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Kids need Science
Kids Need Science is devoted to demystifying and explaining science, technology, engineering and math words, names, and concepts. Check back often for a science, technology, engineering or math word defined and explained every day.
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Guest Blog for Cwist

I wrote a guest blog for www.cwist.com about how letting student fail at science projects and experiments is a good thing.  You can read it by clicking on the images.

Monday, July 15, 2013
In addition to kidsneedscience, I have a blog post up on PBS Parents on helping teach kids science by engaging in fun activities.  You can see the post here or by clicking on the PBS logo to the left. This post was written for the new www.cwist.com website-a super cool new digital platform for kids, parents and teachers to inspire and encourage learning.   Click on the link above to learn all about cwist-soon you’ll be using cwist as a verb and calling your kids cwisters!  Please share with all your friends and family and I hope you enjoy the post!
If you are not familiar with PBS Parents, check out their homepage.  Tons of great content organized in all different ways-age groups, interests, around PBS shows and content.  Parent friendly, kid friendly and full of interesting projects, reading lists and activities.
Image courtesy PBS Parents.

In addition to kidsneedscience, I have a blog post up on PBS Parents on helping teach kids science by engaging in fun activities.  You can see the post here or by clicking on the PBS logo to the left. This post was written for the new www.cwist.com website-a super cool new digital platform for kids, parents and teachers to inspire and encourage learning.   Click on the link above to learn all about cwist-soon you’ll be using cwist as a verb and calling your kids cwisters!  Please share with all your friends and family and I hope you enjoy the post!

If you are not familiar with PBS Parents, check out their homepage.  Tons of great content organized in all different ways-age groups, interests, around PBS shows and content.  Parent friendly, kid friendly and full of interesting projects, reading lists and activities.

Image courtesy PBS Parents.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
cwist has its official launch today-stop by the website and check them out.  cwist-challenges with a twist - is a parent-educator collaboration that provides an interactive library of educational, community service and outdoor challenges that help kids make a healthy connection between the things they want and the effort it takes to get them.
Their interactive library includes thousands of educational, community service and outdoor challenges for kids, contributed by parents and educators.

cwist has its official launch today-stop by the website and check them out.  cwist-challenges with a twist - is a parent-educator collaboration that provides an interactive library of educational, community service and outdoor challenges that help kids make a healthy connection between the things they want and the effort it takes to get them.

Their interactive library includes thousands of educational, community service and outdoor challenges for kids, contributed by parents and educators.

Monday, February 25, 2013
Calling all Etymologers!  Kidsneedscience is looking for talented writers with an interest in word histories and science, technology, engineering and math.  Are you fascinated by science and discovery and love how their discoveries and innovations translate into words and culture?  Are you secretly thrilled to find connections between words you never knew existed?  Consider submitting a sample post-kidsneedscience is looking for contributors to grow this website.  Right now KNS has over 60,000 followers and is growing.  Are you studying molecular biology and want to write about interesting words?  Did you take Latin or Greek in school and wouldn’t mind finding your dictionaries and lexicons on your bookshelf?  Submit a sample post to me via direct message.  Posts can be anywhere from 100-400 words and tell a compelling story about a word or name from science or math.  Students and educators welcome.  
Style guide is short and simple:  third person voice, key word in bold, root words and definitions in italic. If you have rights to a photo or illustration for your word, perfect!  If not we will find one.
Image courtesy the Oxford Universal English Dictionary, published 1937.  Full details here.

Calling all Etymologers!  Kidsneedscience is looking for talented writers with an interest in word histories and science, technology, engineering and math.  Are you fascinated by science and discovery and love how their discoveries and innovations translate into words and culture?  Are you secretly thrilled to find connections between words you never knew existed?  Consider submitting a sample post-kidsneedscience is looking for contributors to grow this website.  Right now KNS has over 60,000 followers and is growing.  Are you studying molecular biology and want to write about interesting words?  Did you take Latin or Greek in school and wouldn’t mind finding your dictionaries and lexicons on your bookshelf?  Submit a sample post to me via direct message.  Posts can be anywhere from 100-400 words and tell a compelling story about a word or name from science or math.  Students and educators welcome.  

