Friday, December 19, 2014

What Is Sound?

Sound, of course, is what we can hear. But what if we could see sound?

We can't, but since sound travels in invisible waves, it is possible to make those waves visible. Vibrations can be shown with many materials, but fire is one of the coolest. Check out these two videos that use fire to show sound waves.

Now that we can see the actual waves, what happens if we use sounds that are more complex, like music? Check this out!

Far, Far Away

Today's reading talks more about the planets that are farther from the sun, also called the outer planets. Yesterday's video showed information about both the inner and outer planets, so there's no new video today. (Sorry!)

Just to save you from another click back to yesterday's post, here's the video again.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Planets Close to the Sun

The next two readings talk more about the planets in the solar system. They are divided into the inner planets, or the four closest to the sun, and the outer planets, or the four that are farthest from the sun. This video explains some characteristics of each of the planets. Pay attention for the differences between the four inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars) and the four outer planets (Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune).

And keep a look out for poor Pluto. Even though Pluto is not considered a planet anymore, he still makes an appearance in the video.

Playing on a Simple Machine

Levers are simple machines that, like pulleys, change the direction of a force. If you push down on a lever, you can change the force's direction to go up. A lever has a board or pole and a fulcrum. The fulcrum is where the change in direction happens.

Today's reading uses a seesaw, or teeter totter, to demonstrate how a lever works. This video shows three performers using a seesaw - they call it a teeterboard - to do things you'll never see on the playground. (At least I hope not!) When one person pushes down on the lever, what happens to the person on the other side? Remember, the direction of the force changes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Sun

Our reading today talks about the sun. There are telescopes focused on the sun all the time, and they capture some pretty incredible images. Here is an amazing example of a solar flare. Check out how big the Earth is compared to the solar flare and the sun itself.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, just because it's related, here's one of my favorite songs of all time! It was originally written and recorded in the 1950's. Listen for the line that tells how big the sun is compared to the Earth. Ta-daaaaa......!!!

Pull Down, Lift Up

It seems strange that by pulling down you can lift something up, but several simple machines work with a change of direction. Pulleys are one of them. Here is a great video - short, to the point, well illustrated, good explanations.

And funky music!

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Simplest Machine of All

Ramps make it easier to get to high places. You have to travel a longer distance, but it's much easier to travel on a slant than to go straight up. Think about loading something really heavy into the back of a truck. You could lift it straight up, but that's hard. Instead, walking it up a ramp would be much easier, even if you have to go a little farther.

Science and skateboards? Here's a short clip from a longer video about simple machines. This one just focuses on ramps, or inclined planes.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Where Do You Live?

As we will read today, there are many ways to explain where you live. Your home. Your street. Your city, state, and country. But think even bigger? There's a lot more out there then just our city, state, and country.

What about where we live in space? Here's a short, silly video about the planets in our solar system.

Here's another cool video that shows our planet, Earth. This video was created by NASA. It's amazing to think of Earth as a living creature, but it is covered by living things - like you and me!

The Most Important Machine of All

We're in the middle of a science unit about simple machines. Yesterday we read about wedges. Today is about the wheel. So, yeah, it's round and rolls. Yippee.

Tell that to these guys. Boring? Uh, I don't think so.

As you watch, look for the wheel (easy) and the axle (not as easy). An axle often connects two wheels, like on a wagon, but there is an axle here even though there's only one wheel. Remember, a wheel rotates around an axle. Do you see it?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

What Is a Simple Machine?

Today I faced a difficult choice. Should we watch a science video that explained what simple machines are (which might be a little boring) or watch two awesome examples of simple machines in action?

I went with awesome.

Now, not everything you see in these videos are simple machines, but there are many, many of them if you watch closely. Can you spot some?

The first video is a commercial for a Honda Accord.

The second is a video from the band OK GO. I don't know much about the band, but I do know this is an awesome and hilarious video. (Watch for the simple machines!)

Monday, December 8, 2014

An Invention that Keeps Changing

You all have probably used a calculator before, but check out this commercial from 1970's. It's the smallest calculator you can get and it has a price to match. (Check out that price!)

Now take a look at the price on this calculator app for an iPad. (Calculators come with every iPod and iPhone already.) Calculator App

Friday, December 5, 2014

Underwater Earthquakes

Think about this: if earthquake vibrations can cause the ground to move, which is a solid object, what can those vibrations do to water? What if an earthquake happens underwater?

Waves. A wave this big is called a tsunami. This video shows how large the waves can be. A tsunami isn't just one wave, but a series of waves as the water rises on the shore. Watch how much of the shore and the buildings on the shore get covered up, all in a matter of about 2 minutes.

Here is a short explanation of how an underwater earthquake can cause a tsunami.

An Invention that Saves Lives

Today we are going to read about a product called Kevlar that was invented by Stephanie Kwolek. Watch the video below and look for the many uses of Kevlar. How many can you remember? Watch how the gold dots travel over certain objects in the video (like on tire). Those gold dots show where the Kevlar is used.

Our reading talks about how Kevlar can save lives, but how can it also protect lives and keep people safe?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Duck, Cover, and Hold

We live in Wisconsin. We don't get earthquakes. Now, we know what to do in blizzards and tornadoes and thunderstorms, but not earthquakes. So, what DO you do if an earthquake happens? Here is a video that explains how to stay safe in an earthquake.

This next video is cool because it's got LEGOs! And it was made by kids! (Nice work, by the way.)

Solving a Problem

Two days ago it was glow-in-the-dark toilet seats. Now it's glow-in-the-dark clipboards. I wonder what else you could do with things that glow in the dark? (Although, I'm not sure if this is an example of solving a problem. Oh, well. It's funny!)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Predicting and Measuring Earthquakes

We read about how scientists can predict when and where a bad storm, like a hurricane, can hit, but scientists can only predict where earthquakes might happen. It's too difficult to predict exact times when they will occur. Wouldn't it be nice to know when something like this is going to happen?

Earthquakes are measured on the Richter scale. The following video shows the basic idea of how that scale works.

Finding the Right Use

Today's reading tells about a man who invented a special kind of glue. It was so special that it DIDN'T HOLD ANYTHING TOGETHER. (Not a great glue, right?) But another person discovered that even though it didn't actually glue things together, it was strong enough to hold a piece of paper, his bookmark, in a book. He used to glue that was useless to make Post-It notes!

Just think, Post-It notes were invented only because another invention failed. I'm so glad they were invented because now we can stick notes everywhere and watch cool videos like this one.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What is an Earthquake?

Today's reading doesn't go into very much detail about what earthquakes are, but this video does an excellent job of showing what causes earthquakes and what happens because of them.

What Is an Invention?

Today's reading tells us that inventions happen when people try to solve a problem. Then the reading gives us an example. Something like this:

Hmmmm...  What is the problem? What is the solution? Would you use this invention, this solution to a problem?