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Friday, June 30, 2017

Communicate Like a Bee! Code a Message in Dance

Did you know that bees dance to communicate with each other? It's true! Scout bees collect information on where the best food sources are and bring this news back to the hive. They then do a series of dance moves in which the location of the food source is encoded.

Click on over to my guest post in the Storybook Summer series on the Rainy Day Mum blog where you can find out more about these fascinating bee dances. You'll also find some great picture book suggestions to read to kids about bees and their dances, in addition to a fun dance coding activity to try.

This post contains affiliate links, please see disclosures for more information.

Dance in Code Like a Bee

Create Your Own Dance Language

My post, Code a Message in Dance...Like a Bee, includes a free printable to help kids create their own coded messages through dance. It is a wonderful way to explore animal communication while honing coding skills.

Bee dances appear simple, but contain complex information. Older children will be fascinated by the specifics of these messages and how they can create moves that encode secret messages, while younger children might simply enjoy the idea of using dance to tell a story.

Dance in Code Like a Bee

You'll also definitely want to check out the picture book, Bee Dance, by Rick Chrustowski. It has great illustrations and explores the idea of bee communication in story form, easily understandable for children of any age.

Want to share the idea of bee dance with young kids? Here is a great PBS video from Sid the Science Kid all about the bee dance!

If you are interested in other books about the fascinating social lives of bees, you might want to find the picture book Are You a Bee? by Judy Allen.

Love insects? Here are some great insect themed citizen science projects perfect to try this summer.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Build a Pinhole Projector to View the Solar Eclipse!

Here is a quick DIY project to build your own pinhole projector. What is a pinhole projector? It is a simple device that allows you to project an image without looking directly at it. This is perfect for viewing a solar eclipse, since it is dangerous to look directly at the Sun, even when it is eclipsed. Building, designing, and engineering a pinhole projector is a great way to get kids engaged and excited to view the eclipse that will be visible across the United States on August 21st, 2017.

The design is simple and only uses a few materials that you most likely already have at home, in the kitchen or recycling bin. A great project for upper elementary or middle-school, or even younger kids with a bit of help from an adult.

Build a Pinhole Projector to Safely View the Solar Eclipse

This post contains affiliate links, please see disclosures for more information. 

You can find the directions for the pinhole projector on my guest contributor post on From ABCs to ACTs.

Build a Pinhole Projector to Safely View the Solar Eclipse

You'll probably also want to get some solar glasses, which can be purchased fairly inexpensively as well. (Regular sunglasses are not sufficient eye protection.) This way you can see how well your pinhole projector works, and then also view the eclipse through the glasses. Be sure to NEVER look at the eclipse with your naked eye, as it can cause permanent damage.

Solar Eclipse Glasses at Steve Spanler Science
You won't want to miss our post on the details of the solar eclipse and everything you need to know about safe viewing. You can also explore the concept of eclipses to really understand what is happening with this quick lesson idea.

Not only is it exciting that the solar eclipse will be visible this summer, but it also provides a great summer vacation learning opportunity. We are so excited about eclipse viewing! Be sure to learn more to see if you'll see a total eclipse in your area!