Thumbs up for Thumbs!

Take a look at your hands, what do you see? You have 5
fingers, one of them being a thumb. The thumb looks, moves, and preforms
different actions than your other fingers. Without our thumbs, there’s a huge
variety of tasks that we couldn’t preform! Let’s explore the importance of our
thumbs!

Our thumbs are opposable, meaning you can touch your thumb
to your other fingertips. Try and connect the fingertips of your pointer finger
and middle finger, could you get them to rest flat on each other? No, you couldn’t!
Our thumb is our only opposable finger. The opposable motion is needed for a
large variety of tasks, including forming a fist, wrapping our hands around
objects like tools or balls, or even eat with one hand! Human thumbs began to
evolve around 2 million years ago!

This primate has opposable thumbs, allowing him to grab this magnifying glass!

There are many animals in our world that don’t have thumbs! Horses,
cats and dogs, or any other animals with hooves or paws do not have opposable
thumbs. These animals can’t grab or pick things up. Primates, our closest
animal relatives, have thumbs that are very similar to humans! Animals use
their thumbs similarly to how we use them by climbing trees, gathering and
eating food, grooming themselves, and using tools!  Opossum, pandas, koala bears, and even some
species of frogs have opposable thumbs. Though many other animals have thumbs,
humans can move their thumb further across their hand than any other animal!

 Without our thumbs,
we would be unable to use our cell phones, grip a steering wheel, and brush our
hair! Our thumbs are amazing adaptations, making us and the other animals with
thumbs very special!

Test life without thumbs! Tape down your thumbs and see how
helpless you’d be without our special adaptation! Take the All Thumbs
Challenge, see the rules at:  

https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/If_Animals_Had_Thumbs.pdf

Wonderful Sounds All Around!

Sounds are all around us! Your dog barking when the mailman
comes, your baby brother crying, or even your favorite music coming out of your
headphones are all examples of sound! What is sound made of exactly? Let’s find
out!

All sound is made of vibrations, or tiny continuous
movements! Have you ever jumped off a diving board? Picture the diving board
shaking, or vibrating, after you plunge into the water! Vibrations can be fast
or slow, the speed of a vibration is called the pitch. Pitch will determine if
a sound is low like a growl, or high like a bird singing! If you put your hand
on your throat and hum, you can see that lower sounds are slower vibrations
while high pitched sounds are very fast vibrations!

Vibrations travel through the air and create sound waves,
moving away from the vibration source in all directions! Our ears pick up on
these waves traveling through the air so we can hear and understand sound. The
sound waves travel in through your ear canal, vibrating your tympanic membrane
and creating vibrations for your auditory nerve to pick up the vibrations. Next
the auditory never sends the sound to your brain, your brain then decides if
your mom is calling your name or if a train is rumbling by! Without our ears,
we couldn’t enjoy beautiful music!

Music is a sound that is universally loved! Knowing that
sounds are created using vibrations, we can take a closer look at instruments
and how they are used to make beautiful sounds! Stringed instruments like
guitars or violins make sound by vibrating the stings, while drums make sound
as you strike the surface! All musical instruments are creating a vibration to
produce a beautiful sound!

A factor in the type of sound an instrument makes is resonance. Resonance is the bouncing back and forth of sound waves that are created from vibrations. If you create vibration inside of a tunnel, the sound waves will bounce back and forth on the walls of that tunnel, and the sound will continue for longer! This tunnel helps to amplify or make the sound bigger, resonance in action!

Want to make your very own instrument? Use resonance and
sound waves to make a roaring cup today! 

https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/roaring_cup.pdf

Do the Moon Walk!

Ever imagined what it would be like to walk across the
Moon’s surface? Only 12 humans have ever walked on the surface of the moon!
While we can’t travel to the moon, we can imagine what a visit would be like!
The moon has no atmosphere, no air, and 83% less gravity than on planet earth!

Although the 2020 Summer Olympics have been postponed in
attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19, you can host your own Olympic event
at your home! Imagine we were hosting the Olympics on the surface of the moon;
how would that effect our athletes? Being that the gravitational pull on the
moon is 1/6th that on Earth, you’d be able to jump much higher and
further! We would all be track stars and gymnasts by earth’s standards!