Style guide is short and simple:  third person voice, key word in bold, root words and definitions in italic. If you have rights to a photo or illustration for your word, perfect!  If not we will find one.

Image courtesy the Oxford Universal English Dictionary, published 1937.  Full details here.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Today is the birthday of Konrad Emil Bloch, a German-American scientist who fled Nazi Germany in 1936.  Born January 21, 1912 in Neisse, Bloch began his studies at the Technical University of Munich.  Upon his arrival in the United States, he finished his Ph. D at Columbia University, where he taught for several years.  His career included the very best universities in the US:  Columbia, Harvard, University of Chicago.  His main contribution to science and the reason for his Nobel Prize in 1964 was his discovery of the mechanisms of cholesterol production in the body.  The word was coined in 1827 in French as cholestrine and entered English in 1894 with new suffix -ol to denote an alcohol base.  A combination of the Ancient Greek words khole meaning bile and steros meaning stiff or solid.  The solid part of the nomenclature came from gallstones:  cholesterol was originally separated and identified in the gallstones in solid form.   

Image of cholesterol Crystals in Synovial Fluid (compensated polariscopy) by Ed Uthman under Creative Commons 3.0 license.  Image of Konrad Bloch courtesy Nobel Media.

Thursday, January 19, 2012
Although rather new to English, the word entomology is both quite old and virtually unchanged from its two root words.  Entomology entered English from French in 1766 upon the translation into English of Charles Bonnet’s Contemplation de la Nature.  A combination of the Ancient Greek word entemon meaning insect and the word logos which mean word often used as a suffix meaning the study of.  The word for insect itself came from the word tenmein which meant to cut-according to Aristotle the segments of many insects bodies appeared to be cut from one another.  Today the field of entomology is huge with dozens of specialties and sub-fields.
Image of a rhinocerous beetle, one of the largest insect species still living.  Photo courtesy of Nick Wheeler, used with permission under a Creative Commons 3.0 license.

Although rather new to English, the word entomology is both quite old and virtually unchanged from its two root words.  Entomology entered English from French in 1766 upon the translation into English of Charles Bonnet’s Contemplation de la Nature.  A combination of the Ancient Greek word entemon meaning insect and the word logos which mean word often used as a suffix meaning the study of.  The word for insect itself came from the word tenmein which meant to cut-according to Aristotle the segments of many insects bodies appeared to be cut from one another.  Today the field of entomology is huge with dozens of specialties and sub-fields.

Image of a rhinocerous beetle, one of the largest insect species still living.  Photo courtesy of Nick Wheeler, used with permission under a Creative Commons 3.0 license.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Only one year after the neutron was discovered by Sir James Chadwick, astronomers Walter Baade and Fritz Zwicky announced the discovery of the first neutron star.  They had been studying supernova and were looking for a way to understand the life-cycle of a supernova, and proposed that a neutron star was formed from one.  The resulting density then is many many times greater than most stellar objects, with gravities to match.  Composed almost entirely of neutrons, a typical neutron star has a solar mass just slightly larger than our sun: 1.4 to times the solar mass crammed into a diameter of about 12 kilometers!  
Image of the first detected neutron star, now known as RX J 185635-3754.  Image Courtesy NASA/ESA, details on image.

Only one year after the neutron was discovered by Sir James Chadwick, astronomers Walter Baade and Fritz Zwicky announced the discovery of the first neutron star.  They had been studying supernova and were looking for a way to understand the life-cycle of a supernova, and proposed that a neutron star was formed from one.  The resulting density then is many many times greater than most stellar objects, with gravities to match.  Composed almost entirely of neutrons, a typical neutron star has a solar mass just slightly larger than our sun: 1.4 to times the solar mass crammed into a diameter of about 12 kilometers!  

