Poinsettia Day

Join High Touch High Tech in Celebrating
Poinsettia Day
December 12, 2020

Image Source: Pixabay.com

It’s
Poinsettia Day – Yay! What is this day all about? It all started with a
scientist!

John
Roberts Poinsett was a botanist, a scientist who specializes is plants and
trees. He was also a physician, and the 1st United States Ambassador
to Mexico. Poinsett introduced these beautiful red, white, or pink plants, that
were named after him, poinsettias. This man sent poinsettias from Mexico back
to greenhouses that he owned in South Carolina. Before its renaming as the
poinsettia, the plant was known as the “painted leaf” or the “Mexican flame
flower.” Its scientific name is Euphorbia pulcherrima.

In
Spain, Puerto Rico, and other Central America countries the
poinsettia is known as Flor de Pascua or Pascua, meaning Christmas
Flower. Poinsettias have served important roles throughout
history, for example: The Aztecs used the plant to produce reddish-purple dye
and as an antipyretic (fever reduction) medication.

It’s
Christmas time, and what do you see in the storefront of just about every shop
you pass? Besides sprigs of holly and bright, twinkling lights, you are likely
to see colorful arrangements of poinsettias too.

These breathtaking flowers are common during
the holiday season. However, do you know why? The poinsettia has a deep
cultural and symbolic meaning. Seen as a symbol of purity by the Aztecs, in
today’s language it symbolizes cheer, success, and brings wishes of mirth and
celebration! Recognized as the birth flower for December, poinsettias
are used as decorations to create a festive atmosphere throughout the
entire world, particularly in Europe, but also in the USA, Canada, South
Africa, and Australia.

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Paul Ecke Jr is considered the father of the poinsettia
industry due to his discovery of a technique which caused seedlings to branch.
This technique allowed the poinsettia industry to grow! The Paul Ecke Ranch in
California grows over 70% of the poinsettias sold in the USA! The Ecke family
had a secret technique that caused every seedling to split and branch,
resulting in a fuller plant.

A poinsettia fun fact is that in 1952 the NCAA College football
arena in San Diego was named the Poinsettia Bowl! Interestingly, the poinsettia’s main attraction is not its flowers, but its
leaves! The flowers of the plant are the yellow clustered buds in the center
(termed “cyathia”). The colored leafy parts are bracts or modified leaves, that
turn color in response to the plant forming flowers. When buying a poinsettia,
make sure it has the buds, preferably not yet open.

Interested in learning more about plants in general? Check out our Smarty Plants at-home experiment to see if you can extract the chlorophyll out of a plant leaf. If your poinsettia has any green leaves, you can test them for chlorophyll too! Grab your supplies & check out our lesson plan here:
https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/smarty_plants.pdf

References:

www.urbanext.illinois.edu/poinsettia
www.poinsettiaday.com
www.poinsettiabowl.com
www.ecke.com

Soil Science is a dirty business!

Join High Touch High Tech in celebrating
World Soil Day
December 5th, 2020

Image Source: Pixabay.com

What kind
of science is in soil? What is soil? So many questions…

Soil is a
material composed of five ingredients — minerals, organic plant matter,
living organisms, gas, and water. Are their soil scientists? Of
course! 

What do
soil scientists do? A soil scientist is a person who is
qualified to evaluate and interpret soils and soil-related
data for the purpose of understanding soil resources as they
contribute to not only agricultural production, but as they affect
environmental quality and as they are managed for protection of human health
and the environment. WOW, soil scientists definitely play a key role in
protecting our health and environment.

It seems
to me that Soil is pretty easy to ignore. We might notice it when gardening or
playing outdoors. But even when we forget about it, soil is always there,
everywhere!

Image Source: Pixabay.com
Soil microbes under a microscope

Most of what we see are mineral particles that we recognize as sand, silt, or clay. There is also plenty of water and air. But soil is also alive. It contains countless fungi and microbes. They help recycle dead and decaying matter by breaking down the remains of plants, animals, and other organisms. What if we could put on really cool goggles to see inside the soil, we would see an incredible microscopic world of fungi and bacteria? We need to talk about the bacteria in soil because they perform an incredible function. These bacteria are said to be symbiotic and are real helpers to the plants. These bacteria can convert nitrogen to ammonia, which the plants utilize for their development.  

Image Source: Pixabay.com

While soil science is fascinating, why are we talking about it now? Because World Soil Day is December 5, 2020. How do we celebrate World Soil Day, you might ask? The motto for World Soil Day is Keep soil alive and protect soil biodiversity! Plants nurture a whole world of creatures in the soil, that in return feed and protect the plants. This diverse community of living organisms keeps the soil healthy and fertile. This vast world constitutes soil biodiversity and determines the main biogeochemical processes that make life possible on Earth.

Image Source: Pixabay.com

It turns
out soil is a living resource, home to more than 25% of our planet’s
biodiversity. Interestingly, up to 90% of living organisms live or spend part
of their lifecycle in soils.

Next time
you take a break and go outside, or maybe spend a few minutes in your backyard,
reach down and take a good look at the soil. If you have a magnifying glass,
bring it outside with you. When you look at the soil use your imagination and
think about how many microorganisms there are in the soil, and how remarkably
busy they all are!

One way to
celebrate World Soil Day is to provide your soil with rich nutrients like those
found in compost! Check out our at-home science experiment, Compost in a Cup!
Grab your supplies & celebrate soil!

Lesson Plan: https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/CompostInCup.pdf

Video: https://youtu.be/ZNM3nALYU_A

Mission to Mars

Join High Touch High Tech in celebrating
Red Planet Day
November 28th!

Image Source: Pixabay.com
Red Planet – Mars

Who’s ready to go on a mission to Mars? If you are like me, you have already been on a mission to Mars, thanks to the classic ride at Disney World. Mission to Mars was an attraction located in Tomorrowland at Disneyland and at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. I remember being on this ride as a child in the 1970’s. As you entered Mission to Mars, you were greeted first with a control room, featuring then cutting-edge animatronic figures that talked about what the first crewed mission to Mars would be like. While footage ran on screens, a robotic scientist talked about things like “the way crystals form in zero-G.” After that you were ushered into a circular theater that looked a lot like the inside of a modern airplane. Side screens showed the diagnostics associated with the trip, including how far away you were from earth and how close you were to the red planet. Narration would play about the nature of the voyage, with phrases like “Mars acquisition velocity” and “hyperspace penetration commencing”. Dangers like meteors and black holes were detected and barely avoided. There were also references to how this kind of space travel was “routine” but back in the 1970’s and 1980’s seemed like science fiction.

Let’s fast forward to 2020!

