MosSE in Stevensville

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Hello from Stevensville! We are having such a great time in the Bitterroot Valley this week! Thanks to the support from the Jane S. Heman Foundation, spectrUM brought our Motion exhibit to Stevensville schools and the students (and teachers) could not be more excited! On Tuesday, the elementary school kids learned about slow motion and fast motion, how planes fly, and wheels spin. They even spun around themselves on our lazy Susan and spinning stool.

On Wednesday, the middle schoolers braved the wind and rain to join us while we explored properties of lift, gravity, and how spin makes things more stable. Thursday we had the pleasure of being in the band room with lots of enthusiastic band kids. High schoolers joined us all day long to delve into Newton’s 3 laws, Einstein’s theory of relativity, and Bernoulli’s principle. Family Science Night on Thursday evening was a blast with tons of family enjoying out flight simulator, flying cups, and radar magnets. We even got to hear some great band music from the band concert!  In total, we saw over 765 students and over 90 adults.  Thanks so much for having us, we look forward to coming back to Stevensville next year!

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MosSE Moves to Charlo

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What an amazing day at Charlo Elementary School. We started off with the little ones, who could not control their excitement over our Best in Show exhibit. We dissected lots of brains and eye balls, and they used our awesome new yellow goggles to look at our flies with glowing brains. We set up our Big Sky Big Brain right inside the doorway so students got to walk through the brain tunnel as they came into the exhibit. They explored to find any injuries to the Big Brain, they diagnosed what was giving our nose the sniffles, and put organs back in our friend Anna-Body. Our Motion pieces are always a hit, with students exploring how torque from a bicycle wheel can turn them and talking about Coriolis effect using our Turn Table. As usual, a big favorite was learning about orbits by sending lots of pennies and marbles down the Gravity Well.

Charlo Best 2Family science night was a blast with over 180 people! Kids of all ages spent time enjoying and learning about so many aspects of science, and even got to talk to our friend, Steph Gillin, a wildlife biologist on the Flathead Reservation. She brought lots of pelts and skulls, and was showing off her cool new app about wildlife on the Reservation. In addition to the 180 people at Family Science Night, we had 247 people during day field trips, totaling 445 people in one day.

Charlo Best 3Even though it was a quick day, we really enjoyed being in Charlo and sharing our awesome Best in Show exhibit. Thanks to Ginger and her family for all their help, and to the whole Charlo community for welcoming us to your school. And thank you to the Charlo School 21st Century Community Learning Centers and the Big Sky Brain Project for powering this tour stop.

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Our Best in Fort Benton

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We had such a wonderful visit to Fort Benton last week. Anna and the Arganbright family were so great to help us set up the exhibit and make sure we had everything we needed while we were there. We were lucky to be in Fort Benton Elementary during spirit week so we saw wacky mismatched outfits, lots of amazing nerds, and we may or may not have seen some spies sneaking around on Wednesday.
Ft Benton 2We got to see students from Fort Benton, Geraldine, and Highwood Schools during our three days in Fort Benton. Our Best In Show exhibit was a huge hit, especially with our Big Sky Big Brain that students ran through. Unfortunately, our giant nose had a bad case of the sniffles, but the students did a fantastic job diagnosing what was causing the sniffles, so I’m sure the nose will feel better in no time.
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Our Best in Show exhibit gave us a chance to talk about all of the amazing science jobs out there, and the students did some great brainstorming about careers. In total, we reached 469 people, including 128 at the Family Science Night. There were lots of farm families, so we talked about the importance of science in farming, analyzing the soil, genetics in raising cattle, and weather patterns.
Ft Benton 4Alex and I also got to do some fun extracurricular activities. Anna took us kayaking on the river, we walked across the bridge at night and checked out the full moon, and we even stopped by Miss Kayla’s dance class and saw the “Grinch Wrap.” All in all, it was an amazing trip to Fort Benton, we got to meet so many great people, stayed in a wonderful home, and thoroughly enjoyed sharing our Best in Show exhibit.  Thank you to the Chouteau County PEAK Program for powering this tour stop.

MosSE Concludes Autumn 2015 Tour in Sidney

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We had so much fun with the awesome students and staff in Sidney this week. From the very first day, when Mrs. Nobles helped us unload our Brain exhibit into the High School multi-purpose room, everyone in Sidney was warm, helpful, and enthusiastic. Monday we got to hang out with the 5th and 6th graders, along with some great high school students. We saw the high school’s Anatomy & Physiology classes, a Psychology class (who were sculpting their own brains in class!), and lots of other science classes joined in as we learned about the brain.  We worked with 550 students through field trips over our two day visit.

