Chlorophyll is for Smarty Plants!

What’s Chlorophyll? It is a natural chemical that makes plants green! Chlorophyll is found not only in plants but also in algae and some bacteria. Chlorophyll has a molecular structure in which Magnesium is located at the center, and plants that contain chlorophyll are autotrophs, meaning that they are able to create the nutrients that they need internally. Chlorophyll is found in tiny organelles called chloroplasts. Chloroplasts are the food producers for plants. They make the sugar and starch to give plants energy.

Chlorophyll is the molecule that allows for plants to undergo the photosynthetic process. This allows for plants to utilize light from the sun to create the necessary nutrients for continued growth and health. During this process, chlorophyll uses sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to create food energy for the plant. Chlorophyll keeps plants green and alive!

During your experiment, you extracted or removed the chlorophyll from the spinach leaves. That is why a greenish liquid was on the coffee filter.

Sundials: Our First Clocks

Long before the day of the smart watch, humans told time using the sundial, the very earliest timekeeping device! Sundials use the sun’s position in the sky to cast a shadow onto the dial which is marked with numbers indicating the time. The first sundial was created more than 5,500 years ago in the year 3500 BCE. Sundials have even been found in Ancient Egyptian ruins!

Many ancient cultures including the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used sundials. The Romans were the first to divide the day into 12 hours to better mark the time and meetings. The day was divided into two periods, ante meridiem (before midday) and post meridiem (after midday), which are now knows as A.M. and P.M.

The major difference between how we tell time today and how we told time thousands of years ago is that we no longer use the sun to determine the time. Today we utilize “clock time,” which means that the time is regular and unaffected by seasons like solar time is! Sundials and clock time agree on the time 4 times a year: on or near April 15th, June 15th, September 1st, and December 25th!

High Touch High Tech’s experiment of the day takes you back to ancient times by making your very own sundial! See the experiment at: https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/sundial.pdf

Igloos

The Arctic is one of the coldest environments on Earth. Winters are long with few hours of daylight. The Inuit people must adapt to this extreme climate. They need thick, warm clothing made from animal skins and furs. They make boots, hats and warm jackets called anoraks. The Inuit people build sturdy shelters to protect themselves from the harsh winds and bitter cold.

The Inuit word for home is “igloo.” Igloos are used as quick shelter to protect oneself and their family by trapping body heat in the mostly enclosed space.  The size of the igloo depends upon the size of the base, but the shelters can often hold a family inside, and someone who is experienced in the art can create an igloo in less than two hours! During the summer, the igloos are made from a wooden frame with animal skins and whale bones. During the winter, however, igloos are made from blocks of ice!

Originally, any snow used in creating the igloo was carved out of bone, but now more modern tools are used. Inuit people carve large blocks of dry, hard snow. First, they place a circular ring of blocks on level ground. The second row of blocks are tilted slightly inward. As each row is stacked, the walls grow taller, and the blocks begin to arch together. The structure is a dome. Finally, a key block is placed on the top. The builders cut a hole in this key block for ventilation. This hole allows air and smoke from a fire to escape.

The entrance into the igloo is a tunnel. This prevents warm air from escaping and cold air from entering the structure. The doorway is small, and one must crawl inside. The blocks of ice act as insulators. There is gradual thawing on the inner walls. But, when the people leave the igloo to go hunting during the day, the hardened snow refreezes into ice. This thawing and refreezing actually strengthening the blocks.

Experiment of the Day: Bird Migration

During the cold winter months, you may wear a big winter coat, play inside more often, or even eat different foods. We change our habits and adapt to the changes of weather, and animals do the same! There are different species of birds that travel from cold northern locations to warmer locations further south during winter months, this is called migration. Birds will migrate to find more abundant food and better weather!

There are a few types of migration patterns that birds take. Some birds are called obligate migrants, meaning that the timing of travel is dictated by instinct. No matter the weather condition, obligate migrant birds will fly south, because they are “obligated” to spend the winter in the deep tropics of South America. Songbirds, raptors and shorebirds are all obligate migrants.

The other type of migrating birds is facultative. Facultative migrants make their migrating decisions by the slight changes in weather and begin to migrate once the weather dips below a certain point. Unlike obligate birds which travel to the southern tip of South America, facultative birds migrate shorter distances, often staying within the United States.  Ducks, geese, swans, cranes, orioles, and warblers are all facultative migrants.