Image Source: Pixabay.com
SpaceX Space Craft

The SpaceX Mars & Beyond program has
a robust plan to facilitate the eventual colonization of Mars. Is this
even a real possibility?

It took billions of years for Earth to
become a hospitable planet for humans and I think you would agree we’ve been
very comfortable living on earth. So why travel to Mars? Because it’s the red
planet in our night sky! Because it’s there! To paraphrase President John F.
Kennedy, we want to go to Mars, not because it is easy, but because it is hard!

The program includes fully reusable
launch vehicles, human rated space craft, on orbit propellant tankers, raid
turnaround, launch and landing mounts, and local production of rocket fuel on
Mars via in situ resource utilization (ISRU). SpaceX and Elon Musk have named
2024 as their goal for an un-crewed mission, with a crewed mission to follow
later.

A key element of the program is the SpaceX
starship, a fully reusable super heavy lift launch vehicle under development
since 2018. To achieve a large payload, the spacecraft would first enter Earth’s
orbit after launch, where it is expected to be refueled before it departs to
Mars. After landing on Mars, the spacecraft would be loaded with locally
produced propellants to return to Earth. The expected payload for the Starship
launch vehicle is between 100–150 tonnes (220,000–330,000 lbs.).  

SpaceX intends to concentrate its
resources on the transportation part of the Mars colonization project,
including the design of a plant based propellant utilizing the Sabatier
process that will be deployed on Mars to synthesize methane and
liquid oxygen as rocket propellants from the local supply of atmospheric
carbon dioxide and ground-accessible water & ice. Sound like
science fiction?

It’s an ambitious plan! Any successful
colonization would ultimately require involvement from many more economic
participants, whether individuals, companies, or governments—to facilitate the
growth of the human presence on Mars.

Here are some compelling reasons why this
plan is a good idea:

1. Enhanced national prestige, national
security, and economic vitality

2. Technological leadership and the development
of new technologies for non-space applications

3. New scientific discoveries not obtainable
from robotic missions to Mars

4. To inspire both the American public and the
next generation of scientist, technologist, engineer, and mathematician (STEM)

Some have suggested other reasons for colonizing
the Red Planet that are more catastrophic in nature, including Mars as a safe
haven for the survival of the human species and as a possible solution to the
exponential population explosion on our planet.

The trip will
take about nine months each way with a stay time on the surface of Mars of
several hundred days. The long length of the mission will provide an excellent
opportunity to engage the public and inspire students to pursue STEM-related
professions, products, and industries. We last witnessed a significant increase
in students studying STEM following the launch of Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957.

Why Mars? Scientists
think that early Mars was more hospitable and more Earth-like than present-day
Mars. Early Mars most probably possessed an atmosphere considerably denser than
its present-day atmosphere. The surface of present-day Mars is devoid of liquid
water. However, photographs of Mars from orbit and from the surface suggest
that early in its history Mars possessed abundant and widespread surface liquid
water in the form of lakes, rivers, and even planetary-scale oceans.

Image Source: Pixabay.com
Astronaut Exploring Mars

Why humans? Humans have unique capabilities for
performing scientific measurements, observations, and sample collecting. The attributes
needed for exploration and scientific discovery include intelligence,
adaptability, agility, dexterity, cognition, patience, and problem solving in
real-time. We possess the abilities to adapt to new and unexpected situations
in new and strange environments. With state-of-the-art scientific equipment and
instrumentation brought from Earth, the increased laboratory ability on Mars would
allow for dramatically more scientific return. Exploration of Mars would be
performed as a synergistic partnership between humans and robotic probes where
probes could traverse great distances/terrain too risky for human exploration.

However, the most exciting role for the human explorer/scientist is just beginning as we start the greatest adventure in human history, the human exploration of the Solar System starting with the Red Planet.

At Home Experiment:

The surface of present-day Mars is devoid of liquid
water. But if humans were to colonize the planet, water would be critical. Much
of the fresh water on Earth is contained in aquifers. Aquifers are layers of
soil, gravel, sand, and rock beneath the Earth’s crust. The water in aquifers
has been there for thousands of years. Check out our at-home experiment and
make your very own water aquifer – you never know, it may come in handy if you
ever find yourself on Mars!
https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/WaterAquifer.pdf

Gemstones & Crystals Galore

They grow, but they’re not alive. For centuries they’ve been
used in witchcraft and wizardry, yet they are also so integral to science that
they have been the key to revealing the molecular makeup of all of life!  What are these marvelous, ancient, modern,
magical, scientific treasures?! 

We’re talking about those magnificent minerals, GEMSTONES!  

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Even in our “jaded” modern world, holding a handful of beautiful, multicolored, sparkling gems is a pleasure that is unparalleled.  When you look at the gorgeous variety of colors and shapes of gemstones, it’s easy to see why every ancient culture on earth revered them for their beauty and saw mysterious magical powers within.  Even though humans and  gemstones have a long and storied history together, that is only a small part of why gemstones are truly one of nature’s most incredible creations.  Far beyond their visual appeal, they are amazing right down to a molecular level and have actually been the key to some of the most momentous discoveries in the history of science!

Image Source: Pixabay.com
Snowflake Crystal

The scientific study of the structure of gems and crystals is called crystallography.  Humans have been trying to understand the intriguingly standard patterns of crystal shapes since at least ancient Greece, when they theorized that crystal gemstones were water that had frozen and could not go back to its liquid state.  Their word for it, krystallos, gives us our word today.  For centuries, gemstones did not reveal the mysteries of their symmetrical, regular shapes easily.  The great Johannes Kepler, fascinated by a single snowflake on his coat, pondered their symmetry in the 16th century.  Soon after, Danish crystallographer Neils Stensen discovered The Law of Constancy of Angles, proving that although crystals appear in a great variety of shapes and sizes, specific types of crystals always grow in the same angles.

Image Source: Pixabay.com
Pyrite

The stage was set for Auguste Bravais, the father of modern crystallography, who discovered that the molecular structure of crystals were arranged in perfectly uniform “lattices,” a pattern in which any point in the structure is perfectly equidistant from the point nearest to it.  Bravais discovered there were only a few possible configurations of points that can make up the orderly arrangement of molecules in a crystal.   Bravais’ work categorized what is known as the “seven crystal systems:” cubic, trigonal, hexagonal, tetragonal, orthorhombic, triclinic, and monoclinic.   These are the seven shapes a crystal can make on a molecular level, and thus, repeats in its ultimate shape.  Have you ever seen pyrite in a cube, or quartz in a point?  In a cubic crystal-like pyrite, the molecules themselves form tiny repeating cubes which then create the amazingly regular, square shape of the crystal.  Quartz is only ever hexagonal or trigonal, giving it its characteristic point.  Once you are familiar with the seven crystal systems, the beauty of natural gems becomes even more incredible for their regularity and their symmetry.  The symmetrical perfection of crystal designs over millions of years, varying geological conditions, across all of earth and even space, is something truly rare and surprising in the natural world.

