By: Miriam Kramer, Staff WriterPublished: 08/09/2013 03:07 PM EDT on SPACE.com A sister act in North Carolina has proven that age is no obstacle when it comes to building a Mars rover. Working out of their home garage, 13-year-old Camille Beatty and her sister Genevieve, 11, built a functioning robot modeled after NASA’s now-deceased Mars rover Spirit.
Two girls in North Carolina have proven that age is no obstacle to building a Mars rover. From their garage at home, Camille Beatty, 13, and her sister Genevieve, 11, built a functioning robot modeled after NASA’s now-deceased Spirit rover.
Move over iPhone, the Motorola Dyna TAC brick cellular phone is back in town. At least for the weekend, anyway. The Motorola, along with the Pong video game, the IBM Selectric typewriter, and other devices from bygone days will be available for hands-on exploration on Saturday and Sunday at NYSCI as part of the ChronoLeap: Technolution event.
The event complements ChronoLeap: The Great World’s Fair Adventure project that partnered the University of Central Florida with NYSCI and the Queens Museum of Art. The project created a free, downloadable game that transports users to a virtual version of the 1964/65 World’s Fair, along with educational programs and activities that accompany the game.
So put down that smartphone, rev up your time machine, and get to NYSCI this weekend!
We are super excited to welcome our (end of) summer collaborators from BioBus
BioBus is the world’s only mobile microscope lab powered by the sun and wind and it is docking in Rocket Park to run bio labs with NYSCI Explainers for our visitors. Using daphnia and a variety of other specimens, BioBus staff will lead hands-on activities with their high powered microscopes to help visitors explore micro-organisms and learn about cell division, development, etc.
The staff and bus arrived at NYSCI on Monday, July 28th, and will be with us through Maker Faire, running their labs for groups and sharing their work and equipment with the general public: Tuesdays through Fridays (9:30am-3:30pm).
From time to time, BioBus will be closed for installation as they commence with their install of 9 polycrystalline silicon photovoltaic solar panels with maximum power point tracking charge controllers.
By Maker Faire 2013, the BioBus roof will be covered in solar cells! At a maximum energy output of 2.25 kilowatts (kW), this system will allow for sun-run science any day and anywhere!
The new Fruit and Vegetable Prescription program launched at two NYC hospitals this week. Under this new initiative, overweight or obese patients can be prescribed Health Bucks along with nutritional counseling. These Health Bucks, which accrue at $1 per day per family member over a four month period, are redeemable only at NYC farmers markets.
The use of Health Bucks allows for increased access to locally grown fresh food, leading to improved health outcomes for individuals while bringing lasting changes to the local economy.
Patients from the pilot program have already seen dramatic weight loss and other positive changes for themselves and their children. Could this be the default nutritional therapy of the future?
This summer, five college students will interact with NYSCI visitors as part of the Maker Education Initiative’s Maker Corps program. The students will collaborate in NYSCI’s Maker Space, assisting visitors with new activities that will be prototyped and refined for use in this year’s summer camps. They will also work on their own individual maker projects. By providing maker-oriented jobs, the Maker Corps program aims to expand the network of maker mentors, expose more people to making, and provide career skills to college students interested in making.
NYSCI is one of only 34 organizations throughout the country participating in the program, which was highlighted by the White House as a program that increases opportunities for STEM participation. To date, NYSCI’s Maker Corps members have prototyped mold making activities and worked on sonic mosquito repellent kits.
Stop by NYSCI’s Maker Space to see what they’ll be working on next!
Everything in the built world has been designed and crafted by someone. This is not news to most of us, but I’m amazed that even as engineering and design have taken more visible roles in shaping how we experience the world, there are still so many who see themselves as consumers, not makers. We Are Makers is a new short film that explores the workshops and institutions shaping a new generation of makers and designers. It’s the first documentary
Earlier this month, NYSCI, in collaboration with the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade, Serbia, opened a new exhibition focusing on the life and work of the man who brought us bladeless turbines, remote controls and the Maker Faire-favorite, the Tesla coil. Nikola Tesla’s most significant invention was the alternating current induction motor, still used today in home appliances, as well as in machines in many industrial plants and factories.
Tesla’s Wonderful World of Electricity, on view at NYSCI through October 20, includes working replicas of Nikola Tesla’s inventions, models of his scientific laboratories, photographic reproductions, and a narrative about his life and work.
