Science in the Classroom

To see the post written by Mrs. Yollis and her class once a surprise package arrived...

Meet Walter the Wombat

Wombats, Marsupials and Joeys

Following the arrival of a friendly wombat to Mrs. Yollis and her class in California, I wanted to share a couple extra photos.

Wombat

There are three species of wombat still to be found in Australia.

In my area, we see the common wombat (Vombatus ursinus). They are herbivores and live in burrows. Normally, they aren't see during the day but can be seen venturing out at dusk. I have seen them in the daytime but this is unusual. Unfortunately, wombats are sometimes killed when crossing roads but groups such as WIRES plus the staff at Potoroo Palace care for joeys if their mother is killed. The fathers don't take part in raising young. The photo below is of an orphaned wombat joey. It was in the care of Potoroo Palace staff. Potoroo Palace seeks to return injured and orphaned animals to the wild if at all possible.

One of Potoroo Palace's greatest wildlife heroes, and a friend, is Alexandra Seddon. She has devoted her life to wildife and the environment. A documentary of her life and care for the environment was just released. Click here to see the short about Alexandra and someof what she has achieved.

Alexandra Seddon

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Wombats live in burrows.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Seems a little yucky but below is a photo of wombat droppings. They are easy to identify because they have a cubic shape.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

I realised I hadn't added a video clip of wombats to my You Tube channel so I have added a brief one showing Bert the Wombat taken at Potoroo Palace back in 2011.

Kangaroos and Wallabies

Most people know of kangaroos and the smaller wallabies. Not only are some species native to my area, they sometimes feed on my front lawn and are an extra obstacle for golfers at a local golf course. Also marsupials, the females have pouches. They are not all the large kangaroos we see on TV. Here are just a few species.

Parma Wallaby  (Macropus parma) Taken at National Zoo in Camberra, Australia's capital city.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

Tree Kangaroo Taken at National Zoo in Camberra, Australia's capital city. Yes it climbs. There are 12 species of tree kangaroo found in New Guinea and northern Australia. The photo is of a Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus goodfellowi) and is found in New Guinea.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) - Very common in my area and sometimes have fed on my front lawn. The first photo shows females and joey too big for the pouch at Potoroo Palace. The second photo is of a male in the wild. He was about my height (183cm - 6').

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

This photo below shows Alexandra Seddon at Potoroo Palace. She is holding a swamp wallaby (wallabia bicolor). I see more of this species of wallaby thank eastern grey kangaroos.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Here is one of the short videos I have made showing the Eastern Grey Kangaroo at Potoroo Palace.

Koalas

Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) rival kangaroos as the best known Australian animals. The first photo is of Suzie the Koala and the second of Blinky at Potoroo Palace in 2011. They were the parents of Sapphire. Blinky and Suzie passed away a few years back but Sapphire lives on a now is a mother. The video shares a little of Sapphire's life and includes her emerging from Suzie's Pouch. The video clip was made over two years from 2011 to 2013.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Did you notice Suzie has a much larger and more defined white patch on the chest? This is a feature of females.

Other Marsupials - Antechinus

There are so many marsupial species in Australia apart from wombats, kangaroos, wallabies and koalas, too many to show here but I thought I would add a little about one of the smallest marsupials. The photo shows a mammal expert holding an antechinus in his hand. It was taken when I was recording activities in a local biological/environmental survey.

Antechinus are the size of mice and are often mistaken for them but they are true marsupials and females have a pouched area to carry young. Antechinus have pointier snouts than placental mice (common mouse).

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2 Comments

To see Global Grade 3's original post click on this title Rock Museum.

Hello Grade 3,

Well, you have been studying something of great interest to me, although previous classes know many things interest me. Rocks, minerals and fossils can be fascinating. I thought I might share some photos of a few of my collection.

Hardness

Did you know geologists grade rocks for hardness on a scale known as the Moh Scale? It's a scale running from the softest at 1 to the hardest at 10. Here are photos of the hardness levels from my collection.

Moh 1 - Talc

Talc is a very soft rock. You can easily scratch with your fingernail. It's the stone used to make talcum powder. This is a very small sample from my collection and is only about 1cm across.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Moh 2 - Gypsum

A little harder than talc but it can still be scratch using your fingernail. I have plainer samples of gypsum but like this rose gypsum.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Moh 3 - Calcite

Calcite can be scratched using a copper coin. I liked this closeup photo of calcite crystals.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Moh 4 - Fluorite

These fluorite crystals can be easily scratched using a knife.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Moh 5 - Apatite

Apatite can be scratched using a knife.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Moh 6 - Orthoclase

Can be scratched by a steel knife.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Moh 7 - Quartz

Scratches glass.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Moh 8 - Topaz

Like the diamond, this topaz is lower quality and, by its shape and look, was found in a river or stream. Topaz can scratch quartz. Good quality topaz is used in jewellery.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Moh 9 - Corundum

Corundum scratches topaz. While I shared a rough topaz, I thought I would show you a small cut corundum gemstone.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Moh 10 - Diamond

This is a real diamond from my collection but it isn't worth very much because it is not gem quality. It is industrial quality because of its impurities. Diamond can scratch all samples in a lower moh scale.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 ABOUT FOSSILS

Back in 2012, I shared some of my fossils with an earlier Global Grade 3. If you want to see what I shared, here is the link below.

My Fossils for Global Grade 3

4 Comments

To see the Blogging Hawks original post...

Wonders Lead to Discovery

Hello Blogging Hawks,

I know the previous class has tipped you off I am likely to visit your blog and, despite being very busy making DVDs/CDs and helping my local schools, I just had to drop in a comment about your latest post. I wonder if you all suspected I would interested in this post? I know previous classes learned of my interest in many things and geology as one in particular.

What a brilliant activity! I will have to try your experiment myself and see what results I can find.

The questions you started with are fascinating in themselves.

How are they formed? I know you discovered chemicals can invade spaces and, if the conditions are right, allow crystals to grow. what a natural wonder!

How long does it take? I think you also realised how long depends on the conditions. They can take millions of years or you can make them in a day. Did you notice no two of your geodes were exactly the same?

Where do you find them? Over the years, I have come across crystals protruding from the ground and clusters on rocks. It seems a game of chance if you're in a spot known for crystals or geodes. When we do a search on the internet, we realise geodes can be found in many places around the world. Here is a Wikipedia link on geodes...

Geodes

Can you really dye them? When I was your age, I wondered the same question. Like in your picture, I had seen beautiful colours in geode slices but soon learned they weren't always natural.

Crystals can, of course, be naturally coloured. We know diamonds can be clear, blue, yellow, brown, green, purple orange or even pink depending on small defects or impurities*. Quartz can also be clear, purple (amethyst), yellow (citrine) and other colours. I don't have any dyed geodes in my collection as I prefer natural colouring.

*Here's a little information I found. Blue diamonds are blue because they have boron impurities. Boron is part of borax.

Below you can see photos of some crystals in my collection.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Quartz from Northern Territory, Australia

 

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Smoky Quartz

 

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Citrine Quartz from Brazil

 

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Iron Pyrite (Fool's Gold) from Australia's Northern Territory

Mr. B is certainly fabulous to bring in such an interesting experiment. I also liked the option to create a crystal snowflake. They may not look like a geode but each is special as, just like snowflakes and us, no two are exactly alike. That's what has interested me about geodes, each is unique even if they look almost exactly the same.

Look at the pictures below. Each is of a Brazilian geode in my collection. One has been cut in half while the other is complete. I decided long ago never to cut open the complete geode so what's inside remains a mystery. It could be incredibly beautiful but I treasure the intact geode. I wonder if any of you could resist cutting it open?

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Looking at your reflections...

Adam - You have shown what science experiments are often about. We take steps and wait to see
the results.

Shaye - I like your simile, "looks like a tiny city the way it sparkles". Good use of descriptive writing makes writing stories or explaining science easier to understand for readers and interesting.

Faith - You packed quite a bit of information into your comment. Adding "in my opinion" is a very good phrase. It tells readers the idea is yours and suggests others might have other ideas. You also introduced an idea, i.e. removing the yolks and albumin (white) from eggs to make them hollow. Did you know there are collections of bird eggs often found in museums, universities and even private collections? Collectors normally make small holes at either ends of an egg and blow out the contents. Can you imagine doing this for an ostrich egg?

