Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mickey Mouse, Fred Flintstone and the Science of Animation

Did you know that cartoons and movies are made from a series of still images?   Here is how it works…. The human brain retains an image for a fraction of a second longer than the eye actually sees it. That is why the world doesn't suddenly go black every time you blink. When you watch a movie, what you are actually seeing are individual still frames of film projected at 24 frames per second. Each of these frames is separated by darkness, so you are sitting in a dark theatre about half of the time. What you perceive is one image blending into the next, giving the illusion of movement and continuity. The dark spaces are "ignored" by the brain.  This is called “Persistence of Vision”.


Make a flipbook using index cards, a stack of post-it-notes, or even an old book (with your parents’ permission).  Watch the two YouTube videos below to learn how to make a flipbook. 
You Tube Video 1

Start with simple stick figures then get creative! Impress your Thanksgiving guests with your application of science.

Bring your completed flipbook to school right after Thanksgiving break.  We will post the top three flipbooks on the blog!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Oysters Aren't Fans of the Crimson Tide (Red Tide)

It's a tough time for fans of Gulf Coast oysters, as a swath of toxic algae in the Gulf of Mexico has delayed the start of the Texas oyster-harvesting season.

The algae outbreak, known as a Red Tide because it can turn waters red or brown, is the most widespread on the Texas coast in more than a decade. Oysters that ingest the  Red Tide algae can be toxic to humans, causing nausea and other stomach distress.

Scientists don't know what causes the Red Tide, which crops up every few years but is usually limited to the southernmost parts of Texas and dissipates after a few weeks. The current outbreak is now in its second month and covers a vast swath of the Texas coast, from South Padre Island to Galveston Bay.
The shrimp, crab and fish industries should be largely unaffected, scientists said.

THINK LIKE A SCIENTIST and Earn a reward:
  • ·      Find a map of Texas that shows the gulf coast.  Get one from a computer, copy one from a book, or even trace one.
  • ·      On your map, highlight the coastal area running from South Padre Island to Galveston Bay (where the Red Tide is occurring).
  • ·      Look carefully at the coastline of Texas and THINK LIKE A SCIENTIST.  Do you see anything interesting or unusual about its shape and features?  Write down your observations.

Turn in your completed assignment by classtime on Thursday, Nov 11 for a reward.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Eat Breakfast to Become Smarter - It's True !

You can become significantly smarter than you already are just by having a good breakfast.

You get a better memory - your starved body is unable to provide your brain with a constant supply of glucose, and your brain is impaired. It has been proven many times that our memory is significantly poorer when we skip breakfast. Consider this – the number of hours your body hasn’t had any food when you don’t eat breakfast, is since you last had dinner, which is at least 12 hours away from lunch. Don’t you think the energy you had gotten from dinner would have been exhausted by then? This leaves your body to convert protein and fat into energy your brain can use, and a very inefficient form, causing lowered brain performance.

Thanks to for this info.  To learn more, check out their website

Sunday, October 16, 2011

BURIED TREASURE!!! - Practice with Maps to Earn a Reward

What if you found a map showing the location of buried treasure?   Would you know how to read the map and find those gold coins and jewelry?

Practice some map skills, turn in your results, and tell Mrs D that you “want some treasure!”  Download the US map from this location MAP and print a copy.  (If you have trouble, Mrs D can provide you a printed copy of the map.)  Use the map to answer the following questions. 

Remember – Latitude lines run east and west (left and right) on the map.  Longitude lines run north and south (up and down) on the map.

