Ruxz_M-rbu5hJUPoenSULdy6Wzk The Science of My Life: 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday for great Science gifts!!

I just finished ordering from Tinker Crate.  I am excited to see if their kids' engineering boxes will work for cousin Christmas presents this year.  Their Black Friday deal for 60% off and free shipping is a great introductory offer.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

ISU Science Methods Class at the Challenge Course

Well, class last night was awesome!  We spent three hours on the CSI Challenge Course covering important topics in Experiential Learning.  It was so great!!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Space Camp for Teachers! Scholarship Opportunity

Please...someone apply for this scholarship and go for me!!  This is a dream opportunity, but the scholarship guidelines are very specific and I do not qualify.  Darn!!  Good luck to you though!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

International Observe the Moon Night Sept 6



For the fifth year in a row, visitors around the globe are invited to get close-up views of our nearest celestial neighbor.  This year’s International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN), on Saturday, September 6th, will offer curious moon-gazers the opportunity to see the moon’s mountains, craters, and volcanic plains through telescopes at over 300 participating observatories and science centers world-wide.


CSI’s Centennial Observatory at the Herrett Center for Arts & Science will be open from 8:30 to 10:30 PM, offering views through the fully wheelchair-accessible 24” Norman Herrett Telescope, as well as smaller telescopes at a variety of magnifications.  Admission is free.


Weather forecasts are calling for clear skies with lows in the 50s Saturday night, so visitors are encouraged to dress warmly, as the observatory dome is not heated to preserve the best viewing conditions.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

City of Rocks Star Party almost here!!

The Herrett Center and Magic Valley Astronomical Society will team up again for another ‘dark sky’ star party on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 22 and 23 at Castle Rocks State Park near Almo. The annual event lets people enjoy sky views that are not washed out by city light.
The seventh annual City of Rocks Star Party will start at 2 p.m. each day with solar viewing at the Smoky Mountain Campground at Castle Rocks State Park until 6 p.m. This park is located about one mile southwest of the town of Almo. Visitors are encouraged to camp overnight at the campground. State park fees apply but the event is free of charge and open to everyone. Nighttime sky viewing, at the Lodge site, will begin at 9 p.m. and run until midnight, weather permitting.
For more information about the event, please call the Herrett Center at 732-6655 or visit the website at

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Lego Scientists!

We are a family that loves Legos.  We have plastic tubs full of all kinds of sets and sizes.  Our sons have their favorites still built on their shelves, even though they are 19, 17, and 13.  I use Brick Labs in my science outreach visits and camps.  We have been to Legoland twice in California, and when Don and I visited Denmark a few years ago, we contemplated getting to the original birthplace of Legos in Billund.  We even like the Lego Movie because Everything really is awesome and Will Ferrell is a favorite.

So it is fun to see their attempt to bring recognition to scientists that may actually be female.  Read the Scientific American article that makes some good points as we move forward.  Legos celebrate imagination, teamwork, and innovation.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Migrant Summer School Visit

I love the opportunities I have to spend time with students in the summer.   One of my favorite visits is with the kids at the Migrant Summer School program.  The teachers are so good with the kids, and the kids love to learn in an informal setting. 

This past week we talked about how to do science outside outside.  We played my favorite I Spy game where students hide a picture of an animal in plain sight, and I have to find it.  We talk about camouflage and survival adaptations.    Then we made paper helicopters and talked about how nature has invented the coolest maple seed samaras!

We learned about animals in their neighborhoods and school yards.  I love using the animal and plant card sets, and soon those sets will be available to teachers to buy from the CSI bookstore.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

CSI Star Party with the Magic Valley Astronomical Society

We had a great time last night at Pomerelle Ski Resort looking through some awesome telescopes.  The Star Talk by Chris Anderson was so interesting, and he prepped us for some cool sights.  My favorites of the night were the views of Saturn and it's moon, Titan.  But at exactly 9:34 PM, Chris directed our attention to the Vega star, and he said we would see a bright flash of light lasting no longer than 4 seconds.  Because a satellite was moving a solar panel at that moment to reflect the sun, we would see an "Iridium Flare".  On cue, it was in the night sky.  The volunteers from the Magic Valley Astronomical Society worked so hard to make the event successful.  We live in a great place.  If you missed this one, the City of Rocks Star Party in August should be even better.

  • City of Rocks Star Party 
o    August 22, 2014 and August 23, 2:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Join us for our 7th annual City of Rocks Star Party.  Solar viewing at the Smoky Mtn. Campground, Castle Rocks State Park, 2:00 to 6:00 PM.  Dark sky telescope viewing, Ranch House, 9:00 PM to midnight or later.  Park entry fees apply.

