Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Tree Science!

Ever wonder how Christmas trees stay green for so long? Learn a few facts in this mini-episode, guest-narrated by cousin Nuala.

Monday, December 10, 2012

On the Lookout for Shooting Stars

As we get ready for Episode #3, we thought we'd present you with a few seasonal mini-episodes.

Mid-December is the time for a sky event called the Geminid Meteor Shower. Meteor showers happen when space dust and bits of rock enter the Earth's atmosphere. They are named for nearest bright star or constellation (group of stars) in which they appear: in this case, the constellation Gemini. This year, the Geminids will peak on December 13 and 14, with possibly hundreds of meteors an hour lighting up the sky.  If we're lucky, and the sky is dark enough wherever we happen to be, we can see these meteors—also known as shooting stars—because they catch on fire as they enter our atmosphere, streaking across the night sky. Of course, the sky is never truly dark in the city, because of all the lights on buildings and along highways. But that doesn't mean it's impossible to spot shooting stars!

The above video shows what the Geminids looked like last year, northeast of the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland. It was shot by our friend Robert Cobain of Meteor Logbook. How many meteors can you count?

If you manage to see any shooting stars this week, write in and tell us about them!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Presenting: Episode #2!

In mid-November, City Science Kids visited the Brooklyn Brine pickle factory in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY.  We learned about the science of pickle-making (did you guess that was the theme of the episode?). Have a look at the video to learn all about pickle-making, too! And be sure to visit our friend Shamus, at his factory and online.

Pickle-making has a long history, world-wide and in New York City, where pickles were originally introduced by Dutch immigrants. Here are two photos from the New York Public Library archives of pickle vendors on Orchard Street in Manhattan, from about 1934. The Lower East Side "pickle district" once was home to about 80 pickle merchants!

Be sure to write in and tell us what YOU know about pickles. Does someone in your family make pickles? Do you have a favorite kind? Let us know!

Videography by Amy Sirot

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Final Clue!

Here's one last clue for all you City Science buffs. Have you guessed the theme of Episode #2 yet? Take a good, hard squint at what's in the big bin pictured below...

Monday, November 19, 2012


...Clue #3! Don't be shy, take a guess – what's the theme of the second episode? Remember to go back and look at all the visual clues, and to think about what rhymes with last week's clue word. (You'll find the answer to that at the bottom of this post. Don't look unless you're absolutely, positively, 100% sure you want to give up!!) Keep your eyes peeled for one more clue, and also Episode #2, coming right after the holiday!! Happy Turkey, everybody!

What could these possibly be???

(The answer to last week's word clue is: nickels. Sshhhh....)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Clue #2!

Yes, the headline rhymes, but rhyming won't help you solve the Mystery of the Theme of Episode #2. Unless you happen to know a seven-letter word for multiple small units of American currency. Here's a little visual assistance. Are you getting any warmer?

Monday, November 12, 2012

We're Getting Ready...

...for Episode #2! To help you get ready, too, here's a little clue. Hmm, whatever could it mean? Take your best guess and write in with a comment. And stay tuned for more clues!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

And Now, the Answer to Those Clues. Presenting: Episode #1!

Are you ready to discover what those four clues were building up to? Get ready for...Elevator B!

Here are a few more facts about this project:

Silo City is a group of grain elevators and warehouses in Buffalo, New York. In the 1930s and ‘40s, barges would bring wheat from farms in the Midwest. They traveled across the Great Lakes and into Buffalo’s harbor. There, grain elevators would scoop the wheat up; they did this with a series of buckets that were attached to a conveyor belt. The wheat would be stored inside these elevators.  Later, it would be shipped along the Erie Canal to other parts of New York State. Some of it would even be shipped across the ocean to Europe.

Silo City was largely abandoned for many years. But in 2006, a man named Rick Smith bought some of its buildings. (His company, Rigidized Metals, actually made the stamped panels you see in the film.) When he discovered bees living in one of them, he knew he wanted the bees moved, unharmed. He wanted people to be able to see the bees up close, to study them.

So, he held a competition with the University of Buffalo. Ten teams of architecture students competed to be able to build their design for a new bee house. The winning Elevator B team was made up of five students: Courtney Creenan, Kyle Mastalinski, Daniel Nead, Scott Selin, and Lisa Stern. Not only did they design this 22-foot tower, they spent 3 weeks making it themselves. It was installed in the summer of 2012.

Many people have come to see the bees’ new home. And from all reports, the bees love their new digs!

To find out more about the project visit the hive city site.

All photos and footage courtesy of Courtney Creenan & Kyle Mastalinski.

Special thanks for this episode to Joyce Hwang, Anne Seidlitz & Amy Sirot. And of course, to Ada Grazia Cowan!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Today's Clue!

Photo courtesy of Kyle Mastalinski

Are you getting warmer? Don't forget to go back and look at the other clues I've posted these past two weeks! Leave me a note when you are ready to guess what Episode #1 is all about.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Clue #3

With the debut of Episode #1 drawing ever closer, here is a third clue about its subject:
Photo Courtesy of Kyle Mastalinski
Are you ready to guess what it might be? (Hint: don't forget to look back to the two clues I posted here previously...Now are you ready to guess?) More clues – and Episode #1!!! – coming soon!

Monday, October 15, 2012

This morning: a little eyeball bender

Photo courtesy of Kyle Mastalinski

Is it tall or is it deep? Is it empty, or full? Have you guessed what this could be? Write in if you have! If not, stay tuned for more photographic clues as the countdown to Episode #1 continues…

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Coming soon!

We're working hard to put together our first City Science Kids installment. Stay tuned for fun and excitement – any day now!

While you wait, here's a little hint about what's in store with Episode #1: