Arts, Culture + History

Educational Resource

Building A Solar House

Buildings that are called “green” or “environmentally sustainable” are designed to use energy as efficiently as possible. In Missouri, Washington University’s Tyson Living Learning Center achieves sustainability by incorporating green technologies in different ways, including the use of solar panels. In this activity, students will explore how solar panels work by building a simple circuit, a series circuit and a parallel circuit, using a solar panel to light a bulb and comparing which method yields the brightest light. Then students will build a solar-powered house using a shoebox, and test some variables to determine the most efficient way to harness solar energy to power a model home.

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Educational Resource

Grabbing a Bite to Eat

In this activity, students will perform an experiment that replicates the dilemma that birds face in acquiring food from a confined area. Students will be given a variety of objects to use as “tools,” and will explore various ways of extracting the food item from an enclosed shoebox without directly using their hands. Students will compare and contrast which tools worked best, and use problem-solving skills to design and develop unique methods for extracting the food item from the shoebox.

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Educational Resource

Flower Anatomy

In this activity, students will discuss the various methods by which pollination can occur in flowers or plants. Students will dissect and identify the different parts of a flower, hypothesize the function of each part, and discuss the importance or relevance of each part to pollination.

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Educational Resource

The Color of Flowers

In this activity, students will perform an experiment to find out where flower colors come from. Students will extract petal juice, use acid and base indicators, and observe chemical reactions to investigate how the amount of acid or base influences the color of a petal.

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Educational Resource

Lighting Up Celery Stalks

In this activity, students will conduct a series of hands-on experiments that will demonstrate how the working of these veins, known as capillary action, enables water to travel throughout the length of a plant. Students will learn how the forces of water cohesion and adhesion contribute to the process of capillary action.

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Educational Resource

Cooking with Chemistry

Chef Wylie Dufresne, the owner of New York City restaurant wd~50, experiments with food, literally. He has lab notebooks detailing what certain chemicals do to certain dishes. One of his signature dishes is a spin on eggs Benedict: he found that creating the plate's centerpiece--a cube of fried hollandaise sauce--required a lot of scientific testing. Science Friday stopped in at Dufresne's kitchen to see how he prepares the dish.

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