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So far SciWorks has created 148 blog entries.

10 Things You Can Do for the Earth

Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22. Here are some ideas for things you can do to help the Earth! Buy a reusable glass or BPA-free hard plastic water bottle (and fill it from your tap or a container in your fridge). You’ll help reduce the number of plastic bottles that wind up in the landfill, as well as lessening the amount of petroleum we use (which is required in the manufacture of plastics). Purchase a reusable grocery bag, or, at least, refuse the store bag if you only bought a few items. Replace incandescent bulbs in your home with CFLs. Start composting some of your kitchen veggie and fruit scraps. (You can buy a small bin that fits under your sink!) Recycle more of what you use. For example, most people throw away paperboard (like cereal boxes and toilet paper rolls), but it's easily recycled! Turn off the water while you brush your teeth or soap up in the shower. Donate to an organization that is working to promote conservation and fight climate change! Turn off your computer if you'll be away for more than an hour, and unplug it at night to help defeat those energy vampires. Raise your thermostat's AC temp by even just one degree in the summer (and lower the heat one degree in the winter). Let your dishes air dry rather than using the "heated dry" setting on the dishwasher. And there are so many more small things you can do that add up. Remember, the ocean is big, but it's made up of drops! Mark your calendars! SciWorks is excited to be hosting a booth at the 10th Annual Piedmont Earth Day Fair on Saturday, April 25, from 10 [...]

Science of Sound Day at SciWorks

It's time for the N.C. Science Festival, and we are having a "Science of Sound" Day at SciWorks, in conjunction with the Winston-Salem Symphony and the Children's Museum of Winston-Salem. Download the Science of Sound flyer here.   Strike, Shake, and Scrape: The Science of Percussion Instruments 10:30 am-11:05 am 11:25-Noon (repeat session)  Science of Sound 2015-1 Join the percussionists of the Winston-Salem Symphony for an exploration of the science behind drums, marimbas, cymbals, triangles, maracas, and the wide variety of instruments that make sound when they are struck, shaken, or scraped. Audience participation will include playing with drums and building percussion instruments to take home. Sounds All Around 10 am-1 pm Visit activity stations and learn about the inner ear, sound waves and vibrations. Make music with traditional instruments and natural objects, while learning and having fun! Enjoy a "make & take" musical instrument craft, too! Instrument Petting Zoo 11 am - 1 pm Test your musical skills as you play percussion, string, brass, and woodwind instruments provided by volunteers from the Winston-Salem Symphony. All Science of Sound activities are included with SciWorks admission (and FREE to SciWorks Members). SciWorks is also offering FREE admission during the event to all CMWS Members and Winston-Salem Symphony Subscribers. Please bring membership/subscriber identification.

Dwarf Planet News

By Bruce Gavett As a SciWorks volunteer in the Planetarium, I often get questions about the “dwarf” planets, the round objects that orbit the sun just like the eight major planets, but are not large enough to gravitationally clear their orbital path of most or all other celestial bodies. Pluto, which was once known as the smallest planet in the solar system and ninth from the sun, was downgraded to dwarf planet in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union and is now the best known of the dwarf planets. Ceres, the only dwarf planet in the inner solar system, has also been in the news quite a bit lately. Dawn at Ceres Composed of rock and ice, Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt, which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Last Friday, March 6, the robotic Dawn spacecraft arrived at Ceres, becoming the first spacecraft to orbit a dwarf planet and the first spacecraft to orbit two solar system objects. Dawn spent a year orbiting the asteroid Vesta back in 2011 and 2012. See NASA Spacecraft Becomes First to Orbit a Dwarf Planet. During Dawn’s approach to Ceres, two mysterious white spots have appeared in the photos.   We may have to wait a few more weeks to find out more.   Dawn is now “spiraling down” to a lower orbit where it will take more readings and images starting in late April. New Horizons at Pluto On Sunday, March 8, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft burned its engine for 93 seconds to make a slight course adjustment. It essentially “tapped its breaks” to slow down just over one meter per second. It is traveling at a speed of 14 ½ km per [...]