This Saturday night at NYSCI, visitors can collaborate on a story with digital artist and performer, Haeyoung Kim. Part performance, part workshop, Kim’s Moori will use audience members to help create a dynamic narrative. Users will download the Moori app, and use the app to pose questions and answers, and to generate algorithmic sounds and visuals. The result will be an interactive performance featuring collaboration among audience members. Part of Harvestworks’ 2013 New York Electronic Arts Festival, the event begins at 4 pm with Night Games, an interactive dance game, followed by cocktails at 6 pm, and EXPOSED – Sound featuring Moori at 6:30 pm.
Haeyoung Kim is based in New York City and explores the texture of sounds in electronic music. Her work has been presented in various museums and galleries including the American Museum of the Moving Image, PS1, Nam June Paik Center in Korea, and Kunsthalle in Austria.
This Saturday, dance the afternoon away on a science-inspired dance floor at Night Games. Using 3D surround sound and Playstation move technology, dancer’s movements are analyzed by software and used to modify the dance experience. The movements and instrument choices of the dancers create the music, and costumed creatures encourage revelry and participation in this collaborative performance. Throughout the dance, Night Games brings a conscious awareness to participants that their individual actions impact the collective ecosystem. So bring your enthusiasm, good vibes and your best moves to NYSCI this Saturday!
Last week, ten thousand miles from New York, students learned about microorganisms from one of our educators. Anthony Negron, manager of our Virtual Visit program, employed videoconferencing technologies to connect with St. Kevin’s Primary School in Sydney, Australia. Using microscopes, NYSCI exhibits, and a live feed of various microorganisms, the students learned where the tiny creatures are found, and how to classify them. The program helped to launch a new technology room at the Australian school and was attended by students, parents and educators.
Brett Salakas of St. Kevin’s Primary School and coordinator of the event called the program a “wonderful experience” that “greatly enhanced our science unit on microorganisms. The well-balanced program gave the students an insight in the topic which we could not provide here in a regular classroom.”
Last weekend, elementary students from P.S. 139 in Rego Park, Queens brought their families to visit us as part of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs CASA – Cultural After School Adventures program. Prior to the visit, NYSCI staff traveled to P.S. 139 to provide a series of three after-school science workshops, where they taught the students about convex and concave lenses, the properties of light, and how electricity is produced. Last weekend’s visit reinforced some of what the kids learned during the after-school workshops, while also exposing them to other science topics as they explored our exhibits. Thanks to the grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs, now in its third year, we’ve been able to offer the CASA program to three Queens schools this year. Tomorrow, I.S. 72 will visit us to cap off their cultural after-school adventure!
The idea of medicine as food has existed for centuries. But throughout those centuries, the human race has been altering ancient, wild plants for our food consumption. As we have selected for sweeter and larger crops, we have dramatically reduced the cancer-fighting phytonutrients in them. For example, native Peruvian purple potatoes have 28 times more phytonutrients than the common potatoes we consume. The wild ancestors of apples have “a staggering 100 times more phytonutrients than the Golden Delicious” variety.
What does this mean for our food supply and our health? As companies such as Monsanto as well as the US Department of Agriculture develop disease-resistant and quick-growing varieties of our crops, does this mean even more nutrient loss will occur? Time can only tell. In the mean time, be sure to use food as medicine by including more herbs, greens, and colorful vegetables in a varied diet.
Teaching STEM the fun way: by tinkering. TASC’s ExpandEd is calling all teacher-tinkerers: make your science-technology-engineering-math curriculum stand out. Workshops will be held at NYSCI this August. Happy tinkering!
Last Saturday, 30 high school students turned into museum educators, helping our visitors understand microbiology, camouflage, skull anatomy, genetic diversity, matter, cellular structure and UV radiation. They provided info, instructions and encouragement to approximately 200 visitors who were trying out various hands-on activities.
The program is part of a partnership between NYSCI and ExpandEd, which is designed to provide high school students with experiences beyond traditional school classrooms. Throughout the Spring, the students participated in a 10-week program at NYSCI where they learned about the scientific method, astronomy, genetics, ecology, evolution, microbiology and other science topics. Saturday’s hands-on activities represented the conclusion of the 10-week program. But you may interact with some of them at our exhibits this summer: Twelve of the students will continue on with summer internships at NYSCI as Junior Explainers.
More than 60 of our Corona neighbors visited us today as part of a special museum initiative called NYSCI Neighbors. Parents of students from P.S. 14, P.S. 16 and P.S. 307, along with school faculty, were treated to a special bilingual (English/Spanish) chemistry demonstration and 3-D movie showing. In addition, Jessica Castillo, an Explainer at NYSCI, led the group on a bilingual tour of various exhibitions, including the Science Playground, the Search for Life Beyond Earth, and Sports Challenge.
Families and faculty of participating NYSCI Neighbor schools are eligible for a NYSCI Neighbors membership that offers borrowing privileges for NYSCI’s library and access to multilingual tours. The program began in 2011 to connect residents of neighboring Queens communities with our science resources and programs.
