Tag Archives: Fun with Science

Bees Buzzing in the Breeze

DSC_3393Honey Bees, the awesome little critters that keep many plants on this earth growing.  What would we do without these little wonders…  It is certainly not something we want to ever happen, therefore there are thousands of people that have become assistants to these incredible creatures.  We had the opportunity to meet one such family, that we are sure many of our Discover! friends may know… The Boyd Family! DSC_3349During our visit the Boyds had eighteen hives started.  The number can fluctuate depending on the queen and the strength of the hive.  By fall, many hives are combined in order to increase their chances of surviving throughout the winter.  After suiting up, we visited a large hive first.  After using the smoker to take a peak inside, Brandon’s first tid bit of information became very apparent!  “Honey bees are called social animals because they live in colonies and rely on each other.” Within the hive, there is a division of labor among the various kinds of bees in the colony.  A colony can include a queen, drones, and worker bees.

Brandon placed a little yellow mark on the back of this queen so she could be more easily spotted.
Brandon placed a little yellow mark on the back of this queen so she could be more easily spotted.

The Queen

The Queen is the only bee in the hive that is sexually developed.  She is the largest, and can be recognized by here elongated abdomen. She lives longer than all the bees in the hive.  Some say she can live years and years, but she is most productive the first two years of her life.

On the far right, you can see the undeveloped heads of two drones.  There cells stick our further than the rest of the larvae cells.
On the far right, you can see the undeveloped heads of two drones. There cells stick out further than the rest of the larvae cells.

 

 

The Drones

The Drones are the male bees in the hive.  Their job is leave the hive and to mate with a queen from another hive.  They do not collect food or pollen, nor do they tend the babies.  Sadly, in the winter time they are often kicked out of the hive because resources are scarce.

DSC_3392
Here you can see the girls busy at work. See all that honey!

The  Busy Workers

Workers are all girls!  In a colony there could be as many as 50,000 to 60,000 bees! Worker bees pretty much work themselves to death.  In the beginning of their lives they are nurse bees, then they graduate to field and scout bees.  They also protect the hive and make comb.  They are very busy, and live only about a month or less.  In the winter, they can live longer. 

Bee Facts

The worker bees keep the hive at a steady temperature all year round with their wing flaps.  They would like it to be 92-93 degrees.

Here is a worker bee arriving back to the hive with her legs covered in pollen
Here is a worker bee arriving back to the hive with her legs covered in pollen

Honey bees fly in a radius of about 3-5 miles from their homes to forage for flowers and food. Bees gather both nectar and pollen from flowers and trees. They bring the nectar back to the hive and regurgitate the nectar into a honey cell.  Then through flapping their wings, the bees evaporate some of the liquid in the nectar until it is honey. Then they cap it with a thin wax cover and store it for later use.

Bees use pollen, which is really sticky, and combine it with nectar to make bee bread.  They feed this bread to the baby bees.

Baby bees are called a brood.

Bees preform an essential act by moving pollen and nectar from one flower to another.  They pollinate the flowers and trees which allows fruits and vegetables to be created and to grow.  A hive can make 50-200 pounds of honey a year, and it takes over 150 trips to a flower or tree to make just one teaspoon of honey.

Hope you enjoyed our first blog post about bees.  We are hoping there will be many more.  Thank you Boyd family, we will check in with you again soon!  Happy honey making Discover! friends!

SUMMER VACATION IS HERE!

SOME DAYS “HORRAY!” and OTHER DAYS “HELP ME!”

Now that school is out everyone is pretty excited about the prospects of some fun and free time.  No more schedules, getting up early, or homework.  Time instead for playing outside, visiting friends, going to the pool, or maybe a family trip.  But eventually you start hearing those little voices:  “Mom!  There’s nothing to do.” or “I’m bored!”  It’s moments like this that strain our patience and cause us to count the days till the first day of school.  While errand jars are great and cleaning your room is always an option, there is another terrific resource available.  It’s close, it’s kid and family friendly and best of all it’s FREE!

TIMBERLAND LIBRARY SUMMER READING PROGRAM

“Fizz, Boom, Read!” 

This year the theme for children is “Fizz, Boom, Read!”, and is designed to complement the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program which has been adopted by local schools.  Specifically the summer program promotes excitement about reading, learning and exploring new characters and discovering new places – through books.

There are numerous activities planned throughout the Timberland Library system.  Just to get you enthused, here are a few that are happening in Chehalis

library front“Summer at the Library”

Fun bags will be given to children when schools let out.  These include event calendars, puzzles, word games, book lists and entry forms for prizes.

“Weekly Coupons” –at the library while supplies last, pick up coupons for  Quiznos, Rollerdome, Twin Transit, Northwest Trek, Point Defiance Zoo, Fairway Lanes, Papa Murphy’s, Centralia Ballet Academy, Hands On Children’s Museum (Olympia), Book n’ Brush, Southwest Washington Fair

“Wacky Wednesday” – Find four strange things in the library, and receive a small prize. Sponsored by the Friends of the Vernetta Smith Chehalis Timberland Library.

