Snippets of Science: Glowing Pumpkin Seeds (pepitas) and Protochlorophyllide

Pepitas, the inside of pumpkin seeds, fluoresce under UV light! It is a stunning coral orange color. This photo doesn’t quite do it justice. The compound causing the fluorescence is protochlorophillide, a precursor to chlorophyll. (Chlorophyll is also fluorescent under UV light, but it glows a deep red.) The seeds themselves have a slight glow [...]

How to Make Bendy Bones

If you ask most kids what bones are made of, they would quickly answer "calcium!" Though it's not incorrect, years of us telling them to drink their milk for strong bones has hidden an amazing feature of nature, biomineralization by proteins. Calcium is only half the story of bones. Though the semi-crystalline mineral that contains [...]

Spatial Reasoning Puzzles with Magnetic Tile Circuits

This post gives some examples of puzzles you can set up using our magnetic-tile circuits to help develop spatial reasoning skills... and because they're just really fun. Spatial reasoning is the ability to mentally manipulate shapes or images by rotating, rearranging, regrouping, etc. Aptitude in this skill is linked to better performance in science, technology, engineering, [...]

Maple Syrup: a sweet, delicious teacher of science for kids

Springtime in rural Vermont is magical. It’s not just the melting snow with rivers of mud, it’s also magical because it’s maple syrup season. For a brief period each year the sap really flows and those lucky enough to have sugar maples can harvest the sweet nectar and boil it down into the delicious breakfast [...]

Why does milk foam? The science behind your latte.

Oh it's fall in the Northeast again- the perfect time to switch from iced coffees to silky lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos. When I was younger, I remember wishing there was something warm that tasted as good and had a mouth feel as good as ice cream. Luckily, I've pretty much lost my sweet tooth and [...]