Haya - Aquamarine may not be my birthstone but I do like the idea of making blue crystals. I like your suggestion it might be possible to make your name in crystals. I know it will work because you only need something for the crystals to grow on. Raindrops and snowflakes are the same, they need something to form on. In the sky, it might simply be dust.
On checking, it seems my birthstone is either topaz or citrine. I have citrine quartz in my collection. Here is a close-up photo of citrine quartz crystals

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Marcus - You have shown your knowledge of stones. Obsidian, volcanic glass, can be very dark and forms when lava, high in silica, cools quickly so minimal crystals form. I have seen natural obsidian in the crater of a volcano in New Zealand and have some in my collection (bought, not taken from the volcano as it isn't permitted). Below is a photo I took about 40 years ago on the edge of a crater in Mt. Tarawera, New Zealand.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Like you, I also like the reflection of light on crystal surfaces. What else is borax used for? Here is a Wikipedia link.

Borax

Liam - How interesting. You used green dye but your crystals seemed blackish. How could this be? Sometimes dyes can concentrate (get stronger) as the mix dries out or perhaps the crystals on your star were growing on something dark. I love mysteries. They encourage us to suppose what might have happened. Some of our great discoveries have come about when experiments didn't turn out as expected.

Riley - You have given a very good explanation of the process you used to make crystals. I also liked your suggestion the crystals looked life-like. Crystals grow as do we so it seems a little like life. Imagine if we were able to use time-lapse photography (pictures taken at regular times apart) to photograph the growth of your crystals then showed the photos one after the other as in a movie. We would see the crystals forming and growing.

Alvin - I liked your "wonder". The chemical reaction works quicker when in hot water. You can see this with sugar dissolving in water. If two of you each placed a spoon of sugar in containers of water where one had hot water and the other cold, I suspect you would find the sugar is dissolved more quickly in the hot water. What do you think?

Anita - I liked your use of "Step 1" and "Step 2" in your comment. Science, particularly chemistry, uses steps to carry out experiments. It looks like a cooking recipe. Follow the steps and you should bake a cake. Follow your class experiment and you should get crystals.
Why use borax? Borax dissolves easily in water and has water in its formula. Let's look at the chemistry involved...
Borax is sodium tetraborate decahydrate but I think it's easy to remember borax. The longer name tells us the chemical contains the elements sodium, four parts boron, and oxygen as well as 10 parts water. It's written like this...

borax

Na is sodium, B is boron and tetra tells us 4 parts, O is oxygen and there is also 10 parts water. It is a type of salt and can be found in crystal form. Below is a public domain photo of borax crystal I found through Wikimedia Commons. You can see borax can form crystals.

This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Aramgutang at the English Wikipedia project.

This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Aramgutang at the English Wikipedia project.

Carter - I like your explanation of the steps needed in order to carry out your class geode experiment. One of the keys to scientific research is recording information. Experimenters have to not only record what happens in an experiment, they have to record how an experiment was done. This is so other scientists can repeat an experiment to check the results.

Marah - I like your description of the appearance of your crystals. My imagination was sparked by the thought of a million cazillion crystals sparkling in the light. I know I enjoy the sparkle as light bounces off the facets (faces) of the crystals. I also liked your thought on what might happen if the borax wasn't completely dissolved. Science is full of "what if" questions and experiments to discover the answers.

Colby - How did the borax mix in with the dye? How and why do crystals grow on a pipe cleaner? What a great questions. It's good to be able to follow experiments but to wonder why things happen is real scientific thinking. Questioning why then finding answers is the sign of a mind full of curiosity.

William - I like your "wonder" thinking when you wondered if the crystals would continue to grow if you returned your geode to the mixture. I suspect, providing the chemicals aren't all used, the crystals would continue growing. Imagine filling and egg and making a solid crystal geode. Your idea made me wonder what might happen if, after the crystals have grown in the first borax/dye mix, the eggs were placed in a different dye colour/borax mix? Would you get two coloured crystals? Would the new mix dissolve the old crystals? Would the first crystals change colour? These questions could be a completely new experiment.

Sofie - Because of the photo, I can see your crystal star so I agree it is really cool. I also read your birthstone is sapphire. The area of Australia I live in is known as the Sapphire Coast. It's known for the colours of the sea and sky in summer. Below is a photo taken from a trail in my town.

  Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Did you know there is something known as the Moh Scale? It's used to describe how hard minerals are. At the very top at level 10 hardness is the diamond. Sapphire comes in at 9 so it is amongst the hardest.

MOH SCALE

Robert - It can happen in experiments. What was expected to happen doesn't exactly work out as planned but this has led to some good results. Perhaps you have used post-it sticky notes? They work so well because they can be stuck on, removed and replaced. Did you know the glue used was an unexpected result of an experiment? A scientist was trying to develop a very strong glue. The results of one experiment was the glue now used on post-it notes. He realised it was sticky enough to hold but could be removed and reused. I find science fascinating, especially when it finds something unexpectedly good.

Olivia - A couple people have written about their fake geodes. I find the "fake" idea interesting. If we were to accidentally spill chemicals on the ground and they seeped through the soil, found a space, and started to grow as crystals, would they be fake or real? People didn't try to make them but they could happen. Real geodes are ones made in nature but your geodes were made in class. Real or fake, aren't they amazing?

Thomas - I wonder if geodes can change? I liked your question. You now know natural geodes take much longer to form than the ones you made in class. Forming crystals can take a great deal of time and need the right conditions. Think of this unusual crystal idea. Diamonds can only be formed when deep underground under pressure and heat for a very long time. They are made of carbon. Can they change? Did you know they tend to only come near the surface when brought up by volcanic eruption? Being made of carbon, do you think some would burn up in the magma? Imagine burning diamonds.

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This is not a diamond. It's a glass replica. I can't afford to add a real diamond to my collection. 🙂

Thomas's thought may have been correct. If someone accidentally bumped the borax/dye mix when crystals started forming, the crystals might not form correctly. Also, using too little borax might mean crystals don't form correctly because there isn't enough of the chemicals. I like mysteries in science. It can be fun trying to find the answers.

Mani - Now there's an interesting idea, would the process work with laundry powder?
I looked up information about borates in laundry powder and found they have a number of effects to help in the cleaning process but no information about using borate detergent to make crystals. I think it might depend on how much borax was in the detergent. There might not be enough to have good crystal growth or possibly even the detergent might stop growth. That would need another experiment to find answers.

Saadia - It can be cool to experiment but I think the coolest part would be seeing how all of the geodes and stars looked at the end. Imagine having many crystal stars hanging in the sunlight. Light would be reflecting off them in so many directions.

Luisa - I also think your parents would be proud of what you have made. I know I would want to try the experiment again but remember to always have adult help when working with chemicals. When I have some time, I'm going to have to try to make geodes and stars just like your class. I wonder how they might look?

Prayers - I'm glad your class mentioned making either geodes or stars. I might have though of geodes but not stars. I wonder what other shapes I could make? Would I be able to join the shapes to make crystal patterns?
I also liked your question as to whether you could make crystals without the borax. You can also try using salt or sugar. Dissolve salt or sugar in warm water and allow the water to evaporate off in the sun. Small crystals would form but I think you would find your borax crystals are larger.

Aleah - Your curiosity asked you questions I also found interesting. Would the eggshell inside be white or would the dye have changed the shell to colour? I suspect there might have been some change of colour but that's a guess. I would also guess they feel like real crystals because they are real crystals you just happened to grow.

Bryan - I wonder how the borax turns to crystals? What a great "wonder". Chemistry, the way chemicals can work together, is very interesting. The borax dissolves easily in water and then crystalises out again. How?

HOW CRYSTALS FORM

Without dye, the borax would form white crystals. Look at the picture posted for Anita and you will see what natural borax crystals look like.

Oliver - I like your description of the snowflakes being uncanny. Uncanny means 'unnaturally strange 'but we know crystals form naturally. I also find them uncanny because their sometimes beauty seems unnatural.  Examining crystals and other stones under a magnifying glass or microscope can unlock some amazing images. I don't have a microscope but I did take some close up photos of some of my small crystals in one of my geodes. The first photo shows the geode and the other three are close up photos.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

There are so many wonders in our world and so many I have yet to discover. All we need do is keep our minds and eyes wide open to the possibilities and our curiosity keen to know answers. Every day can be a learning experience just as reading your post and preparing this extended comment has been for me.

 

* * * * * * *

Crystal Art

While working on a CD for a choir, I had the television on in the background. I stopped work to look at one segment of the show because it was showing how to paint with crystals. I missed all the details but was able to search the internet and here is what I found...

You will need an adult to help you and...

epsom salt

hot water

food colouring

containers for your mixtures

spoon for stirring

paintbrush

art paper

What you do. Remember, you will need to have an adult help because of the hot water...

