Some microbes produce different types of gases as a byproduct of their metabolic processes. The microbes in this Science Friday Video released an odorless and flammable gas called methane. The type of gas or gases released by a microbe depends on the species and their metabolic characteristics. In this activity, students will conduct an experiment to observe the metabolic process of yeast by using household ingredients. Students will vary conditions in the yeast’s surrounding environment and observe the amount of gas that the yeast releases
Nanotechnology is the study of what happens when things get very, very small â€“ only a few atoms in size. The word “nanometer” means one billionth of a meter, perhaps five or six atoms long. At the nanoscale, materials can have very different physical or chemical properties, even though they are the same. In particular, super thin films of material, only a few nanometers thick, can cause interference within light reflecting off them, resulting in beautiful displays of colors.
A crystal is a natural solid made up of a repeated pattern of molecules connected together. Crystals can form through the slow cooling of molten material (gemstones), or when a warm gas such as oxygen cools down (snowflakes), or when a liquid that contains dissolved minerals cools very slowly (salt). In this activity, students will observe various substances and determine whether these substances are crystals based on their physical properties. They will also learn one of the processes for crystal formation and how to create their own crystals by cooling a supersaturated solution.
Sound is all around us. Everything we hear in our day-to-day lives has a distinctive sound, from the jingling of keys to the tapping of footsteps in a hallway. Sound is created when objects vibrate. These vibrations cause the air around them to vibrate, sending sound waves in various directions. Some objects tend to vibrate at a specific rate. This is known as their resonant frequency. In this activity, students will explore the vibrating nature of sound and how it travels from molecule to molecule.
In this lesson, students will be amateur mycologists–collecting and analyzing various mushrooms. Through observation and discussion, students will gain knowledge of the basic anatomy of mushrooms, their life cycle, and their method of reproduction through spores. Students will learn to create spore prints of mushrooms and label and preserve their spore prints, just like a mycologist. Students also will learn that by comparing spore prints, they can identify different mushroom species.
In this segment, Ira talks with primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall about her work in studying chimpanzees, preserving habitats, and what lies ahead for the field of evolutionary science.