529629_4076593189207_811326620_nReptile Man” – Thursday, June 19th at 11:00am – See and learn about 15 exotic reptiles from around the world. Scott Petersen, a zoologist and educator, shows turtles, an iguana, an alligator and numerous types of snakes. He also talks about each animal’s importance to the balance of nature. Certain animals will be available for petting after the performance.

“Family Program, Making Sense of Your Five Senses” – Wednesday, June 25th, at 11:00am -Explore the ways your five senses work both separately and together with games, activities and experiments that thrill the senses. Take-home crafts and activities will keep the fun and learning going.

fluffy dog“Stuffed Animal Sleepover” – Thursday, June 26th, all dayBring a favorite stuffed toy animal for a sleepover at the library. Tuck your animal in and say goodnight. Come back the next day to pick up your friend and find out what mischief the animals got into during their night at the library.

“LabARTory: DIY Craft” – Friday, June 27th, all dayDrop by the library any time during open hours for an arts & crafts activity.

Also be on the lookout for other fun, educational programs, such as;

“Experiments of a Mad Scientist” – Wednesday, July 2nd at 1:00pm

“Chris Fascione: Stories, Clowning & Mime” – Thursday, July 10th, 11:00am

“Rhys Thomas: Science Circus” – Thursday, July 17th, 11:00am

“Shaver Marionettes” – Wednesday, July 24rd, 11:00am

“Mad Science’s Spin, Pop, Boom!” – Thursday, July 31st, 11:00am

With all that’s planned by the Timberland Regional Library, and the events at the Chehalis Vernetta Smith branch – you can now prevent ever hearing that oh, so common summer cry: “Mom!  I’m bored!”

 

For more information, check out the Timberland Library website at:

http://www.trl.org

Or better yet, go on over the Chehalis Library and discover for yourself:

http://www.trl.org/Locations/Pages/LibraryInformation.aspx?lib=ch

400 N. Market Boulevard
Chehalis, WA  98532-0419

360-748-3301

For Timberland’s complete Calendar of events for all of Lewis County  (and more) Timberland Libraries.   http://events.trlib.org/evanced/lib/eventcalendar.asp

 

 

Kids and Kites

Windy Weather Family Activity!

Spring and wind supply an opportunity for fun with your family!  Let's Go Fly a Kite!
Spring and wind supply an opportunity for fun with your family! Let’s Go Fly a Kite!

Kids and kites go together like peanut butter and jelly!  They’re a perfect match!  Since spring has officially arrived and wind is a sure thing this time of year, we think flying kites make for a perfectly fun family activity!  While you can purchase a kite (which can be a little or  a lot), it is still satisfying to make your own.  There are many kite making directions available, some that are easier than others.  We have included directions to get you started!

Gather your materials
Gather your materials

 

 

 

 

 

 

What you’ll need:  You will need one piece of paper, crayons and/or markers, a ruler, a pencil,  some yarn or string, a stapler, and a hole punch.

 

Use any colors you want, and make your creation a true piece of art!
Use any colors you want, and make your creation a true piece of art!

Color to your hearts desire!  One side or both, the side that will fold in on it’s self will be the top of the wings.

Tip: You know all those coloring sheets your kids love to color on.  This project is one way you can take those coloring sheets to a whole new level!

Kite 2
measuring points A and B on the folded edge

 

 

 

 

 

Fold the paper in half.  Using a ruler, place it along the folded side of your paper, measure and mark off at 2 1/2″ (point A) and at 3 1/2″ (Point B)

Get a small piece of tape to place over the fold at point B.  Then punch a hole through the tape.  (The tape helps to reinforce the hole where you will tie your string)

Roll the corners of paper to the
Roll the corners of paper to point A. Make sure not to bend your rolled paper.

Roll the top corners together to meet at point A.  Being careful to not crease the rolled edges, staple the top corner’s to point A.  These rolled wings help to catch the air, which then helps to lift your kite up into the air.

 

 

 

Here you can see where we stapled our corners, as well as where we added a ribbon!
Here you can see where we stapled our corners, as well as where we added a ribbon!

Tie string or your through the hole at point B.

Option:  You can add a tail to your kite by taping ribbon to the bottom center edge.

You may look at it and wonder if it will really fly, but rest assured… They really do fly, even in light wind or when you run!   Happy flying Discover! Friends!

Things to talk about when doing this

Wind!  What causes it?  Why it’s all about the sun – which warms the air.  And when cool air (which is heavy) meets warm air (which is lighter)  the result is wind!  The greater the temperature difference – the greater the speed of the wind.  From a gentle afternoon breeze, to a devastating tornado – it all depends on air temperature  – which goes back to the sun.  This is why wind  is often a sign that the weather is in the process of changing.

We can have lots of fun with wind.  Our breath is the wind that blows  dandelion seeds.  Wind blows leaves off of trees in the fall, creates sand dunes, and makes tumble weeds tumble!  What other examples of wind causing things to happen can you think of?  Of course, one of the most fun things is flying kites!!