Image Source: Pixabay.com
Blue Tanzanite

Although all crystals across the world, from the famous diamond to the ultra-rare fingerite, can grow in remarkably uniform patterns, what makes all crystal gemstones different is their interaction with the conditions in their particular environment.  Crystals usually form out of magma, but it is the trace elements in magma, often dissolved in groundwater, that dictate the colors and shapes of a crystal.  Pressure and temperature also play a role in creating these natural works of art.  For example, an emerald and a ruby both get their color from the trace element Chromium, but the difference is time and pressure.  One of the most rare and costly gems on earth, Blue Tanzanite, comes from a certain mixture of pressure, temperature and the element vanadium that is found only in the East African Rift Valley of Tanzania.  Whereas quartz, the most common crystal on earth, is created when silicon and oxygen, both very common elements, bond and grow in a tetragonal shape.  A crystal can take only weeks to grow and a million years to come to the earth’s surface; when it emerges, it is a perfect snapshot of the complex geological processes around it.

Image Source: Adobe Stock Photo
Crystalline Molecular Structure

Sci-Fi author Arthur C. Clarke said: Any sufficiently
advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Gemstones/crystals are
one of those places where science and magic meet.  Crystals have been used in healing magic
since humans lived in caves.  In terms of
importance to modern science, crystalline molecular structures have given us
the keys to understand nothing less than the makeup of life itself!  The science of X-ray Crystallography is a relatively
recent discipline.  In 1912 scientists
discovered that if they projected X-rays through a humble crystal of salt, they
could see the molecular structure of the salt crystal as a 2-D projection.  They then learned to crystallize non-mineral
substances, and construct 3-D models of the projection they saw.  Because of X-ray crystallography we have been
able to see, understand, and analyze:

  • The structure of DNA
  • Numerous pharmaceutical compounds, beginning
    with Penicillin
  • Enzymes
  • Hormones
  • Hemoglobin and Myoglobin
  • Vitamins
  • Viruses such as HIV and Covid-19
  • The makeup of the surface of Mars (Mars Rover
    has a built in X-ray crystallography unit!)
Image Source: Pixabay.com
DNA

In fact, the Nobel Chemistry 2020 winners, Dr. Charpentier
and Dr. Doudna, would never have been able to do such close work on DNA without
X-ray Crystallography. Even 2020 Nobel Prize winner Roger Penrose is an avid
fan of crystal structures and took inspiration from them to revolutionize our
understanding of space itself. 

If you want to collect and examine some of these incredibly
meaningful minerals for yourself, where can you start?  There are over 3,000 minerals known to
science, from the famous diamond to the rarest in the world, Fingerite.  Precious or semiprecious?  Local stones or exotic stones from around the
world?  Which of the Seven Crystal
Systems is your favorite? Which mix of minerals makes the most appealing color?

For some up-close views of fine gems and minerals:

The rarest gems & minerals in the world
An introduction to how crystals form and grow
A brief history of pre X-Ray crystallography
For more about the Seven Crystal Systems and Crystal Molecular Structures
An in-depth explanation of the mathematics and structure of Crystal Lattices
An selection of high-quality short videos about X Ray Crystallography, including its history, major discoveries, and practice today, plus a talk by Roger Penrose

World Kindness Day

Celebrating World Kindness Day – November 13th, 2020

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Happy World Kindness Day!  Do you remember how you felt the last time you experienced a “random act of kindness?”  Ever had a stranger give you a compliment that made your day?  When did you last give that universal little wave of thanks when another driver let you in on a busy street?   Even in these challenging times, kindness is all around us, and the wonderful feeling of human connection through kindness is needed more than ever.  The science of kindness is a rapidly evolving field encompassing several disciplines, and to make it even more complicated, it also touches on some of the biggest questions about ethics, morality, and what it means to be human.  Where once the assumption was that humans are fundamentally competitive and selfish, more science is showing us that humans (and many non-human animals, too) may instead be fundamentally wired to be kind and compassionate.  Even better, kindness can be taught, learned, and practiced daily for some amazing health benefits!

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Many scientists have wrestled seriously with the question of kindness and compassion and why it exists. Charles Darwin wondered, if life was about the survival of the fittest, why then did animals sometimes act in an altruistic manner: sacrificing their own personal gain to help others, even those not related to them?  Darwin’s answer was the idea of “inclusive fitness.” For example, a bee may sacrifice itself for the queen, and that sacrifice will help the entire hive to survive to reproduce.  Darwin’s concept of inclusive fitness helped explain that altruism does have reason to exist, and further exploration of WHY it exists was taken up in the 1960’s by researcher Richard Dawkins.  In his landmark book The Selfish Gene, he theorized that altruistic behaviors are wired into us by evolution because throwing yourself in front of a lion to protect your children helps your genes to survive, not because any inherent morality tells us to protect the weak.  This is why kind behaviors are still selected for and exist today, but deep down everything we do is self-interested even if it appears kind and selfless. 

For years it has been generally accepted that human kindness is a thin veneer over our animal nature, and most of animal nature is selfish and competitive.  In the 21st century, there are  growing numbers of scientists and thinkers who see that there is much more to the story of human kindness and compassion than once thought, and the concept of humans as fundamentally self-interested competitors may not be completely accurate.  Kindness and compassion appear to have numerous health benefits, right down to the molecular level, that go far beyond mere survival. 

Image Source: Pixabay.com

The field of neuroscience especially has shown that our brains and bodies are deeply oriented towards kindness. Dr. Dacher Keltner, head of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkley, has shown that our brains are designed to release a burst of oxytocin, “the love hormone,” from even small acts of kindness.  In fact, it has been recently proven that we have a network in our brain called “mirror cells” that literally predisposes us to empathy on the cellular level.  The GGSC studies show that over time, through just one act of kindness a day, participants were able to increase their overall life satisfaction and decrease chronic pain, partly because kindness releases feel-good hormones such as dopamine and oxytocin and helps lower inflammatory hormones like cortisol.  People who did Buddhist Loving-Kindness meditations for just 8 weeks, sending out unconditional  love to the world each day, were even found to have longer telomeres, the part of DNA that is thought to control aging. From the results, it has been theorized that daily kindness is just as much a predictor of health as smoking, and Dr. Keltner theorizes that a life focused on kindness could increase lifespan as much as six to ten years!

