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.