The long jump record on Earth is held by Mike Powell,
traveling 29 feet and 4.25 inches in 1991! If Mike had attempted his
record-breaking jump on the surface of the moon, he would have jumped 176 feet!
That would be like jumping the distance of 12 cars back-to-back!

Astronauts must be extremely careful while walking on the
surface of the moon as the adjust to low gravity. Astronauts take small little
hops as they move across the surface, and often fall due to the body’s inertia
being overpowered by the lack of gravity! The moon’s dusty, rocky surface has
an impact on a moon walk, making it hard to gain good traction!

Participate in the Lunar Olympics today! See all the
Olympian rules at:

https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/lunar_olympics.pdf

Crater Maker

Ever heard that the moon was made of cheese? That’s not
quite true, but it does have holes and indentions like a brick of swiss! If you
stare at the moon on a clear night, you may see these gray spots called impact
craters. When rocks traveling through space collide with the moon, it may leave
an impression behind!

Hoba Meteorite

Asteroids, comets and meteoroids are all huge rocks that
float and travel around space. Asteroids are chunks of rock and metal, comets
are made of ice and dust, and meteoroids are chunks broken off larger comets or
asteroids! Meteorites vary from the size of pebbles to as large as the Hoba
Meteorite, which weights 66 tons! This Iron meteorite is 9 feet long, 9 feet
wide, and 3 feet thick! The Hoba meteorite is believed to have fallen to
Earth’s surface 80,000 years ago and has lost significant mass due to iron
oxidation.

Each type of rock can create impact craters, leaving an
imprint on the planet or moon they strike. Even our planet has scares from
space rocks. The Vredefort crater is the largest impact crater on Earth,
located in South Africa, this crater is estimated to be more than 2 billion
years old! The asteroid was 3-6 miles in diameter, leaving a crater 160-190
miles across! These asteroids strike extremely hard and kick up dirt and dust around
them! It is believed that the Chicxulub impactor, an asteroid that stuck more
than 65 million years ago on the Yucatan Peninsula, kicked up so much dust that
it caused the dinosaurs to become extinct.

Test out the effect of asteroid impacts today! Explore along
with us in our Crater Maker experiment!

https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/crater_makers.pdf

Helicoptering: A new way to Fly!

Helicopters are a type of aircraft that use rotating,
spinning wings called blades or rotors to fly around! Airplanes unmoving wings
glide across the sky, but the helicopter’s rotating blades allow it to do
things a plane cannot do!

Much like a fan, a helicopter has wings that chop into the
air! The rotors create lift when spinning, allowing the helicopter to rise and
descend vertically, meaning the helicopter can move up and down. Unlike
airplanes, helicopters have rotors on the top and tail of the aircraft which
allows it to move forward, backwards, hover in place, or even spin! Helicopters
can make smaller, more precise movements than planes can due to the agility their
blades grant them.  

If you’ve ever seen a maple tree seed, also known as a
maple’copter, you have seen helicopter blades in action! These seedlings are
little flying machines, and float down in a spinning action just like a
helicopter does! This allows for the maple tree to spread its seeds further
away, and the wind will carry the seedlings further from the tree! The maple
tree has made this adaptation so that the seedlings can land outside of the
tree’s dense canopy, in a sunny, hospitable spot!

Helicopters are an innovative flight mechanism! Helicopters
are used as a flying ambulance for critical patients, in-sky fire extinguishers
when fighting wildfires, and can even get supplies to ships at sea! What would
you do with your own helicopter?

Build your own helicopter today! Print out a paper
helicopter!

https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/paper_helicopter.pdf

Light Wave Rainbows

What is light? Brightness, electricity, light bulbs, fire
and energy are all different definitions of light. Sunlight travels 94 million
miles to Earth to provide us light! Light travels in waves and moves very
quickly, light travels at 186,000 miles per second. That is like walking around
the Earth’s circumference 7.5 times in the time it takes you to snap your
fingers!

Light waves travel in straight lines, including the sun’s
rays traveling towards Earth. Once these rays of light hit Earth’s atmosphere,
the protective layer of gasses surrounding Earth, these rays and intercepted
and scattered! We call this scattering of light the electromagnetic spectrum,
and the light is separated into a range of wavelengths and frequencies. Visible
light makes up a very small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. The
remainder of the spectrum is light we cannot see, like x-rays and microwaves!