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Recent science has proven that kindness is one of the only things in the world that doubles when you share it:  kindness releases a boost of endorphins and hormones in the giver and receiver alike!  Just seven days of kind acts were seen to have a significant benefit on subjects’ stress levels, overall sense of wellbeing, and even chronic pain.  How can you share in the benefits of kindness?  Fortunately, researchers indicate that it can be learned and practiced just like any skill.  You don’t have to do something grand like paying off your neighbor’s mortgage to get the health benefits of altruism, and you don’t have to be born a saint to be kind each day.  In Dr. Keltner’s study, small things like paying off an expired meter, helping someone carry something, or even a great, genuine compliment are enough to start accruing the health benefits of kindness.  The potential for kind and helpful acts is everywhere, but it’s not always easy to know what to do or how to do it.   We know that your own body rewards you tremendously for being kind, just as it does when you exercise.  So why not practice building your “kindness muscle” and challenge yourself for seven days?  The Random Acts of Kindness Project, sponsors of World Kindness Day, have a seven day menu of small acts you can do, and many more resources for learning, teaching, and understanding the wonderful – and still mysterious —  phenomenon of human kindness. 

Follow the links below for suggestions and inspiration, try one kind act a day for at least a week, and see how you feel. 

If you’d like to know more about the science of kindness, check out our podcast here:
https://anchor.fm/sciencemadefun

The Random Acts of Kindness Project (Sponsors of World Kindness Day) webpage with suggestions for a Seven-day kindness challenge
The Basics of Altruism in Nature
An animated summary of The Selfish Gene
Richard Dawkins discussing Altruism & The Selfish Gene
Mental and Physical Benefits of Kindness
Frans De Waal TED talk about Morality in Animals
Dacher Keltner TED talk on Empathy and Compassion

Native Communication

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

If a time machine dropped you into the Americas in 1491, what would you find? A vast, empty continent roamed by small bands of people, fighting to survive? No way!  Both North and South America before the arrival of Columbus played host to very large urban civilizations, powerful militaries, huge agricultural economies, and an impressive diversity of religions, languages and art styles.  Amazing feats of engineering were the norm in this world as people from Tierra Del Fuego to Baffin Bay carved out their lifestyles in wildly different ecological regions.  You might have seen evidence of this ingenuity in things like the Igloo, or the Tipi, but have you ever heard of the Inka Roads, or the floating city of Tenochtitlan?  Whether they were living in a huge empire or a small tribal nation, Native American people had to be creative in the ways they stored, spread, and communicated the information that each group needed to survive.  Let’s examine some Native American communication techniques that go WAY beyond the stereotypical “smoke signals!”

Inca Road
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Despite 770,000 square miles of terrain that encompassed the
highest, snowy Andes, the Amazon rainforest, Pacific Ocean beaches and several
fierce deserts, the massive 12 million strong Inca Empire innovated one of the
most rapid and efficient messaging systems in the premodern world! It relied on
a specially trained team of expert marathon runners to relay the messages that
were vital to the management of the huge empire.  Chaskis were elite endurance athletes
trained from childhood to run fast on some of the toughest high-altitude
terrain on earth.  Chaskis passed
messages anywhere along 25,000 miles of 
specially designed Inca Roads. 
They ran several miles at a sprint until they reached the next Chaski
station.  There they would pass the
message and the next runner would be off like the wind.  Chaskis took their job very seriously and
knew that if they were found to pass an incorrect message, they would be thrown
off a cliff.  Running their non-stop,
high speed relay race, they could pass a message from Ecuador to Chile in one
week, an amazingly fast result for the world before electronic
communication! 

Learn more about the Chaskis – Inka Teachers Guide
Learn more about the Chaski Runners

The Winter Count
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Large-scale empires like the Inca needed to know exactly
what was happening in every corner of their massive territory and had the
resources to train and support thousands of Chaskis for all their communication
needs.  But what about smaller scale
societies, especially nomadic ones that moved around a lot?  Sometimes there is a stereotype that small
scale groups like the Natives of the North American Plains were in such a
struggle for survival that they did not have time for things like technology,
history, and philosophy, but this is not true. 
The Sioux had a system of recording and communicating their history that
suited their needs perfectly: The Winter Count. 

In the Sioux world, years were not counted from Dec.-Jan.
but measured from first snowfall to the next year’s first snowfall.  At the end of the year, elders met to decide
what was the most important event of the year past; that event would forever
name and define the year.  A special
member of the group would design a pictograph representing the event and add it
to a special hide that showed each year’s pictographs in succession.  Some of these Winter Count hides ran over 100
years and could be constantly renewed by painting on fresh hide when the old
one decayed.  The keeper of the Winter
Count also served as the group’s historian, using the winter count to tell
stories of what happened each year, keeping the group connected to their past
and able to learn more about themselves for the future.  The Winter Count hide itself was easily
portable and made of simple materials, making it a perfect technological fit
for the highly mobile the Plains Natives. 

Get up close to a Winter Count Calendar

Horse Cavalry
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Because of their speed, agility, strategy and the general ability to rain down death from any angle while on the back of a speeding horse, North American Plains Natives are considered some of the finest horse cavalry fighters in world history, second only to the Mongols.  We may be familiar with Plains Natives’ incredible fighting style from movies, but movies do not capture the deep and respectful relationship with horses that marks Plains Native life to this day.  You may have seen Native horses in movies covered in paint and symbols, but did you know these symbols function like a language, communicating messages about both horse and rider at the speed of a gallop?  Different Plains Native groups have different interpretations, but to the Lakota Sioux, things like horseshoe shapes or a drawing of a buffalo indicated the riders’ success in previous battles, horse raids, and hunts, and things like a patch of color with dots or a handprint indicated the horse itself was experienced in battles, raids and hunts, all at a glance for friends and enemies alike to see.  In a world where mobility in the grass sea was key to survival, and horses were as dear as human relatives, the visual language of horse paint was an important expression of identity and status. Plains Native Tribes are frequently misunderstood as primitive, when in fact their way of life was often a finely calibrated and highly considered relationship with nature and each other that had evolved to fit the challenging ecological niche they occupied.

Lakota paint symbols used in “Dances With Wolves” explanation

Buffalo hunting scene from Dances with Wolves

People of the Horse, Native American Horse Culture Today

50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing!

 

 

Do you remember where you were on these historic dates, July 16, 1969 and July 20, 1969? I am sure that Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong know exactly where they were!

July 16, 1969 Apollo 11 launched from Cape Canaveral Florida with Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on board, beginning their historic flight to the moon.

