So much happens in the world of science each day. It would be difficult to sum up a year of scientific discoveries in one blog post, however I will attempt to share some of the stories I have found interesting this year. I have been writing about science in the news since September and I appreciate all of you who have read my posts. I hope that you have found the news interesting and have been able to use the resources and activities with your children or in your classrooms. For those of you who have been with me since day one, and those of you who haven't, here is the year end science news round-up. See something that interests you? Click on the links to see my posts on those topics.
I love wildlife, so often animal science catches my eye. From fish that "spit fireworks" to investigating how the shape of rhinoceros beetles' horns help them beat their opponents, scientists have been busy investigating animal adaptations. Who knew that bats could jam the echolocation of other bats to secure their food, or that fish exhibit play behaviors? Long-standing beliefs about animals changed when we discovered that giant father salamanders take care of their young, and new genetic mapping completely changed our classification system of birds! We also learned not to swim too close to electric eels, particularly if you happen to be a fish, unless you want to lose control of your nervous system!
It has been a great year for astronomy and space exploration. Just in the past few months NASA has launched the MAVEN spacecraft to study atmospheric conditions on Mars, and had an incredibly successful trial launch of the Orion spacecraft. History was made when the European Space Agency's Rosetta Mission put the Philae lander on a comet. The second of four lunar eclipses to occur in 2014 and 2015 occurred in October and the Geminid meteor shower lit up the sky in December.
Exciting advances in innovation including 3-D printing and the eruption of the "maker" revolution have kept me in awe throughout the fall. I have been inspired by the inventions by students like Ann Makosinksi's flashlight powered by your own hand. Not to mention the incredible medical advances 3-D printing has allowed for, especially in prosthetics for children and human organ growth. It even turns out someday we might all be printing out our meals on 3-D food printers. Robotics like "robochick" and "flipperbot"are being used in wildlife biology particularly with penguin and turtle monitoring. Technology is moving along at lightning speed!
|Photo credit: VanessaO|
Weather is often a topic of conversation and we've made some discoveries there, too. Our previous understanding of rain drops was blown out of the water when scientists found that some droplets travel faster than their terminal velocity! Students are designing their own weather balloons and participating in citizen science programs to help propel our understanding of weather patterns. Even birds and cows might help us to make predictions about storms and weather now that we understand more about them!
Children's language development and their exposure to musical training programs is linked? Scientists finally named Earth's most abundant mineral after half a century? Average citizens just like you are participating in citizen science projects like PenguinWatch? Dreadnoughtus, the largest dinosaur to ever be discovered, was named this year? Not to mention an over-abundance of acorns and pristine fossilized remains of carnivorous plants! Who knew?!
|photo credit: Jackie, Flick.com|
I probably was hungry when I decided to write about the trend of eating invasive species and how artificial sweeteners interfere with the beneficial microbes in our guts! Then the holiday season got me researching about pumpkins, Turkey genome sequencing and science experiments for Hanukkah and Christmas.
I have shared my observations and resources for studying snow crystals, animal tracks, oak ball galls, meteors and feeder birds. If you are still hankering for a science experiment to try at home after reading about all of this science, perhaps something with bubbles, milk, eggs and toilet paper rolls, driedels and spinning tops or poinsettias and candy canes will feed the need!
That just scratches the surface of all the science discoveries in the past four months. If you still have some space in your brain, hop on over to my "Extra, Extra! Read all about it!" page to see some interesting articles that I didn't have a chance to write about.
I hope that you all have a great New Year! Thanks for reading my blog! I'd love to hear from you- comment below or send me an e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org