Creek Week! March 14-22

SciWorks is celebrating Forsyth Creek Week — March 14-22, 2015 — with several activities, including a special Water Awareness Day and a free teacher workshop. Activities during Creek Week are designed to help children and adults draw the connection between local waterways and our quality of life. During Creek Week, come visit the "Water's Extreme Journey" traveling exhibit at SciWorks. Sponsored locally by Winston-Salem/Forsyth County City/County Utilities, City of Winston-Salem Stormwater &Erosion Control and Duke Energy Foundation, this  exhibit blends art, science and action and immerses you in the subject by making you a raindrop susceptible to the whims of human activities. In addition, SciWorks will be hosting special Creek Week activities, including: Otter Animal Encounters on March 14 and March 19. PIPP Squeaks Preschool Science Class — What's in the Pond? on March 17. Water Awareness Day for elementary school students on March 17. School groups must pre-register by contacting Christy Ferguson at (336) 714-7105 or [email protected] Science Storybook — Playful Slider: The North American River Otter on March 18. Free Educator Workshop — Wow! The Wonders of Wetlands on March 21. Contact Kelli Isenhour for more information and registration at (336) 714-7106 or [email protected] This is the third annual Forsyth Creek Week, a county-wide initiative organized by the City of Winston-Salem Stormwater/Erosion Control Division, Forsyth County Extension Service, Village of Clemmons, Town of Kernersville, the City/County Utility Commission, Forsyth County Public Libraries, Forsyth County Parks & Recreation, Forsyth County Environmental Assistance and Protection, City of Winston-Salem DOT, the Audubon Society, the Gateway Environmental Initiative, Keep Winston-Salem Beautiful, Old Salem Museums and Gardens, SciWorks, the Sierra Club and the Yadkin Riverkeeper. There are activities planned throughout the city, such as paddle-boarding lessons, creekside bird-watching [...]

SciWorks Repair Fair Is February 28

Don't toss that broken bicycle or VCR! It could be useful in the future, so  bring it to the SciWorks Repair Fair, and watch-and-learn while stuff gets repaired! On Saturday, February 28 from 1-5 pm, SciWorks will have "fixers" available to help teach you how to fix electronics, small appliances, guitars, motorcycles and more. While we can't guarantee that your item will get fixed, we can guarantee you'll have a good great time and learn something new! Repair Fair is included with SciWorks' admission. Members are free. If you are interested in participating in Repair Fair as a volunteer "fixer," please contact Ally McCauley at [email protected], or call (336) 714-7109.

Information Session about Vapor Intrusion Monday, Feb. 9

With help from the Superfund Research Program in the UNC School of Public Health, a free informational session on vapor intrusion has been organized for Monday, February 9, from 6:30-8:30 pm at SciWorks. Lenny Siegel of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight will explain vapor intrusion, testing and remediation options. A panel of nationally-recognized experts including Siegal, Dr. Kelly Pennell of the University of Kentucky Superfund Research Program, and Kathleen Gray from the UNC Superfund Research Program will be available to answer audience questions following the presentation. SciWorks is located at 400 W. Hanes Mill Road in Winston-Salem. Siegel and Dr. Pennell will also be available to meet with media from 2-2:45 p.m. on Monday at the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem, located at 390 South Liberty Street in Winston-Salem. Download Vapor Intrusion Flyer PDF Expert Bios Lenny Siegel, Executive Director, Center of Public Environmental Oversight. Siegel is one of the nation's leading experts on vapor intrusion. For the past 16 years, he has been educating communities on the vapor intrusion process and technologies for cleanup.  In 2011, Siegel’s efforts were recognized nationally, with the USEPA's Citizen Excellence in Community Involvement Award. With support from the USEPA, he will travel to Winston-Salem to provide a free workshop on vapor intrusion. Phone: 650-961-8918 Email:[email protected] Dr. Kelly Pennell, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Kentucky Superfund Research Program. Dr. Pennell is a leading researcher in the area of vapor intrusion, with funding from the NIEHS Superfund Research Program and the National Science Foundation (NSF). For more than a decade, her research has focused on the interface of research, policy and practice, and her funding enables her to share science-based vapor intrusion information with communities such as ours. Dr. Pennell has graciously agreed [...]

Frozen Science Fun Day Is January 31!

SciWorks will celebrate all things cold and frozen on Saturday, January 31 from 1-4 p.m. during Frozen Science Fun! Day.   Visitors can participate in a variety of activities involving ice and snow at special stations throughout the museum. Activities will include “Make Instant Snow,” “Paint with Ice,” “Snowstorm in a Test Tube,” “Frozen Ghost Bubble,” “The Amazing Ice Melting Blocks” and more. Special guests Elsa and Anna will be available for a Meet-and-Greet in the SciWorks Little Theater from 1:30-3 pm. At 2 p.m., visitors can enjoy a Liquid Nitrogen demonstration in the Auditorium. All activities are included with museum admission (and free for SciWorks Members).  No pre-registration is necessary.

