Ahoy! Safe Sailing for Memorial Day!

Image Source: Pixabay.com

For those that are thinking of setting sail for the holiday weekend, remembering the rules of boating safety can ensure a fun & memorable holiday for everyone. You can keep your holiday excursion filled with excitement by making safety a priority and incorporating it into your regular boating routine. Experts from the National Safe Boating Council suggest practicing these 5 guidelines when out on the water: 

  1. Always wear your life jacket from the time you step onto the boat until the time you arrive back on land.
  2. Make sure you file a float plan with a responsible adult so they know where you are going and when you should return.
  3. Study and know the rules of the road so you are aware of which boat has the right of way.
  4. Keep a good look out for other boats. Even if you know the rules others may not, so you have to operate defensively.
  5. Always operate at a safe speed, at a safe distance from the shore and other boats, and in a responsible manner.

For more tips & safety guidelines, visit the National Safe Boating Council’s website!

The long Memorial Day weekend means there’s lots of time to get out, get active, and have some fun during the traditional start to the summer. This year, we encourage you to be a smart Skipper! Have fun out on the water, and don’t forget your sunscreen!


Looking for more resources? Check out these great sites:

BoatSafeKids.com: Get summer safety tips, great learning activities & experience all things nautical. This site teaches kids about personal flotation devices, distress signals, storm warnings, and many other aspects of boating safety. Find answers to questions, how to’s, boating checklists, life jacket tic-tac-toe & more!

The U.S. Coast Guard: If you aren’t able to teach safety hands on, there are lots of other ways you can teach your kids about safe fun in the water. Find coloring books and activity books to teach kids about water safety.


Tools of Navigation: The Science of Finding Your Way!

Image Source: Pixabay.com


We use navigation in almost every aspect of our lives and most of the time don’t give it a second thought. Unless you found this article by chance or good luck, you are probably familiar with navigating your way around the world wide web on a regular basis. We all have experienced navigation on land as well – finding your way through a town or from one place to another. In both cases, we utilize signs, markers or Google to guide us through step by step directions and tell us where we are & where we are going. Before there was Google Maps, people relyed on science to help them navigate their way. From astronomy to geology, science has paved the way for a variety of navigation techniques for thousands of years. 


Navigation is the art and science of determining the position of a ship, plane or other type of vehicle, and guiding it to a specific destination. Understanding latitude and longitude is vital in understanding the science of navigation. Latitude is a north-south position which is measured from the Earth’s Equator and longitude is an east-west position measured from the prime meridian. Navigation requires a person to know their relative location, or position compared to other known locations such as the Equator or Prime Meridian.

The earliest navigation methods involved observing landmarks or watching the direction of the sun and stars. Few ancient sailors ventured out into the open sea. Instead, they sailed within sight of land in order to navigate. When that was impossible, ancient sailors watched constellations to mark their position. This method eventually became known as Celestial Navigation. By using the stars, moon, sun and horizon, sailors would calculate their position out in the open ocean.

Today, NASA and other space agencies continue to use celestial navigation for many of their missions outside the Earth’s atmosphere. The astronauts and engineers of the Apollo program used a sophisticated and more modern form of celestial navigation to chart their way to the moon and back. The Mars Exploration Rover also uses celestial navigation to communicate information back to engineers and researchers on Earth.


One of the most familiar navigational tools in the world is the Compass. The compass can be used as a navigational tool on land, at sea, and in the air. Compasses were first used by the Chinese, perhaps as early as 206 BCE and by the 1st Century CE, the compass was the premier navigational tool for explorers around the globe. With little understanding of how the compass needle worked or the science behind it, the compass was thought to be a source of magic or witchcraft. With rumors linking the tool with unearthly powers – some ship captains were forced to hide their compass from view! Modern day science tells us that the compass indicates direction relative to the Earth’s magnetic poles.

In the last century, huge improvements have been made in the accuracy and ease by which ships are navigated with methods such as long range navigation, radar, the gyroscopic compass and the global positioning system (GPS). In the early 1900’s, networks of radio waves were set up and used to plot & pinpoint a geographical location by receiving signals from at least two stations. 