Image of the first detected neutron star, now known as RX J 185635-3754.  Image Courtesy NASA/ESA, details on image.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Who says scientists don’t have a sense of humor? Before the first dinosaur was ever named, bones of all kinds were dug out of quarries and bogs and were shown all over Europe and many names were proposed before Megalosaurus stuck. In 1676 the leg bone of a very large animal was discovered in a quarry in Oxfordshire and sent to Robert Plot, Professor at the University of Oxford who published a description in his Natural History of Oxfordshire in 1676. He correctly identified it as the lower part of a femur belonging to what he thought was one of the giants described in the Bible.

Almost a century later, Richard Brookes called it Scrotum humanum, comparing its appearance to a pair of human testicles. The name was not considered to be a proper Linnaean name for an animal, and was not used. The bone was lost and fifty years later William Buckland found more megalosaurus bones in the same quarry and began showing them around. He recognized that the bones resembled those of a modern lizard and called it megalosaurus, combining the Ancient Greek prefix megalo- meaning big, tall or great with sauros meaning lizard.

Parents everywhere are grateful not to be explaining that nomenclature to their dinosaur obsessed children!!!

Who says scientists don’t have a sense of humor? Before the first dinosaur was ever named, bones of all kinds were dug out of quarries and bogs and were shown all over Europe and many names were proposed before Megalosaurus stuck. In 1676 the leg bone of a very large animal was discovered in a quarry in Oxfordshire and sent to Robert Plot, Professor at the University of Oxford who published a description in his Natural History of Oxfordshire in 1676. He correctly identified it as the lower part of a femur belonging to what he thought was one of the giants described in the Bible. Almost a century later, Richard Brookes called it Scrotum humanum, comparing its appearance to a pair of human testicles. The name was not considered to be a proper Linnaean name for an animal, and was not used. The bone was lost and fifty years later William Buckland found more megalosaurus bones in the same quarry and began showing them around. He recognized that the bones resembled those of a modern lizard and called it megalosaurus, combining the Ancient Greek prefix megalo- meaning big, tall or great with sauros meaning lizard.

The name Scrotum humanum did not end in the seventeenth century however-due the ‘rules’ governing the discovery, classification and naming of new species of animals, whether alive or extinct, meant that scrotum humanum could legitimately be assigned to the megalosaurus bones. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that W.A.S. Sarjeant submitted a petition to the ICZN to formally suppress the genus name Scrotum in favor of Megalosaurus.

Parents everywhere are grateful not to be explaining that nomenclature to their dinosaur obsessed children!!!

Image of the scrotum humanum in the public domain. Image of the outdated 18th century reconstruction of megalosaurus as a quadruped in the Royal Gardens courtesy C. G. P. Grey. Image of a modern representation of megalosaurus used under CC 3.0 license.

Saturday, December 31, 2011
kidsneedscience:

Happy New Year! A year is a unit of measure used to describe the revolution of a planet around its star-in our case this is usually given as 365 days or occasionally as 365.2429 days and some years (2012 for example) we actually say a year is 366 days. But first, the history: the word year comes from Old English gē(a)r, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch jaar and German Jahr, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek hōra meaning year, season, any part of a year, also any part of a day, hour, and the Latin word hornus meaning of this year. The root probably came from the verbal root *ei- meaning to do or make a complete cycle. 
Scientists say that the year is exactly 31557600 seconds, and in the Unified Code for Units of Measure, the symbol a (without subscript) always refers to the Julian year aj. They do the math as follows: 365.25 days times 86400 seconds in a day = 1 a = 1 aj = 31.5576 Ms. Under the code of uniformity that governs all things SI, the SI multiplier prefixes may be applied to it to form ka (kiloannum), Ma (megaannum) etc.
On the planet Mars thoug,h the year is approxitmately 687 days long, and every planet has a different revolution around its star. Mecury takes 88 days, Venus 224 days, but Jupiter takes almost 12 years! Saturn takes 29 years, Uranus takes 84 years, Neptune 165 years and Pluto (still a planet in my book!) takes almost 250 years to go around the Sun a single time. And a very special Happy Birthday to the Planet Neptune! 165 years ago this past summer, unexpected changes in the orbit of Uranus led Alexis Bouvard to deduce that its orbit was subject to gravitational perturbation by an unknown planet. Neptune was subsequently observed on September 23, 1846 by Johann Galle within a degree of the position predicted by Urbain Le Verrier. Happy 1st Birthday, Neptune!
Here on Earth, we celebrate many types of years, starting with the calendar year and birth year. But we also recognize many types of years: fiscal, sidereal, academic, Julian, tropical, draconic, heliacal, Bessellian, Gaussian, Sothic, and leap. We are leaving the Year of the Rabbit according to the Chinese calendar and about to enter the Year of the Dragon on January 23.
Whatever year or years you hope to celebrate, here at kidsneedscience we wish you a very happy New Year! And a special thanks to all our followers all around the world-this is our 100th post and our 90 day anniversary (a word connected way back to the root for year, before the Romans had the word annus). In just 90 days we’ve found followers in 83 countries: from New Zealand to Chile, from China to Canada, Indonesia to Peru, Japan to Mexico, Saudi Arabia to Brazil, The United Kingdom to Egypt. Thank you to everybody for liking, posting and re-blogging! May you have a New Year filled with Science and Words! Finally, a quote from T. S. Eliot: “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.” Here at kidsneedscience we’re all about digging up the meanings and origins of last year’s words. But you? Find your voice in 2012!
Image courtesy of NASA/JPL/MARS program.

