7 easy science experiments for kids at home

August 28, 2020 by  
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Many kids will be spending more time learning from home as the school year ramps up during the COVID-19 pandemic. Without the beakers and test tubes of the science lab, it may seem difficult to provide hands-on learning. But have no fear, we’ve put together a list of easy (and fun!) home science experiments to entertain and educate youngsters at the same time. Lava lamp This experiment is sure to produce oohs and aahs from the smallest scientists. Prepare a clear plastic bottle; inside, fill the bottle one-quarter of the way with water. Then fill the rest of the space (nearly to the top) with vegetable, mineral or baby oil. Wait for the oil to settle above the water, then add a few drops of food coloring. Related: This DIY algae kit is an easy science experiment for kids The food coloring carries the same density or weight as water, so it will pass through the oil and color the water below. Now comes the fun part. Add a fizzy tablet, such as an Alka-Seltzer, to the container. It will plop to the bottom and then begin to release colorful bubbles as the carbon dioxide it produces finds its way to the top of the container. The experiment highlights the laws of science where lighter objects, such as gases, will float to the top while heavier substances will sink to the bottom. Water cycle in a jar The water cycle on our planet is a complex phenomenon to explain. After all, we don’t see water vapor rise. To create a visual expression, place about two inches of boiling water into a canning jar. Parents should handle this part. Then place a ceramic plate right-side up over the opening of the jar, sealing it. Wait about three minutes for steam to accumulate. Put several ice cubes on the top of the plate outside the jar. The warm air in the jar will condense and create water droplets, like rain falling from the sky when moist air from the Earth’s surface meets cold air from the atmosphere. Ocean in a bottle With a clean bottle, water, oil and food coloring, make an ocean in a bottle by replicating waves. Fill a plastic bottle one-third to halfway with water. Use blue and green food coloring to create the ocean color you desire. Of course, you can add a primary, secondary and tertiary color lesson at this time by allowing your child to mix blue and red to create purple or yellow and red to create orange. Leaving a few inches at the top, add vegetable or baby oil and tightly replace the cap. Now rock and roll the bottle to create waves. Volcano There are many ways to create your own volcano at home. You can get creative with papier-mâché or simply use a bottle or upturned box. Better yet, make a simple volcano shaped dome out of dirt, leaving a hole in the top to add ingredients. This is a messy project, so it’s best to create your eruption outdoors. Inside the homemade volcano of choice, place a container near the top to hold your ingredients. Support it from below if necessary. Add two spoonfuls of baking soda to the inside of the volcano. Follow that with a spoonful of dish soap (bubbles!) and about 10 drops of food coloring. Red and yellow make a nice orange color, but let the kids experiment. That’s what it’s all about! Now get ready for your eruption with the addition of one to two ounces of white vinegar. The idea is to replicate the pressure that builds up in nature, so play around with different amounts of ingredients . For a more explosive volcano, you can use a two-liter bottle. Place two teaspoons of dish soap, 6-7 tablespoons of water, a few drops of food coloring and 1 ½ cups of white vinegar. Add about ½ cup of baking soda quickly and step back! This experiment shows how pressure builds the need for carbon dioxide to escape. Create a sundial There was time before there were watches and clocks. Show kids how to monitor time using the age-old sundial technique, right from your yard. Simply find a long stick and insert it vertically into the ground. Begin on the hour, say 8 a.m. Use chalk or small pebbles to mark the shadow created by the stick. Come back each hour to mark the new shadow spot. Do this throughout the day to complete your sundial. Explain to children how the Earth’s rotation around the sun causes the shadow to move. Solar oven Heat from the sun on a hot day can cook lunch with the aid of a solar oven. To show kids exactly how powerful solar energy is, simply line the lid of a pizza box with foil from top to bottom. Line the lower portion of the box with black paper. Cut a window out of the lid, hinging it with about two inches remaining around the border. With the hinged portion open, adhere plastic wrap to the top and bottom of the remaining lid, creating a double pane “window” between the foil wrapped lid and the pizza box bottom. Ensure the plastic is sealed all the way around using tape to hold it in place. Once complete, take your box outside. Put food inside the box and angle the foil-lined lid to reflect light and heat through the clear plastic and onto the food. Prop your lid into place using a stick or straw and check frequently to make adjustments as the planet moves. Bon appétit! Grow veggies and compost While setting up a lab in the kitchen is fun, science is all around us in nature. Observe the changing of the seasons through leaves and plant cycles. Start with seeds and grow some pea plants. Also use your organic food scraps to show kids the magic of composting . + Science Fun Images via Adobe Stock, Adriel Hampton , Oliver Lyon and Jonathan Hanna

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7 easy science experiments for kids at home

Yes, Pizza Boxes Are Recyclable

July 28, 2020 by  
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The Recycling Partnership last week released a scientific study that … The post Yes, Pizza Boxes Are Recyclable appeared first on Earth 911.