Today, the GPS is the most accurate & dependable form of navigation available and has replaced almost all other forms of navigation. A GPS acts as both a transmitter and receiver by using geostationary satellites hundreds of miles above the Earth’s surface. A signal sent from your device hits one satellite which then sends a signal back to you. The signal hits three satellites and then calculates your accurate position by using the equation: distance = speed x time.  The signal of a GPS travels at the speed of light – an incredible 186,411 miles per second! Although these modern navigational tools bear no resemblance to the traditional methods, they use the same principals; an accurate measurement of time, the speed equation and fixings from different locations.

The nautical explorers & inventors of our past have forever changed the way we travel the world. Those ancient navigators’ vague attempts to avoid getting lost have been transformed into a sophisticated & calculated science. With modern GPS, we have the ability to know exactly where we are on the planet at any given moment. With the ever growing science of navigation, will we truly be lost ever again?

Make Your Own Nautical Chart

A Sailor’s Life For Me: Nautical Lesson Plans &  Teacher Resources

Exploration Through the Ages: An Interactive Guide to Navigation

Hands-On Nautical Navigation

Classroom @ Sea

The Art & Science of Navigation

History of Navigation

PBS : Secrets of Ancient Navigators

Finding Our Way: Before the GPS

HTHT of Central NJ Bridge Generation Gap with Hands-On Science!

Second graders from Immaculate Conception School in Somerville, CT joined the residents of Brandywine Senior Living Center this week for a science experience that proved… your’e never too old to learn! High Touch High Tech of Conneticut franchise owner, Planet Preeti,  engaged the inter-generational groups in two sessions of the popular, environmental themed program – “The Green Machine.” The Brandywine residents participated in the lessons, both to learn and to share their personal green experiences by helping the students.  


An article on MyCentralJersey.com featured the unique event praising that both sessions were a stimulating experience for the residents as it was for the children. First, the children and seniors learned about creating cleaners without using harsh chemicals. This session set the level of excitement for both generations & got the entire group involved in mixing the solutions. The second session, about composting and making small choices to help the environment, was also very lively. A highlight of the programs were when the seniors contributed their feedback. When Planet Preeti asked if any of the seniors had composted, one resident said she’d done it for 40 years, and she was a great source of information. 

Residents & students alike were unanimous in their enthusiasm for the program. The residents truely enjoyed the intimate interaction with the children & had a lot of fun getting hands-on with the experiments. 

Check out the full article on this program at MyCentralJersey.com

Are you in the Central New Jersey area & looking for a FUN, hands-on experience for your classroom or group? Check out High Touch High Tech of Central New Jersey to find out how you can experience the excitement of science for yourself! 

High Touch High Tech of Central New Jersey


Email: CNJ@ScienceMadeFun.net

Call Today at 732.444.2424

Toll Free at 800.596.7560


The Science Behind The Ice Cream Brain Freeze!

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Delicious, beautiful, and bound to cause a headache.

The ice cream headache is one of the most common and most hated sources of headache.  When you’re tucking into a delicious ice cream treat or slurping down a milkshake, the last thing you want is that stabbing pain in your skull from getting a little too enthusiastic with your eating.  You get it, I get it, even Harvard students get it, which is why Harvard Medical School students have been inducing ice cream headaches in the lab in order to study them.  As it turns out, ice cream headaches are a close cousin to migraines and people who have migraines are more likely to get brain freeze.

“The brain is one of the relatively important organs in the body, and it needs to be working all the time,” said study researcher Jorge Serrador.  ”It’s fairly sensitive to temperature, so vasodilation [the widening of the blood vessels] might be moving warm blood inside tissue to make sure the brain stays warm.”

Harvard brought 13 research subjects into their labs and hooked them up to various brain monitoring devices.  They gave the subjects ice-cold water to drink and told them to raise their hands when they felt the headache coming on and when it was going away.  While studying the brain freeze victims, they noticed that the anterior cerebral artery expanded, letting in more blood and causing the pressure.  When the artery constricted and reduced blood flow, the pain subsided.  So, basically, an ice cream headache is the brain trying to deal with excess cold, much like 3D headaches are the brain trying to deal with excess input.

Check out our FUN at-home experiment to learn how to make your own ice cream! 

