Want to become an aerospace engineer? Have you ever wondered how people move throughout space and air? Aerospace is the answer. Come explore aerospace engineering and build the skills needed to consider it as a career. Though fun-filled hands-on activities, build and experiment with rockets, kites, airplanes and hot air balloons. With never-ending fun of Aerospace in your hands, force, motion, lift center of gravity and physics concepts in flight are explored.
Have you ever wondered how Air-Balloons fly?
Ever wished to fly an Airplane?
Do you want to become an Aerospace Engineer?
Do you know how people move throughout space & air?
What about Rockets and how they get to travel through the space?
Aerospace is the answer!
Aerospace engineering is the branch of engineering focused on the design, construction, and testing of aircraftand spacecraft. It is broken into two major overlapping disciplines: aeronautical engineering (for vehicles that stay within Earth’s atmosphere) and astronautical engineering (for vehicles that travel beyond Earth’s atmosphere). Aerospace engineering applies the fascinating science behind the forces of nature and the physical properties of aircraft, rockets, and spacecraft.
AIAA has compiled curriculum from a variety of sources that are tried and true by our Educator Associates. If you are searching for an activity for use with students in any situation, these are recommendations for you.
Looking for curriculum and information about aerospace from air traffic control to aircraft design to new horizons in commercial space travel? Whether your a teacher or student, the FAA’s Aviation and Space Education (AVSED) program has something to interest you. If you are interested in a career in aerospace or just curious, learn about some of the FAA programs and activities geared toward Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education.
These include: ACE Academies, art contests. High school competitions, aviation curriculum, teacher workshops, and much, much more. Check out their Web site at www.faa.gov/education.
Looking for ways to tie satellites, climate change and environmental issues into your lesson plans? Click here to find resources developed by NOAA engineers and scientists. Check out their web site here: http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/EducationOutreach.html.
Curious to See What Other Resources are Available to You? Check out these great additional sites:
Ah, Thanksgiving. A day full of turkey, cranberries, pie, and, of course, SCIENCE! Thanksgiving is a classic American holiday when families gather around the dinner table. Along with providing an opportunity for family members to celebrate, this holiday also serves as the perfect occasion to impress others with these fun, holiday-themed science facts.
The True Culprit Behind The “Turkey-Day Coma”
For eons upon eons (or at least the past few decades), we’ve blamed post-Thanksgiving drowsiness on tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey meat. Is this really fair or should we be pointing our fingers somewhere else? Perhaps somewhere closer to our empty plates and full bellies? Tryptophan indeed is linked to drowsiness – that’s no myth. It’s a biochemical precursor to serotonin, which has a calming effect on the brain and body. And tryptophan is indeed found in turkey meat. It’s also present in chocolate, some fruits, dairy, red meat and eggs. However, tryptophan is almost certainly not the cause of the Turkey Day food coma. First of all, the levels of tryptophan that we ingest in even a Thanksgiving-sized portion of turkey is not all that much more than is found in what we eat on any other day. Plus tryptophan works best on an empty stomach, not a stuffed one! The real culprit? It’s probably a combination of your body working hard to digest a large meal and a fervent desire to put off doing the dishes!
From Sauce to Solid: The Science of Cranberries
“Slurp…plop!” Recognize that sound? You might if your family usually serves jellied cranberries on Thanksgiving. Cranberries have been known to help fight cancer and also contain antioxidants and nutrients that are beneficial to both dental and cardiovascular health as well as anti-aging properties. Cranberries can be served as a sauce – some like it runny; others like it wiggly; and still some like it firmly gelled. No matter which version you prefer, they all have the exact same ingredients – water, sugar and cranberries.
So what makes one version turn into a gelatin while the other stays saucy? It all comes down to the cooking time & how it affects the natural pectin found in the cranberry. As they are cooked, the cranberries pop open, releasing pectin, which helps them stick together. Pectin is a natural polymer found in between plant’s cells and within the cell walls. It helps “glue” the plant cells together and keeps plant tissues firm. And in cooked cranberries it can help stick the cooked fruit together to form a solid jelly. Jellied cranberries are thick, like gelatin, and retain the shape of the mold in which it was placed, which might mean Aunt Sallie’s turkey mold or even the shape of a can. If you are looking at a way to please everyone at dinner by serving both gooey and jellied cranberries, head into the kitchen & discover the science of cranberries for yourself!