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The many ways fungi are saving our planet

April 10, 2020 by  
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Fungi are living organisms that support the ecosystem of the entire planet. Most people associate mushrooms with fungi, but in reality, mushrooms merely make up the ‘flower’ portion of some species of fungi. Up to 90% of the fungi associated with the mushroom is underground as part of a web called mycelium . Scientists are continually discovering ways fungi enhance the circle of life. The mushroom and mycelium components of fungi are currently a hot topic in the research world, because there are already over 100,000 identified varieties with thousands more being discovered annually. Together, these fungi species are unlocking solutions for cleaning up the environment, developing greener construction and product materials and contributing significant medicinal benefits. What are fungi? Fungi are basically the digestive tract of the planet. As a carbon-based substance, fungi work in conjunction with all living or decaying things. Whether that is a tree that has fallen in the woods or an animal that dies along the side of the road, mycelium works below-ground to facilitate decomposition. Mycelium is a massive filter that removes toxins from the soil , improving water quality as a result. Related: How fungi made Earth’s atmosphere livable This network also cycles nutrients from one location to another, essentially transporting food and water from one plant to another. It’s also believed they send messages throughout the forest that support the success of other fungi as well as overall plant life. In scientific papers reviewed as recently as two months ago, evidence has come to light indicating fungal fossils may date back at least 715 to 810 million years and possibly even over one billion years ago. Whether that can be proven or not, most scientists accept that fungi have survived on the planet since at least 400 million years ago. Further, researchers give credit to fungi for their critical role in facilitating the continued existence of the planet. Fungi and climate change In addition to supporting the entire plant kingdom, fungi are recognized as a promising weapon in the fight against climate change . While some of these discoveries happen in a lab, others are happening in nature as we go about our daily lives. As outlined in a new documentary, Fantastic Fungi , fungi are indiscriminate in their consumption of organic material. As an example of this cycle, fungi can break down carbon-based diesel oil, growing mushrooms in its wake. Then birds, bees and bugs feed, spread seeds and pollinate as a result, supporting more than just the surrounding area. In fact, many scientists believe mushrooms might be one solution to ending the crisis bees are facing, because mushrooms’ antiviral characteristics may offer protection from damaging chemicals in other plants. Fungi can likely clean up other aspects of the environment, too. According to the State of the World’s Fungi 2018 report , the mushroom Aspergillus tubingensis has the ability to grow directly on the surface of plastic and has properties that actually deteriorate the material. Yes, apparently some mushrooms can eat plastic . Even more amazing is the discovery that fungi were found consuming radiation off the walls of the abandoned Chernobyl plant. In fact, three species were found to be absorbing the radiation and turning it into energy for growth. In essence, they were feeding off radiation. Mushroom waste becomes biofuel Natural waste from mushroom production can also be converted into biofuel . According to research published in Science Advances , the research team revealed that a naturally occurring bacterium called Thermoanaerobacterium thermosaccharolyticum (TG57), isolated from waste generated after harvesting mushrooms, is capable of directly converting cellulose (a plant-based material) to biobutanol, leading to a much cleaner way to produce biofuel and reduce emissions from fossil fuels. Products made from fungi Product manufacturers are also looking toward fungi in material development due to properties that allow them to naturally decompose at the end of their life cycle. Fungi are being used as a substitute for environmental nemesis polystyrene foam , animal leather and chemical-laden building materials. One company, Coeio, has even created a mushroom-infused burial suit, explaining that a human body will break down faster and give back to the Earth sooner while the fungal properties filter out any toxic chemicals the body has acquired while living. Fungi for health Fungi are also in the spotlight for exciting medical advancements, such as treating anxiety and depression with psilocybin . Fungi could also help fight against cognitive decline, according to a recent study . Plus, fungi are already part of our everyday life in ways you may not even recognize. In addition to the mushrooms on your pizza , fungi are important for fermentation, which creates alcohol, leavened bread and much more. The list of possible ways fungi are saving our planet is nearly as long as the list of species themselves. With an increasing interest in research, the possibilities for finding innovative ways to use fungi in the future are exciting and promising. Images via Pixabay

