DIY Science: Light Maze

With spring in full swing, we thought it was a good time to shine some light on an experiment involving plants! Today we are making a plant maze!

For this project you will need:

  • Shoebox with a lid
  • Several pieces of cardboard
  • Extra cardboard
  • Bean sprout, or a seed (corn and beans work really well for this)
  • Scissors
  • Masking Tape
  • Damp soil
  • Flowerpot or cup small enough to fit in the shoebox when you close the lid

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Start this experiment by cutting a small round hole, about the size of a quarter, at one end (one of the short sides) of a shoebox.

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Next, cut  several pieces of cardboard, and tape them to the inside of the box, creating a winding path through the inside of the box. The pieces should be the same depth as the shoebox, but slightly shorter in width. You only want the light to pass through narrow openings you create with the gaps between the cardboard “maze”. Any other stray light may confuse your plant. Use plenty of tape to block out light in the cracks.

Put the seed or sprout into the flower pot, and cover it with moist soil. Water well, but do not flood the seed.

Place the flowerpot on the opposite end of the shoebox, away from the hole. Cover the shoebox with the lid and put it in a sunny place, with the hole facing the light.

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Finally, close the lid and set your shoe box in a sunny area. Make sure to check on your plant’s progress every few days to record what happens!

What’s going on?

Plants need light, water and carbon dioxide to produce food. When you place obstacles in the sprout’s way, it will find a way around the obstacle (in this case cardboard) to find the light, even without muscles!  The process of growing towards the light is called phototropism, and is controlled by a plant hormone known as auxin. The hormone auxin is formed in the top of a plant and then spreads itself out evenly into all the cells of the plant. This hormone tells plant cells to grow longer. However, if the light does not come from above, auxin will move toward the side that is not lit. This hormone buildup will result in the plant bending toward the light, as you will see from your experiment.

Remember, it is important to note that an experiment uses a variable (something that changes) to answer a question. To turn this demonstration into an experiment, you have to change something! Check out these questions to get you started:

  • Will different plants grow at the same rate in the same conditions?
  • Does the brightness of the light going into the box make a difference in how fast the plant grows?
  • How tight a turn can a plant make?
  • How many turns can a plant make?
  • Can you make your plant grow down?

Give it a try and let us know how your experiment turned out on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages using the hashtag #gscscience!

Volunteer Spotlight(s): Mary S. and Lacy M.

At the Greensboro Science Center, we are honored to welcome approximately 750 volunteers each year, giving a cumulative 36,000+ hours of their time. With a friendly greeting and a warm smile, our volunteers help us carry out our mission each day, educating our visitors about our animals and exhibits and inspiring them to learn more.

Today we would like to introduce you to Mary S. and Lacy M.

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Mary S.

I have been volunteering at the Greensboro Science Center as an Animal Ambassador since June of this year.  I volunteer at least twice a month where I work at the Friendly Farm, the Touch Pool, the Aquarium cart, and the Herpetarium Cart.  

I visited the Science Center for many years as a child, and I have always loved seeing the animals and learning new things. When I heard about volunteer opportunities at the GSC, I was very excited because I have had many positive experiences at the Science Center. I have volunteered for many different organizations, so I thought I’d give volunteering at the GSC a try, and I have loved it so far!

Volunteering is fun and rewarding for me because I have gained new knowledge about animals, shared this knowledge with others, gained social skills, and met new people. Volunteering with the GSC is a fun way to help people and gain experience with animals.

Lacy M.

I have been volunteering for a really long time with different organizations, but I have been volunteering with the Greensboro Science Center since June 2016.

I volunteer a lot throughout the year, and I volunteer with the Greensboro Science Center, Autism Unbound, and Westminster Presbyterian Church.

I have always loved to volunteer, and I spent a lot of time as a child at the Greensboro Science Center, so when I found out that I was eligible to volunteer here, I was so eager to apply. I am so thankful that I am a volunteer at GSC and I would love to continue working in the future.

