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Kid Scientists Blog!

June 5th, 2012

Kids’ Choice Awards

Each year the Kids’ Science Challenge receives many creative, unique and well thought out drawings. These drawings convey some great ideas. Our judges have selected their favorite drawings. And they are here for you! But we want to know what you think. Vote for your favorite. The student whose drawing receives the most votes wins prize! Vote now!


June 1st, 2012

Last Day in Houston

On our last day we slept in and ate breakfast at IHOP. Then we headed over to Kemah Boardwalk to ride on the park rides. We all rode the double-decker carousel,

and then hopped right in to a gondola on the ferris wheel. We also rode the super high flying Aviator and a little train that took us all around the park. We also got to visit a Stingray touch tank, which was neat. They were kind of splashy but we did get close enough to touch them. They are very slippery and rubbery.

We decided to ride the Aviator again when we noticed the shuttle that was being ferried from Florida to Houston was arriving in the harbor. We craned our necks to see the approaching shuttle. It was amazing. We had heard that it was arriving for a “shuttle-bration” in Houston that afternoon and were so excited to catch a glimpse of it. When we road on our next ride, we could still see it as it moved down the river. It was really big.

At last, it was time for us to head to the airport. We made a stop at a restaurant called Yum Yum Cha and had dim sum (which is when you order many little dishes of food and all share). There was a lot of traffic in Houston but we made it to the airport in time to catch our 5:30 flight. We got home around 12:30am. I felt like I could sleep for twelve hours! (and I did!)

I am so thankful for Jim Metzner for taking us to Houston and to the judges for choosing our project to win. I had a fantastic time. I can’t wait to tell my science teacher all about it!


May 31st, 2012

Space Center Houston

Bright and early we met Jim Metzner at our hotel. He gave Isabella, her dad and me a ride to NASA. There we met Wes, the cameraman, who would be taking video of our visit. After we had our microphones situated we met a mechanical engineer, Jeff, who began our tour. Our first stop was at the remake of the Apollo 13 Mission Control Center. He then led us to a demonstration space module where people are trained for their trip to space. We even got to go inside! Then he showed us his area of expertise- a space toilet! We toured the Habitability Design Center where they design mockups of future space stations.

My favorite part of the tour came next, the Food Lab.  We met Vickie Kloeris, the manager of the lab. Here is where food is tested and freeze-dried for outer space. Not only did we get to take a tour, but we also got to taste-test space food. It wasn’t in tubes or anything, but was warmed and ready to eat.  Most of what we tried was actually quite delicious. My favorite out of the 32 was the Mac n’ cheese.  It is important for the astronauts to have food similar to what they have at home so they don’t get home sick.

After taste testing, we were showed how they prepare food for space. Isabella and I put on gloves, hairnets and masks to package brownies for space. These brownies won’t actually go to outer space but hopefully they will make the trip back to Asheville safely so I can show my family.

Our tour of NASA ended at lunchtime.  We met my mom and we all headed over to Fuddruckers for lunch and to meet one of the contest judges, Jay Niel. He was really funny.  We enjoyed our yummy hamburgers and then drove to the Space Center Houston. We had a great time. We explored the Science of Fear exhibit, which included displays of fear of loud sounds, fear of animals, and fear of many other things.

Then we had the opportunity to watch a demonstration of Life in Space. I was chosen to help with the demonstration, which was a lot of fun because I had just learned so much about space life at NASA.

I helped the presenter demonstrate how astronauts store their clothing in drawers (with a net so they don’t float away), how they sleep strapped in to a space bed. It was like a sleeping bag stuck to the wall with a Velcro strap across my head. I also helped explain how a space toilet works. Thankfully, she didn’t ask me to demonstrate that. She showed us how astronauts shower in space, which is more like a wipe down with a damp cloth. Lastly, she explained to the audience how astronaut food is packaged and how an astronaut prepares it in space. I liked helping with the demonstration. She gave me photos of astronauts who are right now living on the space station.

We then took a tour of the Starship Gallery. Jay pointed out a very sparkly red, white and blue vest that was worn by Gene Krantz, the NASA flight director of the Apollo missions. It was neat to hear his story because he the Krantz family.

