Science Never Stops



Look up to the summer night sky

Do you know which constellations and planets are shown here?
In the image at the top of the summer night sky, there are 3 constellations and 2 planets— can you name them? Watch Kelsey Hubble, Educator in Student and Teacher Programs at the Science Center, explain what they are and when you can see them. Plus, do a constellation activity at home.

Bring the Planetarium to your backyard.

Under our 80-foot dome in the James S. McDonnell Planetarium, you are transported to a brilliant display of realistic stars during our star shows. The Zeiss Universarium Mark IX, our star projector, creates the largest artificial sky in the Western Hemisphere. Each of our star shows are presented live by Planetarium educators to engage with you and provide expertise on any questions you have about planets, stars, galaxies and beyond.

After every star show, we leave you with knowledge and expertise from phases of the moon to constellations that you can recognize from the comfort of your own backyard.

A science experiment that tastes good.

Learn about physical and chemical properties and how molecular structure works. This experiment should be done with the assistance of adult supervision and will take between 40 minutes to 1 hour to construct.

Developed by the Saint Louis Science Center Community Science and YES Program.

Activity step-by-step instructions
  1. Add ¼ cup sugar, ½ cup milk, ½ cup whipping cream, ¼ teaspoon vanilla to a quart-sized baggie.
  2. Seal the baggie.
  3. Put two cups of ice into a gallon-sized baggie.
  4. Add 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 cup salt to the bag with ice.
  5. Place the sealed quart-sized bag inside the gallon bag.
  6. Seal the gallon-sized bag.
  7. Gently rock the gallon-sized bag from side to side.
  8. Continue to do this for about 15 minutes.
  9. Open the gallon-sized bag, remove the quart-sized bag, and enjoy.

 

Materials
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup salt
  • 2 Cups ice
  • 1 quart-sized baggie
  • 1 gallon-sized baggie
  • Thermometer
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cups and spoons for eating

Science Explanation

The liquid mix should have frozen, and the actual ice should have melted quickly. But how can one thing melt while another freezes? In order for ice to melt, it must absorb heat. (Picture what happens to ice cubes in a drink. The ice melts, and the drink gets cool.) In our experiment, the ice absorbed heat from the ice cream mix and caused it to freeze. We typically see this heat absorption, or ice melting, over time. However, with the addition of salt, it happened more quickly.

Water Painting


Lesson plan provided by the Discovery Room. Designed for kids ages 2–8.

Want a mess-free and easy activity for your kids to do? Water painting is the perfect solution and is a great way to practice fine motor skills and creativity at home.

Materials

  • Shallow container with some water
  • Painting tool, such as a brush
  • A surface (e.g., fence, patio, driveway, etc.)

 
Try This

  • Use a wet paintbrush or cotton ball on dark paper. Talk about what happens to the paper as your child paints and as the water dries.
  • Paint with water outside on concrete. Talk about the changes your child notices after they paint the concrete. What happens when the
    sun comes out?
  • Paint in the bathtub or on shower walls. Consider adding color to the water with food coloring or make washable colored water by leaving
    one or more open markers in a cup of water for a few days.

Visit the Discovery Room for updates.

What are Axolotls?


Information on axolotls was provided by the Life Science Lab. The Life Science Lab is home to a collection of unique critters, and the most unique of all are our axolotls. You can see these animals in person in the Life Science Lab.
Information on axolotls
as provided by the Life Science Lab. The Life Science Lab is home to a collection of unique critters, and the most unique of all are our axolotls. You can see these animals in person in the Life Science Lab.
Axolotls are aquatic salamanders that have recently gained popularity because of their “smiling” faces and puppy dog demeanor. What makes these cute critters so interesting, though, is the fact that they have extreme regeneration abilities.

Unlike some other regenerating creatures, axolotls can regenerate entire limbs, eyes and even parts of the heart. Scientists have been studying them for more than 150 years and still are not entirely sure how they do it. However, scientists have discovered blastema, a special clump of cells that covers the injury site.

These cells turn into various types of body cells needed to regrow the lost limb. In mammals, wounds heal rapidly and tough scars are formed. With axolotls, the blastema seals off the wound and prevents scarring, allowing more time for the regeneration process to grow a perfect new limb. Scientists hope that they learn more about their abilities as it could help with breakthroughs in modern medicine.

Visit the Life Science Lab for updates.

Create your own Rube Goldberg


This at-home activity was created by the Makerspace Gallery. Designed for ages 8+.

One of our favorite ways to develop problem-solving skills in the Makerspace classroom is to create a Rube Goldberg Machine.

What is a Rube Goldberg Machine?
It is a device created to complete a simple result through silly and complicated chain reactions. While they’re an incredibly fun challenge, they can teach us about physics, engineering and teamwork.

How Do I Make One?

Step 1:
Find your goal. Gather your family or housemates and decide on what you’d like to accomplish. It could be pushing down the lever on a toaster, making an automatic pet-feeder, or turning on a light switch from across the room.

Step 2:

Gather knowledge. Once you’ve decided the task to be completed, figure out all the parts you need to reach it such as toys, tape and art supplies. Research what simple machines are and how they can help.

Step 3:
Brainstorm! Think through complicated ideas and explain them with others, sketch a plan and share with your teammates. Rube Goldberg Machines can get really complicated. Keep each step of the chain reaction simple.

Step 4:
Build and test. Measure and test often, and make sure each step works independently.
Pro tip: If you use dominos, set them up last.

Step 5:
Improve. It’s very rare to succeed on your first try. Remember that failing is frustrating but helps you figure out what won’t work. Figure out what went wrong and try again.

We can’t wait to see what you came up with. Share your Rube Goldberg machine and you could be featured in the next edition of NewScience, on the website or through the Science Center’s social media. Email us at memberships@slsc.org.

Visit the Markerspace Workshop for updates.