1. Mix equal amounts of epsom salt and hot water in a container, adding five to seven drops of food colouring or using no colouring for clear crystals.

2. Use the paintbrush to paint the solution onto the paper but move quickly as crystals start forming as the solution cools.

3. Repeat using different colours.

4. Wait for the crystals to form and paper to dry. It could take two to three hours.

* * * * * * *

Searching the internet, I found collections of images of crystal paintings...

Crystal Art Images

5 Comments

Hello Heather and Keira,

Firstly, let me apologise for taking two weeks to reply to your question. It has been a very busy time working on a project for a choir but I now have two weeks before the next project starts so it's time to catch up.

I now have another post for you but it may be challenging to understand some of its content. I have found the more I learn, the more I realise how little I know. Checking ideas and information for you and others when I write a post can often challenge my understanding but its by challenging ourselves to understand we can learn.

 

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Back on the "How did Earth begin?" post I tried to answer your challenge. Like all good enquiring minds, one idea can lead to another so, in the comments section, you added...

 In one of the paragraphs, we noticed that you talked about possible life on Mars. Keira thinks that over time, the sun will come too close to Earth, and Earth might shatter. That might be a possibility. There is one problem though. Martians could have died, but Mars didn’t shatter. Do you think that WE are Martians CHANGED into human?

Our minds can be a very powerful weapon against ignorance when we have curiosity and a will to find answers. This is particularly important for science as it tries to find the answers to questions. As lovers of science, your curiosity can lead you in all sorts of directions. I know mine does as I try to find answers. Let's look at a simple answer...

Do you think that WE are Martians CHANGED into human?

It's possible.

Too quick an answer?

Let's put it this way, I'm not comfortable completely ruling out many ideas. It is possible first life on Earth came from Mars but I don't think it's likely.

Here's some mind blowing maths for you. Just say you shuffled a deck of playing cards and put four down on the table...

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

When you put down the first card, the chances of it being a 7 of Diamonds is 1 in 52 because there is only one 7 of Diamonds in a deck of 52 cards. To then put down a 3 of Clubs, the chances are 1 in 51 because there were 51 cards left.  For the King of Spades, it's one in 50 and, for the 10 of hearts, 1 in 49. So what is the chance of dealing just those four cards in that order from any normal deck of cards...

The chance of dealing those exact cards in that order is only 1 in 6,497,400 ... (52 x 51 x 50 x 49 = 6,497,400). It's not very likely we would get those exact four cards in that order if we shuffled and dealt four cards again but it is possible. Of course, a magician or a card trickster could cheat to get the results over and over but then the cards aren't random.

This type of maths looks at probability, i.e. chances of something happening. If we only have one card and it's the King of Clubs, the chances of dealing a King of Clubs is one in one or 100%. The chances of dealing a 7 of Diamonds is zero in one or 0% because we don't have that card. Can't maths be amazing?

For really mind blowing maths, go to the end of this post where I work out the chances of dealing out all 52 cards in an exact order, at least if I have the maths correct.

Where Did Life On Earth Come From?

I know of two main ideas for the origin of life according to science.

1. The Primordial Soup

This idea suggests billions of years ago, chemicals became concentrated (thicker) in pools of water (the primordial soup). By chance, these chemicals were able to form amino acids (the basis of life including us). In time, they combined to make more complex compounds and eventually life. This process is known as abiogenesis.

The chances of life in this way would be seen as very unlikely but, if this process is correct, it did happen. Look again at the card example in "The REALLY Mind Blowing Maths" at the end of this post. The order of cards I dealt was very unlikely but it did happen.

2. Panspermia

Some theorists suggest life might have evolved elsewhere and was brought to Earth on meteorites (Panspermia). This might be better suited to the idea life on Earth started on Mars. If life had started on Mars, a meteor strike might have thrown Mars rock into space and it may have made it to Earth but, then again, life on Earth and Mars might have come from anywhere in space. Remember, if it was life, it would have been very simple, possibly single cells, not animals like us.

No, if you watch the video clip to the end, I don't believe aliens are experimenting with us. It is possible but very unlikely. 🙂

What does Ross think?

The first idea can explain how life itself could have started, whether here or somewhere else in the universe. The second suggests how life might have made it to many places in the universe. Think of it, life might have started in many places in the universe and been spread to the stars, or at least their planets.

Did Mars Once Have Oceans and Rivers?

One of the important resources for life as we know it is liquid water. There is evidence rivers, lakes and oceans once flowed on Mars but liquid water hasn't been seen on Mars. Much of the water was probably lost to space long ago. There is plenty of evidence water as ice is found at the Martian poles and growing evidence it is to be found in the rocks and soils so life may well exist there waiting to be discovered but don't expect anything like animals running around. It's very unlikely intelligent life ever existed on Mars but is likely life did and/or does exist.

You have questioning minds so I suspect you're wondering, what happened to the Martian oceans and rivers?

Here is a video looking at the way Mars may have lost much of its atmosphere...

You may have understood the idea energy from the sun (the solar wind) caused Mars to lose most of its atmosphere so you might wonder why this didn't happen here on Earth.

Why did Earth keep its thick atmosphere while Mars lost much of its atmosphere?

Let's first look at the photo I prepared for you. It's made by placing a magnet under a piece of paper then sprinkling iron sand over the paper.

 

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The lines you can see in the sand help us see the magnetic field of the magnet. You can see the lines run from one end to the other of the magnet. The Earth also has a magnetic field because of its rotating iron core in its centre. The iron core helps create a much stronger magnetic field than on Mars. It protects us from much of the solar wind. Think it of a little like an umbrella in the rain.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Earth's umbrella (magnetic field) is stronger than that of Mars so we get better protection. Below is a NASA diagram showing the magnetic field of Earth. If Earth's centre cooled and slowed reducing our magnetic field or solar wind became stronger, Earth would also eventually lose much of its atmosphere.

This NASA graphic was sourced through WIkimedia Commons where it is listed as in the public daomain.

This NASA graphic was sourced through WIkimedia Commons where it is listed as in the public domain.

 Keira thinks that over time, the sun will come too close to Earth, and Earth might shatter. That might be a possibility. There is one problem though. Martians could have died, but Mars didn’t shatter.

 Watch this video clip...

In this model of Earth's future, the Earth would eventually be pulled towards the sun and, in a sense, "shatter". Its matter would turn to plasma, a major part of the sun. I have shown Mars didn't lose much of its atmosphere because it shattered, it was lost because it didn't have a strong enough magnetic field to protect it in the way Earth is protected.

I found another video but it is harder for you to understand. It was made by a college student as an assignment looking at the life of the sun. At the stage where our sun becomes a red giant life would no longer be possible on Earth but we are looking billions of years into the future. In this model, it's not so much that the sun comes closer, it grows larger.

What will really happen in the Earth's future? Trying to find answers to what, how and why is the reason science is so interesting. We can observe, gather data, carry out experiments, discuss our ideas with others... When we have enough evidence, we can make an hypothesis (the next step up from an idea). If others find evidence supporting our hypothesis, it can take the next step and become a theory. Theories are the strongest ideas because they have much evidence to support them.

What's my idea about Earth's future? Perhaps when the sun starts threatening life on Earth, someone will press the reset button and the sun will return to a safer stage but that's even less likely than dealing the cards in the exact order below five times in a row. 🙂

The REALLY Mind Blowing Maths

Okay, the card maths at the beginning of this post seems mind blowing but it gave me an idea. If I was to deal out all 52 cards from a shuffled deck...

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

then shuffled the cards and asked you to deal them out in that same exact order, what would the chances be of dealing all 52 cards out one at a time in exact order without cheating or using magician tricks? Here would be the calculation...

Chance of dealing all 52 cards in an exact order = 52 x 51 x 50 x 49 x 48 x 47 x 46 x 45 x 44 x 43 x 42 x 41 x 40 x 39 x 38 x 37 x 36 x 35 x 34 x 33 x 32 x 31 x 30 x 29 x 28 x 27 x 26 x 25 x 24 x 23 x 22 x 21 x 20 x 19 x 18 x 17 x 16 x 15 x 14 x 13 x 12 x 11 x 10 x 9 x 8 x 7 x 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1

and what answer did I get?

The chances are one in ~80,658,200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,

000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

In maths, the tilda (~) is used to mean approximately (about).

The chances of dealing all 52 cards in an exact order is so small most would think it's impossible but I had done it the first time and, by chance, you might be able to do it but it isn't very likely.   🙂

4 Comments

Keira left a quality comment on a blog post.

