Many iron fortified cereals contain tiny iron fillings. I’m talking about plain old elemental iron, the kind you would find in a nail, train or car, in your breakfast cereal. It turns out that this form of iron is ideal for a cereal additive. Read more
Our newest Learning World, Engineer It!, is now open. This 5,000 square foot space features 25 new exhibits about engineering in three topics areas: Wind, Water and Structures. Read more
Sloan combines history and science when talking about the origin of the modern breathalyzer – the Drunk-o-meter. Just after prohibition the need for a quantitative way to assess the drunkenness of an individual resulted in the Drunk-o-meter which then lead to the modern breathalyzer. Read more
Imagination Station will be open on Monday, January 17th, 2011 from 10am to 5pm.
This will be your last chance to visit Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of The Universe at Imagination Station.
This exhibition celebrates the achievements of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope by magnificently displaying and describing the wonders of the night sky. New Views of the Universe contains images and data taken from Hubble of planets, galaxies, black holes and many other fascinating cosmic entities. Surrounded by illuminated photographs of the cosmos, visitors are inspired to learn about the universe and space exploration through interactive games and exhibits.
The old phrase, “What’s your sign?” may elicit an answer, but is it the right one?
It seems the net is abuzz about a “new zodiac” after comments in the Minneapolis StarTribune by Professor Parke Kunkle, a board member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society. Kunkle points out that because of something called axial precession (a 26,000 year wobble in the earths axis of rotation caused by the moon-earth gravitational attraction) the signs of the zodiac are now offset by about one month. Of course he’s correct, but it’s not really breaking news. Read more
For today’s Imagine It segment, I thought it would be fun to talk about how your brain processes the information that your eyes send it. The Trizonal Space Warper is a pretty cool tool to explore this because it illustrates how the neurons in your brain can become fatigued when you send them a continuous input. Read more
May 6-8, 2011
Imagination Station is pleased to be welcoming the unique artistic talent of Michelle Stitzlein, from Baltimore, Ohio, as she leads visitors in creating a permanent art fixture for the science center, made of bottlecaps! She’ll be asking visitors to assist her, both in collecting plastic bottlecaps over the next several months and then in constructing the bottlecap mural, the weekend of May 6-8.
Thank you to everyone who collected bottle caps!
We had thousands of plastic bottlecaps donated over the past couple of months. Without your help this project would not have been a success! Thank you again!
The mural is not complete yet, we still have lots of caps to screw in place. So come on down and help us create this unique art piece. Michelle, the artist, will be on hand the weekend of May 6-8, 2011 working with visitors to complete the project.
Food calories are a measure of how much energy is contained in the food item. A very graphic way to visualize how much energy is in a handful of food is to burn it and observer the flame. We try this with a handful of cheesepuffs and Total cereal. Read more
This week Sloan and Jay create a couple of foam volcanoes using a solution of concentrated hydrogen peroxide and some dish soap. Using super concentrated solutions allows the reaction to happen so fast that the foam literally hits the ceiling in our demonstration theater. Check out the video. Read more
Making ice cream at home is actually pretty easy to do and you don’t need any fancy equipment if you’re just making small batches for fun. This is a great Saturday afternoon activity. You’ll be surprised at how good it actually tastes. Just keep in mind this is not low-fat low-calorie. Read more
Methane is a flammable gas that is lighter than air. Often fire fighter have to worry about not only flames that come from the ground, but also dangerous flammable vapors that are lighter than air. Read more
What could be more cool than making a lava lamp with stuff you already have? With just a few items from your kitchen you can create a bubbling version of a lava lamp. To get started gather up some vegetable oil, water, food coloring, a plastic bottle and some effervescing (the bubbling kind) antacid tablets. Read more
Oobleck is a suspension of cornstarch and water that can behave like a solid or a liquid depending on how much pressure you apply. Try to grab some in your hand and it will form a solid ball in your palm just until you release the pressure, then it will flow out between your fingers. Materials that behave this way are classified as non-Newtonian Read more
Did you eat a few to many chips loaded with a spicy dip? Perhaps just too much during the Game (Ohio vs. Michigan) and are in need of a bit of antacid relief? Check out this video to see just how an antacid works to reduce the acid level in your stomach. One thing I forgot to mention is that Milk of Magnesia is also a laxative … so with all meds read the label before consuming…! Read more
While it looks like Sloan is changing water into wine, what’s really taking place is a chemical clock reaction. Two reactions take place at the same time – reaction number one is trying to create a dark liquid, reaction number two is consuming a chemical needed to turn the liquid dark. After a few seconds the second reaction runs out and the liquid turns an inky black.
