What’s Chlorophyll? It is a natural chemical that makes plants green! Chlorophyll is found not only in plants but also in algae and some bacteria.
Chlorophyll has a molecular structure in which Magnesium is located at the center, and plants that contain chlorophyll are autotrophs, meaning that they are able to create the nutrients that they need internally. Chlorophyll is found in tiny organelles called chloroplasts. Chloroplasts are the food producers for plants. They make the sugar and starch to give plants energy.
Chlorophyll is the molecule that allows for plants to undergo the photosynthetic process. This allow for plants to utilize light from the sun to create the necessary nutrients for continued growth and health. During this process, chlorophyll uses sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to create food energy for the plant.
Chlorophyll keeps plants green and alive! By performing our Smarty Plants experiment, found on our experiment page, you can extract or remove the chlorophyll from spinach leaves. In concluding the experiment, you will end up with a green liquid. That is chlorophyll!
Long before the day of the smart watch, humans told time
using the sundial, the very earliest timekeeping device! Sundials use the sun’s
position in the sky to cast a shadow onto the dial which is marked with numbers
indicating the time. The first sundial was created more than 5,500 years ago in
the year 3500 BCE. Sundials have even been found in Ancient Egyptian ruins!
Many ancient cultures including the Egyptians, Greeks and
Romans used sundials. The Romans were the first to divide the day into 12 hours
to better mark the time and meetings. The day was divided into two periods,
ante meridiem (before midday) and post meridiem (after midday), which are now
knows as A.M. and P.M.
The major difference between how we tell time today and how
we told time thousands of years ago is that we no longer use the sun to
determine the time. Today we utilize “clock time,” which means that the time is
regular and unaffected by seasons like solar time is! Sundials and clock time
agree on the time 4 times a year: on or near April 15th, June 15th,
September 1st, and December 25th!
The Arctic is one of the coldest environments on Earth.
Winters are long with few hours of daylight. The Inuit people must adapt to
this extreme climate. They need thick, warm clothing made from animal skins and
furs. They make boots, hats and warm jackets called anoraks. The Inuit people
build sturdy shelters to protect themselves from the harsh winds and bitter
The Inuit word for home is “igloo.” Igloos are used as quick
shelter to protect oneself and their family by trapping body heat in the mostly
enclosed space. The size of the igloo depends
upon the size of the base, but the shelters can often hold a family inside, and
someone who is experienced in the art can create an igloo in less than two
hours! During the summer, the igloos are made from a wooden frame with animal
skins and whale bones. During the winter, however, igloos are made from blocks
Originally, any snow used in creating the igloo was carved
out of bone, but now more modern tools are used. Inuit people carve large
blocks of dry, hard snow. First, they place a circular ring of blocks on level
ground. The second row of blocks are tilted slightly inward. As each row is
stacked, the walls grow taller, and the blocks begin to arch together. The
structure is a dome. Finally, a key block is placed on the top. The builders
cut a hole in this key block for ventilation. This hole allows air and smoke
from a fire to escape.
The entrance into the igloo is a tunnel. This prevents warm
air from escaping and cold air from entering the structure. The doorway is
small, and one must crawl inside. The blocks of ice act as insulators. There is
gradual thawing on the inner walls. But, when the people leave the igloo to go
hunting during the day, the hardened snow refreezes into ice. This thawing and
refreezing actually strengthens the blocks.
During the cold winter months, you may wear a big winter
coat, play inside more often, or even eat different foods. We change our habits
and adapt to the changes of weather, and animals do the same! There are different
species of birds that travel from cold northern locations to warmer locations
further south during winter months, this is called migration. Birds will
migrate to find more abundant food and better weather!
There are a few types of migration patterns that birds take.
Some birds are called obligate migrants, meaning that the timing of
travel is dictated by instinct. No matter the weather condition, obligate
migrant birds will fly south, because they are “obligated” to spend the winter
in the deep tropics of South America. Songbirds, raptors and shorebirds are all
The other type of migrating birds is facultative. Facultative
migrants make their migrating decisions by the slight changes in weather and
begin to migrate once the weather dips below a certain point. Unlike obligate
birds which travel to the southern tip of South America, facultative birds
migrate shorter distances, often staying within the United States. Ducks, geese, swans, cranes, orioles, and
warblers are all facultative migrants.
