Its National Science Week. Let’s Try Something New (For All Ages)…

Its that time of the year again… National Science Week. If you are like us, a bit time poor to get yourself out to the activities out there, we’ve got a few suggestions to try at home.

Best of all all you need is a computer/mobile device. If you don’t like it, just delete it.

Most of the them are free so there is no excuse!

Kinder – Primary school

Bits Box (Try Mode)

https://bitsbox.com/

Technically a paid monthly coding subscription activity box. However you can try a handful of apps to see whether your child will like it. To access the try area, click on “Kids Sign In” on the main page. Then “Get Started”. At which point a tablet will come up on screen and there is an option for “Here the First Time?”, click “Let’s Go”. This will then allow you to try 5 apps for free.

Scratch Junior

https://www.scratchjr.org/

Developed by a consortium of educational institution (including MIT) and private companies. Its a free app designed for 5-7 year olds in basic block programming. Providing ability to drag and drop commands with its bright attractive colour, it allows kids to start exploring the logic of coding. The good thing is it is supported by lots of community activities, so if you ever get stuck one google search or looking up nearest event will get you up and going again.

Late Primary School – High School

Scratch

https://scratch.mit.edu/

The original children coding teaching tool. It offers block based programming, but also extend these by having ability for advance functions like variables, defining complex logic. Great extension tool once kids get sick of Scratch Junior. Only available online, it does have an offline mode allowing you to work on projects even when there is no internet.

Also have a large community where you can peek inside other people programs. It does require sign up to save your projects, so parental supervision is still advised.

Alice

http://www.alice.org

Created by Carnegie Mellon University, Alice is a whole package that teaches older kids how to program in order to produce an animation. This gives 2 sets of skills (programming and animation) in one go. It does require a bit more knowledge to setup, as it provides more options to customise to what you want to use the software for.

However once you setup you can have fun all day long creating life like animation shorts like a pro.

Happy Coding!!!

Disclaimer

This is an unpaid post.  We are not associated with Carnegie Mellon University, Alice, Bitsbox, Scratch, Scratch Jr or MIT.

Who Needs Their Right Brain in Science?

Who Needs Their Right Brain in Science?

Science and engineering have always been painted as “logical/left brain centric”, that cannot be performed by “emotional/right brain centric” people. However, a documentary put together by Neuroscientist David Eagleman demonstrates that its more of a team effort then a race between the 2 sides of our brain.

In Episode 4 of “The Brain“, an engineer in a motorbike accident underwent a surgery to cut the connection between left and right half of her brain.

While she improved physically, the long term effect of the surgery was that she cannot make decisions on even the most basic of things. In a grocery store, she struggled to choose between the myriad of products that are the same (e.g. between different type of potatoes).

This is because we make decisions based on which option “feels good” to us. Unconsciously we score options from the “emotional side” of the brain. The “logical” left brain rely on that scoring to finalise a decision.

When that feedback from the right is no longer available to our logical left brain, no decision can be made as all options look exactly as appealing as each other.

In real life, 2 people put in the same dilemma may choose varying options. Different people put different “emotional weights” on the same options based on their individual backgrounds and experiences.

This shows that intuition and gut feel is just as important in a “logical” field like science as the hard nosed facts.

For those after a heavier read (i.e. more information), there is a survey of research from Harvard that summarises the common themes on which people base their decisions on emotionally.

Disclaimer

This is an unpaid post. We have no association with Dr David Eagleman, Harvard or PBS.

Easter Bunnies Alert: Handmade Hot Cross Buns Now Available

Easter Bunnies Alert: Handmade Hot Cross Buns Now Available

We are excited to announce the arrival of our hand made Hot Cross Buns in our Etsy store!

  • Made with 95% certified organic ingredients
  • No added preservatives
  • No added colouring
  • No added flavouring

Just like they used to make it.

**NEW – Group Delivery**
Save on postage, help us minimise carbon footprint, and getting you the product fresh.

To get free postage, have your buns hand delivered on specific dates to physical addresses (no PO Boxes) that fall in specific council areas. Just apply the right coupon code to your delivery address council area during checkout.

* City of Melbourne (incl. CBD) – 29th March 2018 (Thursday) (Coupon: GDMelb29Mar)
* City of Knox – 28th March 2018 (Wednesday) (coupon: GDKnox28Mar)
* City of Monash – 28th March 2018 (Wednesday) (Coupon: GDMon28Mar)

Orders close 24 hours prior to delivery date. If you don’t see your council area in the list above, contact us and we will see what we can do!