If you enjoy spending time outdoors, bird watching might be a fun new hobby for you! You can spend all four seasons observing birds, and you may even see non-native birds on their yearly migrations!  Pick up a pair of binoculars, and utilize an online bird seeing tracker! The eBird website allows you to find the name of species, photos, identification tools, and their specific calls and songs! Search the bird sightings in your local area at: https://ebird.org/home

High Touch High Tech has the perfect experiment to attract new, rare birds in your yard! Build your own bird feeder and see our recommendations for the type of seed to attract new birds! Visit our Bird Migration experiment at: https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/bird_migration.pdf

Check out our bird feeder on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6oy1LIL_f8&t=2s

Bee Pollination Game

Did you know that there are over 20,000 different kinds of bees?

Bees are pollinators and live off the nectar from plants. These insects are attracted to the bright colors and sweet smell of flowers and vegetables. While pollinating, each bee will collect pollen from up to one hundred flowers!

The concept of cross-pollination is something that can be easily understood, by noticing how bees pollinate! When the bees land on the petals, the plants pollen sticks to their bodies. The bees move from plant to plant carrying the pollen. The pollen is transferred to the other plants and moves down to the plants’ eggs. Once the pollen meets the eggs, a seed is formed. This is called fertilization. These seeds will create new plants. When a bee pollinates multiple flowers, they often carry a bit of pollen from each flower along with them. This cross-pollination allows for new species of flowers to develop and bloom!

Bees also collect nectar from each flower and put it in a special sack, called a pollen basket, attached to its hind legs. In this sack, the nectar reacts to special enzymes. This reaction begins the process of turning the nectar into honey. The bees bring this sugary nectar back to their hive and pass it to another worker bee. This bee continues the job by placing the nectar in a beeswax comb. The bees produce this wax through secretions from the nectar. The nectar sits in the beeswax comb and slowly forms into honey. Bees know all about teamwork, as each one will create a fraction of a teaspoon in their lifetime.

Experiment of the Day: Chromatography Flowers

What is chromatography? Chromatography is a technique that scientists use to help separate and identify the components of mixtures (solvents), such as those used in making commercial inks and dyes. Many types of ink, like many materials, are made up of two or more different substances. By passing a mixture through a liquid, most often water, you’re able to separate out the components of that mixture!

In High Touch High Tech’s Chromatography Flowers experiment, we use water’s powers to assist us in chromatography. Water is sticky, meaning that water molecules want to stay close together. Cohesion is the force that keeps water molecules together, while adhesion attracts water molecules to other substances. Water is pulled up the pipe cleaner using adhesion and cohesion, and then begins to stick to our coffee filter, climbing across the filter and spreading outwards.

Once the water reaches the coffee filter which we have drawn on, the chromatography process begins! The water is absorbed into the ink left by the marker and continues to climb across the coffee filter, separating the components of the ink!

Access the full Chromatography Flowers experiment at : https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/chromatography_flower.pdf

Want to see how Chromatography Flowers is done? Check us out on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQ0OKlSFBk8

Understanding Compost

Have you ever wondered how plants continue to sprout, grow, and bloom year after year? How can they continue to receive the nutrients that they need to continue growing in the same soil? This is because the soil naturally renews itself with the nutrients from other plants, and with the help of a few other organisms. As plants die they become a part of the soil again, and something new can grow in their place. Compost forms naturally nearly everywhere! Leaves drop from trees. Grass clippings are left after mowing the lawn. Plants and animals die. Over time, these organic materials break down or decompose. The rich, dark brown, crumbly, soil-like material that results is called compost.

Tiny living things do much of the work of breaking down organic materials to form compost. These tiny workers are called microorganisms and include such things as bacteria and fungi. Animals living in the soil help microorganisms break down organic materials. Worms and pill bugs are examples of organisms that help change organic waste into compost.

We can create some of the best plant food by putting our food waste to good use, feel good about making a positive impact on the world around us, and even use the compost to grow more plants for ourselves. The organic materials provide many of the nutrients that plants need for growth and activity. Eventually, these nutrients are returned to the soil, to be used again by trees, grass, and other plants. This is nature’s way of composting and recycling!

Composting is an easy way for us to do our part in allowing the soil to regenerate itself. The compost that you make at your home or school can be used as mulch or mixed into the soil. Compost is one of nature’s best mulches and soil amendments. By composting and mulching, you can reduce your fertilizer and landscaping bills, lowering your water bill, and spend less on trash pickups or disposal.

Microbes and Alexander Fleming: Germ Game

Who was Alexander Fleming? Alexander Fleming was a scientist that lived from 1881 to 1955, and he was a physician, microbiologist, and pharmacologist. He was interested in the study of microorganisms, the tiny little creatures you can’t see that can cause you to become sick! Microorganisms are often called germs! There are 6 types of microorganisms: bacteria, fungi (yeast and mold), archaea, algae, protozoa, and viruses!

