Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hurricane Hunters - See How They Work and EARN A REWARD!

Exactly how do scientists take measurements of hurricanes and predict their movement?  
  • Ground weather stations? – Yes!
  • Weather balloons?  - Yes!
  • Satellite imagery? – Yes!

And believe it or not, scientist even fly aircraft DIRECTLY INTO HURRICANES to better understand the storms and to provide real-time information to help meteorologists better forecast where these storms are headed.  Check out this video to see how brave pilots and crew members fly straight into these storms!   Hurricane Hunters

EARN A REWARD!!  Do some research to find answers to these questions.  Write your answers on paper and present to Mrs D by class time on Friday, 31 August to receive a reward!
  • What type of aircraft are used to fly the “Hurricane Hunter” missions?  (Name at least two.)
  • What term is used for the middle of the hurricane?
  • Which way do hurricanes rotate, clockwise or counterclockwise?
  • The Saffir-Simpson scale is used to rate the strength of a hurricane and it has five categories.  What wind speeds are associated with each category?
  • What months are considered “hurricane season”?

Think all of this is fascinating?  Tune into the new show "Hurricane Hunters" on The Weather Channel, Monday evenings at 8pm Central.   TWC - Hurricane Hunters Show

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wish list for Durrance Science classes

As promised, here are the wish list items that we need in Science class:

  • Reinforcement labels (for 3 ring paper)
  • Printer ink (hp 61 black and 61 tri color)
  • Expo markers (black and colors)
  • Seven Five 3-ring binder hole punches (heavy duty, table top)
  • 28 jumbo clips 
  • Bubble gum - variety of flavors, brands 
Several items have been donated - thanks for your kindness!  If you are able to donate any of the remaining items listed above, it would be appreciated.  

Thanks very much!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Batman and Robin Recommend 5th and 6th Grade Science!

Check out this link!

Batman and Robin Recommend 5th and 6th Grade Science!!

GOING FOR THE GOLD - Science of Swimming

Michael Phelps, a swimmer from Baltimore has now won more gold medals than anybody else in Olympic history.   What makes Michael Phelps so good?  Do Phelps' body shape and flexibility give the gold-medal winner a physical edge in swimming?  Beyond his drive to succeed, and his undoubtedly good training, could it be that a good bit of his talent just boils down to simple anatomy?  Here are some thoughts from Dr H. Richard Weiner an internist, former team physician, and former All-American swimmer...

What do you think about the notions about Phelps’s built-in, anatomical advantages?
When someone does something impressive, like winning gold medals in swimming, we try to come up with some far-fetched reason for it, like he or she has to have some bizarre physiological adaptation or freaky anatomy. But most things that you measure in human beings fall within predictable ranges.

What do you think accounts for Phelps’s success then?
Phelps has very good stroke mechanics—that certainly goes a long way. Some people also have better  “locomotive genius”—this is when swimmers have that sense of moving the water around them and how much water they are displacing. 

Why do you think these ideas of physiological advantage are often repeated?
I guess it’s hard for people just to believe that it can just be stroke mechanics for Phelps or any other swimmer. Unless a seemingly suitable explanation comes up, people then think that this individual must be cheating or doping. It couldn’t just be that the guy trained his guts out.

So do you think there is anything to these “natural physical gift” arguments?
I’m sure if we could measure Phelps as much as we would like, we would find attributes better than average for swimming, but I don’t think we would find any glaring abnormalities. 

Thanks to Scientific American.  Check out this link for more information.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Seven Minutes of Terror !

In November of last year, scientists launched the Mars Science Laboratory which will touch down on the surface of Mars at 12:30 CDT on August 6th – (really late Sunday nite).  The lab is a roving vehicle called Curiosity and its mission is to perform experiments to unlock the history of Mars.  Curiosity will take samples of soil, rock, and the Martian atmosphere.  The record of the planet’s climate and geology is literally recorded in the rocks and soil.
So what is the “7 minutes of terror?  The spacecraft’s final descent to Mars takes seven minutes but it takes fourteen minutes for a radio signal to travel from Mars to the earth.  By the time that scientists receive a message from Curiosity, it will have already safely arrived or have crashed on Mars seven minutes earlier.

Check out this video to see how Curiosity will descend to the surface of Mars.

Walk into class on the first day of school with written answers to these questions and earn a reward!   (This opportunity is open to all current and former students of Mrs D.)
  • What is the name of the crater where Curiosity will land?
  • What is the mass of Curiosity?
  • Where was the Mars Science Laboratory launched from?
  • Who was the Kansas 6th grader that gave Curiosity its name?