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Family Science Night was a blast, with about 100 kids of all ages, as well as some very excited parents and teachers. They checked out our amazing flies, felt the brains and eye balls, and shot some hoops with the crazy goggles on. The teachers even had some cool ideas for new traveling exhibits.  Thank you to the teachers, students, and families of Sidney, for having us to your community.  And a big thank you to the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation for sponsoring this tour stop.

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Tuesday we spent all day with different classes of 7th graders, as well as some more high school science classes. We also met some middle schoolers in the science fair class who told us about their amazing experiments and showed off their knowledge of the brain. It’s always so fun to see students of different ages interacting and learning from each other and the exhibit. Overall, we reached 642 students. Sidney was a great final stop on our tour, and we can’t wait to see them next time. Thank you to the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation and the Big Sky Project for powering this tour stop.

Exploring the Brain in Wolf Point

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Rachael and I had a blast meeting so many kids in Wolf Point. We spent two days there with our Circus of Science Brain exhibit. Kids from the elementary, middle, and high school played the brain games and watched dissections. We even had some preschool classes. In one day we got to meet over 400 kids and family members between school classes and Family Science Night! It was amazing to see how enthusiastic everyone was and the kids listened well and asked great questions about how the brain and eyeball function.

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We had a great host, principal Ms. Hanks, who put us up in her house and made us feel so welcome. Everyone at the school was excited to bring their students to check out the exhibit. We even got to work with the health classes and talk about things like brain damage and why helmet use is so important.

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The kids and staff were amazing and we got some great feedback about the exhibit from the teachers and students. One science teacher, Ms. Romo, had the students record one thing they learned from the exhibit as their exit ticket and then we read it. Ms. McGill’s 8th grade classes wrote thank you cards about the exhibit. It was a treat to be able to read these and find out what the kids enjoyed the most.  In total, we reached 50 community members at Family Science Nights and an astonishing 609 students.  Thank you to the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation and the Big Sky Project for powering this tour stop.

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Unfortunately, we were enjoying ourselves so much, it was suddenly once again time to move on to a new school. The Fort Peck reservation was beautiful and we were treated to an amazing sunrise while leaving town for our next stop in Sidney.

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MosSE Moves to Circle

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After Lodge Grass, Rachael and I hit the road for Circle, MT. Over the two days that we spent at Redwater School we were made to feel so at home. We got to hang out with kids of all ages as we showed off how cool the brain is. Our brain exhibit was a big hit, with dissections, brain games and our Visual Rebound basketball hoop.

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At our first stop in Lodge Grass we featured our Motion exhibit, but from here on out we will be playing with the Brain exhibit. In the Brain exhibit, we learn all about what the different lobes of the brain do, how adaptable our brain is, and how our brain can get messed up. We talk about the senses and how we get dizzy, and even look at flies with glowing brains. We love this exhibit because it teaches you about yourself.

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The principal, Mr. Widhalm, was enthusiastic and friendly. He and the rest of the staff were great about promoting Family Science Night. It was fun to be able to meet so many parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends and we were more than a little sad to leave. In Circle, we reached 146 students and 109 members of the community at Family Science Night.  The Wildcats were awesome scientists and Rachael and I hope to visit again soon.  Thank you to the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation and the Big Sky Project for powering this tour stop.

MosSE Kicks off Autumn 2015 Tour in Lodge Grass

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Thursday was spent with the High School and Junior High students, who quickly realized how fun physics can be! We explored Sir Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion, as well as different types of energy. The students especially loved the Gravity Well, where Alex explained Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. They spent time exploring the Coriolis effect at the Turn Table, and got a huge kick out of the suspended balls at the Bernoulli Blower.

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During Family Science Night, we had 104 guests of all ages exploring “Motion.” Even the parents got involved with the Radar Magnets, and took a spin on the Lazy Susan. The kids did a great job taking turns on the Flight Simulator, and balanced our balancing eagle on their noses and ears.

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On Friday, the elementary school kids had a great time showing each other what they had learned the night before at Family Science Night, as well at exploring the concepts of gravity and planets orbiting the sun. Overall, we reached 284 students. The school and community of Lodge Grass, and especially our host, Heather, were so incredibly welcoming and friendly to us during our stay, it was such a treat to be there. Thank you to the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation for powering this tour stop.

Destination, Dixon!

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Dixon Elementary School

And so we end 2015’s Spring Tour with an amazing trip to Dixon, home to a K-8 school of 51 students this year. We were lucky enough to meet just about all of them (minus a few who were absent)! That means 54 students and adults visited throughout the school day. All the students were eager to explore their gym-turned-museum, and many loved it so much they came back for more fun during Family Science Night.