July 20, 1969, 4 days later, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first humans to ever land on the moon and Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon! While taking a step onto the moon, Neil Armstrong said the famous quote that was heard around the world, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” These 2 days in history, will never be forgotten.

What science learned about the moon will also never be forgotten. The astronauts also returned to Earth with the first samples from another planetary body. Lunar rocks, core samples, pebbles and sand from the lunar surface were brought back to Earth. Scientists studied these items to learn more about the Moon, the Earth and the inner solar system.

Scientists have always been curious about space and what was out there. Children are curious as well and seem to be interested in learning everything they can about space and planets.  What if, alongside our team of professionals, students would be guided through the learning process, becoming real scientists performing real experiments!

High Touch High Tech, Science Made Fun has been around for 25 years and has been committed to moving STEM education forward within our community. HTHT  is a proud supporter of the Science, Technology, Engineering & Math initiative that is taking our Nation by storm. We encourage educators to ‘think outside of the box’ & challenge their students to find the science that surrounds us each day. This has made us an invaluable resource & trustworthy tool for teachers across the country.

Some of the Space Programs that we offer are:

Flight Command

Mission Control

Follow that Planet

Zoom to the Moon

Staggering through the Stars

These are just a few of the many space programs that we have. Whether your looking for preschool, elementary programs, afterschool programs or even Birthday Science Programs, we can accommodate your science needs!

Check out our website for more information or you can reach us at 800.444.4968 or by email us at info@ScienceMadeFun.net

 

High Touch High Tech, Science Made FUN

Hands-on FUN experiments for ages 3-12!

We come to you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019-2020 Educational Grants Available!

This is the Updated Grant List for the 2019-2020 School Year!

Start the 2019-2020 school year off with excitement! There’s no better way to get students out of the “summer slump” and back on track than with High Touch High Tech!

Looking for ways to fund your next High Touch High Tech workshop? Whether your looking to fund your next exciting elementary programs or upcoming preschool science, the grants listed below are a fantastic resource for all educators!

Grants    Add Grant
The following grants are listed in order by application deadline and grouped by month due. Plus, don’t miss continuing opportunities located in the “ongoing section” at the end.

July 2019

EcoSolution Grants from the Captain Planet Foundation are intended to support solution-oriented, youth-led projects that result in real environmental outcomes. Apply July 15, 2019.

EcoSTEM Resource Kits from Captain Planet Foundation are designed to engage students in project-based learning. Each of the four kits (earth, energy, water, pollination) contains supplies for 32 students. Apply by July 15, 2019.

EcoTech Grants were created by the Captain Planet Foundation to combat the notion that students needed to choose between “the screen” or “the green” and to encourage educators and students to explore the role technology can play in designing and implementing solutions to some of our most pressing environmental challenges. Apply July 15, 2019.

August 2019

K-12 teachers are invited to submit a lesson plan for the chance to win a $250 Visa gift card to be used for classroom supplies. Lesson plans due by August 20, 2019.

September 2019

The Fulbright Scholar Program provides teaching and/or research grants to U.S. faculty and experienced professionals in a wide variety of academic and professional fields, including environmental science. Apply by September 16, 2019.

December 2019

K-12 schools are eligible to apply for a Smart Kids Grant of $100 to $5,000 from ALDI for programs that encourage kids to be active in the areas of education, physical activity, nutrition, socializing, and the arts. Apply by December 15, 2019.

Ongoing

Project Hero is a project-based learning tool and framework from the Captain Planet Foundation that connects young heroes to information about threatened species and ecosystems, guiding them on a quest to uncover and implement solutions to help locally. Small grants may be available for some quests.

Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education (SFE) Fund funds projects that plant and/or maintain natural landscapes in centers of learning. Project goals should focus on the enhancement and development of an appreciation for nature using native plants. Applications are due October 15th.

ExtremeTerrain’s Clean Trail Grant Program provides eligible groups of five or more the opportunity to apply for a $250 grant to fund their next trail improvement-related project, including clean-up, restoration, or expansion. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

The Positive Payload Program is designed to benefit non-profit charitable organizations who use and rely on pickup trucks to better their community. Anyone who works with or volunteers for a charity that uses Ford F-150s, Chevrolet Silverados, GMC Sierras, or Dodge Rams may apply for a $2,000 donation. The person who nominates the selected charity will receive $200. Applications are accepted twice per year, each May 31 and December 31.

North Carolina Native Plant Society offers B. W. Wells grants of up to $1,000.00 to support stewardship of native plants and their habitats through education, protection, propagation, and advocacy. These grants are available to organizations, including federal, state, and local agencies. Grant applications may be submitted at any time, but awards are dependent on the availability of funds.

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Environment Program awards grants through invited proposals and the occasional funding competition. Funding opportunities may also be available through organizations administering re-granting programs supported by the foundation.

Individuals or groups currently pursuing a program or initiative designed to benefit the environment are invited to apply for a $3,500 grant from Quadratec. Applications are accepted twice per year: June 30 and October 30.

The Laboratory Equipment Donation Program (LEDP), formerly the Energy-Related Laboratory Equipment (ERLE) Grant Program, was established by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) to grant surplus and available used energy-related laboratory equipment to universities and colleges in the United States for use in energy oriented educational programs.

Each year, Seed Savers Exchange donates seeds to hundreds of organizations and gardens in need through its Herman’s Garden Seed Donation Program.

Get “seed” money for your school through this fundraising program from Sow True Seed (STS). For every seed packet you buy through STS, they will donate 30% of the sale price to your organization.

By planting milkweeds – the host plants for monarch caterpillars – and nectar plants for adult monarchs and pollinators, you can help maintain the monarch migration and sustain the pollinators. If your school or non-profit organization qualifies, Monarch Watch will provide a free flat of 32 milkweed seedlings as well as guidance on how to create a new habitat or enhance an existing garden.

Clif Bar Family Foundation Small Grants are awarded for general organizational support or to fund specific projects that protect the Earth, create a healthy food system, increase opportunities for outdoor activity, reduce environmental health hazards, and build stronger communities. Applications are reviewed three times per year.

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives serve more than 2.5 million people across North Carolina in 93 of the state’s 100 counties. The cooperatives emphasize the importance of community involvement, integrity, accountability and innovation, and as part of that commitment, sponsor Bright Ideas education grants. These grants provide funding for hands-on classroom projects for students in grades K–12 throughout the state.