  1. Find three states that extend below latitude 30 degrees N (in the contiguous US).  Circle these states and label them on the map.           
  2. Find one US state that is mostly east of longitude 70 degrees W.  Draw a box around this state and label it on the map.
  3. Find three US states (shown on this map) that extend west of longitude 120 degrees W.  Color in these states and label them on the map,
  4. Is the location 45 degrees N latitude, 82 degrees W longitude on land or under water? On the map, mark it with an X.
  5. Name the state that is located entirely between 40-45 degrees N latitude and between 90-100 degrees W longitude, and label it on the map.
  6. Estimate the location for Skipperville, Alabama and draw a large dot at this location.  In the space provided below the map, record the latitude and longitude that you estimate for Skipperville.
Turn in your map with answers to all six questions by Friday, 21 October to receive your treasure!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Think Like a Scientist for Renewable Resources and EARN A REWARD

Wind Energy is a renewable resource.  In some areas of the country, large wind turbines (similar to windmills) are being constructed and used for generating electrical power.  Obviously you need windy conditions.....  in fact, scientists recommend that wind speeds be greater than or equal to 6.5 m/s (meters per second) in order for wind turbines to work well.


(1) Use this link to download a color map of wind speeds for the United States.  Wind Map for United States (If you have trouble, Mrs D can provide you a map.)

(2) Review the legend at the bottom right of the map which shows different colors for different wind speeds – remember we are looking for wind speeds of 6.5 m/s or greater.

(3) Pick out ten states where you (as a scientist) recommend installing wind turbines for generating electricity.  Mark them clearly on your map.

(4) As a scientist, why do you think these states are “windier” than other states?  Your answer should include at least three reasons (or factors) that make certain states “windier” than others.  Write down your answers on a piece of notebook paper.

Turn in your marked up color map and your paper with the answer to question 4 BY CLASS ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7th to receive an award!!

How Big? - Checkout this Really Cool Website

How big is a dust mite?  What about a red blood cell?  Checkout this great website and get a view of some pretty small objects compared to the head of a pin.

When you get to the website, click on "Start the Animation".  When the animation begins, click on the blue arrows next to the word "Magnification".  You can zoom in and out and get a real appreciation of things that are just too small for the unaided eye to see.  Have fun!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Learn to Observe - Checkout Your Soil and Earn a Reward

Sand, silt, and clay are the basic types of soil. Most soils are made up of a combination of the three. The texture of the soil, how it looks and feels, depends upon the amount of each one in that particular soil. The type of soil varies from place to place on our planet and can even vary from one place to another in your own backyard.  The surface rocks break down into smaller pieces and are mixed with moss and organic matter. Plants help the development of the soil. How?  The plants attract animals, and when the animals die, their bodies decay making the soil thick and rich.  


Using a shovel, gather one or two cups of soil from your your home or farm and place into a Ziploc plastic bag.  (Try to dig your shovel into the ground at least 5 or 6 inches.)
Examine your soil sample and record your answers to these questions on a sheet of paper
  • Does all of the soil appear the same ?  If not, what differences do you see ?
  • What color is the soil?  (Try to be VERY specific)
  • How would you describe the texture?  Is it sandy or does it feel more like clay?
  • Do you see anything living in the soil?  (Use a magnifying glass to observe if possible)

Bring your bagged soil sample and your written answers to class on Friday, 23 September to receive a reward!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sunscreen - How Does that Stuff Work?

Sunscreens stop harmful ultraviolet light from penetrating into your skin and they work in one of two ways. Some of them absorb (soak up) the ultraviolet light.  Other suncreens work by reflecting UV light away from your skin using chemicals like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. When it sits on your face, it works like a natural mirror that bounces away the harmful energy in sunlight so it does less damage to your skin. For reflective sunscreens to work properly, you need to apply them liberally and leave them forming a barrier on your face and body—in other words, don't rub them into your skin but let them dry on top, even if it makes you look like a ghost! 

(1)    Find a bottle or tube of sunscreen.  Look on the container and find the “active ingredients”.  Write down the name of Sunscreen product and the name of the active ingredients
(2)    Record three other ways to protect your skin from the sun
(3)    Did you know that overexposure to the sun can cause cancer?  Write two or three sentences to explain why this is true.  (If you are not sure, formulate your best guess!)

To earn your reward, record your answers on paper and provide to Mrs D by class on Friday!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Football is Science - EARN A REWARD !

It’s 4th down, you are deep in your own territory – time to PUNT!

