Solutions

Picture -1

We started with a soap bubble solution and added some dry ice. That created foam from the bubbling of the carbon dioxide gas. Next we activated a light stick, and then cut it open. We poured the contents into the soap bubble solution. We turned off the lights and then found a black light to enhance the coolity! Notice the beaker with the soap/light stick solution in the background, and a ring of the solution from the bottom of the beaker in the foreground.

How does a light stick work?

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Picture -2

You are looking at two fiddleheads. These are the emerging leaves of green plants called ferns. The new leaves are rolled up, or furled, and they slowly unroll. Look for ferns in shady, moist habitats.

Fiddlehead unfurling

American Fern Society for more info about ferns

Watch this dancing plant!

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Picture -3

This photo was taken in a DuPage County forest preserve. On a rotting tree trunk find the moss, shelf fungus, and then leaves on the forest floor in the foreground. Do you see the snail hanging out?

Fungi are decomposers; that means they slowly break down (decompose) the organic material they are living on. They use enzymes (proteins that speed up chemical reactions) to accomplish this. Once broken down, the fungus absorbs small molecules of the substrate (what the fungus is living on) to feed itself, and in the process the tree (or whatever the substrate is) decomposes—or falls apart. Nutrients are returned the soil as this proceeds. Decomposition is part of nature’s recycling process. Snails, insects, earthworms, and bacteria are other natural decomposers.

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Picture -4

Too easy? This is my dog’s nose. Read about Dog’s Dazzing Sense of Smell.

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Picture -5

Air bubbles trapped in ice on an asphalt pathway. Why are the bubbles layered on top of each other? We honestly don’t know! Even Tom Skilling, the famous Chicago meteorologist, was stumped when we asked.

A. E. Carte says: Factors which influence bubble concentrations and sizes are the amount of dissolved air, pressure, thickness of the layer of water ahead of the growing ice and escape of bubbles by buoyancy. Bubbles in ice change shape with time particularly when under the influence of a temperature gradient. (from the Proceedings of the Physical Society, 1961)

Do a google image search for “air bubbles trapped in ice.” You’ll see some amazing images.

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Picture -6

This photo was taken from an airplane window over Alaska. Notice the “roads.” Those are glacial moraines. Glaciers are really cool!

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