Think About It Thursday….


   Why Do Leaves Fall Off Trees?

During that process, the trees lose a lot of water – so much water that when winter arrives, the trees are no longer able to get enough water to replace it.

And so now we know. Leaves fall—or are pushed—off trees so that the tree can survive the winter and grow new leaves in the spring

Make sure you check out HTHT’s Experiment page, but especially check out the science experiment, Binocular Build & Scavenger Hunt!

You could build a binocular, then go on a scavenger hunt to find all the different color leaves!

Happy Hunting!


Source: Pixabay Images

Spring Forward and Fall Back








Why do we “Spring Forward” and “Fall Back” every year?


On March 11th we will be “springing it Forward” meaning we will be setting our clocks ahead one hour.

Why do we do this? We move one hour from the morning and add it to the night so that people could make better use of the day light hours. In the summer time the sunshine will last longer and we can make better use of the day when we “spring forward”.

As children we love this time of year because it stays lighter later at night, but as parents…. I don’t know how we feel about the time change.

Did you know that there are several places in the Unite States that do not observe daylight savings time, such as Arizona, Hawaii, and our oversea territories like Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico?

So don’t forget to change your clock on March 11, 2018… Spring Forward

Image sources: Pixabay

Fall into Hibernation With Fun Science!

Beautiful leaves, fruitful harvests, and cooler weather are all things we think of when we picture fall.  It is a transitional time from the sweltering summer months to the frigid winter months.  For many creatures, fall is also a transitional time when they prep for hibernation.

What exactly is hibernation?

Bears snoozing in a den is what many of us probably imagine when we think hibernation, but a lot of different types of animals hibernate and experience similar processes.  Hibernation is a state of inactivity and metabolic slowdown in endotherms i.e. warm-blooded organisms. It is characterized by low body temperature, slow breathing and heart rate, and low metabolic rate.

Many ectotherms (i.e. cold-blooded organisms) seem to hibernate via a similar process called brumation.  Remember that the main thing that differentiates warm-blooded and cold-blooded creatures is that warm-blooded organisms can self-regulate their temperature and metabolic responses.  Whereas cold-blooded organisms’ metabolism reacts in response to their environment.  So cold environment = slower metabolisms for all ectotherms versus cold-environment = hibernation for some endotherms but not all.  Fish seem to hibernate but are an example of an ectotherm slowing down in response to the cold.

Hibernation is a considered a period of energy-saving torpor.  Torpor is a state of decreased physiological activity in an animal and includes a lower body temperature and metabolic rate.  Some animals experience what is called daily torpor, which refers to a period of low body temperature and metabolism lasting less than 24 hours.  For instance, hummingbirds experience a state of torpor just at night and have been known to hang upside down from their perch while in this state.

Hibernation in general occurs in winter and the opposite of hibernation is called aestivation, which occurs in the summer months.  Many invertebrates and amphibians have an aestivation cycle that helps them survive hot, arid seasons.

Why hibernate?

Whether it is hibernation or aestivation it is all about surviving extremes.  It is a way for animals to survive difficult conditions.  For instance, winter for a bear or squirrel means cold temperatures, not a lot of food, very little camouflage cover.  Despite being in a vulnerable torpor state, being out in those conditions seem way riskier. The risk of vulnerability must have been outweighed by the benefits of hibernation for bears and other creatures to evolve this unique mechanism.

Prep for hibernation

Bears, for instance, have a period prior to hibernation where they eat and drink in excess to build up their fat stores for hibernation.  Gorging themselves on nuts, berries and other food sources while they are around help them survive once they go into torpor and hibernate for several months.  They also have a transition period where they aren’t hibernating but their metabolism is beginning to slow so they start to eat less and sleep more.   The creation of a cozy den or nest is also essential for hibernation. This keeps body heat contained, protects from the elements, and conceals the hibernating animals.

Can humans hibernate?

You might feel sleepier in the winter months, but humans never evolved to hibernate.  Part of that reasoning is that since we evolved in equatorial, tropical Africa where there is a consistent food supply we would not have needed to hibernate to escape harsh conditions.  We also would have been a top predator, so less likely to need hibernation to avoid predators.  We are also bigger and most hibernators are small with the obvious exceptions here and there (bears).