Thanksgiving would not be the same without mashed potatoes. Not only do they go great with turkey and gravy, they conduct electricity too. Potatoes have hidden energy that can turn your thanksgiving side dish into a real, working battery!
The potato battery is a type of electrochemical cell that demonstrates current electricity. An electrochemical cell converts chemical energy into electrical energy. In the potato battery, there is a transfer of electrons between a galvanized nail and copper wire that is inserted into the potato. The potato conducts electricity, keeping ions separate, so that the electrons in the copper wire are forced to move generating an electric current. It’s not enough power to shock you, but the potato can generate readings on electricity meters, make light bulbs glow and even power small digital clocks. You can super-charge your spuds this Thanksgiving by making your very own potato clock!
The “A-Maiz”ing Ear
We can’t talk about the traditional Thanksgiving meal without mentioning corn! Known as “maize” to Native Americans, the relationship between corn & Thanksgiving go all the way back to the first harvest time celebration feast in Plymouth. Whether in a creamy custard or casserole, corn dishes add a little more sweetness and richness to our decadent meal.Corn is grown on every continent except Antarctica and is by far, America’s number one field crop.
Not only does it provide great nutritional benefits for us but it has many uses in our everyday life including corn starch, popcorn, corn syrup, corn plastics, and of course, ethanol. One bushel of corn can make 32 pounds of starch, 33 pounds of sweetener, 2.8 gallons of ethanol fuel and 1.6 pounds of corn oil. Ethanol is an alcohol-based fuel, also known as biofuel, which is produced from the ears of the corn plant. Ethanol can power cars and also be used as cooking oil. Biofuel burns cleaner than gasoline, reducing air and water pollution. As you bite into that juicy ear of corn during your Turkey Day feast, use some of these facts to “a-maize” your dinner guests with the surprising versatility of plain old corn!
Get Saucy with Starches
Who doesn’t love soaking up the last bit of gravy on Thanksgiving? Sauces provide concentrated flavor in a thickened liquid form that compliments the rest of your meal. No matter if they’re salty, spicy, savory, or sweet, sauces make foods richer and more enjoyable! There are many ways to thicken sauces, but one of the most common ways is to use starches. Cooks have two choices in deciding how to thicken sauces with starches: they can use the starches from grains, or the starches from tubers and roots. The starch in grains like wheat, corn, and rice is different from the starch in roots and tubers like potatoes, tapioca, and arrowroot.
To make your sauce or gravy you add the starch to the liquid. It sounds like a simple task – You just put it in, right? Wrong. Mixing starches & liquids can be a very tricky process. There are several methods to incorporate the two together, including mixing the starch first with a small amount of cold water, mixing the starch first with a bit of fat, or making a roux. By experimenting with different starches and liquids, you can watch the molecules go to work & discover which has the ultimate thickening power!
Perfecting Your Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin pie is one of the staples of the Thanksgiving feast, having been linked to the holiday since that autumn eve more than 300 years ago. Pumpkin pie has even sparked the interest of archaeologists as a product derived from merging three distinct cultures together. This favorite holiday dessert is a combination of ingredients from Native American, European and African cultures – pumpkin, pastry crust and allspice- and represents a cultural mixing referred to as “creolization” by New World Scholars.
Pumpkin pie not only attracts archaeologists around the world but kitchen scientists as well. You can enjoy this dessert on its own or with a dollop of whipped cream, but either way the light & flaky crust is crucial in producing a perfect pumpkin pie. Making the dough light & flaky all comes down to the scientific makeup of the pie dough. When making pastry dough, large amounts of fat are used to coat and separate the flour particles from each other. You then add just enough water to make a dough. Since much of the starch in the flour is not in contact with any of the water, the resulting cooked dough is crumbly and flaky. If the pastry that surrounds the pumpkin mixture is heavy or chewy then that can affect how much you enjoy this thanksgiving finale. This holiday, experiment with different fats & temperatures to see which gives your pumpkin pie the best texture & taste. Who knows, with the help of a little science, you just might become your family’s pie master!