A meaningful memory that I have at GSC is when I was at the Aquarium Cart and I was teaching a big group of kids during the summer. They were all so interested in the artifacts and what I had to say, and I really appreciated it. It made me feel like I was special and that I truly belong here at the GSC.

Something that always makes me laugh at the Greensboro Science Center is when I am at the Herp Cart and I see people get scared when they walk in because of the rattlesnake sound. Even I get scared sometimes.

Watching people smile and learn things from me is really rewarding to see. To feel that I am impacting other people’s lives makes me feel really significant and valued. Working around the different animals is really fun as well and I hope to continue to work with them. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to work at GSC; this has been a life changing experience for me.  

Mary Slade and Lacy were the 2016 recipients of the Emerging Volunteers Award for the Volunteer Center of Greensboro. Along with their recognition, they received a $250 check that they donated to the Volunteer Program at the GSC. The money will be used to add new artifacts and activities to the Animal Ambassadors Aquarium and Herpetarium Carts.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jisoo K.

At the Greensboro Science Center, we are honored to welcome approximately 750 volunteers each year, giving a cumulative 36,000+ hours of their time. With a friendly greeting and a warm smile, our volunteers help us carry out our mission each day, educating our visitors about our animals and exhibits and inspiring them to learn more.

Today we would like to introduce you to Jisoo K.

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I have been volunteering since October of 2014, and because I currently attend high school, I volunteer mostly on Saturdays. I try to volunteer in the Aquarium at least one time every week. I started to volunteer because I wanted to have the opportunity to interact with many different types of people, which I knew I would have the opportunity to do at the GSC. In addition, when it comes to anything related to science, I am infinitely curious, always seeking to learn more about anything that I can. The Greensboro Science Center, with the museum, the zoo, and the Aquarium gives me the chance to explore my curiosities. 

One of my favorite things about volunteering at the Greensboro Science Center is answering questions. I try to answer any questions that I am asked thoroughly and in an interesting way. I also love staying near the fishing cats and talking about them during my time volunteering in the aquarium. I love volunteering, and hope that I continue to have many rewarding experiences through volunteering in the future. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Morgan T.

We’d like to introduce you to Morgan T. , for this week’s volunteer spotlight. Check out her story below!

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I have been volunteering at the Greensboro Science Center for two years as an Aquarium Docent. I try to volunteer at least four shifts each month which calculates to eight hours in the Aquarium.

What drew me to the Greensboro Science Center is my passion for marine biology and wanting to share my knowledge with others.  I have also been able to gain more knowledge of marine animals and their environment.

I will be attending college next year and studying Marine Biology so this opportunity provides me with a background for my intended major.  It is great to be able to meet new people and share what I have learned about the Aquarium animals.   Volunteering is also rewarding to me because I am able to mentor new Aquarium Docents and share with them the true duties of what it means to be a Volunteer.  This opportunity is also important to me because it  has allowed me to become more involved in my community. Lastly, volunteering  has improved  my communication skills and has given me confidence when it comes to public speaking.

GSC Gift Guide: TriceraShop Treasures

Today through Sunday, November 20, 2016, Greensboro Science Center members will receive 50%* off purchases in our gift shop, the TriceraShop! With that in mind, what better way to kick off our GSC Gift Guide series than to highlight a few TriceraShop treasures?

Holiday Knick-Knacks dsc_0476The TriceraShop has a wide variety of festive knick-knacks the whole family will love — from beautiful winter-themed jars to hold candles for a cozy winter glow to colorful cardinals sure to add a pop of color to your holiday decor!

 

 

Pocket Scarf dsc_0482 Pocket scarves are a great gift for the traveler – or the mom on the go! Travel in comfort and style knowing your essentials are right there with you. These unique scarves have a sizeable pocket, perfect for carrying cash, credit cards, phones, or passports!