The K4C Microgrant Program is the bridge between ideas and action. By providing microgrants in varying amounts up to $1,000, K4C helps young citizen leaders execute and magnify their initiatives to help repair our world. Whether it is turning a vacant lot into a community garden, rebuilding a school playground or helping senior citizens get their homes ready for winter, they want to hear what project you’re passionate about. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

U.S. students ages 13-22 who are going abroad to volunteer or study in a developing country are encouraged to apply for an international service-learning mini-grant of up to $300. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

As part of Annie’s commitment to school gardens, the company created the Annie’s Garden Funder on CrowdRise to empower schools and like-minded friends to raise money for school gardens.

The grants on our page (eenorthcarolina.org) tend to specifically address environmental education and related projects in schools, nonformal education settings and communities. If you are looking for more classroom and school improvement grants, our friends at Environmental Education in Georgia include some grants of this nature in their listing at eeingeorgia.org.

CR KIDS is an innovative and easy clothing recycling and fundraising program that can run anytime of the school year. Through a partnership with PODS® and dedication to our mission of People Recycling for People, Community Recycling provides an easy and no-cost, turn-key program that provides rewards beyond standard fundraising.

Want to make a difference? Take action? Solve a tough community problem? YSA can help! Whether you’re a kid, teen, educator, or adult mentor, YSA Grants power youth-led service and service-learning projects with funding, training, and resource support. Funding amount ranges from $250 to $5,000.

The Gannett Foundation supports local organizations in communities served by the Gannett Company (i.e., Asheville). Priorities include education and neighborhood improvement, youth development, community problem-solving and environmental conservation. Applications considered twice a year. Average funding amount is $1,000 to $5,000.

ShoeBox Recycling ensures that unwanted shoes are diverted from landfills and reach the feet of people in need around the world. It is also a fundraising program that will help you earn some extra funds for your organization or any charitable organization you support! You will earn $0.25 per pound or $0.50 per pound if you send 5+ boxes at one time.

Walmart partners with organizations that operate on a national scale in communities throughout the country. They provide funds to organizations that have local affiliates around the country, and the majority of grants from this program include re-grants to implement programs in local communities. Grants funded at $250,000 or above.

The Cornell Douglas Foundation provides grants to organizations that advocate for environmental health and justice, encourage stewardship of the environment, and further respect for sustainability of resources. The average grant amount is $10,000. Applications accepted year-round.

The National Wildlife Federation’s tree bank program provides free, native tree seedlings to schools, youth groups and nonprofit organizations. Rolling application process.

The Environmental Research & Education Foundation accepts proposals for research projects and educational initiatives for developing tools that promote awareness or increase knowledge of the solid waste industry. Awards are generally up to $500,000. Pre-proposals are due by 5 p.m. each May 21 and October 1.

The Bank of America offers grants that support high-impact initiatives, organizations and the development of visionary leaders. Schools with farm-to-school programs may be eligible under the areas: (1) assisting with food access and/or (2) developing career leadership and skills. Requests for proposals are issued three times per year.

The LEGO Children’s Fund provides grants primarily in two focus areas: (1) early childhood education and development that is directly related to creativity and (2) technology and communication projects that advance learning opportunities. Typical awards are between $500 and $5,000. Applications accepted four times a year.

The Bush Fellowship is an opportunity for individuals to increase their capacity for and improve their practice of leadership, while working with others to solve tough problems in their communities. Applications accepted three times per year.

Westinghouse provides grants to nonprofit programs that support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education, environmental sustainability, and community vitality. Grants of up to $5,000 are available for programs located not more than 100 miles from a Westinghouse site. Applications are accepted year-round and reviewed two times per year.

Costco Wholesale grants support programs focusing on children, education and health and human services. They look to achieve the greatest impact where Costco’s employees and members live and work. Only 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, which meet their giving guidelines and focus areas, are considered. Applications are accepted throughout the year on a rolling basis.

The current rate of funding for science proposals in the U.S. is about 20%. The #SciFund Challenge is an experiment – can scientists use crowdfunding to fund their research? It is also a way to get scientists to directly engage with the public. Crowdfunding forces scientists to build public interaction and outreach into their research from day one.

Campus Progress works with youth-led community and campus groups on various issues, including the environment. Young people can join an Action Alliance with Campus Progress by applying for an organizing grant of up to $1,500 a year to help with websites, fliers or anything else they might need. Organizing grant applications are accepted year round.

FundingFactory is a free program where schools, non-profits, and charities earn points that can be redeemed for cash or products by recycling their empty printer cartridges, cell phones, laptops, and other small electronics.

The NiSource Charitable Foundation funds nonprofit organizations focusing on learning and science education, environmental and energy sustainability, community vitality and development, and public safety and human services. Eligible organizations must have a direct impact in a NiSource service area.

The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (FTPF) and Dreyer’s Fruit Bars are planting orchards across the country in a collaborative program called “Communities Take Root,” and your town could be next! They invite your community to apply for this exciting opportunity to grow fresh fruit, beautify neighborhoods, strengthen relationships and build community food security—all through the simple act of planting fruit trees.

“Fruit Tree 101” is a program that creates outdoor edible orchard classrooms at public schools of all levels, across the country, to provide generations of students with environmental education opportunities and a source of organic fruit for improved school lunch nutrition.

The EarthEcho Water Planet Challenge Grants of $2,000 are available to middle and high school public educators to support service-learning programs that improve the health of the planet. Applications are accepted throughout the year and reviewed three times per year.

When children’s lives are filled with play, we all benefit: our communities will be healthier and happier today, and our society will be stronger and more resilient tomorrow. KaBOOM! offers a number of community-built playground grants to empower friends and neighbors to collaborate for a common cause – to bring play to their communities. Applications accepted on a rolling basis.

The Simply Organic 1% fund supports and promotes the growth of organic and sustainable agriculture. One percent of sales on all Simply Organic spices, seasonings, flavors and mixes goes to support organic agriculture — through research, education and grower development.

The Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation supports grassroots organizations and movements in the U.S. working to change environmental, social, economic and political conditions to bring about a more just, equitable and sustainable world. Applications are accepted throughout the year.

Awesome Food, a chapter of the worldwide Awesome Foundation, is accepting grant applications to further food awesomeness in the universe. Applications are reviewed as they are received. One grant is awarded each month.

Need some funding for your crazy brilliant idea? The Awesome Foundation awards $1,000 grants every month. It couldn’t be simpler. Deadlines are rolling.

Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools is a grassroots public health effort to engage stakeholders at the local, state and national level to support salad bars in schools. The program’s goal is to fund and award 6,000 salad bars over the next three years. Any K-12 school district participating in the National School Lunch Program is eligible. Applications accepted throughout the year.

The International Paper Foundation supports non-profit organizations in communities where its employees live and work. Environmental education is one of the primary areas the Foundation supports. An online application process routes applications to the appropriate local facility for consideration. Contact your local facility for submission deadlines.