After a visit to the gift shop and buying a few souvenirs for my brother and sister, we decided we needed a little rest before dinner and went back to the hotel. We met Jim for dinner at a local Houston restaurant called T-Bone Toms. Glenda Johnson, one of our NASA tour guides, joined us for dinner too. There was live music Houston style! What a day. We walked back to our hotel, which was just around the corner, and fell asleep.


May 30th, 2012

First Day in Houston

We woke up very early to catch our 5:30am flight out of Asheville. The whole flight Isabella and I were yawning but we stayed awake because we were so excited to get to Houston.

When we landed we drove to our hotel, which was very close to the Kemah Boardwalk and had many rides and restaurants. After eating a yummy lunch at the Lighthouse Buffet we decided to visit the Museum of Natural Science in Houston. My favorite part of the museum was the butterfly exhibit. We walked through a garden of trees and plants while butterflies landed on us. We saw some very beautiful butterflies. We ate dinner downtown Houston at a park called Discovery Green. Houston is hot so we played in an outdoor fountain in the park. We got pretty wet, but it was fun. We also took lots of pictures by a really big modern art sculpture. After we watched an outdoor yoga class and even joined in for a little bit, we decided to head back to our hotel. We wanted to have a good night sleep and be ready for our early visit to NASA in the morning.


May 25th, 2012

KSC in the Warnsdofer Gazette!

I also wrote a news report about the KSC after interviewing Mr. Metzner, the creator of the KSC, and several friends in my school about their love of science and experience with the KSC. My teacher, Mrs. Taylor, told me that she will put this news report in our school newspaper, Warnsdofer Gazette. I am looking forward to seeing it.

Kids' Science ChallengeSCIENCE IS REAL MAGIC!
By Joshua Yi , Third Grader at Warnsdofer, East Brunswick, NJ

Did you ever do experiments like Thomas Edison did? Did you ever wish you could work with scientists to make your project become a reality? If you do, then the Kids Science Challenge (KSC) is perfect for you. The KSC is sponsored by the national science foundation is a free national wide competition for third to six graders. This year, more than 1,400 kids submitted their entries in the three categories — Zero Waste, Animal Smarts, and Meals on Mars. The grand prize winners in Meals on Mars, Isabella St. Onge and Carlisle Patete, proposed to use centrifugal force to create gravity, solar panels to provide light, and a large supply of water and soil to produce food on Mars. The grand winner in another category, Animal Smarts, Mason Ganoung, designed a bird feeder that only two birds working together can open. Joshua Yi, the grand prize winner in Zero Waste, designed a package that can be transformed into a part of the toy inside. Each of them got a chance to work with scientists to make their project a reality

At Mrs. Mazza’s class at Warnsdorfer Elementary school in East Brunswick NJ, everybody loves science and working on a KSC project was very fun. Mrs. Mazza says KSC is great because it makes kids think more about science and start to like science. Benjamin Hong, a finalist in Zero Waste in Mrs. Mazza’s class says “the KSC is cool because you can design and make new things.” Prathit Sanjay, another finalist in Meals on Mars says, “The KSC is awesome because of it’s prizes [a chance to work with scientists].” His idea is shared by Fiona Liu, who worked in the category of animal smarts. The whole class received science kits and celebrated for one grand prize winner and two finalists.

Mr. Jim Metzner, the creator of the KSC says, “Science is real magic!” His tips for a winning project are the project has to be “original” [your own idea, but your friends’ or your parents’], but “simple” [it should be doable]. So get ready and be a mad scientist as we always do! Check out the next year’s KSC contest at http://www.kidsciencechallenge.com/

 

 


May 24th, 2012

Post-trip back to New Jersey

When we got to Penn station, we took the express train home. Those two days have been quite an adventure with lots of surprises. After I got back to my school, I told everybody what I did in the NYC trip. I also brought in the wood name carving for a show and tell. Everybody liked it. My friend, Andrew, liked it so much that he wished that he could go to Caraustar to make one with his name on it.