Coaches recruit punters who can kick the ball to maximize hang-time and range.  Hang time is the duration from the moment ball is kicked until it is caught or it strikes the ground.  Hang time is measured in seconds.  Range is the distance the ball flies downfield and is measured in yards.

A good punter wants to kick the ball as far as he can (range) and also give his own teammates plenty of time to get downfield (hang time) to tackle the receiver.   All of this is determined by two factors – the speed of the ball off the kicker’s foot and the angle of the kick. 

BUT… THERE IS A TRADEOFF – kicking the ball straight up might maximize hang time but the ball would not travel far down the field.  Kicking it low and far would maximize range but hang time might be very low.   A great punter (or golfer, or baseball pitcher, or basketball player) can make small adjustments to get the best results for the situation.

Do some research, take some observations, EARN A REWARD !

(1) Get a blank form from Mrs D to record your observations or download this one Here's the Form and print yourself
(2) Watch some football this week.  Games are on Sat, Sun, Mon nite and Thurs nite.
(3) Watch at least three punts.   Record (on your form) the distance in yards and the hang time for each punt.  (Announcers will always give the distance – sometimes they give hang time.  It’s okay if you use your own watch to measure hang time.)
(4) Go to the dictionary and lookup the word “projectile”.  Record the definition on your form.
(5) Answer the question – Is a punted football a projectile?
(6) List some other examples of projectiles

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Scientists Get In the Middle of Things - (Literally) - Receive an Award !!

Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the eastern coast of the United States.  Ever wonder how scientists are able to measure and predict hurricanes?  “Hurricane Hunters” are specially equipped aircraft that ACTUALLY FLY INTO TROPICAL CYCLONES in the North Atlantic Ocean and Northeastern Pacific Ocean for the specific purpose of directly measuring weather data in and around those storms.  Although satellite data has revolutionized weather forecasters' ability to detect early signs of tropical cyclones before they form, there are still many important tasks they are not suited for. Satellites cannot determine the interior barometric pressure of a hurricane, nor provide accurate wind speed information.  These data are needed to accurately predict hurricane development and movement.
53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, also known as the "Hurricane Hunters", is a United States Air Force squadron of aircraft, based in Biloxi, Mississippi, that flies missions into hurricanes and weather systems for research purposes and observation. The term "hurricane hunters" was first applied to its missions in 1946.

To learn more – checkout this link:  Hurricane Hunters Video

To receive an award, bring in the following on Monday !

  •  List any five of the major hurricanes that have struck the United States in the past 50 years.
  • Bring in a map showing the path of hurricane Irene over the past few days – be prepared to show the location of the storm as of Monday morning.
  • Be a scientist and do some research – what’s unusual about the eye of a hurricane?
  • Does a hurricane rotate clockwise or counter-clockwise?
  • What do the following abbreviations stand for?  NOAA and NWS
  • Is the air pressure in a hurricane higher or lower than normal?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Think Like a Scientist - (If a Maple Seeds Float to the Ground Like a Helicopter..... I wonder if.....)

Lockheed has created a new unmanned aircraft that replicates the motion of the maple seed. The craft is called the Samarai, is about a foot long, and has two moving parts along with a camera onboard. It can be controlled by an app on a tablet or using a remote control system. The tiny flying vehicle can hover in place and take off vertically in tight places.

The Samarai had its first flight this week, was piloted at a soccer field, and rose to the lofty height of about 30-feet. The idea for the small and light "drone" is that it would be compact enough for soldiers to carry in the field and for police departments to deploy to see what is over a wall or around a corner. The drones would be carried in a backpack and launched by throwing them like boomerangs.  Checkout this link to read more and to see a cool video of the Samari in flight!  Tiny Flying Vehicle Resembles Maple Seed

Sunday, August 7, 2011

SCIENTISTS HELP ATHLETES BEAT THE HEAT - Drink Plenty of Fluids (and Swallow this Thermometer Please)

Athletes, firefighters, soldiers and astronauts are all subject to Heat Injury. The human body cools itself by producing perspiration (sweat) but if the temperatures are too hot, or the body is under extreme load, the body’s ability to manage heat becomes overloaded. Heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke and lead to brain damage or death.
In football, heat exhaustion is a dangerous reality. Football players take the field for preseason training during the dog days of summer, frequently in full pads, when the heat index can easily exceed 100 °F. Even players in top shape can be at high risk if they sweat out fluids without properly replenishing.