What Stone Is That? - for Mrs. Yollis and class

Hello Keira,

Your rock has certainly caused much thought as we have tried to uncover its secrets. Science can be like that, a chance to uncover mysteries. After leaving a reply to Heather's quality comment, I found you also left a quality comment.

Here is a link to the information I shared with Heather...

What Stone Is That? - A Follow Up Post for Heather

This photo was supplied by Mrs. Yollis and class.

This photo was supplied by Mrs. Yollis and class.

Now for your comment...

Do I know why your rock looks amber on the outside?

From the picture, I'm not able to see the amber colour on the outside. It may be just the remainder of stone or dirt once surrounding your rock. Look at these photos. The first shows a collection of four geodes, one complete. The second shows a geode containing amethyst (mauve quartz). If you look closely, you can see the colours on the outside aren't always the same as the colours inside the geodes. There are other minerals probably once from the surrounding rock. Did you notice one in the top photo has a yellowish outside?

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

It's also possible some citrine quartz crystals might have started to form on the outside. The picture below shows citrine quartz in the paler rock. We can't be certain unless your rock is checked but, no matter what is on the outside, I found your rock very interesting.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

About Galena

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I like your description of galena. It does look a little like tinfoil. Tin (Sn) is an element as is the metal in galena. Galena is lead sulfide (PbS). It's where we get much of the lead (Pb) we use. Below is the heaviest sample in my collection. It's not the biggest in size but weighs 2500g (5.5lb). The gold coloured part of the sample is iron pyrite. It also contains zinc (Zn) but is mostly lead (Pb) in the form of galena. The small whiter patches on the lower left are quartz. The sample comes from one of my state's major mining areas, Broken Hill.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Click on GALENA and it will take you to a Wikipedia page on galena. You will see where it can be found around the world and in U.S.A..

How do you find out all these facts?

I have been interested in very many subjects over the years. When I see something interesting, I sometimes remember facts and information I think might be useful in an extended comment. As I write, I start looking for more information and learn as I go.

For geology, I have assorted books and I can also search online. I always try to check the information I share on blogs because I'm not an expert in any area. Like you, I'm a learner. I've just had more time to learn.

Where did you get all these rocks?

Most of the samples I have were bought in rock shops with only some being collected by me. Many come from countries I have never visited. As an example, the big round geode and the one cut in half beside it are from Brazil. While it can be fun searching for your own samples, collectors often have to buy samples of rarer minerals or ones found in other countries. I have been collecting stones and crystals since I was about your age. It's just a matter of keeping your eyes open  in many cases. Look at these...

The first sample caught my attention because I could see crystals in it. Could it be a geode waiting to reveal something special inside? Perhaps I might one day break it open to find out.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

This one is a geode from Queensland. You can see the crystalline mass in it. Perhaps cut and polished, it could look very good but I like it as it was found.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

This rock was very interesting when I found it. You can see it also has a yellowish exterior like your rock but some chips broken off the rock have revealed what could be agate. I suspect this sample could look very impressive if cut and polished. The material inside might look like your rock.  As I don't have access to a diamond saw to cut it, I keep it as it is, a mystery.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

A Hand Painted Geode?

"...Geodes, the first one looks interesting to me. The middle almost looks like it is hand painted. Was the middle polished or was it like that when you discovered it?"

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I must say this sample looks as though it's the work of an artist. What I believe has happened is, as different minerals have mixed as the crystals formed in a space, different colours were formed. In this geode, crystal growth has filled the space.

I saw this cut and polished sample in a rock shop. It was the pattern you noticed that caught my attention.

In the middle of the rock that is cut open it looks like there is a little nook. Am I right?

 

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

You are a very observant person. There does seem to be a little nook in the cut rock but it is due to the way the crystals have grown inside the geode. Along the inner cut edge, you can see the crystals aren't even like a circle but have some areas thicker than others. This unevenness means some areas extend out over the others. Sunlight on them leaves a shadow below. In the shadowed area, the crystals look much like the small crystals in the middle.

Considering your curiosity and interest in rocks, I hope you keep learning and discovering. A mind with curiosity can be a very powerful learning tool.

In a previous post,

"What Stone Is That? - for Mrs. Yollis and class"

Heather provided a quality comment needing to have a reply including a little more than words.

What Stone Is That?

This photo was supplied by Mrs. Yollis and class.

This photo was supplied by Mrs. Yollis and class.

Heather, one of the best things about sharing learning through blogging is the way we can exchange ideas so easily no matter where or how far we are apart. Your comment was an example where we both learn from each other. Reading what you shared, I realised I would need to share extra graphics to give you some answers.

Your suspicion the rock might have been microline had me examine the microcline more closely, something you can't do easily from a picture. When I looked closely, the way the crystals had formed suggests Keira's rock wouldn't be microline. Her rock looks too smooth to match the microcline sample I have. Your observation was good even if it may not be correct. My suggestions might also be wrong.  It's by presenting different ideas and solutions science gets understanding. Your comment meant I had the chance to think about and research other ideas. 🙂

How Quartz/chalcedony/agate forms...

A concentric, banded, fibrous variety formed by precipitation from watery solutions in rounded cavities in lava rocks (geodes), sometimes with beautiful clusters of rock crystals or amethyst at the centre.

It was a little unfair of me to leave just the above without explaining it so I was impressed you asked for a simplified explanation. It meant you were really trying to understand. Here is an explanation in other words...

A concentric, banded, fibrous - is about the fine layers you see in this magnified part of your class photo. Fine layer after fine layer had built built up making bands in the sample.

This photo was supplied by Mrs. Yollis and class.

This photo was supplied by Mrs. Yollis and class.

formed by precipitation from watery solutions in rounded cavities in lava rocks (geodes) -

Water can absorb many types of minerals, some slowly and some quickly. When the water evaporates, the minerals can be left behind. In some examples, crystals can grow. Here's something you can try. Take salt and dissolve it in warm water or take some sea water, the saltier the better. Put the water in a flat, clear dish (glass is better so you can see under the result) and leave it in a sunny, warm place. Don't move or stir it as this can effect the results.

Over time, the water will evaporate and you will see salt crystals forming. Once the water has all evaporated, you can examine the crystals. Use a magnifying glass to see the finer crystals. Crystals are fascinating. If you see a larger crystal, you might see it has a certain number of sides. How many can you see?

Crystals are growing rocks. We don't consider them alive but they do grow as long as the "watery solution" is still able to provide raw materials. Here are some crystal photos I have taken to show you.

Quartz crystal

You can see quartz crystal has six sides.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Citrine Quartz Crystal

The different colours in quartz can depend on other minerals dissolved in the watery solutions.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Smoky Quartz

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Amethyst (quartz) Crystals

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Blue Calcite crystal

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Sulphur (Sulfur) Crystals

This sulphur sample has been inside a sealed container for over 30 years. With permission, it was collected from a fumerole (where gases and steam escape from volcanic areas) in New Zealand. Sulphur (and salt) crystals break down in water so they would have become powdery instead of shiny if not in an airtight container.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Iron Pyrite (fool's gold) crystal

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Keira's Rock - How did it get there?

Rocks can sometimes be found a distance from where they formed. They can be moved by erosion (the wearing away of rocks by wind and water) or perhaps even movement in the Earth. Let's look at some samples you might recognise...

Gold can often be found associated with quartz rock but is much rarer. Most quartz won't have any gold. Just like other minerals, small amounts of gold can be in water and other fluids (it doesn't really dissolve but can be present in very small amounts). As water evaporates, gold can be left behind in cracks in rocks. If enough gold is carried in enough time, it can build up in amount. The sample of quartz below is from a mine in Hill End, N.S.W.. This is mined gold in quartz.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

If the gold bearing quartz is exposed to wind and rain, larger pieces of gold can be eroded out. This is how we can find gold nuggets in streams and rivers. The below sample is only 0.127oz or about 1/8oz (3.6g). It is only about 1.4cm across. You might even be able to see a tiny quartz crystal in it. This small nugget came from New Zealand.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Finer pieces of gold can be eroded off larger pieces or out of quartz. To retrieve this gold, panning is often used. I panned some of this in Australia and New Zealand and bought some. The amount is 0.264oz or about 1/4 oz. (7.5g)

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Gold starts it's journey as precipitated (left behind when water dries) gold in rock. It can be mined or found in nuggets and flakes if eroded. Gold, as you know, is used in jewellery and is also import in electronics but my favourite use is to make gold coins. The photo below shows a 0.1oz Australian Gold Nugget coin. It has a diameter of about 1.5cm and its value for the gold content today is about $135 U.S..