Being Careful!  Make sure you watch where you are going while running with your kite, and make sure where you are playing with your kite isn’t near any power lines.

kite 8

Did you know that each August our state hosts the Washington State International Kite Festival?  Truly, this is a treat for your eyes. Kite professionals from around the world display their passion in the air for all to see.  Take a trip to Long Beach anytime during the 3rd week of August, and you will be amazed by unimaginable color and beauty. You can even wander through the kite museum.  Check out this website and make plans to attend:

 http://kitefestival.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Let it Grow! Let it GROWWWW!

 

A little kit purchased through Scholastic for $3.00
A little kit purchased through Scholastic for $3.00

This time of year, I start to get the itch to be outside.  If the temperature is slightly above chilly, and the sun is shining, I am most likely thinking of the garden outside my door.  What a miracle our earth is!  The fact that the smallest seed can turn into something beautiful, nourishing, or even help heal a wound or illness never ceases to amaze me.

The wonder doesn’t end there though!  That huge fire ball in the sky is a mystery in itself and without it, we would all cease to exist.  So today’s post is about science and the  miracle of life.  One simple seed, water, and the wonderful sun!

DSC_2401I had bought this greenhouse kit a while ago from Scholastic for a few dollars, and thought it would be a fun project for the kids and I as a little science project.  Since the weather was a little dreary, I thought it would be a perfect time to get our green house started.  There are many ways that you can do this too!  There are greenhouse kits at the local stores, but you can also do it with a milk jug,  a 1 liter bottle,  a mason jar, or even a fish bowl!

Here are many examples of ways you can make your own green, many of these things you can find in your home
Here are many examples of ways you can make your own green, many of these things you can find in your home. Image from wikiHow See link at the bottom of post.

Let’s Begin!

Kids love to be part of something big, even if it is just a little seed.   They will love to see their greenhouse come together and will want to be part of the build process! So don’t be afraid to include them by letting them do the tasks you feel most comfortable with.   When holes need to be poked in the bottom or scissors used to cut the jugs in half,  parents should preform these tasks or still supervise these steps when older children want to try do them.

TAPE!!!  Don't forget tape! It can come in handy when you don't want the greenhouse to slip out of place.
TAPE!!! Don’t forget tape! It can come in handy when you don’t want the greenhouse to slip out of place.

Tip:  We used tape to help keep our green house together.  I could see it being helpful too when putting together the 1 liter bottle or a jug, so the bottom part holding the dirt doesn’t shift around.

 

 

You can use whatever seeds you want, there is a huge variety at many stores in our area!
You can use whatever seeds you want, there is a huge variety at many stores in our area!

Bring on the Fun!

Now that you have your green house together, here comes the fun part!  Adding the dirt and the seeds!  You can use whatever kind you want.  We have Coreopsis, which are yellow and have a long bloom time.  The biggest bonus is that butterflies LOVE them!

DSC_2409DSC_2419

Now remember, it’s okay for kids to get dirty!

We added the soil (potting soil)  to each container, and then watered it down prior to adding the seeds.  Some soil is fairly moist, so you could possible skip that step.  Each seed packet will have different instructions, as to how far to put the seed into the soil.  Ours was only an 1/8″ of an inch.  Make sure to follow the directions on your seed packet for the best results.  We placed three seeds per container, and lightly pressed each seed down.  Then it was time for our little pots to settle into their green house!

Little water drops falling down the strings into each pot
Little water drops falling down the strings into each pot

Do not over water!

When the soil seems dry add a little water to your greenhouse.  Seeds like to grow in moist soil, but not soaked.  There should be no standing water,  and the holes that you poked at the bottom of your green house should let out in excess water.

When your seedling is getting to big for the greenhouse, it’s time to transplant them outside! Remember the directions on your seed packet, some plants may want full sun or partial shade.  So keep those planting tips in mind when looking for a place in your garden.  Dig a hole in the proper area and gently remove your seedling from it’s container and place it in the hole.  Cover the roots with the surrounding soil, and pat the soil gently at the top surrounding your seedling.  Continue to water the plant throughout it’s growing season so you can see how big it gets and what it turns into.  Flowers! Vegetable!  Now you just have to wait and see.  We can’t wait to see what ours become!  Happy planting Discover! Friends!

Patience is required while watching seeds grow!
Patience is required while watching seeds grow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things to talk about when doing this:

Soil, water, and the sun’s light help to make seeds grow.  Just like we need food, water, light, and rest to grow as well.

Explain that the roots of the plants absorb the water, sort of like we do when we suck up water through a straw.

Talk about how plants help to make the air we breath, and this why helping take care of our earth helps to promise clean air to breath.   Check out this link for more detail on explaining plants and the air we breath.  http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/1__Plants_and_climate/-_plants_and_environment_151.html

You have to love the internet, we found a great little how to on wikiHow: 

 http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Mini-Greenhouse

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