Solutions

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Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) elevated trains pass through this tube at the McCormick Tribune Campus Center on the Illinois Tech campus. The tracks and tube are just above the roof of the student center. Read about it

Architecture is a STEM career. Check out the American Institute of Architects, Chicago.

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Close up of a sawhorse barricade at a construction site (with shadow of photographer’s fingers). Who knew? Looking up information about these safety devices, I came across the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways.

This “manual lays out the standards used by road managers nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices on all public streets, highways, bikeways, and private roads.” Interested in road engineering or traffic safety? Consider a career in Civil Engineering.

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Sitting in my car as it goes through the car wash! For more about Car Washes, check out these resources:

How Car Washes Work
• Do you know that you can save water by bringing your car to a commercial wash versus washing it at home? Watch this.
• Brighton Car Wash, in Naperville, utilizes solar panels for heating the wash water and a wind turbine to generate electricity for the business. They’re currently closed for remodeling, but check out this video.

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Chicago has many interesting bridges. The LaSalle Street Bridge opened in 1928. Read about it.

Check out this map of downtown Chicago bridges

Interested in different types of bridges? Learn about different types here.

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

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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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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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