While visible light is a tiny portion of the electromagnetic
spectrum, we can divide this visible light into colors! ROY G BIV (red orange
yellow green blue indigo and violet) is an acronym that can help you remember
the colors of the light spectrum, or the colors in a rainbow! Rainbows occur when
visible light is refracted through water droplets in the atmosphere, most often
after a light rain, and this reflected light scatters into all the colors of
the light spectrum!

In today’s experiment of the day, you can make your very own rainbow! Get all your experiment supplies by visiting:

https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/bubble_atmosphere.pdf

Make your own groovy Lava Lamp!

Oil and water do not mix and will separate themselves! Even
if you try and shake a bottle of them together, the oil will divide into small
droplets and begin to float to the water’s surface! This happens because water
is denser than oil, meaning that water has more mass in the same amount of
space as oil.

What is a chemical reaction? A chemical reaction occurs when
two or more substances are converted into a new substance! By adding an
Alka-Seltzer tablet into water, you are initiating a chemical reaction! The
water is reacting with the Alka-Seltzer tablet, creating carbon dioxide gas!

While your Alka-Seltzer tablet reacts with water, it begins
to create carbon dioxide bubbled in the water, floating to the cups surface.
While climbing to the top of the cup, it must pass through the oil! This
creates the very slow moving, colorful lava lamp effect! Once the bubble pops,
the colored water sinks back into the water!

Get the instructions for today’s experiment of the day by
visiting: https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/lava_alka.pdf

Exploding Colors

We offer a fun experiment called “Exploding Colors” that represents
the relationship between milk and common dish soap that can be found at your
home! Milk has fat in it and the food coloring floats on top of the fat. The
fat is all connected with bonds. Think of it like the little pieces of fat all
holding hands with each other. Dish soaps are used on greasy or oily dishes
because it breaks the bonds in fats allowing them to separate. Make sure to check
out our experiments page for the full experiment!

First, we add food coloring to milk. This does not change the
chemical reaction, but rather it allows for us to have a clear visual of what
is actually going on when the experiment is done. When you add the dish soap to
the milk, the fat separates and moves making your colors explode! As soap is
added, the soap wants to bond with the fat molecules that are found in the
milk, and it creates a beautiful reaction easily seen with addition of the food
coloring.

Salt, Ice, and Ice Cream!

On a cold, snowy winter day, you may notice huge trucks
spreading a substance on the roads! These trucks are sprinkling salt to make
our roads safer and less slippery! More than 20 million tons of salt is spread
on the road each year! Today’s experiment explores the effect that salt has on
ice!

For water to change phases and become ice, it must be at
least 32⁰F
(0⁰C).
Ice can cause driving conditions to become unsafe and may even close schools!
Once salt is added to water, it lowers the point that the water will freeze at
from 32⁰F
to about 28⁰F.
Salt is able to impede the freezing process by impacting how the freezing water
molecules form, and breaks ice apart! Once the freezing point has been lower,
the temperature must remain colder for ice to freeze, meaning that ice will
begin to melt more quickly!

Salt is a cheap, easy way to help make the roads safer to
drive on! Salt also helps to create friction, the force when two things rub
together, between your car’s tires and the slick road!

Today’s experiment makes yummy, homemade ice cream by using
salt! See the details for today’s experiment of today by visiting: https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/icecreamrecipe.pdf

Ice Cube Fishing & Freezing Point Depression

Sometimes, when we add a compound to water or ice, it can
change the freezing temperature of the liquid. The process of lowering the freezing
temperature of a liquid is called freezing point depression.

This is a concept that those who live in areas with very
harsh winters see in action very often. Consider a day when the temperatures
are far below freezing. For these areas, large portions of salt are typically
used to keep roads from icing and making conditions unsafe for drivers. This is
an everyday example of freezing point depression! The salt changes the temperature
at which the water freezes, and cars can continue to drive on the road safely.

At High Touch High Tech, we have an experiment called Ice
Cube Fishing that utilizes this scientific concept while creating a fun game
for children to better understand the concept. During the experiment, string is
added to a cup of ice, and salt is poured in the cup. The salt lowers the
freezing point of water causing the ice to begin to melt. As the ice melts it
becomes colder and the string freezes to the ice, making it possible to “catch”
many pieces of ice with the string.