A little alcohol in a 5 gallon water jug will combust in an interesting way when a flame is dropped inside. Read more
Super absorbers were developed in the 1960′s by the Department of Agriculture as a product to spread over crops to even out the drench-drought cycle. This class of polymers is capable of absorbing up to 400 times their weight in water. This amazing ability to hold liquids in a gel eventually led to their use in baby diapers, plant soil, grass seed and those fun “grow creatures” toys that swell in water. Read more
What happens if you tilt a room’s floor at 25 degrees, but keep the rest of the room (door frames, windows, etc) at the correct perspective? We call it distorted gravity – or maybe that is more what it feels like. Your eyes and ears get conflicting signals and that can lead to only one thing – a queasy stomach. It’ something you just have to experience in person to fully appreciate.
What would happen if you created a chemical reaction inside a carved pumpkin that generates a whole lot of foam? Watch the video to find out. Question is, what reaction would you choose? We thought it would be fun to use a 35% solution of hydrogen peroxide (that’s more than 10 times more concentrated than what you have at home) and some soap to catch the oxygen gas that is generated. Read more
Solid carbon dioxide is often called dry ice because at normal atmospheric pressure it never forms a liquid state. Instead of changing from a solid to a liquid and then to a gas, it jumps right from solid to gas. This is called sublimation. Dry ice is very cold, around 109 degrees below zero on the Fahrenheit scale. That’s cold enough to freeze flesh and cause frostbite which it why we always wear gloves when handling this stuff. Read more
Sodium Alginate is derived from seaweed and is used as a gelling agent in foods like pie fillings, jellies and even green olive stuffing’s. We think it’s just fun to play with. When you add the alginate to a calcium chloride salt solution it turns into a jet nearly instantly. You can make tiny spheres (or caviar) if you drip it, or if you squirt a solid stream it will turn gel into a “wormy” tube filled with a liquid interior.
The Boyo is a unique experience – you become much like a yo-yo where you do all the moving. It looks simple enough, you add some energy to the overhead flywheels and then they pull you off the ground a few inches. If you keep adding energy by pulling on the handles, eventually you will be pulled 13 feet off the ground. It takes a bit of practice, so don’t expect to get to the top in one, two or even six pulls. Read more
Flammable liquids can generate invisible vapors that are also flammable. These vapors can be more dangerous than a liquid spill because they are invisible and can travel a distance to an ignition source. Imagine you spill some paint thinner in your basement, as you clean up the liquid, the vapors can move across the floor to a pilot light. As the vapors ignite the flames will flash back to the liquid spill – and you! Read more
These ceramic tiles protect the space shuttle as it renters the Earth’s atmosphere at speeds over 17,000 miles per hour. They are capable of withstanding temperatures as high as 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit as the orbiter returns to the surface. A secondary purpose for the tiles is to protect the shuttle from the alternating heat and cold experienced while orbiting the earth. They are amazing insulators! Read more
If you were watching WTVG13 on Saturday, September 4th then you saw Imagination Station’s Senior Programs Officer, Sloan Eberly, talk about the hurricane chamber. Imagination Station always wants to connect with their visitors and explain more about the exhibits that they have in the building. So I am going to discuss what hurricanes are, the hurricane chamber, the hurricane scale and finally I am going to let you in on a little secret about the hurricane chamber (Just between us of course!).