Co-sponsored by the Magic Valley Astronomical Society

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Defying Gravity at the CSI Ropes Course

This is becoming a favorite place for me to visit.  The CSI Ropes course is one of the largest in the West, and the elements are great fun and scary to boot.  With professional and supportive staff, I always now that I will be challenged in an effective way.   Here are a few pictures from my visit last week with the Mini-Cassia Chamber Leadership class.

Pep talk from Christa.  I'm not buying it!

Taking a leap of faith!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

21st Century Grant Teaching Day

The summer science fun continues as I spent some time with teachers and students in Twin Falls.  They have partnered with CSI to coordinate a summer school program full of STEM activities!    My topic for the day was FOOD so we focused on food chains, webs, energy transfers in an ecosystem, and my favorite...dissecting owl pellets!  The students were amazed to find so many bones in each pellet, and they better understood the role that predators play in the environment.  Thanks to a great team of CSI faculty that provided 2 weeks worth of science for these great kids!  Partnerships with K12 schools benefit kids of all ages and I am grateful to be involved. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer is a time for SCIENCE unplugged!!

I have been involved with some great activities with local kids this past week.  CSI Science Camp teachers hosted the Food, Fit, and Fun in the Park program for 130 kids and their parents in Burley.  The theme for the summer reading program is Fizz, Boom, Read, and we focused on Science and the Arts.  Our stations included da Vinci and his flying machine, colors, and the water cycle.  I appreciate the teachers and other sponsors like the 4H clubs and library volunteers.  It was a great day!

We made paper helicopters under a maple tree.  The samaras were great examples of perfectly adapted flyers in nature!  And they make great mustaches!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Backyard Games Contest

This came through on my FB wall, and I wanted to share it with others.

A few weeks ago, we played Pin-aqua in the backyard!   Great idea~ but it wasn't original so I don't think we can submit the idea.  Get out and PLAY!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

iSTEM under way at CSI

Teachers from across the state have the opportunity to attend one of 6 iSTEM conferences this summer, and they are all awesome!   Yesterday I watched the presentation  from Art Benjamin, a Mathemagician that really knows his numbers!

If you are a K12 teacher in Idaho and you haven't heard about iSTEM, please check out their page on the State Department of Education.  Registration opens in March every year, and they are full in a matter of days.  It is free, and teachers walk away with great tools and resources to use in their classrooms.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Let's have a Maker's Faire!

Who's with me?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Camp Team Pictures

This is the last post for the Burley Science Camp.  I have to say that everything turned out really well, and we had the most ever campers participate.  I had a great team of teachers from Minidoka and Cassia school districts, and they ranged in grade levels from 1st-7th.  I am so glad they choose to be camp teachers each year.

Here are the rest of the campers.  Next year we will probably split them up into smaller groups.  We had so many register the first day that our classes were big!  That's a good problem to have, but it made some of the projects and experiments harder to get through in the time that we had.  Always something to improve each year!  See you at the Science Camps in July!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Wrapping up the GAMES in Burley

We had a great day outside at Science Camp.  The Junior Campers learned about solar energy, and the power of light.  They made solar ovens and used special paper to do art projects with help from the sun.   I am so grateful for Rosie Davids and UI 4H Club members for hosting these 15 lucky kids!

Most of the kids went on a Math Hike.  OK....that sounds pretty sad but each station gave the campers an opportunity to learn something about numbers, patterns, or measurements you can find in the natural world.  My favorite was probably fibonacci hopscotch, but I also loved watching the kids tell stories about their "tree cookies" by counting the rings and learning about life cycles.   They used binoculars and magnifying glasses to look for the smallest of creatures, and I am glad the weather cooperated.

The oldest campers had their turn building the robots out of electric toothbrushes.  Of course these kids totally planned to use these in their mouths so that they didn't have to manually brush.  I told them it wouldn't be the best idea.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A great rainy day for the egg drop!

Well, when we pass out the evaluations tomorrow, I think I know what everyone will write in as their favorite activity.  The kids design capsules or contraptions that can keep a raw egg safe during a drop from, say, a fire truck bucket ladder.   This morning I looked at the forecast and it said the weather would clear by the afternoon.  At 2 PM it was still drizzling, but the firemen came anyway and it was AWESOME!  And the weather did clear, so there!  In other news, we started the Junior Science Camp with 4H Rosie and they had all kinds of fun learning about dinosaurs and volcanoes.   We have one more day and then you will have to wait for the Gooding and Twin Falls Science Camps in July.