For many families, Thanksgiving Day is marked by special foods — and endless leftovers. If you’re on kitchen duty this November, put these food science skills to use & become a kitchen chemist with experiments like these!
Today, October 23 (or 10/23, as it’s written the American way), from 6:02 am to 6:02 pm, is Mole Day. No, it’s not a day for freckles, spies, Mexican sauce, or cute little burrowing mammals. Rather it’s the day to celebrate the chemical unit the “mole.”
What is a mole, you ask, having forgotten high school chemistry. A mole of something is 6.02 x 10^23 of it (kind of like a dozen of eggs is 12 eggs, a mole of eggs is 602,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 eggs*.)
*okay, technically, it’s 602,214,129,270,000,000,000,000 eggs (give or take a few quintillion – scientists can’t agree on the exact number).
So, with that out of the way, here are 5 fun facts about the mole and Mole Day:
1. The mole is attributed to 18th century Italian scientist Amedeo Avogadro, whose full name is Lorenzo Romano Amedeo Carlo Avogadro di Queregna e di Cerreto. Man, that’s a long name, but it somehow fits the long number that now bears his name (6.02 x 10^23 is called Avogadro’s Constant). His parents called him Amedeo Carlo Avogadro.
We won’t get into the technical aspects, but in 1811 Avogadro proposed a law (now known as Avogadro’s Law) stating that equal volume of all gasses, at the same temperature and pressure, have the same number of molecules.
As with many scientific accomplishments of that age, Avogadro’s findings were promptly ignored. It took about a hundred years for the scientific community to get around to appreciating what he’s done. In 1909, French chemist and Nobel laureate Jean Baptiste Perrin proposed that quantity of molecules be called “Avogadro’s Constant.”
2. Mole Day was proposed in an article in The Science Teacher in early 1980s. Inspired by the article, Maurice Oehler, a chemistry teacher (now retired) in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, created the National Mole Day Foundation in 1991.
3. Did you know that the Mole Day has annual themes? Here they are:
The Mole The Merrier
Go For The Mole
Mole Out The Barrel
An Ace in The Mole
We Dig Chemistry
Ride the Molercoaster
It’s A MOLE World
Celebrate the Molennium
Rock ‘n Mole
Pi a la MOLE
Secret Agent Double Mole Seven in Moles are Forever
Remember the Alamole
Moles of the Round Table
4. To help you celebrate, here’s the Molemorial Day song by Michael Offutt (that’s the theme of the Mole Day in 1996, when Offutt recorded the song). Actually Offutt created a whole album, titled “Molennium,” filled with songs about the mole.
5. As you can probably guess, a mole (6.02 x 10^23) is a VERY large number. But, what does a mole of moles look like? What if we release a mole of moles onto our planet? xkcd explains:
An eastern mole (Scalopus aquaticus) weighs about 75 grams, which means a mole of moles weighs (6.022×10^23)×75g≈4.52×10^22kg.
That’s a little over half the mass of our moon.
Mammals are largely water. A kilogram of water takes up a liter of volume, so if the moles weigh 4.52×10^22 kilograms, they take up about 4.52×10^22 liters of volume. You might notice that we’re ignoring the pockets of space between the moles. In a moment, you’ll see why.
The cube root of 4.52×10^22 liters is 3,562 kilometers, which means we’re talking about a sphere with a radius of 2,210 kilometers, or a cube 2,213 miles on each edge. (That’s a neat coincidence I’ve never noticed before—a cubic mile happens to be almost exactly 4/3pi cubic kilometers, so a sphere with a radius of X kilometers has the same volume as a cube that’s X miles on each side.)
If these moles were released onto the Earth’s surface, they’d fill it up to 80 kilometers deep—just about to the (former) edge of space:
Have you ever wondered how scientists can know so much about things that happened thousands of years ago? For example, how do they know what certain dinosaurs looked like? After all, those dinosaurs have been extinct for thousands of years, right?
Fossils are the actual remains or impressions left by plants or animals that were once alive hundreds or thousands of years ago. Over time, the organic (living) material left behind is replaced with minerals, leaving a fossil that is like a stone but looks like the original plant or animal. When scientists find these imprints — like an ancient x-ray — they can learn a lot about the animals or plants that left their mark.