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

I found one reference to a Californian beach where agates can be found at low tide. The San Francisco Gem & Mineral Society blog post tells us Pescadero Beach about 40 miles (64km) south of San Francisco. If you look at the photos they share, you will see the agates have been rounded by wave action on the rocks and sand.

Where Can Azurite be found in Australia?

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Azurite is really a bluish coloured form of copper. The other colours are impurities of other material. There are a number of places it can be found in Australia including, in N.S.W. (Girilambone and possibly to Nymagee), Northern Territory (Areonga), Queensland (Chillagoe) and South Australia (Burra Burra). I think it can be found in the U.S. in Morenci, Arizona.

 I have a crystal that looks almost like the purple crystal that was cut in half. My crystal is blue. What kind of crystal is the purple one?

I think the purple crystal you mean is amethyst, a quartz type, shown also above.

There are many crystals and minerals that can be blue, purple, green, red or other colours so it would be hard to say without looking at the stone. Here are some blue, purple, green samples from my collection. They are only small samples and some have been cut and polished.

Amazonite (cut and polished)

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Apatite

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Dumortierite

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Howlite

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imitation (fake) green beryl (cut and polished)

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Lapis Lazuli (cut and polished)

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Lepidolite

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Sodalite

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Zooisite

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How Do I Know So Much About Minerals?

I don't think I do know a lot about minerals but I am interested in them and over the years have collected some. I know enough to get some ideas but my secret is knowing how to find answers when I need them. It could come from one of my geology books or online.

If you were to talk to someone just starting school, they would probably wonder how you knew so much but that's what learning is about. If you keep your mind and senses (sight, sound, touch, smell and taste) open to new things, learning seems to come in to try and fill the space. I'm still learning new things so it seems an open mind is pretty hard to fill. Your questions helped me learn a little more about my collection.

Be a lifelong learner. There's so many interesting things to discover.

4 Comments

I received a question via Twitter...

Do you know what kind of stone this is ?

There was the below photo attached to the tweet...

This photo was supplied by Mrs. Yollis and class.

This photo was supplied by Mrs. Yollis and class.

I like a challenge and, although not always successful, finding an answer. I have an interest in geology but l find I know a little about many things but not a lot about anything. Without being able to hold the rock and look more closely, and without expertise, my first stop was to look more closely at the photo. Here's what I noticed...

The stone was white to bluish-grey.

Breaks around the edges looked a little like they might break off in flattened, sharp edged pieces.

There appears to be an inner border (lining) on the stone.

I wanted to see the border closer so I enlarged a section of the photo (below). I also enhanced contrast and colour a little.

This photo was supplied by Mrs. Yollis and class.

This photo was supplied by Mrs. Yollis and class.

 I now noticed there seems to have been some fine layering around the edge of the stone up to the border. Layering can mean sedimentary rock but, it can also be a sign of a space in rock filling with crystals. I had seen something like this before. I probably have a few hundred small mineral samples in my collection so I started to search. Firstly, a display of stones I had used with classes over the years...

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

A few of these showed some of the features I was looking for, especially calcite, agate and quartz.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

This reminded me of larger samples I had in my minerals database, I found items 41 and 46. They are listed as "Quartz - Chalcedony - Agate". They are examples of silicon oxide (SiO2).

The first sample has been cut and polished. The layering towards the outer edge is easy to see. There are small quartz crystals in the centre of the sample. I have seen this in other of my samples where inner spaces aren't completely filled. See geodes and the additional photos at the end of this post.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The second sample was a piece broken off a larger sample and only had a low sheen.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Without being able to hold and examine the sample in Mrs. Yollis's class, I suspect they have a sample of agate or chalcedony. Remember, I am only interested in geology and not an expert so I'm really only guessing.

How is it formed? My database explains it this way...

A concentric, banded, fibrous variety formed by precipitation from watery solutions in rounded cavities in lava rocks (geodes), sometimes with beautiful clusters of rock crystals or amethyst at the centre.

From my collection, below are photos of geodes. Most have been cut and one polished to show the interior.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The last photo shows one cut sample and an uncut geode beside it. What's inside the uncut geode? I can tell you it is about the same size as the cut geode if it was whole. This means the uncut geode should be about twice the weight of the half but it is around three times the weight of the half. It may be solid or have a small central cavity. It could be very beautiful or possibly plain inside. We'll never know because I won't have it cut. I like a little mystery in the world. 🙂

2 Comments

3/4B, 4T and 3SF visited the Penrith University of Western Sydney Observatory and share their experience in a blog post. They also asked questions and I loved the challenge of trying to answer them. To see their post…

Bloggers of the Week: Our Excursion to the Observatory

To see Part 1 of this comment...

Observing Space, there’s so much of it out there – Part 1

Hello 3/4B, 4T and 3SF,

Here are some possible answers to the second set of questions.

1. How many more years until we have to pack up and move to another planet, because the sun died?

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Firstly, let's look at how our Earth is thought to have come to be. Heather and Keira from California had challenged me to explain how the Earth had begun. Here is a link to the post I wrote for them if you are interested.

How Did the Earth Begin?

... and here is a link to a Wikipedia post looking at history of the Earth. It is about  Earth from its formation to now.

History of the Earth

Okay, we have an idea how our Earth began but how might it end? As our planet's birth was linked to the formation of our sun, the sun is also involved in its suspected end.

Back in 1987, I was able to look into the night sky and see a "new" star. A star astronomers named SN 1987A had gone supernova. It is about 168,000 light years* from Earth and could not normally be seen without a powerful telescope. It is again too dim to be seen without a telescope. Had it been our star, our planet would have been destroyed.

Then what about our Sun? How old is it? What might happen to it? When might it happen?

This is a NASA photo released into the public domain. It was sourced through Wikimedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Sun_by_the_Atmospheric_Imaging_Assembly_of_NASA%27s_Solar_Dynamics_Observatory_-_20100819-02.jpg

This is a NASA photo released into the public domain. It was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Sun_by_the_Atmospheric_Imaging_Assembly_of_NASA%27s_Solar_Dynamics_Observatory_-_20100819-02.jpg

Our Sun is thought to be about 4.6 billion (4,600,000,000) years old. I had to do a little research about the Sun to find out what might happen. I found interesting information suggesting our Sun is becoming brighter by about 10% every billion years and it's surface is slowly becoming hotter. As it gets older and burns more of its hydrogen fuel it will grow in size to eventually become a red giant. By this time Earth, if it still exists, will not be able to support life.

The video clip below shows what might well happen when our to end of world. Duration: 3:04 minutes.

It replaces the original linked video clip now blocked from viewing in Australia due to copyright issues.

This is not my video clip.

Should we worry?

It is thought it could take about 5 billion (5,000,000,000) years before our Sun is a red giant and perhaps 1 billion (1,000,000,000) years before the Sun's rising temperature means all water will evaporate away from Earth. A billion years is a very long time. However humans develop in that time, we can only hope they have solved the problems. For a time until the sun gets too big or hot this might mean people moving to Mars but to go to other stars people might have to spend a very long time in space. By the time people reach other stars, they could be the great, great, great, great,... great, great, great, grandchildren of those who left Earth.

But I've seen movies where they move through gates or hyperspace at faster than the speed of light and arrive quickly...

The movies love finding ways to arrive quickly. Who knows what science might discover in a billion years. For now, the idea of travelling close to the speed of light is beyond us. Whatever the future brings, I have faith humans will find a solution if there's one to be found. I know NASA engineers are looking at ways it might be one day possible to warp space and make travel to the stars real. 🙂

168,000 light years* - as explained in Part 1, a light year is the distance light travels in a vacuum in one Earth year. While I saw the supernova as a bright star in 1987, the light had started on its way 168,000 years ago. When we look at stars, we are looking back in history. Even light from our own sun started its journey about 8.3 minutes before we see it.

2. Did you know that there are many different galaxies in space?

Yes. Too quick an answer? 🙂 I'll share some NASA galaxy photos using links.

The two galaxies shown here are in the early stage of an interaction that will eventually lead to them merging in millions of years. The two galaxies are about 450 million (450,000,000) light years from us. If you look carefully you can see other galaxies in the distant background.

UGC 9618, Chandra + Hubble

By Smithsonian Institution [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This second photo shows galaxy M33. It is about 3 million (3,000,000) light years from Earth. The really bright stars are young, very large stars. Yes, stars are still being made in our universe from the remains of other stars.