My Highlights with the KSC

  • On the day I was informed that I was the grand prize winner in Zero Waste, I was overjoyed running around the house (non-stop!!!).
  • It was hard to keep it secret before the official announcements (very, very hard!!!)
  • Lots of gifts had come. They are spectacular – maybe you cannot find some of them in the store.
  • The Peter and Starcatcher Broadway show was a hit!
  • The Intrepid was awesome!!!

Everybody has been super nice to me and my family. Thank you to everyone, including Mr. Metzner, Mr. Mahler, Mrs. Tufariello, and Mrs. Sanders. My mom also told me that Megan and Susan helped made our trip a wonderful experience! It is amazing that Susan knows what favorite things I want to do in NYC!! My parents also told me that I shall say thank-you to those sponsors who sent me wonderful educational gifts.

 


May 23rd, 2012

Joshua, you have to decide what you want to do today…

May 23rd, 2012: “Joshua, you have to decide what you want to do today, Intrepid or pizza tour?” My mom asked me the moment I woke up.

Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum It indeed was a hard decision. After some debate, I chose to go on the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum built on an old aircraft carrier. Once we were on the carrier we saw two models of the carrier. I also liked the 250,000 piece LEGO model of the carrier complete with planes, hangers, “elevators”, turrets, and the island (which all are from when it was in action, in this case, World War II). Then we saw some planes in a hanger including Douglas Devastators with an old torpedo, an F-86 Sabre, and an F-14 Tomcat with missiles and machine guns. Then the fun roller coasters rides and a war memorial came. I especially liked the XD 4-D “roller coaster” it was a huge movie screen that simulated an alien world. It felt like a real moving roller coaster because the seats were shaking so hard. It also was very realistic because of the 4-D vision glasses and I could almost feel like I was there. After that we went to the G-force simulator in which you drive a plane in a cube shaped simulator and the simulator follows through turning and twisting, in other words, pretending you are in a plane. Dad and I were very bad pilots — we kept banking hard to one side and flipping over. Honesty, I don’t want to pilot a fighter plane because it is too “risky”. When it flips upside down, it can be very scary. The cool part is that even through it was a simulator I could almost feel like I was piloting a real plane with missiles and machine guns. Then we went to the deck to see the airplanes. On the way I saw lots of powerful gun turrets. On the deck I saw an A-6 Intruders, F-14 Tomcats, an A-12 Blackbird, and an F-16 Fighting Falcon. My favorite plane was the F-16 because it was agile, had powerful weaponry, and was very, very fast. Every plane besides the A-12 Blackbird supersonic reconnaissance spy plane is outfitted with Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles, radar missiles, and powerful machine guns. Then we went to see the submarine Growler.

The second I saw the submarine, I knew I had found something I liked. The Growler was the first US ballistic missile submarine along with his sister Greyback to carry. The first thing I noticed was the Regulus II missile as if it was preparing to launch the missile. When we went inside, the first thing we saw was two missile hangars which could hold a total of four missiles. The guide told us that if just one of those missiles detonated in Time Square the impact would destroy New York, part of New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The missiles were as big as airplanes and unlike the modern tomahawk and Polaris missiles, the submarine has to surface to fire the missiles and while modern submarines have advanced nuclear fission engines, the Growler has a regular diesel/electric engine.

After we saw the front torpedo room, we proceeded down to the crew quarters where more than 100 people slept, ate and played games. Then we saw the bathroom and the showers. Boy, did they look disgusting! The toilets had moss and fungi growing on it. Then we saw the officer’s quarters which did look a lot better than the things we saw before. Even through it looked better, I still don’t want to be a submariner. Soon, we got to the periscope and conning tower it seemed very cool to have a safe and interesting way to look outside. Then we got to the diesel/electric engine we saw the aft torpedo room.

 

May 23rd, 2012: “Joshua, you have to decide what you want to do today, Intrepid or pizza tour?” My mom asked me the moment I woke up.

May 23rd, 2012: “Joshua, you have to decide what you want to do today, Intrepid or pizza tour?” My mom asked me the moment I woke up.

It indeed was a hard decision. After some debate, I chose to go on the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum built on an old aircraft carrier. Once we were on the carrier we saw two models of the carrier. I also liked the 250,000 piece LEGO model of the carrier complete with planes, hangers, “elevators”, turrets, and the island (which all are from when it was in action, in this case, World War II). Then we saw some planes in a hanger including Douglas Devastators with an old torpedo, an F-86 Sabre, and an F-14 Tomcat with missiles and machine guns. Then the fun roller coasters rides and a war memorial came. I especially liked the XD 4-D “roller coaster” it was a huge movie screen that simulated an alien world. It felt like a real moving roller coaster because the seats were shaking so hard. It also was very realistic because of the 4-D vision glasses and I could almost feel like I was there. After that we went to the G-force simulator in which you drive a plane in a cube shaped simulator and the simulator follows through turning and twisting, in other words, pretending you are in a plane. Dad and I were very bad pilots — we kept banking hard to one side and flipping over. Honesty, I don’t want to pilot a fighter plane because it is too “risky”. When it flips upside down, it can be very scary. The cool part is that even through it was a simulator I could almost feel like I was piloting a real plane with missiles and machine guns. Then we went to the deck to see the airplanes. On the way I saw lots of powerful gun turrets. On the deck I saw an A-6 Intruders, F-14 Tomcats, an A-12 Blackbird, and an F-16 Fighting Falcon. My favorite plane was the F-16 because it was agile, had powerful weaponry, and was very, very fast. Every plane besides the A-12 Blackbird supersonic reconnaissance spy plane is outfitted with Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles, radar missiles, and powerful machine guns. Then we went to see the submarine Growler.

The second I saw the submarine, I knew I had found something I liked. The Growler was the first US ballistic missile submarine along with his sister Greyback to carry. The first thing I noticed was the Regulus II missile as if it was preparing to launch the missile. When we went inside, the first thing we saw was two missile hangars which could hold a total of four missiles. The guide told us that if just one of those missiles detonated in Time Square the impact would destroy New York, part of New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The missiles were as big as airplanes and unlike the modern tomahawk and Polaris missiles, the submarine has to surface to fire the missiles and while modern submarines have advanced nuclear fission engines, the Growler has a regular diesel/electric engine.

After we saw the front torpedo room, we proceeded down to the crew quarters where more than 100 people slept, ate and played games. Then we saw the bathroom and the showers. Boy, did they look disgusting! The toilets had moss and fungi growing on it. Then we saw the officer’s quarters which did look a lot better than the things we saw before. Even through it looked better, I still don’t want to be a submariner. Soon, we got to the periscope and conning tower it seemed very cool to have a safe and interesting way to look outside. Then we got to the diesel/electric engine we saw the aft torpedo room.

 

It indeed was a hard decision. After some debate, I chose to go on the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum built on an old aircraft carrier. Once we were on the carrier we saw two models of the carrier. I also liked the 250,000 piece LEGO model of the carrier complete with planes, hangers, “elevators”, turrets, and the island (which all are from when it was in action, in this case, World War II). Then we saw some planes in a hanger including Douglas Devastators with an old torpedo, an F-86 Sabre, and an F-14 Tomcat with missiles and machine guns. Then the fun roller coasters rides and a war memorial came. I especially liked the XD 4-D “roller coaster” it was a huge movie screen that simulated an alien world. It felt like a real moving roller coaster because the seats were shaking so hard. It also was very realistic because of the 4-D vision glasses and I could almost feel like I was there. After that we went to the G-force simulator in which you drive a plane in a cube shaped simulator and the simulator follows through turning and twisting, in other words, pretending you are in a plane. Dad and I were very bad pilots — we kept banking hard to one side and flipping over. Honesty, I don’t want to pilot a fighter plane because it is too “risky”. When it flips upside down, it can be very scary. The cool part is that even through it was a simulator I could almost feel like I was piloting a real plane with missiles and machine guns. Then we went to the deck to see the airplanes. On the way I saw lots of powerful gun turrets. On the deck I saw an A-6 Intruders, F-14 Tomcats, an A-12 Blackbird, and an F-16 Fighting Falcon. My favorite plane was the F-16 because it was agile, had powerful weaponry, and was very, very fast. Every plane besides the A-12 Blackbird supersonic reconnaissance spy plane is outfitted with Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles, radar missiles, and powerful machine guns. Then we went to see the submarine Growler.