Not all plant and animal remains become fossilized over time. Certain conditions have to exist for fossilization to take place. For example, many fossils form when plant and animal remains are buried — and thereby preserved — by mud, sand or soil. Fossilization also takes a lot of time. How long? How about 10,000 years or more. So if you go and bury a plant leaf under a pile of mud in the backyard, don’t expect a fossil to form in your lifetime!
Despite the requirements of time and preservation, fossils can be found just about anywhere. From the tops of mountains to the depths of the seas, fossils can be found all over Earth. Some sit on top of sandy beaches while others stay hidden deep underground. Fossils are often unearthed during construction or new mining projects. As the ground is dug up and moved about, fossils once hidden deep underground suddenly come to light. In a similar way, you can often find fossils in shallow stream beds, as the constantly flowing water cuts through the old earth to reveal what’s hidden below.
School of Hard Rocks: Fossil Collecting for Beginners You may ask, why do people collect fossils? Think of fossil collecting as ancient antique hunting, a way to connect with the past. There’s something mysterious and powerful about holding a 400-million-year-old creature in the palm of your hand.
People have countless reasons for fossil collecting:
A love of modern nature and a desire to know and understand how it came to be.
A love of history.
A love of the Earth and the mystery of its creation.
A desire to inspire a child to learn and to share your passion for geology and earth science.
Even wanting a hobby, one that will keep you in good physical shape while exercising your mind, is a great reason for becoming a fossil collector.
Plus,FOSSILS ARE COOL! So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!
It’s easy to get started with a fossil collection: just keep your eyes open the next time you walk along a dry creek bed or along a washed out ravine. Depending on your location, you might spot the remains of an ancient creature.
Don’t want to leave your fossil finding to “Lady Luck?” Pick up a rock-hounding book for your locale. The authors of rock-hounding books let you in on lots of tips for success. They also let you know where you can hunt, how to ask permission of landowners and places to avoid.
Parks are a great place to kick off a fossil hunt, many are home to impressive collections, while others are untapped treasure chests, waiting to be pried open. The type of fossil you may find at a park will of course be dictated by the area’s geographic features, meaning that chances of finding fossilized sea life in the mountains are less common than if the park is nestled beside a major body of water. Don’t forget to take your camera! Nothing beats the thrill of the find! You’ll want to have at least a few pictures in the field to document the location and the moment.
Paleontologists—professional fossil finders—break fossils down into two main groups: trace fossils and body fossils. Trace fossils are records of an animal’s life, they can include footprints, trackways, and coprolites (fossilized poop!), and tell a story about how the creature lived, and give a relatively accurate idea of their size. Body fossils, the most sought after type of fossil, are fossilized remains of a plant or animal, and can be as tiny as an insect or as large as a mammoth, obviously the latter finding is rare and less likely to be found in a US park, but finding small fossilized wildlife and plants is still an amazing discovery.
Here are a few tips to get you on your way to a stellar fossil collection of your own!
#1: When searching for fossils, know they only form in sedimentary rocks.
Sedimentary rock is a type of rock formed by the deposition of minerals and other materials at the Earth’s surface or within bodies of water. Sedimentary rocks are formed over a long period of time in the accumulation of debris or sediments. Such materials you’ll likely find fossils in include clay, limestone, shale, and sandstone.
#2: Do a search for fossil websites and fossil documents for your state, region, locality.
With a little research, you can find pictures of local fossils in your area & perhaps even a map of where to find them. Check out this site that breaks up fossils found in the United States by region: Teacher Friendly Guide to Geology: Fossils by US Region,
Familiarize yourself with what you are likely to find, and remember that the fossils will probably be in matrix (rock) and you will only find a small portion peeking out. Local museums are a great way to find out what fossils are native to your locale & are available for public viewing. This will also teach you what kind of fossil hunting you will be doing – beach combing, sifting for sharks teeth, breaking shale, or walking road cuts and dry washes.
#3: Do a search for local rock, mineral and fossil clubs in your area.
Mentoring from experienced members is invaluable! And they may even have group field trips and digs that you can attend! While you are at it, see if there are any fossil parks near you.
#4: Your first outing – what do you need?
