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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 15th, 2011

Thank You

This was such an amazing experience. Thank you to all those who helped make my trip and adventure even more wonderful. Here are those people and companies. Bart Hopkin, Jim Metzner, Stacy Bond who set up the KQED event , Doug the photographer, my awesome science teacher Ms. Benton, Daddy, my amazing friends and family, the Kids Science Challenge team and staff (everyone that works for the KSC), the Exploratorium of San Francisco which let me visit for free, the Cowgirl Creamery which gave me a gift certificate, the Station House Cafe which also gave me a gift certificate, the 3 hotels that I stayed at (the Inverness Valley Inn, the Radisson Hotel and the Marina Motel), Pine Cobble School (which is the school that I have been going to since I was 4, and which has been so supportive), and Point Reyes Outdoors which offered a sea Kayak tour.

Also thanks to the organizations and companies that provided prizes for finalists and helped fund the Kids Science Challenge.


May 15th, 2011

Exploratorium and KQED

On Tuesday I went to the Exploratorium. It was the most amazing science museum EVER. Everything that was there was an experiment that YOU had to operate. I can’t tell you what my favorite experiment was because they were all amazing. Bart Hopkin, the scientist I worked with on Monday, even had something in the sounds exhibit! 

After we went to the Exploratorium we went to the KQED public radio and television station where Jim Metzner was doing a presentation called a Science Cafe. Jim talked about his radio show Pulse of the Planet. I brought my prototype for the Spritzer Whizzer and explained all about it. The best part about it was that I wasn’t on the regular attendee list because I was a special guest! I had a wonderful time.


May 10th, 2011

Working With Bart

Yesterday I met Jim Metzner and Bart Hopkin. I was filmed practically the whole day. Bart and Jim are crazy super nice. The first thing that we did was talk about sound and how different sizes and types of materials create different sounds. To demonstrate, Bart made a marimba out of pieces of wood and towels!

After that we planned what we were going to do to make my instrument. It is called the ” Spritzer Whizzer”. As you may have seen if you’ve read my earlier posts, my idea was to spray water into cans or cups and have the water drain back into the spray bottle. Once we were done planning we got to work. The first thing that we did was experiment with tin cans. We found cans that made a Do-Re-Mi scale but we needed to tune a few of them.You can learn how to tune the cans by reading one of my earlier posts. After we found the right cans we tried to figure out how to attach tubes. That was hard but Bart had some really good ideas like cutting the tubes at an angle and using epoxy glue to make sure that the water didn’t leak. Because we had to glue some of the tubes and they needed to dry, we thought that it would be a good time to go eat lunch. So we all (me, Bart, Jim, daddy, and Doug) hopped in a car and went to a deli.

When we finished lunch we went back to work. Now we needed to figure out how to mount it. Bart had the good idea to use pipes to hold up the cans and then velcro the spray bottles to the plank of wood. It really worked! We made the instrument in two pieces beacause it needed to be portable. One piece had Do, Re, Mi, and Fa. The other one had So, La, Ti, and high Do.

After that I had two interviews, one with the local newspaper in Pt. Reyes and one with the San Francisco Examiner, which we did using Skype.

We finished the instrument after the interviews and spent some time playing it. I tried to play Heart and Soul, and I didn’t have enough notes, but most of it worked. Bart played Ode to Joy.

Then my dad and I went back to our hotel to get cleaned up and meet the animals that lived in the farm part of the hotel at Inverness Valley Inn. After that, daddy, Bart, Jim, Doug and I went out for dinner. Yum! It was a great day.

I’ll have pictures or video and more information to share another time, but now we’re going to San Francisco.


May 9th, 2011

Off To Meet Bart

I just got back from breakfast and while I was at the bakery I happened to run into Jim Metzner who organized the Kids Science Challenge. Now I am off to meet with Bart. I am SO exited! Thank you to those who sent me questions. I will make sure to post the answers when I am finished with my work with Bart.


May 8th, 2011

Best Day

Today was amazing. First I had a yummy breakfast. Then, I went to (as you know) McClure’s Beach. After that we went swimming and then we went to eat lunch. Thank you Cowgirl Creamery! After that we went shopping for Mothers’ Day. Happy Mothers’ Day mom! Next we went to another part of the National Seashore. When we got there I walked a little ways along the beach but the tide started to get high, so we went to see the Elephant Seals. They were so amazing! We could look at 4 up close, or we could look at hundreds from a distance. We looked at both. If you want to learn more about Elephant Seals than you can go to this link. Today was one of the best days ever!


May 8th, 2011

McClure’s Beach

I just had an amazing time at McClure’s Beach. I explored tidepools and climbed huge rocks. I realized that there are so many different kinds of seaweed and I saw one starfish. I saw many many sea urchins. I just came back to the hotel for some swimming and now I’m going to eat lunch. After that I will go to another part of the National Seashore. I will take lots of pictures. Here is a picture that I took of the beach.

Tomorrow I am meeting with Bart, so if you have any questions about sound, music, or my project, then now is the time to ask.  I am having such a good time! Well, off to eat lunch.


May 7th, 2011

Thank You Pine Cobble Third Grade

Hi everybody! I went to sleep last night at about midnight Eastern time and woke up this morning at about 5:20 Pacific time. Oh the time difference! I just got back from an amazing breakfast of malted waffles. Yum! Now I am getting ready to go swimming. After we go swimming I am going to Chinatown. Then I am heading for Point Reyes.

My classmates and my science teacher, Ms.Benton, sent in some very good questions.  It was very nice of them to spend time thinking about my project. They got me thinking about a lot of other questions like (for example) how does the sound change in outer space. Thanks to my friend Darlie (whose question was about how height affects sound) for helping me think about the outer space question. I wish I really could go to outer space to test it. You can send me your questions too.

Well, off to go swimming! Bye!


May 6th, 2011

Off To The Airport

I’m off to the airport. I am so excited!  What’s weird is that we’re flying to Boston and then San Francisco. Boston is east of here so it doesn’t make any sense. Well, I’m about to leave, so bye!


May 5th, 2011

Tin Cans

Hi.  Bart Hopkin sent me an activity to do with tin cans. Why tin cans? Because my musical instrument is spraying water into cans and cups so hitting is pretty much the same. What you do is you bang on a tin can and if you want to tune the cans, you can. If you want the sound to be higher then press down on the can with a hammer. If you want the sound to be lower then you should add some adhesive putty. To play it you should bang on it with a spoon, chopstick, or a pencil. I tried it out and it is SO fun. You should try it. If you have any more questions then you can ask them in the comment section, I can ask Bart the questions, then post the answers on my blog. Iam leaving tomorrow and you can catch my next post then. I am so excited!