Photo: NYSCI Explainer Jessica Castillo tours a NYSCI Neighbors group through the Search for Life Beyond Earth exhibition.
That’s what Ria Chhabra, a 13 year old from Texas, did. When in a debate with her parents over the value of organic products over conventional ones, she decided to scientifically prove it one was better than the other
Originally, she tested the vitamin C levels in organic fruits and compared them to conventional ones. She found that vitamin C was higher in the organic produce, and decided she wanted to study the consequences this finding could have on health. So she did what any other kid would do - research an animal model and reach out to college professors across the country to find someone interested in helping her finish the project.
One professor, Dr. Bauer at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, called her back. While “he would not normally agree to work with a middle-school student”, Dr. Bauer and Ria worked successfully to feed fruit flies different diets and test the effects of diet on their health. Ria’s work was published by the lab and then by a scientific journal. It is titled "Organically Grown Food Provides Health Benefits to Drosophila melanogaster” and available online. (For the record, she proved that Drosophila fruit flies fared far better on organic bananas and potatos than conventionally grown options.)
Today at 16, Ria continues to work with Dr. Bauer, now studying Type 2 Diabetes with fruit flies. Her family and friends are confident not in only in their choice to purchase organic foods but also that Ria will have a plethora of colleges to choose from in the coming years. Not bad for a 13 year old!
Last month, NYSCI entered the publishing world with our new book: Design, Make, Play: Growing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators. Published by Routledge, the book includes case studies of innovative programs throughout the country that get young people interested in science and technology. Programs like the Tinkering Studio at San Francisco’s Exploratorium, the MAKESHOP at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, and Design Lab here at NYSCI.
With a shortage of Americans in science and technology fields, this is a book everyone should read. As Ursula Burns, Chairperson and CEO of Xerox Corporation, said,
“If you care about the future of our country, you should read this book and then put its lessons to work.”
Last week, new guidelines for K–12 science education were released. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were developed by 26 states, along with the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve. The standards emphasize critical thinking over content memorization and identify science and engineering practices that students should master to be fully prepared for college and careers.
NGSS also recommends that students learn about climate change. For the last two years, we have partnered with Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management on a program called My Carbon Footprint, an educational initiative designed to build awareness about climate change science. As a result of this project, we have developed two climate change curriculums – one for middle schools and one for high schools – that include hands-on activities that give students the foundation they need to understand climate change. Both curriculums align to the seven crosscutting scientific and engineering concepts identified in the NGSS framework: patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; energy and matter: flows, cycles and conservation; structure and function; stability and change. The curriculums can be downloaded for free and can help guide teachers who implement climate change science lessons into their classrooms.
The NGSS guidelines are voluntary, but many educators are applauding the move away from rote memorization. Our president and CEO, Margaret Honey, said in a recent USA Today article that children should be taught
“how to learn and how to be discerning…When I was a kid, education was memorizing and learning lots of facts — that methodology of teaching absolutely no longer makes sense. That’s not the world we live in anymore.”
People are buzzing about the anticipated influx of billions of cicadas to the eastern United States. Some are eagerly awaiting their arrival, while others are sure to be spooked by the insects’ beady red eyes and orange wings.
The New York area is part of the Magicicada Brood II’s range and can expect to see the insects sometime in April or May. After spending 17 years underground, they will emerge when the ground, at 8 inches deep, reaches a steady temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit. To help residents predict the emergence of the bugs, NYSCI has teamed up with Radiolab and WNYC to offer workshops on how to build your own cicada detector. Participants will use the detectors to observe the ground temperature at their homes and record their findings on a special website. In the process, they’ll learn some DIY skills and citizen science, while helping the rest of us prepare for the cicadas’ appearance.
According to a recent Huffington Post article highlighting new research on the food industry, diet sodas - which millions turn to in order to cut their calorie intake - can actually be worsefor your body than regularly sweetened sodas.
A study of over 66,000 women during 14 years, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that diet soda drinkers are more likely to be overweight and that these diet sodas raised their risk for Type 2 Diabetes more than if they drank regular soda.
Here’s some of the science on why -
Artificial sweeteners fool your body into thinking there is sugar on the way.
Once there is no sugar, your body becomes confused and will both store fat and crave more sugar.
Artificial sweeteners can be thousands of times more sweet than sugar - making them more addicting as well.
The food industry is deceptively creative with things like diet sodas. For more information on diet sodas as well as other processed food secrets, check out the article here and in the mean time, remember - all natural fruit juice is the best drink to have if you or your kids are looking for some liquid fuel.