To study and understand how microorganisms live and behave, Alexander Fleming would leave bowls of bacteria cultures around his workspace. One day in 1928, Fleming noticed that a culture plate of a bacteria called staphylococcus aureus had become contaminated by mold. The mold seemed to be defeating the staph bacteria! By using his scientist observation skills, Alexander Fleming concluded the mold contained a substance that was effective against bacteria, and he named this substance penicillin.

Penicillin is part of a large group of medications that can be used to fight bacteria called antibiotics. Antibiotics are very useful in treating bacterial infections like strep throat (caused by streptococcus), sinus infections, staph infections (staphylococcus aureus) by killing off the bacteria causing the infection. Viruses, another type of germ, cannot be treated with antibiotics for a few reasons; viruses are not living organisms like bacteria, viruses replicate and reproduce cells differently, and viruses are usually fought off by your immune system.

Doctors use vaccinations to prevent humans from getting viruses that can make us very sick. Vaccinations take weakened forms of diseases like polio, influenza (the flu), and measles and inject them into your body to build up a resistance. Your immune system is your body’s defense system that protects you from disease and helps to keep you healthy! When a vaccination enters your body, your immune system fights it off and remembers how to fight off the flu or polio germs that may enter your body in the future.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a virus that the world has never seen before, and this is why it can seem so scary. This is a new virus that our body has no resistance to, and doctors haven’t had the time to create a vaccination to help keep us healthy. While doctors and nurses are working hard to treat sick people with the coronavirus, there are lots of things that we can do to help stop the spread of this new virus!

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends that you wash your hands often, especially after blowing your nose or coughing, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. By touching doorknobs, desks and many other places where germs collect, washing your hands will stop them from being introduced to your body!

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

To better understand how germs can be passed from person to person, you can play High Touch High Tech’s Germ Game! By taking some glitter and lotion, we can observe how the microorganisms we can’t see are being spread across our world!

Want instructions on how to play the Germ Game? Visit us at: https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/germ_game.pdf

The Fungus Among Us



What do you think of when someone talks about fungi? Often, mushrooms are the first image to come to mind, or maybe even a corny joke about being a fun-guy.

While mushrooms are commonly recognized as fungi, the classification is much larger than you may think! Fungi are distinct due to their wide variations of size, shape, color, ability to thrive in a range of environmental conditions, and their many uses in modern day society. Fungi are the source for many of the medications we use, like penicillin, and even found in the foods that we eat. The yeast we use for baking bread is a single-celled fungus, and the mushrooms we encounter on a walk outside are multi-celled fungi!

 It wasn’t until the late sixties that fungi gained their own scientific category, separate of plants. One of the main factors in the new classification was due to the bacteria’s methods of “feeding”. Rather than basking in the sun to create chlorophyll, by way of the photosynthetic process, fungi require the nutrition found in organic matter. This makes their eating habits similar to those of animals!

Offering Podcast options to Franchisees

What is a podcast?

A podcast is an audio file available on the Internet, downloaded onto a computer or mobile device, composed in series in which new installments are received by subscribers automatically. Podcasts traditionally have a general theme, with solo or multiple hosts, in an interview, lecture, and conversational formats. Podcasting is internet radio at the click of a button, with specific and specialized content that appeals to a direct audience!

Podcasting is an amazing way for businesses to reach an audience that is targeted and directly compatible with their market! Traditional radio has fewer stations and a higher start up cost, therefore needs to appeal to the masses. As a business generates a listener base, fans will subscribe to have new podcast episodes automatically downloaded onto their devices! This means that your audience is coming into direct contact with you and consuming your content regularly!

Starting a podcast allows for you to share the expertise you have in your industry! High Touch High Tech’s expertise is education, specifically for elementary aged children! Podcasting allows for us to give an exciting and fun lesson while being of great educational value at the same time! The Science Made Fun podcast allows us to provide an age appropriate, fun lesson just like students experiencing us inside a classroom would have. When listening to our podcast you can feel our enthusiasm and passion for STEM education!

The Science Made Fun podcast builds our brand to display what we do, who we appeal to and why we are so passionate about STEM. Teachers and parents can tune into our podcast and share it with their young scientists! They can be assured that the content students are receiving is of great value!

By offering a podcast to High Touch High Tech franchisees, we offer yet another point of contact for our consumers to follow us! Social media, blogs, and podcasting are a part of a huge strategy to stay up to date and relevant to the students, parents, and teachers we serve! By building a global podcast audience, we are building fans and customers in areas we have yet to franchise!

Science Made Fun, High Touch High Tech’s podcast is available on all major podcasting platforms including Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcasts and anywhere else you’re searching for podcasts!

You can connect to our podcast subscribers that are itching for more High Touch High Tech by opening a franchise location!