Public school teachers who register their classroom at the Adopt-a-Classroom website can be adopted by an individual, business or foundation. Once adopted, teachers will receive credit to purchase items that enrich the learning environment, including classroom technology.

Patagonia seeks proposals from organizations working on the root causes of environmental problems and approaching issues with a commitment to long-term change. Most grants are in the range of $2,500 to $15,000. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year at Patagonia retail stores and at company headquarters every April 30 and August 31.

Get “seed” money for your school through a fundraising program from Renee’s Garden. When you sign up for the program, 25% of every order will be donated to your school or organization.

Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas supports projects in biodiversity conservation, sustainable development, environmental justice and environmental education. While proposals are accepted all year, ideal timing is during the first quarter of the calendar year.

Each week, Youth Service America names an Everyday Young Hero, age 5-25, who exemplifies an extraordinary commitment to service. This year, YSA will also select 12 winners – one per month – to receive $250 grants to continue and expand their project.

Your school will receive credit for any type of ink or toner cartridges that are not visibly damaged. You may also receive credit for qualifying small electronics, such as cell phones and MP3 players.

The Cedar Tree Foundation makes grants in the areas of children’s environmental health, sustainable agriculture, and other environmental priorities. It does not have a set budget for its grants or a pre-determined timeline. Grants most likely will be in the range of $20,000 to $100,000.

The Lawrence Foundation is a private, family foundation focused on making grants to support environmental, education, human services and other causes. Applications are open to any organization that meets the grant guidelines. Grants are awarded every June and December.

Through the Sip to Support a Garden program, schools and community gardens can earn year-round funding for their garden programs. Register your school or public community garden group with Jamba’s swipe card program and every time a supporter of your group uses the card at a participating Jamba Juice, your program gets 10% of the sales.

Youth Venture inspires and invests in teams of young people to design and launch their own lasting social ventures, enabling them to have a transformative experience of leading positive social change. When the team is ready to launch, Youth Venture offers seed funding up to $1,000, guidance, tools and support, and a supportive network of fellow Youth Venturers.

The Northrop Grumman Corporation supports communities, projects and organizations, particularly where its employees live and work, with financial, in-kind and volunteer resources. Grants are awarded to accredited schools and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations for projects focused on education and the environment, among others. Northrop Grumman does not accept unsolicited requests for funding.

These grants seek to strengthen the stewardship of public lands by strengthening Friends Groups through funding for organizational capacity building. Applications are accepted April 30 and October 30 every year.

The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund provides grants in support of wildlife conservation projects – including conservation education. Grants generally range from $5,000 to $25,000. Applications are accepted twice per year: April 30 and November 30.

The Office Depot Foundation awards grants to support activities that serve, teach and inspire children, youth and families, and to support civic organizations and activities that serve community needs. Grants range from $50 to $3,000. Applications are reviewed year-round.

Hi eenorthcarolina.org users! It’s our privilege to provide this resource for you. Have you applied for, or even better, received a grant or contest that you learned about from this page? Please let us know about it. Just send a quick email to Marty.Wiggins@ncdenr.gov and let us know. This will help us better serve you!

The Verizon Foundation awards grants to K-12 schools to increase literacy and educational achievement levels. Proposals are considered from public and private elementary and secondary schools registered with the National Center for Education Statistics. Unsolicited proposals are reviewed on a continuous calendar year basis, from January 1 – October 14.

The ING Foundation awards grants of $2,500 to $100,000 and more to non-profit organizations. The Foundation focuses on financial literacy, children’s education, diversity and environmental sustainability. Grant requests are reviewed quarterly.

The MeadWestvaco Foundation seeks to provide leadership for advancing research, education and public dialogue on public policy issues of special interest, such as the economy, regulation and environmental stewardship. Proposals for grants are accepted throughout the year. Grants range from $250 to $10,000.

WaysToHelp.org invites teens in the U.S. to apply for grants to fund their community service ideas across any one of 16 issue areas, including the environment. Grant requests are reviewed and responded to on a monthly basis. Grants up to $500 are awarded.

The objective of the National Geographic Conservation Trust is to support conservation activities around the world as they fit within the mission of the National Geographic Society. The trust will fund projects that contribute significantly to the preservation and sustainable use of the Earth’s biological, cultural, and historical resources. While grant amounts vary greatly, most range from $15,000 to $20,000 each. Pre-applications accepted throughout the year, but should be submitted at least eight months prior to anticipated field dates.

Recognizing that healthy, thriving communities depend on involved citizens, organizations, and corporate partners for momentum, Waste Management lends its support and services to programs related to environmental education, the environment and the community. Applications accepted year-round.

The BoatU.S. Foundation awards nonprofit organizations up to $10,000 for the promotion of safe and clean boating education. Past topics have ranged from public service announcements on the effects of boating under the influence to hands-on education about the effects of marine debris. Letters of intent accepted year-round.

Orchards are donated where the harvest will best serve communities for generations, such as community gardens, public schools and parks, low-income neighborhoods, Native American reservations, international hunger relief sites, and animal sanctuaries. Fruit Tree 101 grants for public schools only. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

The USDA has programs throughout its operations that can assist farmers, help consumers access nutritious foods, and support rural community development. This page lists several programs and grants to assist those involved in local food systems, food and nutrition-related community development and farm to school programs.

The Wal-mart State Giving Program seeks to support organizations with programs that align with its mission to create opportunities so people can live better. The Foundation has four areas of focus: Education, Workforce Development / Economic Opportunity, Health & Wellness, and Environmental Sustainability. Minimum grants are $25,000. The submission deadlines are April 17 and September 18 each year.

Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc. and the Toyota USA Foundation support programs in education, environment and safety. Applicant organizations must be tax-exempt. Grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Georgia-Pacific Foundation supports organizations that improve the quality of life in communities where Georgia-Pacific operates. Grants are awarded for educational efforts, community enrichment, environmental programs, and entrepreneurship initiatives. Requests are reviewed on a rolling cycle throughout the year. Due to year-end limited funding, early submission is encouraged.

The Annenberg Foundation focuses its grantmaking on education and youth development; arts, culture, and humanities; civic and community; animal services and the environment; and health and human services. Letters of inquiry that address these interests are accepted throughout the year.

Competitive grants are available to not-for-profit, grassroots organizations in the U.S. that facilitate progressive social change by addressing the underlying conditions of societal and environmental problems. Only proposals from grassroots, constituent-led organizations are considered. Letters of interest may be submitted at any time.

K-12 teachers who develop or apply science, math and technology may qualify for a grant of up to $250. Grants may be used for demonstration kits, science supplies, math and science software and other materials to help make science, math and technology come alive in the classroom. Grants will be considered in November, January and April.