Galaxy M33 Chandra X-ray Observatory

By Smithsonian Institution from United States [see page for license], via Wikimedia Commons

The third photo shows galaxy Centaurus A. If you can see what looks like a line of white light coming from its centre, that's the result of Centaurus A having a supermassive black hole at its centre.

Centaurus A Chandra

By NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al (http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2008/cena/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Galaxies are not all one size. Dwarf galaxies might only have as few as 10 million (10,000,000) stars whereas giant galaxies might have up to 100 trillion (100,000,000,000,000) stars. There are estimates the might be up to 170 billion (170,000,000,000) galaxies in the observable universe . There may be very many more but they are so distant their light still hasn't reached us, they're not yet observable. That's a lot of galaxies.

I like looking at big numbers so let's look at big numbers. I have said their might be 170 billion (170,000,000,000) galaxies in the observable universe. I also said galaxies could have from 10 million to 100 trillion stars. Let's say the average galaxy has 1 billion (1,000,000,000) stars.

How many stars might their be in the observable universe?

170,000,000,000 galaxies x 1,000,000,000 average stars = 170,000,000,000,000,000,000 (I make that 170 quintillion stars.)

In Part 1 of these answers to your questions I mentioned it has been said there are more stars in the universe than all of the grains of sand on every beach on Earth. Would one of you start counting so we can check? 🙂

Below is a You Tube video clip from NS showing galaxy M31 known as the Andromeda Galaxy. It is the nearest large spiral galaxy to our own. Our galaxy, The Milky Way, is also a spiral galaxy. Duration: 3:06 minutes

This is not my video.

3. Did you know that Pluto has 2 more moons?

Yes, but I found there seems to be more discoveries when I was researching. In order of distance from Pluto they are Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. It is possible more small "moons" might be found. Click to read Moons of Pluto on Wikipedia.

In this photo taken by NASA in 2005, the two dots listed as candidate satellites
Pluto system 2005 discovery images

When Pluto was discovered in 1930, its brightness suggested it was much larger than it was found to be but that was because it is icy. Charon was discovered in 1978. I always found its name was a great choice. In ancient Greek mythology, Pluto was the god of the underworld where people went when they died. To reach there, you had to cross the River Styx. This could only happen if you had a coin to pay the boatman, Charon. It was common for ancient Greeks to bury their dead with a coin so they could pay Charon. This is why I thought the name is a good choice. Pluto and Charon are together in ancient Greek mythology.

One unusual piece of information I read was about Pluto and Charon. Moons orbit around their planet as does our moon but Pluto doesn't seem to be the centre of Charon's orbit. The centre of orbit is somewhere in between but closer to Pluto. What a strange place Pluto would be.

While searching online, I found an animated file showing a computer generated rotating image of Pluto you might like to see. It's based on NASA images of the surface of Pluto. This an embedded NASA file in the public domain.

Pluto animiert 200px
By Aineias, NASA, ESA, and M. Buie (Southwest Research Institute)  derivative work: Aineias, Ilmari Karonen (Pluto_hubble_photomap.jpg via Pluto_animiert.gif) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

4. Did you know that Neptune's ring is made out of ice particles?

Below is my favourite image of Neptune. NASA released this image into the public domain. Neptune's atmosphere seems to be mostly hydrogen and helium. "The interior of Neptune, like that of Uranus, is primarily composed of ices and rock." (Wikipedia). Remember, ices aren't necessarily only water. Have you heard of dry ice we can buy here on Earth? It isn't water. It's icy carbon dioxide. For Neptune, the ices are thought to be mostly water, ammonia and methane. The core of the planet is said to be rocky.

Neptune

By . (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA00046) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The next NASA image was taken by the Voyager 2 and shows the rings on Neptune.

Neptune rings PIA02224

By Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA02224) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The rings are thought to probably contain large amounts of micro-dust as well as ice.

 

5. Did you know that it takes 1 month for the moon to orbit around the earth?

Wikipedia reference for the different types of months and years: Month

This embedded graphic shows the phases of the Moon seen as it orbits the Earth. Do you notice we only see one side? The other side is often called the dark side. It also comes into sunlight but, since it faces away from Earth, we don't see it.

File:Lunar libration with phase Oct 2007 450px.gif

This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Tomruen. This applies worldwide.

This is an interesting question even if it sounds simple. Rather than say "yes" or "no", I might ask what type of month?

I know the months we talk about run from January to December. February has 28 days or 29 in a leap year. The others have either 30 or 31 days. The average number of days in a month is about 30.4 days. If you mean one of our Gregorian Calendar months we use, the answer is not quite a month.

When compared to the position of stars, the Moon takes about 27.3 days to orbit the Earth but Earth is also moving through space so the time between two full moon is about 29.5 days.

Did you know there was something known as a lunar calendar?

The calendar we use is a solar calendar. It's based on the time it takes for the Earth to complete one orbit around the Sun. Lunar calendars are different because they are based on cycles of the Moon.

Many cultures have had lunar calendars.  One of the important examples is the Islamic Calendar. A year has either 354 or 355 days where as the Gregorian Calendar has 365 or 366 days based on a solar year. If you have Muslim friends, you might know the first day of their new year is a different day on our calendar each year. This happens because their lunar year is 11 days shorter.

The Gregorian solar year has an average of about 30.4 days per month giving us about 365 days a solar year.

The Islamic lunar year has an average of about 29.5 days per month giving us about 354 days a lunar year.

Can you see the solar calendar gives us about the time it takes for the Earth to complete an orbit of the Sun while the approximate number of days in a lunar month is how long it takes the Moon to go from one full moon to the next?

The embedded diagram below shows how the phases of the Moon come about while the Moon orbits Earth.

Moon phases en

By Orion 8 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

6. Did you know that (it takes) a year for the earth to orbit around the sun?

Our Gregorian solar calendar is based on how long it takes the Earth to complete one orbit of the Sun, that is it takes about 365.25 days for Earth to orbit the Sun. We call that a year of 365 days with a leap year helping us catch up on the extra bits by having an extra day.

UpdatedPlanets2006

By Adam850 at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

What would a year be on other planets and dwarf planets?

Here are the other planets and known dwarf planets in our Solar System with how long their years would be in our Earth years (Ey).

Mercury ....................... 0.24 Ey (88 days)

Venus ........................... 0.62 Ey (226 days)

Earth ............................ 1.0

Mars ............................. 1.88 Ey

Ceres (dwarf) ............... 4.6 Ey

Jupiter .......................... 11.86 Ey

Saturn ........................... 29.46 Ey

Uranus .......................... 84.01 Ey

Neptune ....................... 164.8 Ey

Pluto (dwarf) ................ 248.09 Ey

Haumea (dwarf) .......... 282.76 Ey

Makemake (dwarf) ...... 309.88 Ey

Eris (dwarf) ................... about 557 Ey

A little extra...

In July last year a class asked some questions about space. I didn't add and pictures to the post but you might like to see their questions and my answers...

Wonderings About Space

* * * * * * * * * *

And one final You Tube video clip answers,

"What Is Space?"

Duration: 55:43 minutes

This is not my video clip.

3/4B, 4T and 3SF visited the Penrith University of Western Sydney Observatory and share their experience in a blog post. They also asked questions and I loved the challenge of trying to answer them. To see their post...

Bloggers of the Week: Our Excursion to the Observatory

To see Part 2 of this extended comment post...

Observing Space Part 2

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This is not a real star photo but one I created.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This is not a real star photo but one I created.

When we look out at night, staring into space, we come to realise space is big, very BIG. I have heard it said if we were to count all of the grains of sand on all of the world's beaches there would still be more than that number of stars in our universe. This helps us realise there is so much more to know than we can possibly see.

At the end of last year, I prepared a short video clip about a small community known as Earth. It was for a class looking at ways of making a difference globally. It shows we can start by looking at ourselves and as we expand our view we move out into the universe.

Schools and students have permission to use this video clip for non-commercial, educational purposes.

As there is quite a lot to cover, this comment has been broken into 2 parts, each dealing with 6 questions on the class blog.

Hello 3/4B, 4T and 3SF,

I was fascinated by your post entitled “Bloggers of the week: Our excursion to the Observatory”.  I have very many interests in many subjects but the sciences are particular favourites. While I was a primary school teacher before retiring, I held a degree in science. Seeing your questions, I knew I had to try to give answers to as many as possible.