Our hearts are also different from other mammals that hibernate.  Our hearts contract in response to calcium. So, if our heart gets too cold, there is a buildup of calcium and we go into cardiac arrest.  Mammals that hibernate have a special pump that gets rid of excess calcium, which means their hearts continue to beat at much lower temperatures.

Scientists are interested in engineering ways for humans to hibernate because it would aid in long-term space travel.  Astronauts must exercise 6 hours a day in space to prevent muscle and bone atrophy, which might be avoided if they could hibernate.  Hibernation obviously would reduce the amount of supplies they would need, and could protect from radiation.  A year in space right now is the max an astronaut can do without significantly increasing the odds that they’ll get cancer and other side effects due to radiation.

Think About It Thursday: Why Do Leaves Fall Off Trees?

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When winter approaches, our part of Earth receives less sunlight, and the air grows colder, this season is commonly known as “Fall”.   When these changes happen, trees prepare for winter. People believe that leaves die on the tree and the wind blows them off the tree. According to Peter Raven, president of the Missouri Botanical Garden and a renowned botanist, “the wind doesn’t simply pull leaves off trees. Trees are more proactive than that. They throw their leaves off.” Deciduous trees have cells in them that act like scissors. These cells build up a thin bumpy line that push the leaf, bit by bit, away from the stem. You can’t see this without a microscope, says Peter Raven. The tree will then seal the spots where the leaves were attached and bunker down for the winter months.

The falling of these leaves on a tree actually helps the tree to survive the cold, dry air of winter. In the warm seasons, leaves use sunlight, water, and air to make the tree’s food, in a process called photosynthesis. In that process, the tree loses a lot of water through tiny holes in the leaves. In winter, the tree does not get enough water to replace what it would lose through the leaves. If the tree did not seal the spots where the leaves grow, it would die. When spring brings warm air and fresh water, the tree will sprout new leaves and start growing again.


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September 23, 2015 marks the first day of Autumn for this year! What is Autumn exactly? Yes, it’s the season that falls between Summer and Winter but there is more science involved than that. Autumn or Fall is brought by the September Equinox. 

Because Earth doesn’t orbit upright, but is instead tilted on its axis by 23-and-a-half degrees, Earth’s Northern and Southern Hemispheres trade places throughout the year in receiving the sun’s light and warmth most directly. We have an equinox twice a year – spring and fall – when the tilt of the Earth’s axis and Earth’s orbit around the sun combine in such a way that the axis is inclined neither away from nor toward the sun. Earth’s two hemispheres are receiving the sun’s rays about equally around equinox-time.

What are some of your favorite Fall activities? Perhaps jumping into freshly raked leaf piles? Wandering through a windy maze made from corn husks? Maybe sipping on some hot apple cider or something pumpkin spice flavored? Whatever your favorite Fall activity, this season is sure to bring beautiful colors and lots of fun!

Holiday 2014 E-News!

Put the FUN back into your holiday function with hands-on science!

From Halloween to New Years, High Touch High Tech is the perfect way to add excitement to your holiday celebration! Whether it’s a class party, corporate function or birthday extravaganza – you can make this holiday season one to remember with FUN, hands-on science that comes to you!


There’s no trick here! Have FUN as we treat you to some hands-on, spooky science! Come face to face with our creepy crawly Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, spark excitement as you touch lightening, weave a web of suspense as we investigate some incredible spiders & much, much more! Call or email us today for more information about booking a Frankenstein’s Freaky Laboratory party today!


From falling leaves to falling temperatures, get ready to fall in love with science all over again! Uncover the science behind Mother Nature’s Autumn fashion show as we make our own leaves change color using a cool chemical extraction! Have you ever wondered why we have 4 different seasons? We’ll investigate the reason for the season as we learn about the Earth’s wobble. Have FUN as we experiment with one of our favorite times of year, make your own pilgrim putty to keep & much more! Call or email us today for more information about booking a Fall Festival of Science party today!