Scientists at NASA and Johns Hopkins University developed an ingestible pill to monitor the core body temperature of astronauts during space flight.  Once ingested, the quartz crystal transmits a harmless, low-frequency signal through the body. This signal can then be retrieved by a recorder, outside of the body, that displays the core body temperature. (It will remain in an individual’s system for 18 to 30 hours, before passing safely.)

NFL football teams are using the CorTemp technology to monitor their players. They are also evaluating headbands (with embedded thermometers) to determine if they can provide the same type of information. If successful, this would make the technology more affordable for high school and college athletic programs.
Read More - Article on CorTemp Technology

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Alaska Raptor Center

Growing from a backyard, volunteer-run operation, the Alaska Raptor Center has become Alaska's foremost bald eagle hospital and educational center, as well as one of the state's premier visitor attractions.
Each year, the Alaska Raptor Center provides medical treatment to 100-200 injured bald eagles and other birds. The goal is to release the patients back into the wild; some, however, are injured so severely they could not survive in the wild even after rehabilitation. These birds may join the Raptors-in-Residence, providing excitement and education for more than 36,000 annual visitors and for the 15,000 schoolchildren we reach through the Adopt-A-Raptor program and Classroom Presentations around the country.

The Alaska Raptor Center's 17-acre campus borders the Tongass National Forest, a temperate coastal rainforest, and the Indian River in Sitka, Alaska, and features award-winning natural habitats for our 19 Raptors-in-Residence.

Calling all students and friends.... visit the Alaska Raptor Center webpage at and help me decide which raptor our class should adopt. After looking at the birds available for adoption, post a comment and tell me which bird you want to adopt and why.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Expedition Continues!

The next stop on our adventure was Sitka. Sitka was once the home of the Tlingit people. Then, in the mid 1700’s, Russian fur hunters entered the area. Sitka’s location provided a great port on the outer coast of the Pacific Ocean. For a while, Sitka was the largest city on the Pacific coast of North America! This bustling, trading town became known as the “Paris of the Pacific”! When the USA purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867, the exchange ceremony took place in Sitka. Today, the charming town has about 8,000 year round citizens. Commercial fishing is the main industry of Sitka.

While we were visiting Sitka, we were able to visit the raptor rehabilitation center. This center takes injured raptors and birds and rehabilitates them. Many are released back into the wild. Some; however, are unable to leave the center. These birds make the center their home. We were able to see many of these birds. How amazing to be so close to a bald eagle! I am hoping join the “adopt a raptor” program with my amazing 5th and 6th graders! What do you think??

After departing Sitka, we headed for Ketchikan. Ketchikan is just north of the Canadian border. It is known as the “Salmon capital of the world” and relies on fishing as its main industry. Other industries include gold and copper mining and tourism. Ketchikan is an island community, accessible only by land and water. The city lies between mountains and the water, it is a couple of blocks wide and 14 miles long.

While in Ketchikan, we visited the Saxman Totem Park. We were able to watch master carvers make totem poles. We also saw some native dances performed by some native children!

Our last stop on this amazing expedition was Victoria, British Columbia. Our visit in Victoria was a short one. Joe and I enjoyed a great dinner at a waterside restaurant and then a stroll around town before returning to our floating home. Our evening was spent packing and getting ready to return to our beloved Alabama!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Amazing Alaska!!

What an amazing trip this has been! We have learned SO much, seen SO much, experienced SO much! The weather has been so perfect! Alaska has about 288 days of rain each year – we are; afterall, in a temperate rainforest! But, we have not encountered any wet weather the entire trip! (Except for the “Alaskan snow” that Steve made last night at the dinner table!)

So far, we have visited Glacier Bay, Juneau (the capital of Alaska), Sitka, and Ketchikan. Each stop along the Southeastern shore of Alaska has each own fascinating history, charm and character.