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The Motion exhibit is probably MosSE’s most interactive. With Motion we experience spin and aerodynamics in various ways, from keeping a toy top spinning on a table to spinning our own bodies at the Lazy Susan Station. We have students hypothesize and test ideas like, “Which top will spin the longest, and why?” In the realm of aerodynamics, students can test their skills with the Flight Simulator and make their own designs at Flying Cups.

Look at all the different tops!

Look at all the different tops!

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Waiting in line at the ever-popular

Waiting in line at the ever-popular Flight Simulator.

Thank you to the faculty and staff of Dixon for hosting us and encouraging a passion for science to your students. We are also grateful to the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation for powering this tour stop.

Sincerely, Nicholas and Sarah

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Motion on the Mo’ River

It’s been a busy few weeks on the MosSE Spring tour! This week, 418 Fort Benton Longhorns, Geraldine Tigers, and Highwood Mountaineers learned about the physics of motion.  Fort Benton hosted the whole shebang, including Family Science Night, which brought in a crowd of 44 children and 36 adults.
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MosSE’s Motion exhibit aims to make physics fun and relatable to everyday observations and experiences. When talking about the works of Bernoulli, Newton, Kepler, and Einstein, one can’t help but appreciate that the true genius of these scientific greats wasn’t necessarily in their abilities to solve complex math problems (though that helps!), but rather in their abilities to look at everyday phenomena and understand them on truly vast or mind-bogglingly small scales.  For example, our Gravity Well station applies Kepler’s works on planetary motion and Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity to a coin spinning round and round a cone.

A lot of curiosity at Family Science Night tends to revolve around the Gravity Well.

A lot of curiosity at Family Science Night tends to revolve around the Gravity Well.

Visitors to Motion learn that spin has a lot to do with stability.  The Giant Turntable explores this principle, and it’s neat to see what kinds of examples kids can come up with on their own.  How is a spinning disc on the turntable similar to a bicycle in motion, and what do gravity, angular momentum, and centrifugal ‘force’ have to do with some of the fun experiments we conduct? The Giant Turntable is also a great way to talk about testing hypotheses, collecting data, and developing theories.

The physics behind spinning things can be conveyed in so many different ways, whether we’re talking about our solar system, a figure skater doing a pirouette, or playing with a fun and challenging toy.

“Figure skaters” learning about conservation of angular momentum.

Some 'helicupters' going up, up, and away!

Some ‘helicupters’ going up, up, and away!

Our excellent host, Mrs. Arganbright, told us that every year that MosSE visits the Longhorns, more people come out for Family Science Night, which was terrific to hear!  We would like to thank the students, faculty, and staff from Fort Benton, Highland, and Geraldine for their enthusiasm, curiosity, and hospitality. It was a real pleasure learning about physics with everyone!

Sincerely,

Sarah and Matt

MosSE Visits the “Brain-iacs” of Browning

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After a quick switch of exhibits in the U-haul, MosSE headed north to Browning, home of the Browning Indians. Upon arrival, the Browning Middle School gym was transformed into an exciting space of neuroscience exploration! Seven different stations intrigued the minds of many budding scientists. We spent the day investigating the brain with 217 7th and 8th grade students, as well as 11 teachers and volunteers. We dug deep into the different lobes of the brain and what the specific functions are of each. For example, the frontal lobe is located behind our foreheads. Humans tend to have larger frontal lobes than most animals, because this part of the brain processes personality and high level thinking, among other things.

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Students walk through the “Big Sky Big Brain” to discover TBIs

There also different lobes in charge of processing our five main senses: sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing. Participants were able to explore these senses at the “Senses Station.” Can you guess the scent based only on what you smell? Can you use only your sense of touch to identify the toy in the mystery box? Are you a “super taster”? All fun questions to be answered at the station.

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Upside Down Googles

Probably the most visited station was our “Visual Rebound”. And what kid doesn’t want to test their skills and shoot a basketball? Then add vision distortion googles and the fun never ends. Students learn how our brain is so easily tricked, but also how adaptive it is, at this station.

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Score! Even with distorted vision.

Later that evening we were excited to host Family Science Night, when students are invited to come back with family and friends to explore the temporary museum again.  Over 100 people came out to see what the fun was all about. Many of the returning students headed straight for the ever popular “Mind Games” station. Participants focus on moving the ball to their opponents side of the game board using brain power! You can help your friends by quizzing them on math facts or vocabulary words, to get them thinking.

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Who’s got the stronger mind?

Overall we had a great time with the “brainiacs” of Browning! Thank you to the staff and volunteers that made the trip possible. We hope to see you all again! Sincerely, Sarah, & Lizzie