GCA offers several research fellowships and scholarships for undergrads, grads and people already in the field. Topics include: ecological restoration, urban forestry, environmental studies, wetland studies, botany, desert studies and more.

Each business day, 4imprint gives a worthy organization $500 in promotional products to spread the word, recruit volunteers, thank donors, offer comfort to someone in need or in some other way turns one thing into something much more.

The ESMM Community Grants Program provides funding to local communities to implement strategies that advance the goals and objectives of Eat Smart, Move More…NC’s Plan.

Funding is awarded yearly, based on availability of funds. The RFA is generally released in May, with funding distributed to grant recipients in September.

Young people ages 18-25 are eligible to apply for grants to pursue research, exploration, and conservation-related projects consistent with National Geographic’s existing grant programs, including the Committee for Research and Exploration, the Expeditions Council, and the Conservation Trust. Applications are accepted throughout the year.

Environmental Education Centers may be eligible for a grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). (Federal Agencies and for-profit institutions are not elegible.) The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.

The Fund for Wild Nature provides “small grants to small groups who get things done.” The fund provides money for campaigns (including development of citizen science endeavors) to save and restore native species, biological diversity and wild ecosystems. Most grants awarded in the past ranged from $1,000-$3,000. Applications accepted each May 1 and October 1.

The Lowe’s Toolbox for Education program provides grant awards from $2,000 to $100,000 to support school improvement projects at K-12 public schools in the U.S. Applications are accepted twice per year.

The Campus Ecology program is helping transform the nation’s college campuses into living models of an ecologically sustainable society, while training a new generation of environmental leaders. The program awards fellowships to undergraduate and graduate students who desire to help reverse global warming on campus and beyond. The maximum grant request is $3,000.

Digital Wish offers over 50 different grants for digital camera hardware and software. To apply, register your classroom at Digital Wish and enter a lesson plan. All teachers who submit a lesson plan will be automatically entered to win a mobile digital camera lab, plus as many as 50 technology grants. Grants are awarded the 15th of every month.

Grants from Toshiba America Foundation fund projects, ideas and materials math and science teachers need to innovate in their classrooms, specifically projects designed by one teacher or a small team of teachers to use in their own school. Application deadlines are based on grant amount.

EcoSolution Grants from the Captain Planet Foundation provide support for youth-led environmental projects in the form of cash grants ranging from $500-$2,500. The grants support purchase of materials and other expenses required to implement the project. Applications are accepted twice per year, each January and July.

The American Honda Foundation awards grants up to $75,000 to youth education programs focused on STEM and the environment. New applicants can apply February 1 or August 1. Returning applicants should apply May 1.

 

 

Today we honor Lucy Wills, the woman who created prenatal vitamins.

Lucy Wills,  born in Birmingham, England in 1888, she studied botany and geology and received a certificate in 1911. In 1915 she enrolled in The London School of Medicine for Women and legally  became a medical practitioner in 1920, earning her bachelor degrees in medicine and science.

In 1928, she did research about pregnant women and anemia and realized that the Bombay women had a correlation between their dietary habits and likelihood of their becoming anemic during pregnancy. Ultimately, her studies suggested that a vitamin deficiency was to blame.

Her discovery was the first step toward creation of folic acid. For many years it was the Wills Factor until folic acid was named in 1941 when it was isolated from spinach.

Now the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that women take 400 micrograms of folic acid are taken every day.

May 10, 1888 – April 16, 1964

Happy Birthday Lucy Wills and Thank You for all that you did for women and their babies!

 

Source: https://www.cnet
.com/news/google-doodle-honors-lucy-wills-pioneering-prenatal-care-researcher/
Pic Source: https://www.google.com/
Google Doodle

Think About it Thursday-Hurricanes!

What is a Hurricane?

A hurricane is a huge tropical storm! It can be hundreds of miles across and have strong winds spiraling inward and upward at speeds of 75 to 200 mph. Recent Category 5 hurricanes include 2005-Katrina (175 mph), 2005-Rita (180 mph), 2005-Wilma (185 mph), 2007-Dean (175 mph), 2007-Felix (175 mph), 2017-Maria (175 mph), 2017-Irma (175 mph).

What makes a hurricane special is that it rotates around the “eye” of the storm, which is the calmest part.  Hurricanes rotate in a counter-clockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere. You need three things for a hurricane to form: warm water, cooler air, and wind.

Typically, hurricanes form over warm ocean waters of at least 80°F. That combined with the cooler atmosphere (the air) of early Fall sets things up for a hurricane. Add into that, wind that’s blowing in the same direction and at the same speed, forcing air upward from the ocean surface. The winds flow outward above the storm allowing the air below to rise. Hurricanes typically form between 5 to 15 degrees latitude north and south of the equator. The Coriolis Force gives hurricanes that special spin you see! Atlantic hurricanes typically occur between June and November.

How are Hurricanes Classified?

Hurricanes are classified into five categories, based on their wind speeds and potential to cause damage.

Category 1: Winds 75-95 mph with minimal damage

Category 2: Winds 96-110 mph with moderate damage

Category 3: Winds 111-130 mph with extensive damage

Category 4: Winds 131-155 mph with extreme damage

Category 5: Winds 155+ mph with catastrophic damage

Sometimes a hurricane will start with a high classification of Category 5 but then drop once it hits land. Once a hurricane hits land it loses strength i.e. decreases in category because of cool temperatures, a lack of moisture, and/or friction. Moisture is what fuels a hurricane!

What are some the most damaging hurricanes in US history?

1. Katrina, 2005
Damage: $160.00 billion
Max wind speed at landfall: 110 mph in August, 2005

2. Harvey, 2017
Damage: $125.00 billion
Max wind speed at landfall: 115 mph in August, 2017

3. Sandy, 2012
Damage: $70.20 billion
Max wind speed at landfall: 100 mph in October, 2012

4. Irma, 2017
Damage: $50.00 billion
Max wind speed at landfall: 155 mph in September, 2017

5. Andrew, 1992

    Damage: $47.79 billion
Max wind speed at landfall: 145 mph in August, 1992

6. Ike, 2008
Damage: $34.80 billion
Max wind speed at landfall: 115 mph in September, 2008

How to Prepare for a Hurricane?

1. Plan your evacuation route.

2. Keep non-perishable emergency supplies on hand.

3. Take an inventory of your personal property.

4. Take steps to protect your home.

 

 

Sources:
https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/hurricane-matthew-by-the-numbers
http://www.weatherwizkids.com/weather-hurricane.htm
https://www.iii.org/article/preparing-hurricane