Something to carry your fossils in, such as a bag, pail or backpack with a handle is good for carrying your finds. Other tools you’ll want to bring along include: a field guide to record your findings, pencil, compass, trowel or small shovel, paintbrush to sweep away the debris, a sieve if looking for sharks’ teeth, etc. in creeks and a hammer to knock away excess rock if desired. You can also include some graphing paper & a measuring tape to take note of your dig site if you’re planning to return.
#5: Identifying your Fossils:
Bring home anything that looks like it may be a fossil, you just never know. What you may initially believe to be a strange looking rock could be a real fossil! Fossils come in many shapes and sizes. Paleontologists classify and identify fossils based on their shapes and appearance.
Thousands of different fossils can be found in the United States. Identifying all of the types requires experts; however, many of the most common types can be easily identified. If you think you know the kind of fossil (eg., trilobite, brachiopod) do a quick Google search to find out what types of fossils can be found in your locale or area the fossil was found. Use the resources you find and compare the information with what you have. If you don’t know what kind of fossil you have, check out this site that can try and point you in the right direction: Identifying Unknown Fossils (by shape).
Differences between some fossils are subtle and are easily missed by the amateur collector. Also, some fossils are poorly preserved, broken, or partially covered in the matrix of the surrounding rock so that their true size and shape is hidden. But the most commonly found fossils can usually be classified to their group with just a few observations.
The La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, California:Did you realize you can take a trip back in time to the Ice Age in the heart of one of America’s largest modern cities? It’s true! The urban heart of Los Angeles is the site of a fascinating scientific treasure. Since the early 1900’s, scientists have unearthed the fossilized remains of several different species including saber-toothed cats, mammoths, wolves, bears, ground sloths, bison and horses.
FOSSILGUY.COM: A fantastic resource for future paleontologists & fossil collectors in and around the mid-Atlantic region. This site includes virtual tours of fossil sites, and fossil identification.
10 Weird & Unusual Archeological Finds: Just in time for Halloween – from a saber-toothed squirrel to an ant of prehistoric proportions, check out these weird & spooky finds recently discovered from across the globe!
10 Famous Fossils that Changed Dinosaur History:Not all dinosaur fossils are equally famous, or have had the same profound effect on paleontology. Here are 10 famous fossils that changed, sharpened, or completely altered the views of working scientists (and the general public) about dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles.
National Geographic Education: Fossils: This collection contains a selection of content from NG Education about fossils. Users have the option to use the site search tool to find out more on a variety of fossil & archeology topics.
Way back in 1841, Richard Owen first classified a group of related fossils as “Dinosauria,” which translates to “terrible lizard” in ancient Greek. But dinosaurs aren’t terrible, they’re wonderful! And since 1841, these planet-ruling, long-extinct creatures have been exciting our imaginations, changing what we know about Earth’s history, and giving pop culture its most popular and beloved monsters.
And so, in celebration of the 252 millionth anniversary of the first dinosaur taking its inaugural step, give or take a few million years, we give you best of the best in the prehistoric popularity contest. Lucky for you, it’s just in time for International Dinosaur Month!
The Heaviest Dinosaur
The heaviest dinosaur ever discovered is the Brachiosaurus weighing in at a whopping 80 tons. It was the equivalent to 17 African Elephants. Brachiosaurus was the equivalent to 17 African Elephants measuring 16m tall and 26m long.The excavation of Brachiosaurus in Tanzania, Africa, during the early part of the century involved hundreds of local workers who carried the enormous bones by hand for many miles to the seaport. They were then shipped to Germany and mounted inside of the Humboldt Museum in East Berlin. This museum was custom designed to fit the skeleton of Brachiosaurus. That skeleton is still on display, and it is still the most impressive dinosaur mounted in the world. It is as staggering to visitors today as when it was unveiled many decades ago.
The Smallest Dinosaur
The smallest fully-grown fossil dinosaur is the little bird-hipped plant-eater lesothosaurus, which was only the size of a chicken. Smaller fossilized examples have been found but these are of baby dinosaurs.