If you are anything like me then you love to watch science fiction thriller movies. In my opinion the best movies are the ones that use creatures that resemble actual animals. Read more
Slime mold is… how can I describe it? It is just plain awesome! It is something that seems to be almost out of this world. So with Halloween coming up it seems like a perfect organism to discuss. Imagination Station has an activity called Slime that is also perfect for Halloween Read more
Grab a lawn chair and head outside over the next few nights to watch the Perseid meteor shower that happens every year in August. The meteors are actually debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle. The debris trails behind the comet as it travels through it’s orbit. Most of the debris is somewhere around 1,000 years old. Read more
I have to admit, I am in love with Shark Week! I watch it every year and I always learn something new about sharks. I have been fascinated by animals, fish, insects and anything else I could collect, look at or read about since I was a child. Shark Week feeds my need for information about sharks in an easy way (TV). But when it is over I find myself wanting to know more about these amazing cartilaginous fish. This is what inspired me to write this and I hope that you too can visit these sites and learn even more about sharks. Read more
Film Canister Rockets are a favorite experiment at Imagination Station. We do them frequently within the Science Studio, a learning world that allows visitors to do hands-on experiments and other activities.
One of the best things about this activity is that Read more
- 1 can of Soda
- 1 can of Diet Soda
- 1 or 2 Large clear containers (like an aquarium, or large bowls)
What to do:
- Add water to the aquarium so that it can cover the soda cans.
- Place the cans into the water.
What the Science:
The diet soda and regular soda differ in the amount of solids (sugar/sugar substitute, soft drink ingredients, etc.) that are dissolved in the liquid. The amount of dissolved solids in a liquid will affect the liquids density. An object will become buoyant (float) when it is less dense than the liquid surrounding it. Buoyancy is simply an upward acting force caused by the fluid. Archimedes was the first person to dissect this phenomenon and stated what is now known as Archimedes’ Principle “Any object, wholly or partially immersed in a fluid, is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.”
Note that one packet of an artificial sweetener is approximately equal in sweetness to about three packets of sugar and the artificial sweetener weighs less. The regular soda has more solids (soft drink ingredients and sugar) dissolved in the liquid than the diet soda so it is denser than the water surrounding it in the aquarium causing it to sink, and the diet soda has less solids dissolved (soft drink ingredients and artificial sweetener) so it is less dense and floats.
If you happen to have been watching channel 11 (WTOL) on Saturday, August 7, 2010, then you saw our Chief Scientist, Carl Nelson do our Dinosaur Toothpaste demonstration. Well, the actual demonstrations name is Elephant’s Toothpaste and it is called this because Read more
Plastic is one of those materials that is used for everything from dishes to toys. Have you ever wondered about how it all gets made? We have an activity here that allows you to make your own plastic. This particular activity is one that we have free to all of our visitors in our Science Studio. This is a wonderful exhibit area that changes every day and has lots more activities. We also, for your reading pleasure, have gone on to extend the activity to discuss how plastic gets made and add a little more science behind, Plastic Milk. Read more
The Cartesian Ketchup Diver is one, of many activities, that we have available to all of our visitors for free in our exhibit area, Science Studio. This activity uses a ketchup packet, water, and a 20 oz. bottle. In a nutshell the idea is that you place the packet into the bottle and it floats, when you squeeze the bottle, the packet sinks. When you release the pressure on the bottle the packet floats.
- Fill the bottle with water.
- Place the condiment packet in the bottle.
- Replace the cap.
- Squeeze the bottle and observe the condiment packet sink and float upon release.
Squeezing the bottle puts pressure on the water inside. The force on the water in the bottle can’t go anywhere because it is enclosed. The Principle of Transmission of Fluid-pressure (Pascal’s law) states that pressure exerted anywhere on a confined fluid is transmitted equally in all directions throughout the fluid. Therefore, the force is transmitted to the ketchup packet and it gets pushed down. The force disappears when the squeezing stops and the ketchup packet diver returns to the original floating position. But why does it float? The ketchup packet floats because of buoyancy. Buoyancy is simply an upward acting force caused by fluid pressure. Archimedes was the first person to dissect this phenomenon and stated what is now known Archimedes Principle “Any object, wholly or partially immersed in a fluid, is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.”