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Nissan unveils a solar-powered, zero-emissions ice cream van

June 25, 2019 by  
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To celebrate the U.K.’s Clean Air Day, Nissan has unveiled an impressive electric ice cream van that generates zero emissions while serving up a variety of cool and refreshing ice cream flavors on the go. The van is a fully electric vehicle installed with two Nissan Energy ROAM power packs and rooftop solar panels in order to power the van as well as the on-board equipment that helps keep the scrumptious ice cream nice and cold. There’s nothing like a cold ice cream cone to help cool off on a hot summer’s day. But the problem with most conventional ice cream trucks is that they still run on harmful diesel fuel. Additionally, many older truck models must keep the engines running to power the ice cream freezers, emitting harmful carbon dioxide emissions with each scoop, all day long. Related: Pizza Hut unveils a zero-emissions delivery truck that makes pizzas on the go Now, with its new design for a zero-emissions prototype, Nissan is hoping to revolutionize the mobile ice cream sector by providing an alternative for vendors looking to reduce their carbon footprint . Based on the e-NV200, Nissan’s 100 percent electric LCV model, the prototype was built using lithium-ion cells recovered from first-generation Nissan electric vehicles . The van’s motor runs on a 40kWh battery, while the ice cream equipment is powered by Nissan’s portable power pack, ROAM. To bring its dream of creating an entirely sustainable ice cream truck to fruition, Nissan partnered with Scottish ice cream maker, Mackie’s — a company that uses wind and solar power to make its delicious ice creams. As a result, not only is Nissan able to provide a better, more eco-friendly way of selling ice cream, but it is also able to provide a fully eco-friendly system, meaning that the ice cream is green from “sky to scoop.” + Nissan Images via Nissan

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Ecokit offers innovative, eco-friendly, tech-rich housing in a box

June 25, 2019 by  
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A quick trip to IKEA can afford you multiple pieces of furniture you can load into your car and haul home to later be put together by simply following universal directions. With this idea of ease in mind, imagine being able to construct an entire house— now you can, thanks to Ecokit. Ecokit, the product of sisters Camilla and Pavla, is a house in a box— more or less. The manufacturing process involves each of the more than 4,000 parts to be designed and cut by a single-arm robot or programmed CNC machine. After manufacturing, the flat pieces are boxed and loaded into a shipping container that is then delivered to the desired site. Related: REPII House offers expansive modular space with sleek design elements With the goal of constructing houses anywhere that a shipping container can be delivered, Ecokits are a solution aimed at remote building sites. They can also be an option for temporary housing since they can be deconstructed after the initial build and most parts can be reused or recycled. The main goal: easy construction without the use of heavy equipment. “Ecokit will arrive in a container in the form of parts on pallets, from which you can construct a habitable unit with your own hands with a little effort in a short period of time. The final completion date depends on your aesthetic and energy demands. The assembly of our prototype two bedroom home lasted seven days,” recalls Camilla and her sister Pavla, who joined the business as the first house was built last year. “With all the accessories it can be fit out and habitable in about two months,” she adds. In addition to ease of construction and remote site location, the Ecokit provides a versatile, pre-fabricated, modular design for a variety of uses. Plus, it is ultra-efficient. The house has nearly three times the amount of insulation as a standard Australian home and allows for the installation of solar panels and batteries for off-grid living. There are also systems for rainwater collection, waste treatment, with additional options for maintenance-free, bushfire-proof and cyclone-proof adaptations. Technology options even include smart phone controlled home automation packages including ventilation, lighting, security, audio and more. But all this convenience doesn’t come at a sacrifice in comfort. High-quality timber windows, heated floors and upscale ventilation systems add to the livability of the home. Not to mention, finishes and treatments were chosen with little to no VOCs. Natural elements are used wherever possible for healthier air within the space. + ecokit Images via ecokit

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Maven Moment: Mom’s Pizza Pan

April 3, 2019 by  
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Mom used to make the most fantastic pizza for birthdays … The post Maven Moment: Mom’s Pizza Pan appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Pizza Hut unveils a zero-emissions delivery truck that makes pizzas on the go

