Friday, June 20, 2014

A little science fun

We have been enjoying a random assortment of outstanding science resources this summer.

First is the Cosmos series just aired on Fox by Neil deGrasse Tyson. If you haven't seen this series, I HIGHLY recommend you do. You will never be the same again.

We are currently viewing it from pre-recorded episodes, but it is my hope that it will soon be available by purchase or download.

If you don't already know, Neil is an astrophysicist of very high stature. He admired the late Carl Sagan, who had done a series of shows by the same name. This series is Neil's effort to update that wonderful series with current science. The show gives you a glimpse of the history and scope of our knowledge of the earth and the universe.

Along those lines, someone pointed me to this little gem of a website:

You have got to check this out. Have the kids play with it.

It's fabulous, and puts me in mind of this fabulous little video we watched a while ago - Powers of Ten:

It's better though, because you can play with it and find out all kinds of things you may not have already known.

Also, we continue to enjoy the programing at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh. Most Thursday's you can find some kind of programming at the Science Cafe'. Sometimes it is speakers sharing their work and knowledge on a particular topic. The first Thursday of each month is Science Trivia night. The kids and I met several other homeschool friends there this month and parents and kids all had a blast. I must say that seating can be a problem, but if you get there early, the food is good. The kids formed a team and did pretty well next too some really knowledgable science geek type adults! During the school year, there are also Teen Science Cafe nights (first Fridays), where they try to select speakers and topics of interest to a younger audience. Of course, none of this includes all of the great classes and opportunities the museum offers, or the special exhibits. Right now they have a special Rainforest Exhibit that we plan to check out soon. The list goes on.
There are opportunities for girls interested in science, for teens to volunteer their time and more.

Finally, I have to confess that I am officially addicted to an iPad app called QuizUp. Pick a topic and pit yourself against other players all over the world. It's free and available on iPads, iPhones and Androids. I have no idea how they are making any money because I haven't seen any advertising. Being the science geek that I am, I've been rocking the Aquatic Animals category and have played people from every continent and a few random islands besides! This can be a great motivator to practice trivia knowledge, though I think we all tend to stick to the topics we feel we can do well at. My daughter is the top player in the state for the Percy Jackson category and also pretty much owns the Lord of the Rings, and my son is rocking the 2014 World Cup. I tried General Literature and found out that I'm pretty bad, but I learned a few things anyway.

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