 

 

Stuffed Penguins dsc_0480Looking for something cute and cuddly to gift this holiday season? Our holiday-themed penguins are available in four sizes, and are perfect for the stuffed animal lover – and the penguin lover!

 

 

Science Kits dsc_0481Give a gift that’s both fun AND educational! Young scientists are sure to love our science kits, like this Deluxe Microscope Set.

 

 

 

Dino Slippers dsc_0478 These dino slippers are sure to keep your feet toasty and terrifying!

 

 

 

Mugs and Drinkware Galore! dsc_0485 We have a large selection of mugs and drink wear, perfect for keeping your cocoa warm on those cold winter nights.

 

 

 

 

 

Poison Dart Frog Backpack  Carry your daily essentials in style with an animal backpack! One of several options, the Poison Dart Frog comes in two colors.

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GSC Ornaments These beautiful ornaments feature some of the lovable animals you can see right here at the GSC. They make great mementos of your trip to the GSC as well as a unique addition to your holiday decor!

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The member sale will last from Monday, November 14th through Sunday, November 20th. Be sure to present your Greensboro Science Center membership card to receive our discount. Not a member yet? Learn more about the benefits of membership on our website: www.greensboroscience.org.

*Items excluded from the sale are animal enrichment ornaments and the gibbon plush.

Volunteer Spotlight: Elisha M.

We’d like to introduce you to Elisha M. , for this week’s volunteer spotlight. Check out her story below!
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I have been volunteering for a little over a year as an Exhibit Guide. About twice a month, I work in areas around the museum like SciPlay Bay, Health Quest and Destination Dinosaur.  I was interested in becoming a volunteer because I know lots of people that volunteer here and have great things to say about their experiences.

I love seeing the kids having fun in a welcoming and safe environment. There once was a little boy who loved the kite machine in SciPlay Bay and would giggle every time a ball flew out. Another time, I remember playing with a little boy and a few weeks later I saw him again and we remembered each other. It was great to see him and play together again.

DIY Science: The Bursting Lunch Bag!

Today at the Science Center, we are having a blast making Bursting Lunch Bags. To do this experiment at home, you will need the following:

–          One sandwich sized zip-tab bag, double-sealed if possible

–         3 tablespoons Baking soda

–          ¼  cup Warm water

–         ½ cup Vinegar

–          Measuring cup(s)

–          A tissue

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Prepare for the experiment by going outside, or setting up your area near your kitchen sink. Collect your materials, read the directions thoroughly before beginning, and get ready for some explosive fun!

Steps:

  1. Start by combining ¼ cup of water and ½ cup of vinegar in your bag.

2. Lay out your tissue and place 3 teaspoons of baking soda into the middle of it, then fold the tissue around the baking soda pile to wrap it up.

Your next steps will require that you work fast, so be prepared.

3. Zip up your bag halfway, make sure you leave enough room to add your baking soda packet. Add your baking soda packet to the bag, and QUICKLY zip the rest of the bag, making sure it is completely closed.

4. Place your bag in the sink if you are indoors, or on the ground if you are outside, step back and watch as your bag expands, and eventually pops!

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5. Now it’s time to clean up your experiment. Don’t forget to recycle your plastic bags!

Experiment some more.

In order to really make this an experiment, you can alter your variables and record how it impacted your initial experiment. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • Does the temperature of the water have any impact on the outcome?
  • What amount of baking soda creates the greatest reaction?
  • Does the size of the bag, or type of bag have any impact on the speed of the pop?

So what’s the science behind it?

It’s pretty neat – the baking soda and the vinegar eventually mix together (the tissue serves as a temporary barrier, giving you time to zip the remainder of the bag and step away). When they finally do mix, they create an acid-base reaction, and the two chemicals work together to create a gas. The gas that has just been created is called carbon dioxide (better known as the stuff we exhale every day). Gasses need tons of room, so the carbon dioxide starts to fill the bag, and keeps inflating until the bag can no longer contain it, and then… POP!

This experiment was found on https://sciencebob.com/