The End of an Era: Discovery Draws Eyes to Sky for Final Flight!

Space Shuttle Discovery has launched into its next era. The retired shuttle landed safely at Washington-Dulles International Airport Tuesday, where it will remain until it is moved to the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center Thursday. Eyes around the world watched as the retired spacecraft, riding atop a 747, flew low over the Capitol and surrounding areas.

According to NASA, Discovery completed 39 missions – more than any other spacecraft – and circled the earth more than 5800 times since its first launch on August 30, 1984.

To celebrate Discovery’s arrival, Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is planning a festival of activities. Its Welcome Discovery program began when the orbiter arrived in the D.C. Additional activities at the Center will kick off Thursday when Discovery will be officially transferred by NASA into the Smithsonian’s collection in an outdoor ceremony that will be open to the public. 

The Welcome Discovery festival is presented in cooperation with NASA. All activities are offered free of charge but there is a $15 parking fee at the Udvar-Hazy Center.


Caine’s Arcade: Cardboard Creation Inspires $90,000 Scholarship!

Caine Monroy has proven there’s no limit to what you can create from a big pile of cardboard and an even bigger imagination.

The 9-year-old from Los Angeles built a fantasy arcade in his father’s East L.A. used car parts shop during his summer vacation. He created the entire arcade by recycling cardboard boxes and set up a pricing model: $1 for four plays or a $2 for a “fun pass,” offering 500 plays in a month.

The problem was that no one walked by his arcade, because his father’s business has gone mostly online.

Caine’s first costumer, filmmaker Nirvin Mullick, was worth the 9-year-old’s wait. Mullick came looking for a car part, but fell in love with Caine’s story, which he has turned into a now viral documentary sensation.

The 11-minute documentary has been viewed 1 million times on Vimeo and almost 500,000 times on YouTube.

In the film, Mullick used Facebook and Reddit to plan a flashmob to surprise Caine at his arcade, in what would become “the best day of Caine’s life.”

The silver lining to this story is the scholarship fund Mullick set up for Caine’s college education, which has already raised more than $90,000. Mullick astutely notes, there’s no saying what this boy could accomplish with an engineering degree.

New Canadian Quarter Features Glow-in-the-Dark Alberta Dinosaur!

When you think Canada, from now on you can think of dinosaurs. Glow in the dark dinosaurs! The image of a dinosaur whose remains were discovered in Alberta’s Peace Country will be featured on Canada’s newest quarter — the first Canadian coin with a glow-in-the dark picture.

The quarter, being released by the Royal Canadian Mint April 16, features Pachyrhinosaurus Lakustai, a large herbivore whose bone fragments were discovered by Grande Prairie, Alta., science teacher Al Lakusta in 1974. The bones that Lakusta discovered led paleontologists to what has since been determined to be the richest horned dinosaur bed in the world. The Pachyrhinosaurus Lakustai dinosaur was up to 26 feet long and weighed as much as four tons. Its massive head bore a large frill of bone and small horns.

As if a dinosaur quarter wasn’t unique enough on its own, Canada has found a way to make the image turn into a glow in the dark skeleton when you shut out the lights. It uses a photo-luminescent which won’t, unlike most glow in the dark gadgets, ever wear out.

The Royal Canadian Mint will release the quarter on April 16 and according to the Vancouver Sun they’ll sell it at Canada Post outlets for $29.95. Three more dinosaur coins will follow, in a series called Prehistoric Creatures.

Monterey Bay Aquarium- Where Nature Meets High-Tech!


Visitors at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California stood in amazement on Saturday as the aquarium premiered their new jellyfish exhibit, “The Jellies Experience.” The ‘Jellies Experience’ exhibition features 16 species of jellyfish from around the world and is rich with high-tech, interactive gizmos of the sort demanded by 21st century visitors.  The new exhibition houses the jellyfish in cylindrical aquariums along with wall-mounted tanks and the show cost US$3.5 million to set up and build. More and more aquariums, museums and zoos nationwide are starting to balance the natural wonders on display with digitally driven marvels. 

Read More & See Amazing images of the high-tech exibit here:


The Jellies: The Exhibit Behind The Scenes: