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July 8th, 2011

Magical Microbes Winner at UMass, Amherst

Pic 1: Sona getting ready to do an experiment in Derek Lovley’s lab at UMass, Amherst; Pic 2: Sona and mud battery; Pic 3: Sona and Ashley Franks in the lab; Pic 4: Guided by Graduate Student Jessica Smith, Sona performs an experiment in the lab; Pic 5: Sona visits animal lab at UMass.


July 8th, 2011

Super Stuff for Sports Winner at the School of Polymers & High Performance Materials

Pic 1: Peyton playing golf; Pic 2: Peyton and Daniel Savin (Assistant Professor of Polymer Science & Engineering) in his lab at the School of Polymers & High Performance Materials; Pic 3: Peyton and Olivia McNair (AGEP Scholar – Chemistry, PHD Candidate – Sports and High Performance Materials);
Pic 4: Peyton in Daniel Savin’s lab; Pic 5: Peyton in Daniel Savin’s lab; Pic 6: Peyton and Daniel Savin (Assistant Professor of Polymer Science & Engineering) in his lab at the School of Polymers & High Performance Materials; Pic 7: Peyton and Daniel Savin (Assistant Professor of Polymer Science & Engineering) in his lab at the School of Polymers & High Performance Materials.


May 16th, 2011

Meet the Spritzer Wizard

KSC Team

The Spritzer Wizard is what Merrie, a Harry Potter fan, named her musical instrument.
Check out the tubes which recycle water from the tin cans back to the spray bottles. Bart and Merrie were able to tune the instrument to a scale. Bart even played the Ode to Joy on it!! Surprisingly, some of the larger cans have higher notes. I’ll bet Merrie will explain that to you in a future posting.

The Spritzer, Merrie Benjamin, her dad and the KSC team!

In the rear of the photo, left-to-right: musical instrument designer Bart Hopkin, Blair Benjamin – Merrie’s dad, Jim Metzner – producer of the Kids’ Science Challenge, and in the foreground, Merrie Benjamin and the finished prototype of the Spritzer Wizard.


May 1st, 2011

Magical Microbes Winner Announced!

Congratulations to Sona Dolasia for winning the Grand Prize for her entry in the Kids’ Science Challenge Magical Microbes category. Here’s her entry:

“One of major problems these days is that there is not enough fresh water in the world. Today we use desalination in some pats of the world to solve this problem, but it is super expensive and takes a long time. My idea of using a microbe called lithotrophs may not only work faster but it would also be cheaper, so every one could afford it. Lithotrophs are microbes that can eat the salts in stones and rocks. If we could modify these just like how scientists modified bactria to make ‘bacafilla’ (the new cement glue) to eat salts in the ocean instead. It may work. However, since we don’t know if they are harmful to humans we would need to test them, and if they are maybe find a way to either extract them or modify them to self destruct after their job is done. I would love to work with a scientist regarding this problem.”


May 1st, 2011

Super Stuff for Sports Winner Announced!

Congratulations to Peyton Robertson for winning the Grand Prize for his entry in the Kids’ Science Challenge Super Stuff for Sports category. Here’s his entry:

How does the temperature of the core of the golf ball affect the distance that the ball travels? My idea is to create a ball warmer which would keep the core of a golf ball warm. If players place their ball inside the warmer until they begin to play a hole, they would be able to hit the ball consistently in any temperature. I asked my Dad how golf balls are made. We cracked open a golf ball and then googled how golf balls are designed. Our research told us that, while some golf balls have two and others have three layers, all golf balls have a hard plastic outer shell and a rubber core. Next, I researched how temperature affects rubber. I learned that the rubber inside a golf ball allows the ball to “bounce” off of the golf club. Therefore, at impact, the ball has an elastic collision during which energy is transferred from the club to the ball. There is a second collision when the ball bounces on the ground. It seems that this kind of energy is called kinetic energy. Balls with warm cores have more bounce: they are more elastic. Balls with cold cores have less bounce: they are inelastic. Warm balls have a greater ability to flex during a collision with the club and there fore transfer more kinetic energy to the ball. The warmer the core, the more elastic it becomes, and the farther it travels when struck. I spoke with my science teacher, Mrs.Graf, about kinetic energy and my ideas about how to test my hypothesis. She helped me understand that I had to keep all of the variables constant in my experiment except for the temperature of the ball. My Dad helped me to put up our tallest ladder–10 feet– so the height was constant. We taped a tube to the ladder which allowed me to drop the ball the same speed every time-so the velocity was constant. Finally, we strapped a tape measure to the ladder to consistently measure the bounce. My dad and I called Callaway golf to ask if they could mail just the core of the ball, but they said they could not do that. So, we took some hedge trimmers and cut away the outer plastic covering from three Callaway golf balls. We heated one ball on the stove to 100 degrees F, cooled one ball in the freezer to 26 degrees F, and kept one ball at room temperature. I dropped each ball 10 times from the ladder. “


May 1st, 2011

Sensational Sounds Winner Announced!

Congratulations to Merrie Benjamin for winning the Grand Prize for her entry in the Kids’ Science Challenge Sensational Sounds category. Here’s her entry:

My musical instrument is called the water spritz. It is a group of spritz bottles full of water. If you pull the handle which makes the water come out, the water is sprayed into a cup. Depending on what the cup is made of , it will make a different sound. It doesn’t make the sound if the cup already has water in it. The necessary vibration to make the sound never vibrates if it’s full of water. So I decided to put tubes which lead back into the spritz bottle. The sound is always clear and you never run out of water. The vibration in the water hitting the cup makes the sound. This instrument is also good because recycled bottles make it work, so you don’t throw away the bottles, but instead make a cool instrument. Everything is connected by metal planks.”


February 15th, 2011

Year 3 Deadline Approaching!

Kids' Science ChallengeThe Kids’ Science Challenge deadline is February 28, 2011!
Get all entries submitted as soon as possible. It’s EASY!

  1. Research the 3 science topics
  2. Create your one-of-a-kind idea
  3. Submit your entry (submit online or download the entry form [PDF: 8 pages, 2.71MB])

October 8th, 2010

KSC with the Girl Scouts

Kids’ Science Challenge was proud to partake in the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles’ Annual Family Science Festival on Sunday. The event was themed “Imagination Meets Innovation”. Held in association with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the event brought over 2,000 Girl Scouts and their families to a fun-filled day of exploring the wonders… of science, technology, engineering and math. It was an amazing day!


August 25th, 2010

Take the Floppy Flyer challenge!

The Floppy Flyer challenge came from an idea by Kids’ Science Challenge winner Olivia Smith Donovan. She noticed how maple seed pods slowly twirl to the ground and wondered if their design could be used to deliver emergency packages. Click here to learn more about Olivia.

You can create your very own flying invention, When you take the Floppy Flyer Challenge, you’ll make your own paper flyer based on nature’s design of maple seed pods. Then, you’ll test how fast your Floppy Flyer flies to the ground and write down your results. Click here to get started!

Floppy Flyer 1 Floppy Flyer 2


May 27th, 2010

L.A Outreach

KSC Team

Throughout 2010, we’re doing KSC science outreach workshops for kids in the Los Angeles area. This project is made possible by the American Honda Foundation.

Check out some images from the previous workshops: [...]

L.A. Outreach

L.A. Outreach

L.A. Outreach

L.A. Outreach

L.A. Outreach

L.A. Outreach

L.A. Outreach

L.A. Outreach