for several years. Let's get started!

As Jolly explains, prepare yourself for a noisy classroom where multiple right answers abound and failure is regarded as a positive step toward discovery and successful solution. You'll need to get ready for your kiddos to work closely together, using hands-on methods to solve real-world problems. This also means being willing to take a step back and give your students enough room to kick off their journey toward becoming creative, innovative, critical thinkers. 

Take a look at this checklist of five questions that your school needs to consider to get ready for their STEM adventure.
  1. Does everyone know why the school is implementing STEM and what STEM is designed to accomplish?
  2. What type of STEM program will your school implement initially and what do you want this program to become?
  3. How will you prepare and support teachers? What do teachers know/need to know, and how will they learn it?
  4. What will your school do about STEM curriculum?
  5. What resources are available?
Jolly cites answers to all five questions in her article on KQED's blog, Mind Shift. She even offers up multiple reasons or answers per question to make it easy for you to find one that applies to your school's situation. Check them out here.

In short: your school can be STEM-ready as long as you have a starting point and a long term goal. Jolly reminds us that the STEM initiative will keep growing with some visionary leadership. That being said, a knowledgeable and supportive school principal is the most important driver behind a STEM initiative. 

Another great Jolly suggestion: get a group of extra supportive parents to form a STEM booster club. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Imagine Your STEM Future

Just last week, the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announced Imagine Your STEM Future, a national activity series designed to engage high school girls in and inspire them toward careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Can I get a whoo-yeah!

As stated by PR Newswire, the activity series consists of four flexible units the pique girls' interest in STEM career and helps them begin to match their interests and skills with jobs in high-demand sectors. The new program will be open for schools or other hosting sites to have in place in just a couple of weeks as girls return to school.

The four core units of Imagine Your STEM Future can be delivered over four to eight activity-filled sessions and even has additional extensions and online activities. In the core program, girls:
  • team up to do STEM experiments,
  • learn about and meet female scientists who can serve as role models,
  • explore STEM careers and how scientists make the world a better place, 
  • conduct STEM activities alongside their peers,
  • learn to serve as leaders to help out other girls get involved in STEM.
Another perk of this program is that girls can do all of the STEM experiments in the core program units with objects from their everyday life and the guidance of books. This makes the program easily accessible to all high school girls!

Imagine Your STEM Future has already been piloted with more than 6,000 undeserved teenage girls across the U.S., with positive results. It should be interesting to see how the program does on a larger scale this fall, but it looks like it'll have no trouble continuing to positively affect girls' perspective on STEM.

For more information and to check out statements from GSUSA chief executive officer, Maria Chavez, read the entire PR Newswire report.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer Science Experiment: Making Magic with Milk

The summer is winding down, but there's still time to squeeze in just a few more experiments before your kids head back to school. As usual, this experiment involves a small list of household products, but the end result reflects exploration and discovery. In this popular Dr. Mad Science experiment, you and your young scientists will observe how milk reacts with food coloring and soap.

Here's what you'll need:
  • Milk (it is recommended that you use 2%)
  • A bowl
  • Food coloring
  • Q-tips
  • Dish Soap (it is recommended that you use Dawn)
Now let's get started:
  1. Start by filling the bowl with milk and waiting for all the bubbles to go away.
  2. Put a large amount of food coloring in the center of the milk.
  3. Take Q-tips and dip them into the dish soap. Then put them in the middle of the bowl for 15 seconds.
  4. Watch as the food coloring expands on the surface of the milk.
So what about the science? Well here it is: milk contains protein and really small amounts of fat in it. Both proteins and fat are sensitive to chemical changes. The chemicals in the dish soap weaken the chemical bonds that hold the protein together in the milk solution and the food coloring allows us to visually see the changes in the protein molecules. Likewise, the soap molecules cause the fat in the milk to mix and swirl until the fat has been distributed across the entire amount of the milk.

Watch Dr. Mad Science do it!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Create a Communications Satellite!

Have you ever wanted to make your own satellite? Create something that's so intricate, high-tech and helpful? Well, The Gooru Corner is giving you that chance. With their interactive resource, you can try your hand at designing a communications satellite. You'll need to figure out how to launch it, power it and make it return signals to Earth. After you make all your choices, see how well your satellite works.

Start creating with Interactive Resource!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It's Shark Week: Sharks and Science!

It's that time of year again: shark week has dawned on the Discovery Channel and millions are tuning in every night to watch real-life Jaws survival stories and the tale of Megalodon. But what if everything they showed on Discovery Channel wasn't true? Ed Yong of National Geographic certainly doesn't believe that the prehistoric Megalodon that enchanted so many early in the week is true.

He said in an article published on National Geographic's website earlier today, "...the show was filled with lies, fabrications and actors playing scientists."

But if Megalodon isn't real, what is?! Here are some great shark facts that Yong brought to the table.
  • Thresher Sharks Hunt with Huge Weapon-like Tails: Though most sharks are most dangerous at their front end, thresher sharks are the exception. These guys have managed to weaponise their tails, making them deadly from the front or the back. Even worse, the top halves of their scythe-like tail fins are so enormous they can be as long as the rest of the shark!
  • Shark Dads Lose Babies to Unborn Cannibal Siblings: Inside its mothers' womb, an unborn tiger shark is busy devouring its brothers and sisters. It's just 10 centimeters long, but it already has well-developed eyes and a set of sharp teeth, which it turns against its smaller siblings. By the time the pregnant female gives birth, she only has two babies left - one in each of its two wombs. I guess the life of a tiger shark is a shark-eat-shark world - literally.
  • Prehistoric Great White Shark Had Strongest Bite in History: While the toothy jaws of the great white might be the most famous in the animal kingdom thanks to Hollywood, the great white's mouth has received very little experimental attention. Just recently, Stephen Wroe from the University of New South Wales has put the great white's skull through a digital crash-test, to work out just how powerful its bite was. A medium-sized great white, 2.5m in length and 240kg, could bite with a force of 0.3 tonnes. But the largest individuals can exert a massive 1.8 tonnes with their jaws, giving them one of the most powerful bites among any living animal. Cue the scary Jaws music...!
To read even more "actual facts" from Yong, check out his full article.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Summer Science Experiment: Backyard Bottle Rocket

Have you ever wondered what launches a rocket? Would you ever guess that it was something as simple as built up pressure? Well try it our for yourself and make a bottle rocket in your backyard this weekend!

Here's what you'll need:
  • An empty plastic bottle
  • Cardboard made into a cone and 4 fins
  • A cork
  • A pump with a needle adapter
  • Water
Now let's get started:
  1. Push the needle adapter of the pump through the cork and make sure it goes all the way through. To do this you may have to trim the cork down a little bit.
  2. Take your cardboard cone and fins and apply them to the bottle. (The cone at the top and the four fins at the bottom, so that the bottle resembles a rocket.)
  3. Fill the bottle with water until it's about a quarter full and then push the cork in tightly.
  4. Attach the pump to the needle adapter. If your bottle rocket won't stand up on it's own with the fins you made, rest it on a table, but if you make strong fins, you should fine and your bottle should stand up on its own.
  5. Pump air into the bottle and prepare for lift off! Make sure that everyone is standing away from the bottle as it will go up in the air with force after just a few seconds.

So what about the science? Check out Science Spark's explanation.