Glacier Bay is a huge waterway. Two hundred years ago, Captain George Vancouver observed this area to be a large open bay, blocked at its Northern end by a giant wall of ice. Since then, the ice in Glacier Bay has slowly receded, uncovering a new waterway 65 miles long containing many fjords and inlets. While observing the Glacier Bay area, we witnessed the “calving” of this massive glacier and we saw some wildlife as well!

In the late 19th century, A Tlingit Chief (native American chief) led two prospectors to a creek that emptied into the Gastineau Channel. After just a few hours, Richard Harris and Joe Juneau found gold! That discovery changed the course of history! On October 4, 1880, Harris and Juneau laid claim to the area. They named the area Gold Creek. The discovery was one of the largest finds in the Klondike Gold Rush.

Juneau is nestled between Mount Juneau (3,576 ft.) and Mount Roberts (3,819 ft). These mountains give the town not only beautiful scenery, but also a natural protection against the cold winds and permafrost experienced in other areas of Alaska.

While in Juneau, Joe and I visited the Mendenhall Glacier. Mendenhall Glacier is part of the Juneau Icefield. Juneau Icefield is home to over 40 glaciers. Mendenhall Glacier is 13 miles from downtown Juneau. The Glacier is 12 miles long, 1.5 miles wide and more than 100 feet tall.

Another great adventure in Juneau was a whale watching tour. We were blessed to see over 24 whales! We got to see mother and baby whales! We saw many whales breaching, and we saw whales bubble netting. Besides seeing whales, we also saw steller seals and even an eagle! The eagle flew right over the top of the boat. It was SO close, I could even see the eagle’s eye! The tour group was invited to attend a salmon bake at Orca Point Lodge. We were served fresh salmon and all the fixins!

Another post will by up shortly!!! Can't wait to see all my Alabama friends and family!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Greetings from Alaska!

Greetings from Alaska!  Alaska means “the great land” and boy is it ever great!
This great land is a vast, rugged, and stunningly beautiful chunk of county!

Alaska is HUGE!  It is nearly 586,000 square miles.  Alaska contains more coastline, more lakes, more streams and rivers, more National Parks, more wildlife refuge, more natural resources, more forests, more glaciers, and more wildlife that any state in the Union!  Even with all is vast landscape, its population is the smallest in America.  There are only about 650,000 people who call Alaska home.  Alaska is not a very easy place to live- long, dark, cold winters, a high cost of living, and isolation make living in Alaska a challenge!
There are six distinct areas in Alaska.  Each share common ethnic and cultural heritage, common geographic features, and common histories.  The six areas are:  the Arctic, the Western Peninsula, the Interior, the South Central, the Aleutian Islands and Southeast Alaska.

The area I am traveling in and exploring is Southeastern Alaska.  This area is also known and the “panhandle”.  It is an odd looking appendage that hangs down along the coastline south of the main body of Alaska.  This area is bordered by the Gulf of Alaska to the west and British Columbia to the east.    The Tongass National Forest is located in this area of Alaska.   This is the largest national forest in the country.  It is over 17 million acres and takes up most of Southeast Alaska. 

This amazing area is one of the most geologically active places on Earth! There are more earthquakes, more volcanoes, more glaciers, and more mountains than anyplace in North America.  We will talk about how this all came to be during our study of the “Sphere of Earth” and plate tectonics in both 5th and 6th grades this year! 

Alaska’s location on the globe means long daylight hours in the summertime.  Lots of daylight spurs lots of vegetation growth in the summer on land.  It also encourages lots of algae (plankton) production in the water.  This makes this area an awesome habitat for many forms of wildlife!  We will learn much about habitats when we study ecosystems and food chains during the school year. 

Joe and I are on a cruise ship named the “ms Oosterdam”.  It is part of the Holland America fleet. This ship is our “taxi” through the Tongass National Forest.   The ship is 736 feet long and 105 feet wide.  It holds nearly 2,000 guests.  The ship is like a small city on water.  There are guest rooms, restaurants, shops, movie theaters, auditoriums, swimming pools and even a basketball court on board!