The second I saw the submarine, I knew I had found something I liked. The Growler was the first US ballistic missile submarine along with his sister Greyback to carry. The first thing I noticed was the Regulus II missile as if it was preparing to launch the missile. When we went inside, the first thing we saw was two missile hangars which could hold a total of four missiles. The guide told us that if just one of those missiles detonated in Time Square the impact would destroy New York, part of New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The missiles were as big as airplanes and unlike the modern tomahawk and Polaris missiles, the submarine has to surface to fire the missiles and while modern submarines have advanced nuclear fission engines, the Growler has a regular diesel/electric engine.

After we saw the front torpedo room, we proceeded down to the crew quarters where more than 100 people slept, ate and played games. Then we saw the bathroom and the showers. Boy, did they look disgusting! The toilets had moss and fungi growing on it. Then we saw the officer’s quarters which did look a lot better than the things we saw before. Even through it looked better, I still don’t want to be a submariner. Soon, we got to the periscope and conning tower it seemed very cool to have a safe and interesting way to look outside. Then we got to the diesel/electric engine we saw the aft torpedo room.


May 22nd, 2012

Certificates, Congratulation Letters, Prizes, Gifts, and Surprises

After the work was done, Mr. Metzner presented me with the official certificate. A congratulation letter from the GreenBay was also presented. I got some fabulous prizes! Here are some examples — three bags, two water bottles, two notepads, two pens, some terraskin (paper made from rocks!!), and more! My parents said that I was spoiled!

The first Surprise was Broadway Tickets of Peter and the Starcatcher for my whole family!!

A big thank-you to Susan — Peter and the Starcatcher is one of my favorite books.

After a fine dinner, we went to see the show Peter and the Starcatchers in which Peter and Molly Aster try to prevent the starstuff from falling into Black Stache’s or Fighting Prawn’s (the enemies) hands. First, Peter and Molly set sail on a broken down ship — the Neverland, while the great starcatcher, Leonard Aster sets sail in the queen’s finest ship, the Wasp piloted by captain Scott and designed to sink the Sea Devil, the ship of the feared pirate in the world — Black Stache. When the Wasp is captured by the Sea Devil, Peter and Molly realize that the starstuff (a substance that makes you intelligent, have the power to fly and the ability to be very happy for a long time), which is supposed to be on the Wasp is on the Neverland and they need to destroy it before Black Stache finds it. Then Peter and Molly get separated on the island of the mollusks where another adventure begins … When they get on the island of mollusks, Peter finds Molly and Fighting Prawn, the leader of mollusks who wants to feed them to Mr. Grin, a huge alligator that has a big appetite for humans. When Black Stache arrives on the island, Peter beats him in a sword fight and the starstuff is destroyed. The show was absolutely humorous and funny. I laughed a lot. But, the book is even better. So if you have not read the book, you should borrow it from your library.

 

 


May 22nd, 2012

Joshua, it is going to be a great, great day today

May 22nd, 2012: “Joshua, it is going to be a great, great day today,” I told myself on the way to NYC by train. Can you imagine working with scientists, making your ideas come to life, and having a great city tour in the Big Apple? That’s what I am going to do today and tomorrow!!!!

My family met Mr. Metzner, Tony (the Camera man), and Mr. Mahler at the subway station in NYC. Away my dad and I went to our first stop at Caraustar at the Old Brooklyn Navy Yard. My mom and my younger sister went shopping.

the sketch of the plotterAt Caraustar, Mr. Mahler and I designed my box design on the computer. It was amazing how you could “draw” on the computer! We revised and edited some glitches in the schematics. It was strange how the box would look when it was layout flat. After we drew the boxes we programmed the huge plotter to cutout the boxes. The plotter was a 2-yard by 1-yard square machine that looked like a small printer connected to 2 computers. There were 3 cylinders with tools that could cut, crease, and fold. There was also a small targeting laser. The plotter can do its job with great precision — it made everything exactly the right dimensions. It was also very efficient — it took less than five minutes to make my box, as complicated as it might be. It turned a regular 26” paper into a sophisticated box (see the sketch of the plotter on the right).