If you enjoy spending time outdoors, birdwatching might be a
fun new hobby for you! You can spend all four seasons observing birds, and you
may even see non-native birds on their yearly migrations! Pick up a pair of binoculars, and utilize an
online bird seeing tracker! The eBird website allows you to find the name of
species, photos, identification tools, and their specific calls and songs!
Search the bird sightings in your local area at: https://ebird.org/home
High Touch High Tech has the perfect experiment to attract
new, rare birds in your yard! Build your own bird feeder and see our
recommendations for the type of seed to attract new birds! Visit our Bird
Migration experiment at: https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/bird_migration.pdf
Did you know that there are over 20,000 different kinds of
Bees are pollinators and live off the nectar from plants.
These insects are attracted to the bright colors and sweet smell of flowers and
vegetables. While pollinating, each bee will collect pollen from up to one
The concept of cross-pollination is something that can be easily
understood, by noticing how bees pollinate! When the bees land on the petals,
the plants pollen sticks to their bodies. The bees move from plant to plant
carrying the pollen. The pollen is transferred to the other plants and moves
down to the plants’ eggs. Once the pollen meets the eggs, a seed is formed.
This is called fertilization. These seeds will create new plants. When a bee
pollinates multiple flowers, they often carry a bit of pollen from each flower
along with them. This cross-pollination allows for new species of flowers to develop
Bees also collect nectar from each flower and put it in a
special sack, called a pollen basket, attached to its hind legs. In this sack,
the nectar reacts to special enzymes. This reaction begins the process of
turning the nectar into honey. The bees bring this sugary nectar back to their
hive and pass it to another worker bee. This bee continues the job by placing
the nectar in a beeswax comb. The bees produce this wax through secretions from
the nectar. The nectar sits in the beeswax comb and slowly forms into honey. Bees
know all about teamwork, as each one will create a fraction of a teaspoon in
What is chromatography? Chromatography is a technique
that scientists use to help separate and identify the components of mixtures
(solvents), such as those used in making commercial inks and dyes. Many types
of ink, like many materials, are made up of two or more different substances.
By passing a mixture through a liquid, most often water, you’re able to
separate out the components of that mixture!
In High Touch High Tech’s Chromatography Flowers experiment,
we use water’s powers to assist us in chromatography. Water is sticky, meaning
that water molecules want to stay close together. Cohesion is the force
that keeps water molecules together, while adhesion attracts water
molecules to other substances. Water is pulled up the pipe cleaner using
adhesion and cohesion, and then begins to stick to our coffee filter, climbing
across the filter and spreading outwards.
Once the water reaches the coffee filter which we have drawn
on, the chromatography process begins! The water is absorbed into the ink left
by the marker and continues to climb across the coffee filter, separating the
components of the ink!
Have you ever wondered how plants continue to sprout, grow,
and bloom year after year? How can they continue to receive the nutrients that
they need to continue growing in the same soil? This is because the soil
naturally renews itself with the nutrients from other plants, and with the help
of a few other organisms. As plants die they become a part of the soil again,
and something new can grow in their place. Compost forms naturally nearly
everywhere! Leaves drop from trees. Grass clippings are left after mowing the
lawn. Plants and animals die. Over time, these organic materials break down or
decompose. The rich, dark brown, crumbly, soil-like material that results is
Tiny living things do much of the work of breaking down
organic materials to form compost. These tiny workers are called microorganisms
and include such things as bacteria and fungi. Animals living in the soil help
microorganisms break down organic materials. Worms and pill bugs are examples
of organisms that help change organic waste into compost.
We can create some of the best plant food by putting our
food waste to good use, feel good about making a positive impact on the world
around us, and even use the compost to grow more plants for ourselves. The
organic materials provide many of the nutrients that plants need for growth and
activity. Eventually, these nutrients are returned to the soil, to be used
again by trees, grass, and other plants. This is nature’s way of composting and
Composting is an easy way for us to do our part in allowing
the soil to regenerate itself. The compost that you make at your home or school
can be used as mulch or mixed into the soil. Compost is one of nature’s best
mulches and soil amendments. By composting and mulching, you can save money by
reducing your fertilizer and landscaping bills, lowering your water bill, and
spending less on trash pickups or disposal.
Who was Alexander Fleming? Alexander Fleming was a scientist
that lived from 1881 to 1955, and he was a physician, microbiologist, and
pharmacologist. He was interested in the study of microorganisms, the
tiny little creatures you can’t see that can cause you to become sick!