The Smallest Dinosaur Egg
Current evidence suggests all dinosaurs laid eggs of a wide variety of shapes and sizes—from 1 inch (3 centimeters) to 21 inches (53 centimeters), round or elliptical. Dinosaur eggs were perforated with tiny holes, which allowed life-giving oxygen to enter. The smallest dinosaur egg so far found is only a little over 1 inch long (3 centimeters.) Scientists have yet to solve the mystery of which species of dinosaur laid the tiny egg. Once the egg has been fossilized it will become hard like rock, but it will retain a structure of its own.
The Most Brainy Dinosaur
One of the most intelligent dinosaurs was Troodon. It was a hunting dinosaur, about 2 meters long, and had a brain size similar to that of a mammal or bird of today, stereoscopic vision, and grasping hands.
The First Dinosaur to be Discovered in North America
The first discovery of dinosaur remains in North America was made in 1854 by Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden during his exploration of the upper Missouri River. He discovered a small collection of teeth which were later described by Joseph Leidy in 1856 as belonging to Trachodon, Troodon, and Deinodon.
A short two years later, Leidy had the honor of describing the first reasonably complete dinosaur skeleton the world would know, Hadrosaurus foulkii. Named after its discoverer William Parker Foulke, this specimen was recovered during quarrying of a sand pit in Haddonfield, New Jersey. This specimen, is now on display at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
The Tallest Dinosaur
The tallest dinosaurs were the Brachiosaurid group of sauropods. Their front legs were longer than the rear legs giving them a giraffe-like stance. This combined with their extremely long necks, which were held vertically, meaning they could leaf through even the tallest trees. Brachiosaurus – the most well known of the group – was 13 meters tall. Sauroposeidon was massive and probably grew to 18.5 meters tall making it the tallest dinosaur.
The Fastest Running Dinosaur
The speediest dinosaurs were the ostrich mimic ornithomimids, such as Dromiceiomimus, which could probably run at speeds of up to 60 kilometers per hour.
The Oldest Dinosaur
In January 2013, Science Today published the discovery of a new dinosaur species that lived around the same time as Eoraptor in the late Triassic, some 230 million years ago. Dubbed Eodromaeus, it was discovered in the Ischigualasto Formation, a geological basin in northwestern Argentina that is riddled with some of the oldest dinosaur remains known.
The Eodromaeus has been a hot debate among Paleontologists & has taken the top spot in the oldest Dino category previously held by the Eoraptor, meaning “dawn thief,” whom had held the title at 228 million years.
The Longest Dinosaur Name
The dinosaur with the longest name was Micropachycephalosaurus meaning “tiny thick-headed lizard”. Its fossils have been found in China, and it was named in 1978 by the Chinese paleontologist Dong.
Even eons later, the world is still just as into dinosaurs as it was 251,000,000 years ago. In fact, there are countless ways to get the kids (and/or yourself) even more in touch with these beloved prehistoric pals, this side of the Stone Age.
All month long, we invite you to celebrate your love of dinosaurs with us. Make this month’s celebration one of prehistoric proportions with a HTHT fan-favorite Paleontology Party that is sure to WOW all of your fellow Dino-lovers.
Looking for even more ways to celebrate? Check out these other great ideas & resources:
Archeologists in training can hone their skills by digging for Dino bones online.
If this dinosaur expert doesn’t have all the kids’ questions (“Why are dinosaurs so big?”) answered, this video from National Geographic surely will.
If a natural history museum is within reach, pack a lunch, and make a family day of it! Larger-than-life skeletons will put the ancient beasts’ grandeur in full perspective. While you’re there, take the time to get to know the species of dinosaurs & study their bones. You can show off your new Dino-knowledge with all your friends at your Dino party!
Dress as a dinosaur for Halloween. Million-year-old reptiles always get more candy!
Have a Dinosaur Movie Marathon. You know what we’re thinking… JURASSIC PARK!!!! But for the younger audience, there are plenty of other incredible dinosaur movies out there. Check out the ‘Dinosaur’ category on Netflix & find a movie that will entertain your friends of all ages. Prepare some dinosaur snacks, like sandwiches cut into to Dino shapes and Dino shaped cookies too. Try icing cakes to look scaly or even check out this Dino egg cake recipe. Now all you need is some friends, Dino movies and of course POPCORN!
And don’t forget to join the Mesozoic Madness conversation on Twitter @HTHTWNC & Share your favorite highlights with us on Facebook!