Have you ever seen a laser cutter? If you haven’t, then go to Caraustar Industries. When the plotter was cutting out other copies of the box (we needed several copies in case there were mistakes or one of them broke), Mr. Mahler, Mr. Metzner, my dad and I went to see the laser cutter. The laser machine was 5ft. tall, 3yd. thick, and 7ft. long. It moved on treads and cut through wood, metal, and more. It featured a targeting laser, a cutting beam, a computer system, and a 2200 watt generator. It was awesome how when they turned on the laser machine smoke and fire poured out as the burned wood smell drifted around. As a gift they burned my name in the wood like this. It was very generous of Mr. Mahler to give my younger sister, who was touring NYC with my mom, a wood name carving as a gift. You cannot imagine how happy she was when she received this in the afternoon.

I also learned how to make puzzles at Caraustar. They made puzzles by molding steel into the shape of the puzzle pieces and put it into the puzzle board. Then you have to press wood into the board filled with metal which cuts the wood into puzzle pieces. When I saw the puzzle board filled with metal, I considered it art rather scientific engineering. It was amazing cool how they made every single piece different shapes. After the plotter was done cutting, together we drove to Design and Source.

the cover of the finished boxAfter a delicious lunch at Design and Source, I showed Mr. Metzner, Mrs. Sanders, Mrs. Tufariello, Mr. Mahler, and my dad my designs I made at Caraustar industries. Then we listed all the things either I needed or wanted to be on the box cover. Some of the things we listed were advertisements, race decals, and warnings (e.g. XX). Then we started to design the graphics. For the drawings I drew two of my monster trucks racing each other with an advertisement in the middle saying “This box can turn into a racetrack!” Then I put warnings in the corners and a checkerboard border against a neon green background. It was cool how the cars looked like they were racing each other and how everything stood out from the bright green. Here is a picture of the cover of the finished box.

 


May 4th, 2012

Meals on Mars Winner Announced!

Congratulations to Pickled Cucumbers (Isabella St. Onge and Carlisle Patete) for winning the Grand Prize for their entry in the Kids’ Science Challenge Animal Smarts category. Here’s their entry:

“Our idea is that if you build a capsule-shaped ship, that spins, it would create gravity using centrifugal force. You could then be able to grow plants normally, without genetic engineering. You could also put animals in the ship, such as jackrabbits and worms. You would put clay and dirt, on the inside edge, then plant vegetables in the ground. There would be a donut-shaped water tank in the center, that would be long, and tall enough that the astronauts would be able to eat and sleep in it. The water would also create a shield from ultra violet storms. There would be solar panels on the outer rim of the ship, so that LED lights would be able to be powered to provide light for the plants. Since the rabbit reproduce so quickly, they would serve as food and their waste would create extremely fertilized soil. Some of the vegetables on the ship could be cucumbers, corn, and sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are great because you can eat every part of them. The corn can be harvested normally, and would be good to feed the rabbits. The cucumbers would be a fine idea to bring along because you can eat them as a raw snack and can preserve them by turning them into pickles, using brine. These vegetables can be stored in a storage tank, in the back of the ship. It would have an extra layer of clay to protect the food from UV rays. A smaller ship would be in the storage, so that when the astronauts get to Mars, they can send it out to find a safe place to land. It would have a drill on it, so it could explore the Red Planet.

We came up with this idea when we researched centrifugal force, and what plants are best for space. Origanally we were going to design powdered beverages, but it wasn’t what we bargained for, so Isabella asked her parents if there was a way to make gravity in space. They told her about centrifugal force. She has had rabbits before and knew how good for space they would be. I love worms and researched about how they fertalize the dirt. The space ship was first designed with a drill on it, but that had more than a few problems, so we made a smaller ship to survey Mars’ terrain. We remembered that NASA is looking for a new ship idea, so we decided to make the ships capsule-shaped, instead of the retired shuttle.”

See where Isabella and Carlisle traveled, in order to work with scientists to carry out his experiment!

View all of this year’s winners and finalists.