Want to know more? Keep Reading!
Squeezing the bottle puts pressure on the water inside. The Principle of Transmission of Fluid-pressure, (Pascal’s Law named after Blaise Pascal) states that pressure exerted anywhere on a confined fluid is transmitted equally in all directions throughout the fluid. Therefore, the force is transmitted to the ketchup packet and it gets pushed down. The force disappears when the squeezing stops and the ketchup packet diver returns to the original position.
This description is the exact wording you will find on the activity card in the Science Studio and it is correct (We would never mislead you, our wonderful audience!) However, as with any science activity, the science behind it is truly endless. In fact, we here at Imagination Station could ramble on and on about science. We have found though that if we talk too much we tend to sound more like Charlie Brown’s teacher than the fascinating science educators that we are (right?). Anyway, for those of you who have ventured onto our website in search of more information, here ya go!
It works because the ketchup packet is not completely filled with ketchup little air bubbles get trapped inside when the packets are filled. As you squeeze the bottle you compress the air bubble inside into a smaller space. This happens because the air is compressed before the water (H2O). According to the density equation (Density = Mass divided by Volume), when you decrease the volume or make the bubble of air smaller, you increase the density causing the ketchup packet to sink. When you release the pressure on the bottle, the compressed air expands inside the packet (increasing the volume), the density decreases, and the diving ketchup packet floats back to the top.
What’s the science behind this floating stuff?
But what is the science behind a floating object? In this case we are taking about a ketchup packet but many things can float: a raft, a duck and even you! The ketchup packet floats (when no force is applied) because of buoyancy. Bouyancy is simply an upward acting force caused by fluid pressure. Archimedes was the first person to dissect this phenomenon and stated what is now known as Archimedes’ Principle “Any object, wholly or partially immersed in a fluid, is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.” We have an article entitled Film Canister Science from The Science Teacher about some activities that links the concepts of buoyancy and density. The authors use the inexpensive, old time favorite supply, the Film Canister! The following is an excerpt from the article.
“Because supplies are limited in many classrooms, we used film canisters in a number of inquiry activities, including a “black box” activity and several activities on sinking and floating properties related to density and to Archimedes’ principle. As described, the activities in this article were written for pre-service teachers. However, our intent for this article was to describe activities that could be used at elementary, middle, and high school levels” (Ferstl and Schneider, 2007, pg. 46).
We hope that our extended explanation of the science behind the Cartesian Ketchup Diver has answered all of your questions. However, if we haven’t just come on in and stop by the Science Studio, we’d love to talk more about it. If you liked this activity you should try another one that we call Soda Science!
The Cartesian diver was named for Rene Descartes, a French philosopher, mathematician, physicist and writer, dubbed the “Father of Modern Philosophy”. Much of subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which continue to be studied closely to this day.
Saturday, June 12 – 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday, June 13 – Noon – 5:00 pm
It’s wuff out there for a puppy. So we’re lending a paw to all our 4-legged companions. We’re hosting a special weekend at the science center that’s dedicated to man’s best friend and the people who love them. Read more
This broadcast and web discussion about STEM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) originally aired Thursday, May 13 on WGTE HD and streamed live on Knowledge Stream. Imagination Station participated in the live web discussion as an example of an informal education partner.
Our region’s next generation needs to be prepared to live and work in a world where an understanding of science and technology can make the difference between success and failure. A local commitment to increase the focus on STEM Education will make today’s students more globally competitive as working adults, and Northwest Ohio will thrive. WGTE Public Media, WBGU TV27, UT3, Ohio STEM Learning Network and the National Governors Association, presented a special televised Town Hall on Thursday, May 13.