Please ensure that there are people to sign for delivery, or leave a note at order time where it can be left safe out of the elements.

Group Delivery Terms & Conditions:
– Order will be delivered on the date specified, regardless of the date order is placed. Orders close 24 hours prior to delivery date.
– No PO or mail boxes qualify for this offer. Destination address must be a street address.
– Apartment/office addresses must include a contact number on the day/process to access the apartment safe drop area.
– If nobody is present at address, the product will be left in a place designated by you. Or if no such place has not been identified, at a place at the discretion of the courier. Any damage or loss resulting from such will be at your own risk.
– Any delivery address used for coupons that doesn’t fall within the corresponding council area will have their order cancelled.

Candle: The Mini Wind Generator

At the end of a long hard day working/playing/studying, there is no more satisfying activity then to soak in a hot bath and maybe have a candle or two to relax.

When those wicks are lit, a mini wind storm is being born. Convection is the principle that hotter air always* rises (being less dense) and cooler air always* (being more dense) falls.

This cycle does not stop until the flame is put out.

In Practical (Zelda) Use … Sort of… 🙂

In the video game “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”, convection is used to allow a paraglider to go up instead of down.

If an open paraglider strays above an open fire, e.g. grass fire, the glider is caught above the stream of hot air from the fire that wants to go straight up. This in turns push the glider upwards, instead of down with gravity like in other parts of the game.

In fact, a lot of weather patterns in the world is due to difference in the temperature of air. A classic example of the this is storms where cold meets warm air. The ensuring storm is from hot air’s scramble to go up, while the cold air tries to get as low as possible.

Next time when you lay back in the bubble bath, you can take satisfaction at the wind storm that your candles are creating.

* ...except...

The rise and fall of air is actually related to gravity. Without gravity the principle of convection actually do not hold strictly true. NASA has conducted a series of experiments in space in that this law gets messed up where there are next to no gravity.

Source & Disclaimer

This is an unpaid post. We do not have any affliation with Nintendo, NASA or National Candles Association.

Sources

Zelda Breath of the Wild: How to Create Updrafts

https://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/topnav/materials/listbytype/Candle_Flames.html

Candle Science

Wizards, Invisibility Cloaks and Science?

Wizards, Invisibility Cloaks and Science?

As witches and wizards fly around this time of the year, I got to thinking about the genius that is J. K. Rowling in inspiring kids of all ages to read (me included!).

One of my favourite device in the books are the invisibility cloaks. Scientists have actually been having a go at this for ages. To my delight, I recently discovered that a team at University of Rochester have put together a cloaking device that can be made without electronics, by using simple behaviours of light.

What is Light?

Let’s take a step back, and look at what is light. Light is a ball (or a burst) of energy from any source (e.g. sun, computer screens, lamps) that our eyes can see. When our eyes see how the light ball get stopped, we interpret it as an image in our brains (how eyes see images: subject of another post).

The light ball travels from the sun through space in straight line and hit the first solid object that it encounters. 99% of the time this will mean that it gets stopped (much like a person running into a wall). This can be seen as a shadow.

However there are certain substance in our universe that has special properties. Rather than stopping the light ball dead, a mirror reflects the ball like a trampoline. It bounces off the mirror and travel in the new direction – until it meets the next solid surface where it will stop.

And there are lens (like in your glasses) where the light get to pass through but get slingshot around into a slightly different direction. This is like a detour around a traffic accident on a straight highway. Instead of cars travelling in a straight line, the cars curve around until it goes back to the road where it normally goes before hitting our eyes.

So how do invisibility device work then?

Invisibility cloak work by using the principle of bending the light. It uses a set of 4 lenses. As light pass through each lens, the path of the light get slightly altered. Until it creates enough space in the middle that a solid object like a hand can be placed in the middle without stopping the light getting to your eye.

But when you see the image through the lens, it looks like the hand is not in the middle. That is because our eyes are programmed to see anything that enters are eyes as if its straight in front, as it doesn’t know about the bent around path.

Kudos to the team at University of Rochester for using the KISS principle and thinking outside the box.

Kickstarter Update

Thanks to the people who have already backed us!!! There is still some Early Bird rewards available. Get it before you miss out.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/602705230/everyday-science-magic-food-x-science-fun

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