Microorganisms are often called germs! There are 6 types of microorganisms:
bacteria, fungi (yeast and mold), archaea, algae, protozoa, and viruses!
To study and understand how microorganisms live and behave,
Alexander Fleming would leave bowls of bacteria cultures around his workspace.
One day in 1928, Fleming noticed that a culture plate of a bacteria called staphylococcus
aureus had become contaminated by mold. The mold seemed to be defeating the
staph bacteria! By using his scientist observation skills, Alexander Fleming
concluded the mold contained a substance that was effective against bacteria,
and he named this substance penicillin.
Penicillin is part of a large group of medications that can
be used to fight bacteria called antibiotics. Antibiotics are very
useful in treating bacterial infections like strep throat (caused by streptococcus),
sinus infections, staph infections (staphylococcus aureus) by killing off the
bacteria causing the infection. Viruses, another type of germ, cannot be
treated with antibiotics for a few reasons; viruses are not living organisms
like bacteria, viruses replicate and reproduce cells differently, and viruses
are usually fought off by your immune system.
Doctors use vaccinations to prevent humans from getting
viruses that can make us very sick. Vaccinations take weakened forms of
diseases like polio, influenza (the flu), and measles and inject them into your
body to build up a resistance. Your immune system is your body’s defense system
that protects you from disease and helps to keep you healthy! When a
vaccination enters your body, your immune system fights it off and remembers
how to fight off the flu or polio germs that may enter your body in the future.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a virus that the world has never
seen before, and this is why it can seem so scary. This is a new virus that our
body has no resistance to, and doctors haven’t had the time to create a
vaccination to help keep us healthy. While doctors and nurses are working hard
to treat sick people with the coronavirus, there are lots of things that we can
do to help stop the spread of this new virus!
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends that you
wash your hands often, especially after blowing your nose or coughing, use hand
sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, and avoid touching your eyes,
nose and mouth. By touching doorknobs, desks and many other places where germs
collect, washing your hands will stop them from being introduced to your body!
To better understand how germs can be passed from person to
person, you can play High Touch High Tech’s Germ Game! By taking some glitter
and lotion, we can observe how the microorganisms we can’t see are being spread
across our world!
What do you think of when someone talks about fungi? Often,
mushrooms are the first image to come to mind, or maybe even a corny joke about
being a fun-guy.
While mushrooms are commonly recognized as fungi, the
classification is much larger than you may think! Fungi are distinct due to
their wide variations of size, shape, color, ability to thrive in a range of
environmental conditions, and their many uses in modern day society. Fungi are
the source for many of the medications we use, like penicillin, and even found
in the foods that we eat. The yeast we use for baking bread is a single-celled
fungus, and the mushrooms we encounter on a walk outside are multi-celled
It wasn’t until the
late sixties that fungi gained their own scientific category, separate of
plants. One of the main factors in the new classification was due to the
bacteria’s methods of “feeding”. Rather than basking in the sun to create
chlorophyll, by way of the photosynthetic process, fungi require the nutrition
found in organic matter. This makes their eating habits similar to those of
Many of the schools and organizations who choose to book
summer programs with us, continue to book year after year. This may be a result
of the benefits that teachers and parents see when their students are involved
in summer learning programs.
Studies suggest that students lose roughly a month of
learning during the summer. Though a child can regain much of the knowledge
lost during summer break, it is important to remember that learning loss is
cumulative. Many believe that over time, the summer slide directly contributes
to the achievement gap between students of different socioeconomic backgrounds.
One of the most common reasons for deciding against summer
learning opportunities is a matter of cost or funding. High Touch High Tech
recognizes the importance of making summer programming accessible to every
student, parent, teacher, and schooling district. We will always put the
ability to educate our community first, by providing the same high quality
science experience at every location, accepting grant funding for programs, and
giving every student the opportunity to receive the high-quality STEM education
that they deserve.
Often the schools that book High Touch High Tech for summer
camps year after year also choose to take advantage of our low priced, high
quality elementary programs and after school enrichment programs. We offer a
range of program types in such a wide variety of grades and academic settings
because we realize how important it is for students to have access to hands-on
STEM education year-round. We believe this creates an environment that is
conducive to prolonged interest in the STEM fields and sets students up for