Boy, are we having a great time!  The food is amazing and abundant!   The entertainment is exciting! The classes and lectures by Steve Spangler and our naturalist, John Scheerens are very interesting.  The photo options are un-ending.  Everywhere we look is picture perfect!  

Sunday, July 17, 2011


STS-135, the final voyage of the United States' Space Shuttle Program is underway and the shuttle is currently docked with the International Space Station.  Wiregrass residents will have two good opportunities to see the shuttle this week. 
  • Wed, 20 July at 548am, the Shuttle will zip across the Southeast sky.  Look for it at 129 degrees azimuth and a relatively low, 33 degrees elevation.  The shuttle and ISS will be moving from right to left. 
  • The best view this week will be Fri, 22 July at 529am.  The Shuttle will be in the ESE sky almost directly overhead.  Look for it at 108 deg azimuth, 84 deg elevation.  Shuttle and ISS will be moving from right to left.
If the weather is good, don't miss this opportunity.  If you do spot the Shuttle and ISS, be sure to leave a message in the comment field of the blog that we can share with others.  Thanks and Good Luck!

Getting Ready to Depart from - Seattle, Washington

On Saturday, Mrs D and son Joe (a senior at Carroll High School, an Auburn fan, and yet very much a Texan) kicked off the Science at Sea adventure with Steve Spangler in the port city of Seattle.  After a "tough" day of experiments, demonstrations, and fellowship with other educators across the US, Mrs D and Joe took in the sights of Seattle including a visit to the top of the Space Needle, constructed for the 1960 World's Fair.  They also sampled some of the fantastic local food. 
As of midday Sunday, they are preparing to board the Oosterdam by 4pm PDT and will be underway soon!

Follow Mrs D on her trip to Alaska

Mrs D and Joe are beginning the Science at Sea adventure cruising on the ship Oosterdam.  Click on this link then go to the small window labelled "track history" (at the top of the page) and change the number to 6 or less to see where the ship Oosterdam is located.   
Where in the World is Mrs D?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

How Do Scientists Know Where Whales Travel?

Humans aren’t the only ones who enjoy traveling to Hawaii.  Researchers in the Aloha state recently spotted a humpback whale, one that is regularly seen in and near Glacier Bay National Park Alaska.  In fact, this particular whale has made the annual trek from Alaska to Hawaii (2700 miles !) for at least 21 years.
The whale, dubbed #875 by researchers, was spotted on March 15, 2011, by researchers from the Hawaii Marine Mammal Consortium, including Glacier Bay National Park's whale biologist Chris Gabriele. Gabriele recognized #875, a whale regularly seen each summer in Glacier Bay and the waters just south of the park known as Icy Strait.
Click this link to read some really cool facts about humpback whale #875 TRAVELS OF WHALE 875 - COOL STORY
Each whale can be identified by the unique black and white pattern on the underside of their tails, or more properly: flukes.  When a humpback whale dives, the tail rises into the air showing a distinct shape and coloration unique to each whale.  Checkout this website to learn more and to see a catalog of nearly 2000 flukes!  ALASKA HUMPBACKS CATALOG
Researchers use photographs to tell a story about each whale.  This story, or sighting history, documents when and where each whale has traveled.  These findings are used to determine movements of individual whales, who they are traveling and feeding with, when a female has a calf and how many whales use these waters to feed. By compiling thousands of these sightings, we have improved our understanding of the natural history and biology of humpback whales. 
Credit and thanks to and to

Monday, July 4, 2011

Think Like a Scientist ! (How Can You Be Bored? Go Build Something !)

Hovercrafts are vehicles that ride on a cushion of air.  No, these are not boats, not aircraft or helicopters, they ride just above the ground or water going where other vehicles cannot and in many cases they are able to travel at high speeds. 

So how does a hovercraft work?  Fans force air under the vehicle creating a high pressure pocket of air that "floats" the vehicle.  A specially designed "skirt" retains most of the air - allowing it to seep out a bit at a time.  Meanwhile, the fan continues to force air under the vehicle maintaining the air cushion.