Let’s start with one you have answered…

1. How do solar eclipses happen?

“Solar eclipses happen when the Moon crosses over the sun and shines a shadow over a part of the earth.” I have prepared a diagram you can use if you wish...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

If you look at the diagram, it shows the shadow of the Moon cast on the Earth. In the centre of the shadow there is a very dark area know as the umbra. The umbra is the area of total eclipse. The lighter shadow area is the penumbra or area of partial eclipse. The faint lines I have added help show why we have darker and lighter areas.

WARNING: You all know you should never look directly at the sun. The light entering your eyes can cause blindness if you stare at the sun. Only when there is a total eclipse is it safe to look but only until the sun is about to reappear. You cannot even look at the Bailey's Beads or Diamond Ring effect as this is still direct sunlight.

One of the most amazing parts of viewing a solar eclipse is when the sun starts to reappear. The Moon's surface isn't smooth. There are craters, mountains and valleys. Light first appears through gaps. Light appears in what is known as Bailey's Beads. When only one bead is left we have what is known as the Diamond Ring Effect. Here is another diagram I drew to show what the Diamond Ring Effect can look like.

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This not a photo but a created graphic.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This not a photo but a created graphic.

Did you also know there are lunar eclipses?

In a lunar eclipse, the Earth passes between the Moon and our sun. You can find out more with the link.

The video clip below comes from You Tube. It shows the 2012 total solar eclipse filmed in Northern Queensland. Once the eclipse is total, the camera person swaps filters and you can see the total eclipse more clearly. Keep watching and you will see the "diamond ring". Duration: 4:35 minutes

2. Can you bungy jump on the Moon?

I loved this question. There might be some tourism potential there.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

I see it’s been suggested you can’t because there is nothing to land on but I think it would be possible. You may have read gravity on the Moon is only about one sixth that of Earth. That would mean someone weighing about 36kg on Earth’s surface would weigh only about 6kg on the Moon. Of course, there is very little atmosphere on the Moon and solar radiation would be a big problem so a space suit would be necessary and that would add weight. Okay, we have gravity and weight to make us fall. What next?

Bungy jumps on Earth are usually over water from a bridge. If the cord breaks, you get wet. On the Moon, the only suspected water would be in craters where direct sunlight doesn’t hit but it would be ice so there is no liquid water. A broken cord would mean hitting the ground. You might be much lighter but it would still hurt but what a thrill to be the first.

Height is not a problem. There are craters, peaks and valleys on the Moon so in the future some enterprising tour company might be able to set up a bungee site. Look at the below photo from NASA released into the public domain…

This is a NASA photo released into the public domain. It was sourced through Wikimedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lunar_crater_Daedalus.jpg

This is a NASA photo released into the public domain. It was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lunar_crater_Daedalus.jpg

Now here’s a thought in a different direction. When astronauts have gone on “space walks” tethered only to their spaceship by a cord, are they bungy jumping or going space skiing?

While no one has been able to bungy jump on the Moon, back in 1971 Alan Shepard (Apollo 14 astronaut) hit two golf balls on the Moon. Duration: 1:35 minutes

This is not my video clip.

3. What is the biggest gas planet?

Wikipedia reference: Gas Giant

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Again I see an answer has been given. I agree. Jupiter is the largest gas planet in the Solar System. Planets larger than around 10 times Earth's mass are said to be giants.

There are four in our Solar System: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. To be a gas giant, they have to be mostly gaseous.

Jupiter and Saturn are mostly hydrogen and helium. Each of these are gas giants.

Uranus and Neptune could be called ice giants. They are thought to have a hydrogen atmosphere but icy cores of water, methane and ammonia.

Did you know stars are gas giants? Huge masses of mostly hydrogen is found in newer stars. If a gas giant is big enough, a nuclear reaction known as fusion can start and a star is born. It's estimated a gas giant about 13 times the size of Jupiter might be big enough to start fusion. Imagine if Jupiter had been big enough. Our sky would have our bright sun and a less bright star known as Jupiter.

Jupiter is the biggest gas planet but our sun is the biggest gas object in our Solar System. Astronomers tell us compared to the largest stars in our universe, our sun is really small. There's a lot of gas out there. 🙂

This You Tube video clip shares some information about the four gas giants in our Solar System. Duration: 8:19 minutes

This You Tube clip is not my work.

4a. What is the smallest planet in our Solar System?

Another answer has been given, Pluto. I will give an answer but to do this I will answer a question out of order. Above is 4a and below is 4b.

4b. Why isn't Pluto considered a planet anymore?

Wikipedia reference: Pluto

In my book library, I have some old science books. One set of five was published in 1919 and the other was a book published in 1930. In 1919, science spoke of the eight planets in our Solar System. In order from our sun, they were Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Mercury, closest to the sun, was the smallest planet.

Some astronomers noticed something unusual in the orbit of Neptune. They suspected there was another planet. The 1930 science book mentioned the possibility of a ninth planet. It was in that year the discovery of Pluto was announced. It became the ninth planet and was listed as the smallest.

This is a NASA photo released into the public domain. It was sourced through Wikimedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pluto_System.jpg

This is a NASA photo released into the public domain. It was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pluto_System.jpg

So why isn't it a planet now?

Pluto is now known a a dwarf planet. It is only one five hundredth Earth's mass. Think of it this way. If Earth's mass was one hundred $1 coins, just one $1 coin would be the mass of five Plutos.

We didn't really know how small Pluto was until the late 1970s. Since then Charon has been discovered as a moon of Pluto, followed by two more moons named Nix and Hydra in 2005. Other large objects almost the size of Pluto had also been found. Astronomers believed there are many large objects (watch the video clip below). They realised it was probably only a matter of time before an object larger than Pluto was found. This happened with the discovery of Eris in 2005. Astronomers decided there had to be a way of saying whether objects were planets. This was done in 2006.

From Wikipedia, here is what a mass needs to be if it is to be called a planet...

  1. is in orbit around the Sun,

  2. is nearly round in shape, and

  3. has "cleared the neighbourhood" around its orbit.

Wikipedia reference: IAU Definitiion of Planets

Pluto passed 1 and 2 but failed 3 and so is now known as a dwarf planet. Mercury is again the smallest planet in our Solar System.

Since then, other dwarf planets have been identified. They are Eris, Ceres, Haumea, and Makemake. The closest dwarf planet to Earth is Ceres. Ceres is in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. When it was identified as a dwarf planet, it became our closest.

In the video clip below, "Why Pluto is Not a Planet", it's explained why Pluto is now known as a dwarf planet. Duration: 4:54 minutes

This is not my video clip.

5. What is a light year?

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

A suggested answer was, "A  light year is the speed of light when light travels."

Let's look at this.

Some people make the mistake of thinking of a light year as time or speed. It isn't. A light year is a distance. It is the distance light travels through a vacuum (no air) in an Earth year. The suggested answer wasn't correct because it suggests a light year is a speed.

How far is a light year?

In just one second, light in a vacuum can travel almost 300,000km. Do you think a police officer would be able to catch speeding light?

According to Wikipedia, a light year is a distance of a little under 10 trillion kilometres.

1 light-year = 9,460,730,472,580,800 metres

1 light-year = 9,460,730,472,580.8 kilometres

If your family car was able to travel into space for one light year distance at an average speed of 100kph, it would take you around 95 trillion years. Can you imagine how much the fuel would cost and how many times you would ask your parents when you will arrive? 🙂

Our sun is about 149,600,000 km from us. Your family car would take around one and a half million years to reach it if your car travelled at 100kph but light only takes around 8.3 minutes.

With next closest star to us being about 4.37 light years distant, I think you might start to understand why travelling to planets around another star is way beyond what we can do.

BUT WAIT... I found this video clip on You Tube while looking for other information. A NASA engineer was interviewed this year about the idea of warp space. It's said we can't travel at the speed of light for reasons I won't explain here but the engineer was talking about warping (expand and contract/grow and shrink) space. If this is one day possible, travelling to the next nearest star to our Sun might be possible in weeks or months but this is a long way off if it's possible.

This is not my video clip.

 

 

4 Comments

To see Mrs. Watson and K/1/2/3's original post...

Clear the Coast Presentation

Hello Mrs. Watson and K/1/2/3,

Today I was able to visit another of my town's beaches. It is busiest in summer and has lifeguards on duty at that time of year but it was only about 12C (about 54F) when I visited it early this morning so few were there. The beach is about 3.6km (2.2 mi) long. Below is a photo of the beach as I saw it...

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Here's what I found. As before, after taking a photo, the rubbish was put in a bin.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Again, most of it was plastic. There were pieces of rope, a plastic bottle, spoon, straw, lid and a few other small pieces. The largest was a rope that probably came off a boat.