kidsneedscience:

Happy New Year! A year is a unit of measure used to describe the revolution of a planet around its star-in our case this is usually given as 365 days or occasionally as 365.2429 days and some years (2012 for example) we actually say a year is 366 days. But first, the history: the word year comes from Old English gē(a)r, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch jaar and German Jahr, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek hōra meaning year, season, any part of a year, also any part of a day, hour, and the Latin word hornus meaning of this year. The root probably came from the verbal root *ei- meaning to do or make a complete cycle.

Scientists say that the year is exactly 31557600 seconds, and in the Unified Code for Units of Measure, the symbol a (without subscript) always refers to the Julian year aj. They do the math as follows: 365.25 days times 86400 seconds in a day = 1 a = 1 aj = 31.5576 Ms. Under the code of uniformity that governs all things SI, the SI multiplier prefixes may be applied to it to form ka (kiloannum), Ma (megaannum) etc.

On the planet Mars thoug,h the year is approxitmately 687 days long, and every planet has a different revolution around its star. Mecury takes 88 days, Venus 224 days, but Jupiter takes almost 12 years! Saturn takes 29 years, Uranus takes 84 years, Neptune 165 years and Pluto (still a planet in my book!) takes almost 250 years to go around the Sun a single time. And a very special Happy Birthday to the Planet Neptune! 165 years ago this past summer, unexpected changes in the orbit of Uranus led Alexis Bouvard to deduce that its orbit was subject to gravitational perturbation by an unknown planet. Neptune was subsequently observed on September 23, 1846 by Johann Galle within a degree of the position predicted by Urbain Le Verrier. Happy 1st Birthday, Neptune!

Here on Earth, we celebrate many types of years, starting with the calendar year and birth year. But we also recognize many types of years: fiscal, sidereal, academic, Julian, tropical, draconic, heliacal, Bessellian, Gaussian, Sothic, and leap. We are leaving the Year of the Rabbit according to the Chinese calendar and about to enter the Year of the Dragon on January 23.

Whatever year or years you hope to celebrate, here at kidsneedscience we wish you a very happy New Year! And a special thanks to all our followers all around the world-this is our 100th post and our 90 day anniversary (a word connected way back to the root for year, before the Romans had the word annus). In just 90 days we’ve found followers in 83 countries: from New Zealand to Chile, from China to Canada, Indonesia to Peru, Japan to Mexico, Saudi Arabia to Brazil, The United Kingdom to Egypt. Thank you to everybody for liking, posting and re-blogging! May you have a New Year filled with Science and Words! Finally, a quote from T. S. Eliot: “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.” Here at kidsneedscience we’re all about digging up the meanings and origins of last year’s words. But you? Find your voice in 2012!

Image courtesy of NASA/JPL/MARS program.

 
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