Discover why science is so cool as we take you on a journey through our scientific winter wonderland! First stop, we’ll go on a chilly fishing expedition where you’ll get to go ice cube fishing. Next, grab your skis as we make our very own snow! We’ll mix things up a bit as we learn about some crazy chemical reactions and make your very own Polar Bear Putty to keep! These experiments & more are all included in this magical, winter wonderland experience!

Hosting a holiday party has never been easier – we bring the FUN to you!
Let us transform your special event from ordinary to extraordinary
with exciting, hands-on science!

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

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Wishing everyone a happy Autumnal Equinox or first official day of Fall today! In celebration today’s post will be about the science behind building one of our favorite Fall pastimes, the corn maze.

There is way more than you can imagine that goes into creating a corn maze. First, the farmer needs to decide on which hybrid of corn he needs to plant in order for it to be the right height and stalk strength. Secondly, he must keep a close eye on the corn crop during the growing process for a disease called “stalk rot”. Stalk rot is a key factor when there is improper fertilization and moisture stress on the plant. Then the farmer needs to think about having an area large enough to plant his corn and produce his maze. Another note to keep in mind is that he should not overcrowd the corn plants either. 

Once the corn is fully mature and tall enough, the farmer will start to cut pathways. Cutting the pathways isn’t just as simple as cutting out rows into the corn. Most corn mazes these days follow a specific theme or classic movie. So the farmers will use a GPS navigation device in order to plan and execute precise pathways into their corn maze! Some of the best corn mazes have “bridges” built into the middle of the maze, where tourists can climb up the stairs and look out over the corn that they are lost in!

If you have never experienced a corn maze for yourself, I encourage you to try out this extremely fun Autumn pastime! Here is a list of all the corn mazes in the United States!

Stop by one and get lost in the corn today!

Think About It Thursday: Why Do Leaves Change Colors?

Leaf color comes from pigments. Pigments are natural substances produced by leaf cells. The three pigments that color leaves are:

  • chlorophyll (which produces the green color)
  • carotenoid(produces yellow, orange, and brown colors)
  • anthocyanin (produces a red color)

Chlorophyll is the most important of the three. Leaves contain chlorophyll in order to use the sunlight to produce its own food through the process of photosynthesis.

Carotenoids are organic pigments that are found in the chloroplasts and chromoplasts of plants and some other photosynthetic organisms.  Carotenoids create bright yellows and oranges in familiar fruits and vegetables. For example, corn, carrots, and bananas to name a few.

Anthocyanins are pigments that may appear red, purple, or blue depending on the pH, they add the color red to plants, including cranberries, red apples, cherries, strawberries and others.

In the fall, because of changes in the length of daylight and changes in temperature, the leaves stop their food-making process. The chlorophyll breaks down, the green color disappears, and the yellow to orange colors become visible. Most anthocyanins are produced only in autumn, and only under certain conditions. Not all trees can make anthocyanin, but sugar maples seem to have the easiest time in doing so.


Resources: State of New York: College of Environmental Science and Forestry: Environmental Education for Kids:

The September Equinox of the Northern Hemisphere Approches


As the September Equinox approaches it is important to understand how the equinoxes were discovered and how to prepare for the astronomical event.

Our human ancestors spent much more time outdoors than humans now a days. They learned to track the patterns of the sun and eventually used it to tell time and the seasons. They built elaborate observatories in order to track the sun’s progress throughout the year.

Because Earth doesn’t orbit upright, but instead is tilted on its axis by 23 1/2 degrees, Earth’s Northern and Southern Hemispheres trade places in receiving the sun’s light and warmth most directly. We have an equinox in the spring and fall, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis and Earth’s orbit around the sun combine in such a way that the axis is inclined neither away from nor toward the sun. Earth’s two hemispheres are receiving the sun’s rays equally now. Night and day are approximately equal in length.


So how do we prepare for this astronomical event, on the day of the autumnal equinox, at sunrise/sunset, go outside to your yard or other favorite site for watching the sky and you will be able to decipher the cardinal directions. The sun will rise at due East and set at due West! If it is a clear morning/evening, be prepared for some amazing views as well!

The 2014 September equinox occurs on September 22, at 9:29 p.m. in the central United States.