I know you will be busy with the ocean clean up this weekend. I will be working a DVD of a 14 school music camp performance I filmed last Thursday. There is much to do to have it ready for the schools so I won't be able to post another beach survey before your day. I hope to see some photos of what you collect. 🙂

2 Comments

To see Mrs. Watson and K/1/2/3's original post...

Clear the Coast Presentation

Hello Mrs. Watson and K/1/2/3,

After sending a reply to your comment, I had some time this afternoon so I visited two small beaches. They aren't the three mentioned in the comment but I thought they'd be a good start to a garbage survey.

Bar Beach

The first is known as Bar Beach. It lies at the entrance to the main lake in town. It is where tidal flow from the lake meets the sea. Below is a photo taken today...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Bar Beach is the smallest seaside beach around town. It is only about 100m (about 325ft) long and can be very busy but today was cool so only a few were there. Below is a photo of what I found on this beach. As I was about to leave the beach, I also saw a cigarette butt.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

As you can see, there was a plastic bottle, spoon, bottle top and piece of pipe. The other two items are lolly (candy) wrappers and, yes, they were also plastic. The only thing I picked up that wasn't plastic was a cigarette butt.

Middle Beach

Middle Beach is our second smallest beach. It was late afternoon when I took the photo below. The photo was taken from the northern end looking south. Remember, where I am in Australia, it's along the east coast. We see the sun rise over the ocean. The first time I saw the sun set over the ocean was when I visited New Zealand's South Island west coast. I wasn't a very long way from B4's town in New Zealand. I was in Greymouth about 80km (50 mi) from them.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Middle Beach is about 1100m (about 1200 yards) long. I was alone on the beach while there. Below is a photo of what I found...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Again, I mostly found plastic. Being a larger beach, I found more than on Bar Beach. Here is what I found...

A foam cup and two pieces of foam, three lolly (candy) wrappers, two plastic bottle tops, two pieces of yellow plastic and one piece of blue plastic, a plastic cigarette lighter, part of a fishing float with a hook still attached, a small plastic cup, fishing line, a small piece of nylon rope, a plastic gold ball, a larger fishing float (the plain white thing), a tissue, a fruit juice container I think dropped on the beach, and a plastic straw.

I have some filming to do at a music camp over the next few days but I hope to give you a report on other beaches before June 7, Ocean Day. All items I found were removed from the beaches and placed in rubbish bins.

Other beaches I can access from town are...

Main/Pambula Beach - 5.9km (3.3 mi)

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Short Point (Tura Beach) - 3.6km (2.2 mi)

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

North Tura Beach - 2.9km (1.8 mi)

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Another beach I can access a little out of town is in Bournda National Park

Bournda Beach - 4.2km (2.6 mi)

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

To see 4KM and 4KJ's post...

SMOOTH MOVES

Hello 4KM and 4KJ,

After reading your post and watching your video presentations on Smooth Moves, I was fascinated. Science is one of my favourite subjects so I decided to search for more information on your topic.

Science talks about hypotheses and theories but words such as theory can be confusing for members of the public. On a different blog, I wrote about ideas, hypotheses and theories. Here's a link...

What is science? Looking at ideas, hypotheses and theories.

Just what are motion, force, friction, push, pull, gravity, and momentum?

(Definitions are all sourced through The Concise Macquarie Dictionary, Macquarie University, 1982 ISBN:  0 86824 109 1)

Motion

Definition: The process of moving, or changing place, or position.

Motion seems simple. An object goes from one place to another but I will give you something to consider.

A man is looking out a window when he sees a building pass by very quickly. Was the building moving?

I think most of us would say the man must have been moving because buildings don't pass windows. Look at the next.

A man is looking out of his window when he sees a bird pass the window. Was the bird or man moving?

This isn't as easy as it seems. Do you know why?

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Force

Definition: strength or power exerted upon an object.

Force is anything acting on an object. It can be pushing, pulling, gravity, a ball hitting you or even mum and dad telling you to do your homework or else. 🙂

Look at the picture below...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Franz Joseph Glacier, New Zealand

This photo shows New Zealand's Franz Joseph Glacier. In colder, wetter times, the glacier gets bigger. The force of the moving ice pushes rocks down the valley. In the photo, you can see a boy standing on a rock ledge is standing on a curved groove rubbed into the stone cliff by the moving ice and rock. Can you imagine the force needed to push rocks together like this?

Friction

Definition:the resistance to the relative motion of surfaces of bodies in contact.

When two surfaces move over each other you can have friction. Rub your hands hard together and you will hear them rub and feel the warmth the friction between your two hands causes. When friction is high, two objects have more difficulty moving along each other's surfaces. It takes more force to make them move. When friction is low, two surfaces can move easily across each other. Look at these examples and decide which has high friction and which has low.

An ice skater's skates glide across the icy surface. Is friction high or low?

You rub your hand across rough sandpaper. Is friction high or low?

What about extreme examples in nature? Earthquakes also result from a friction reaction. Two great masses of rock push along each. They can become locked together not moving until force builds up enough to break the hold. The You Tube clip below discusses earthquakes.

 

This video is an embedded You Tube clip and is not my work.

Push

Definition: to exert force upon or against a thing in order to move it away.

Pushing is something you well understand. We use force to move things away from us. Which of these is an example of push?

1) Playing a game of tug-of-war.

2) Helping someone sitting on a swing move.

Pull

Definition: to haul or draw towards oneself or itself.

Whereas pushing moves things away from us, pulling moves them towards us. Which of the following is an example of pull?

1) Playing a game of tug-of-war.

2) Helping someone sitting on a swing move.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Gravity

Definition: the force of attraction by which terrestrial bodies tend to fall towards the centre of the earth.

I wasn't completely happy with the definition for gravity I found in my dictionary. All objects could be said to have gravity, even us, but it's the larger bodies that are large enough to have a big gravitational effect on us. This means gravity is different on different planets because they are different sizes and masses. If you were to stand on the Moon, you would weigh about one sixth your weight on Earth.

If you were able to stand on the Moon without a spacesuit, would you be able to jump higher and further than on Earth?

Here is a link to a site where you can find what you would weigh if you were able to stand on other planets, the Moon or our sun.

Your weight on other planets, the Sun and the Moon

Did you know gravity changes, and therefore your weight, the further you move away from the centre of our Earth? Someone standing on the top of Mount Everest would be a small amount lighter than the same person standing on a beach beside the sea.

Look at the below photo taken many years ago...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

It's gravity allowing us to go down a slide but we don't go too fast because friction helps to slow us. The friction comes from us sitting and you can see the boys also using their hands to slow themelves. Without any friction as we sit on the slide, what might happen?

Momentum

Definition: the quantity of motion of a moving body, equal to the product of its mass and velocity.

Momentum is what we have when moving. Unless something acts on us, we will keep moving in the same direction. On the slide photo above, friction slows the momentum of the students.

To work out our momentum, you multiply our mass by our velocity (speed). This means the bigger our mass and/or speed, the higher our momentum and the more force is needed to stop us. This is why large semi-trailers take longer to stop than small cars or why a faster car takes longer to stop than a slower car.

In 2007, Queensland ran a TV commercial about stopping distances for cars. In each case, the car is the same but the speeds (velocities) are different. Watch the video below then see if you can answer the question...

This video is an embedded You Tube clip and is not my work.

Did the different speeds (velocities) of the car make a difference to how long it took the car to stop?

Did you know if you were in space away from the Earth and Moon and were able to use a spray can, the spray coming out of the can would start you moving? If nothing such as gravity or friction acted on you, you would continue in that direction and not stop.

Voyager I and II spacecraft were launched into space back in 1977. Their course took them out beyond all of the planets in our solar system. They will continue in the directions they were sent unless something stops them. This means their journey might last hundreds or many thousands of years. What a journey!

The link below shows you how far from Earth Voyager I and II now are. You will see the distances changing as you watch because they are moving very quickly. Voyager I is now over 18,000,000,000 (18 billion) kilometres from Earth.

How far from Earth are Voyager 1 and Voyager 2?

Now for a Little Science Fun

Schools and students have permission to use this video clip for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 After making this movie clip, Professor Flurfflefinger disappeared. Some believe he never really existed and the movie clip was a prank. Others believe he accidentally turned his anti-gravity on himself and is floating somewhere out in space. Still more believe real scientists laughed at his ideas so he now is in hiding promising to never talk about science again.

Do you think his demonstrations are real or fake? Why?