The propellers you see on top of these boats are additional fans which propel the hovercraft forward.

Want to make your own hovercraft?  It's easier than you think - in fact, with a few items from home, you'll be able to fabricate your own device that rides on a cushion of air.  Checkout this YouTube video for instructions!! How to Make Hovercraft at Home

GW Long students - want to receive a prize on the first day of class?  Bring your assembled toy hovercraft and a one page report about scientists who pioneered and improved hovercraft.  Include at least one photo of a modern day hovercraft that you like.

Enjoy the 4th of July with your families - Happy Independence Day !

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Create and Win $1000

The NASA Space Shuttle Art Competition commemorates the history of the Space Shuttle Program by inviting individual students to create original artwork that symbolizes its impact on our planet and people. They will also write a 250-word essay explaining their artistic entries.


Final judging will be conducted by an expert panel of artists in conjunction with NASA, NIA, and USA TODAY Education. They will select the top three entries from each of the two age brackets (9-13 and 14-17) based on the following criteria:
  • Artistic interpretation: 20%
  • Selection of innovation: 10%
  • Creativity: 30%
  • Essay justification: 30%
  • Grammar and mechanics: 10%

Winning Entries

The top three winners in each age bracket will be notified no later than August 15, 2011, and will receive the following awards:
  • $1,000 (for student) and $500 (for teacher/sponsor/parent).
  • The winning renditions will be showcased as banner ads on and
  • Winners will experience a remote mentoring session from a USA TODAY professional graphic artist.
  • Each winner will receive a certificate of accomplishment.
Checkout this link to enter the competition: Because It Flew Competition

Students from GW Long who enter the competition should email a copy of their official entry to Mrs D (  Each of the entries will be displayed at GW Long and students from 5th and 6th Grade Science classes will select their favorite.  The winning entry at GW Long will receive a $25 prize. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Honey, Have you Met the New Neighbors?

My husband noticed that some new residents had moved in to our birdhouse – and they don’t look anything like bluebirds.   In fact, he was about ten feet away and one of these bees flew straight toward him and stung him on the face without warning - Ouch!!

In the summer weather it’s easy to come into contact with stinging bees or wasps that make their homes in the ground or in cavities such as a birdhouse.  Some can be very aggressive.  While it’s important to be careful, it’s more important to know what to do in the event of a sting.  Don’t assume that a sting will just be a minor irriation; for some it can be life threatening.  Check out this website Bee Sting Treatment to learn what to do in the event of a sting….. and be sure to watch out for those new neighbors! 

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Mrs. D just spent a week in Ocean Springs, MS learning all about our watershed and how our water affects water in the Gulf of Mexico. 

So, next time you want to just pour some garbage out on the ground,  

Think about it…….

Storm water runoff can collect many different types of pollution before it reaches a body of water.  This includes debris, dirt and chemicals.  The storm water collects these materials and flows directly into a body of water like a stream or a lake.  These bodies of water may be used for swimming, fishing and even DRINKING!  

Now that you know that pollution from storm water runoff can contaminate the water supply, here are some tips to help you on your way to a.....


*never dump anything down storm drains
*use fertilizers sparingly
*sweep driveways and sidewalks instead of using a hose
*properly dispose of hazardous household chemicals
*check car for leaks and recycle motor oil
*avoid pesticides
*educate friends and family

We're on Facebook !

You told us that we needed to add a Facebook page and we did !  It won't replace our blog but check out the new FB page (link at top right of this page) and stay in touch.  Hope you are having a great summer!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Georgia Tech Engineers Develop Robots to Help First Responders

Before firefighters rush into a burning building, they want to know the layout of the structure and how they can move around. Scientists collaborating with the Army Research Laboratory are trying to make that happen by developing teams of tiny robots that could explore and map the inside of a building during a dangerous situation so that humans know what they're charging into.  Learn more at this Popular Mechanics link: Robots Aid First Responders - Popular Mechanics