Imagination Station hosted a Solar Energy Expo facilitated by Honors and AP Physics students from St. Francis de Sales High School on Saturday May 15. The students lead hands-on activities with small groups of children and helped them learn about solar energy. The activities explored concepts such as how cloudiness affects the output of a solar panel, different ways of connecting several panels together and what the advantages of these types of connections are, and Read more
Alan Becker created this flash animation in 2006. Alan best describes his creation as, “An animator faces his own animation in deadly combat. The battlefield is the Flash interface itself. A stick figure is created by an animator with the intent to torture. The stick figure drawn by the animator will be using everything he can find – the brush tool, the eraser tool – to get back at his tormentor. It’s resourcefulness versus power. Who will win? You can find out yourself.”
It took three months to create his animation. He later followed up with a sequel, Animation vs. Animator II.
Let us know what you think, or if you’ve come across other interesting animations, pass the links on to us in the comments below.
Meat-hungry dinos would be among the world’s strongest biters today
A researcher at the University of Bristol has calculated the biting strength of various carnivorous dinosaurs. Using the concept of mechanical advantage which is the factor by which the jaws of the dino skull multiplies the force put into it by it’s jaw muscles. It’s nice to see that basic science concepts that you learn in 5th grade are actually used by scientists everyday.
I found it interesting that the dino with the greatest bite strength was not a dinosaur at all, but the now extinct shark called Carcharodon megalodon. It could bite with a force of 18.2 tons! Check out the original article.
Understanding the Insta-Hole
The Law of Cartoon Motion
Certain bodies can pass through solids which are painted to resemble holes; others cannot.
This ‘trick of the eye’ inconsistency has baffled generations. However, it is known that whoever paints the hole on the floor’s surface to trick an opponent will certainly be the one who ends up falling through this theoretical hole. This is ultimately a problem of art, not of science.
In the Animation exhibit, now at Imagination Station, visitors explore animation from concept to finished product—from storyboarding, character design, and drawing techniques, to movement, timing, filming and sound. Larger-than-life graphics of popular Cartoon Network characters provide a colorful backdrop to the exhibit, which also explores the history of animation and features a screening room and a cartoon museum.
See more about Animation at Imagination Station.
Print out this Insta-Hole coupon to receive one FREE Kid Admission with the purchase of one Big Kid admission.
KIDSPACE Science Studio
Don’t miss our weekly activity in the Little KIDSPACE Science Studio. A trained team member will read an exciting, interactive story to your child and then everyone gets a chance to complete a fun activity to take home and display proudly! This is a great new addition to your child’s Imagination Station experience.
Science Story Time Schedule
Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00am
May 21-May 26 • Colorful Chameleons
The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle
Explore colors by making a chameleon full of colors and texture.
May 27-June 2 • Chromatography Butterflies
Angelina and the Butterfly by Katharine Holabird
Use coffee filters and pipe cleaners to make a beautiful chromatography butterfly.
January 30 – May 2, 2010
Imagination Station’s 2nd traveling exhibition, Animation featuring Cartoon Network, opened on January 30, 2010 to great anticipation and attendance. Throughout its stay, we welcomed more than 60,000 visitors, hosted a variety of artists, including: Tim George, Mr. Etch-a-Sketch; Comic Strip Artist, Brian Houdashelt; Children’s Illustrator, Cyd Moore; Cartoon Characters including: Dora the Explorer, Ben 10 and Scooby Doo, and Special Events like the Domino Draw, The Big Draw, Disney on Ice Workshop and Astronomy Day.
Making a shrunken head for Halloween is fun and it only takes a few items to get started. To create a shrunken head you need just a few items. Gather up an apple, granny smith, red delicious, whatever, pretty much any apple will work. The basic steps for making a shrunken head from an apple are: remove the skin, coat with lemon juice, carve features, soak in saltwater, let shrink for 2 weeks, decorate with optional features. See it’s so easy anyone can do it. Plus if you really mess up you can always eat the apple! Read more