Water's Extreme Journey – Opens January 28

You'll engage through play, scientific inquiry, art and action as you "become" a raindrop, travel to the sea and learn how to contribute to healthy, safe water in your community and beyond in a new traveling exhibit at SciWorks. Water’s Extreme Journey opens January 28 - May 25, with  preview night for members on January 27 from 4 to 7 pm. “Water’s Extreme Journey transforms the visitor into a drop of water entering a watershed, and they voyage through rivers, lakes, wetlands and even their homes while facing challenges such as farms with pesticides or families who pour paint down the drain,” says Paul Kortenaar, Ph.D., SciWorks Executive Director. “Visitors will learn how to keep water clean through simple activities and be able to persevere through the maze so that their choices move them toward a clean ocean — all the while realizing that even their daily decisions can immediately improve the watershed in their own backyard.” Water’s Extreme Journey, developed with world-renowned marine-life artist Wyland, was created by Minotaur Mazes, a Seattle-based, worldwide traveling exhibitions company specializing in complete, interactive exhibition experiences within a maze setting. “Mazes engage both mentally and physically, and the tactile experience helps visitors retain ideas long after they have left the exhibit,” Dr. Kortenaar says. Interactive elements within the exhibit include a Zip Slide, Water Cycle Puzzle, Recycle vs. Trash, Urban River/Storm Drain, The Dirty Dozen and Wildlife Wheel. Teachers may use a Water’s Extreme Journey water curriculum that adheres to National Art and Science Education Standards. Each lesson includes an activity and is designed to be flexible and adapted for grades K-8. “Students have the ability to experiment with and study the different properties of water, conduct scientific [...]

Engineering Classes for Middle School Girls

Do you know a girl in grades 5-8 who is interested in engineering? Young Engineers of Today, with support from the Society of Information Managers (SIM), is offering a program at SciWorks to allow girls in grades 5-8 to explore programming and engineering. Students will use 3D Printers, Raspberry Pi computers and more to program games, create electronic trees and make wearable computers. The cost of this program is normally $492; however SIM support means you can enroll your daughter for just $50 ($442 savings).  This includes all the materials needed for class.  Scholarships are available for families who cannot afford the $50. For more information, visit http://www.youngengineersoftoday.com/spring-sim-class.html or call (980) 224-0430. What the  Students Use: 3D Printers Arduinos - microprocessor Little Bits Raspberry Pi - microcomputers Scratch SketchUp Snap Circuits Tinkercad Spring Semester Topics: 3D Printing Computer-aided Design Electronics Programming Raspberry Pi Robotics Wearable computing - Details Classes start January 20 and end May 16, 2015.  Labs start January 24, 2015.   Payment plans are available. This class is a hybrid program, meeting for a total of 48 hours over the course of four months.  Students will meet at SciWorks in Winston-Salem every other week for two hours to work on projects.  In addition to these labs, students will meet online twice a week with a live instructor, working on projects from home.  These webinars are recorded so your daughter can watch them at a later date.  Our instructors encourage students to contact them at any time via email or phone if they ever need assistance.  For further details and to apply for this program, please visit youngengineersoftoday.com. About Young Engineers of Today Young Engineers of Today was co-founded by Tom Dubick, a Science, Technology, [...]

Celebrating 50 Years of SciWorks

By Dr. Steve Feldman Happy 50th Anniversary Sciworks! As a long-time SciWorks board member and former adjunct faculty member for the science center, it is such a pleasure to recognize an important milestone for this extraordinary institution in our community. SciWorks is a place that has dedicated five decades to sparking visitors’ scientific interest and making learning fun in Winston-Salem. At the time of SciiWorks’ inception as the Nature Science Center, few could have foreseen how the science center and our greater Forsyth County community would change. It was the 1960s, and we were a community dominated by tobacco and textiles. Today, we are a diversified community with vibrant programs focused on the arts and sciences, and an economy focused on health care and technological innovation. As a physician-scientist who has lived and worked in Winston-Salem since the early 90s, my interest naturally gravitated toward the local science center. My wife and I often explored the museum as adults on a “date.” Originally from Washington, D.C., I was intrigued by the stories many of the “home-grown” scientists with whom I worked would tell about their school field trips and weekend outings to SciWorks, and they credited the museum with helping them gain an appreciation of science that influenced their choice of career. When my wife and I had children, we became SciWorks members, and SciWorks became a regular Saturday-afternoon destination for learning, exploring or just enjoying each other’s time together as a family. How wonderful that a mid-sized city in the 1990s had such an exciting museum and environmental park for families to visit! There were always many things my very busy boys loved to explore — from giant bubbles and race cars to planetarium [...]