November 5, 2018 by  
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Pizza Hut and Toyota have teamed up to bring fresh, piping hot pizza to your doorstep with the help of a roaming pizza machine. The Toyota Tundra PIE Pro is a full-size pickup truck with a complete pizza making factory in the back that is entirely operated by computer-guided robotic arms. Not only does the next generation of pizza delivery get the pizzas made and delivered in the blink of an eye, but the delivery trucks are also  zero emissions . The incredible design, which was unveiled at Toyota’s 2018 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, is a truly unique invention. Although we’ve seen plenty of ingenious food trucks , the Tundra Pie Pro is quite possibly the future of pizza delivery. Related: Mouthwatering edible pizza box is waste-free because you can eat it The custom-made truck is installed with a unique truck bed that has been converted into an open-air kitchen. When a pizza order is placed, a pair of computer-guided robotic arms  open the refrigerator and remove the selected pizza. The arms then place the pies on a conveyor belt that passes under a high-speed, ventless oven. Once cooked to perfection, a second arm removes the pizza and places it on a cutting board, where it then cuts it into six identical slices. The arms even put the pizza into a box and off it goes to the customer. The entire process, from start to finish, takes up to seven minutes. Although the objective was to create a faster delivery system, the Pizza Hut and Toyota team were also focused on creating an eco-friendly vehicle. The team took the conventional gasoline-powered drivetrain of the Tundra out and replaced it with a hydrogen fuel-cell electric power unit to make the truck, as well as all of the kitchen components, emissions-free. According to Marianne Radley, chief brand officer of Pizza Hut, the ambitious project was focused on getting piping hot pizza to customers in a faster, more efficient way that won’t contaminate the environment. “Nothing tastes better than a fresh Pizza Hut pizza straight out of the oven,” Radley explained. “The Tundra PIE Pro brings to life our passion for innovation not just on our menu but in digital and delivery in order to provide the best possible customer experience.” + Toyota Tundra PIE Pro Via Core 77 Images via Pizza Hut

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The Pizza Box Mystery

July 25, 2018 by  
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What’s the true story about recycling these common cardboard boxes? The post The Pizza Box Mystery appeared first on Earth911.com.

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The Pizza Box Mystery

"World’s saddest polar bear" will get temporary reprieve from tiny mall cage

November 14, 2016 by  
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Pizza the polar bear , known as the “world’s saddest polar bear,” will get a temporary reprieve from her cage at the Grandview Mall Aquarium in Guangzhou, China . As the mall makes minor alterations, Pizza will temporarily return to her birthplace, according to the aquarium . But many animal rights organizations say the sorrowful polar bear should not have to live in a mall at all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yuRaNlx0bk “Pizza the polar bear will temporarily leave Guangzhou and return to her birthplace,” The Grandview Mall Aquarium said on their social media account on WeChat . The three-year-old polar bear was born at a zoo in Tianjin, a city in northeastern China, according to The Guardian. The mall did not state when Pizza would return, but in the meantime, their facilities will undergo renovations. The New York Times said Pizza’s enclosure will be doubled as part of the alterations, based on an article in The Guangzhou Daily. Related: “World’s saddest polar bear” offered new home at UK wildlife park Several other animals, including beluga whales, arctic foxes, walruses and a wolf also live at the Grandview Mall Aquarium, and animal rights campaigners say their predicament should not be forgotten. Capital Animal Welfare Association Director Qin Xiaona told The New York Times, “We still want to see the aquarium closed once and for all, to see all the animals moved.” Back in October, three Chinese organizations and Humane Society International (HSI) spoke out about Pizza’s ongoing plight, pointing to videos of the polar bear pacing and swinging her head as confirmation of her declining mental state. The groups said the mall should be shut down. HSI campaigner Peter Li told The Guardian, “No amount of renovation could ever make a shopping mall a suitable place for this animal.” He said it would be cruel and heartless to return Pizza to the Grandview Mall Aquarium. Via The Guardian and The New York Times Images via screenshot

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Domino’s Pizza Robot may soon bring you a hot pie and cold soda

April 4, 2016 by  
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The pizza delivery boy of the future is here, at least for Domino’s customers in Australia . Domino’s Robotic Unit, or DRU, has just joined the Aussie pizza fleet, guaranteeing hot pizza and cold drinks- without the need to tip. The four-wheeled robot prototype , designed with Marathon Targets , is programmed to self-drive from delivery to delivery without the need of a human driver. Read the rest of Domino’s Pizza Robot may soon bring you a hot pie and cold soda

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