Scientist Bob McDonald in Victoria, BC, November 22nd

Bob McDonald Quirks and Quarks wiki Nov 14From mad scientists, to lunar landings, to outrageous weapons, science is gracing the big screen. But just what’s plausible, capable, or already happening?

Join one of Canada’s best-known science journalists on November 22nd when the host of CBC’s Quirks & Quarks….

For more info about Bob McDonald’s CBC Radio show, visit here:  Bob’s Book is entitled:

 Measuring the Earth with a Stick: Science as I’ve seen it:

Quirks N QuarksHis book, which was short-listed for the Canadian Science Writers Association Book Award, is a collection of essays reflecting on his 25 years as a science journalist.  Bob also hosted and wrote a children’s TV science series, Heads Up!, which ran for 3 seasons on TVO and the Knowledge Network. In addition, he is Chairman of the Board for Geospace Planetarium.  Here is Bob’s Science Blog:

For info on Our Awesome Science Learning Lesson Plans, Games and Activities, feel free to visit here:

Natural Science: How Do Crystals Grow?

A crystal is a special type of solid where the particles are arranged in an orderly and repeating pattern. When solids are dissolved in water, they form a solution, like when salt and water mix. As particles dissolve in water, the particles of the solid separate and distribute evenly throughout the mixture. Sometimes two dissolved particles move closer to each other and begin to attract, causing them to stick together. Over time more and more particles attach to the growing solid and “drop out of the solution”. The solid formed is a special compound called a crystal.

In this activity students will explore how crystals are made.


Measuring cups (1/2 cup)
Alum (spice can be found at grocery store)


  1. Add ½ cup of hot water to 2 ½ tablespoons of alum.
  2. Crystals will form within 30 minutes.
  3. Want bigger crystals add more alum to the water.

How It Works:

When the alum and water mix, the alum begins to accumulate in clusters and as the warm water evaporates, it leaves the lumped crystals behind. The alum forms not just a solid, but a solid with a repeating pattern, making a crystal.

Discussion Questions to Ask:

  • How did were the crystals made?
  • What characteristics do the crystals have?

There are many places where crystals grow in nature, like ice crystals are often formed in the winter, in colder climates as the liquid molecules freeze. Also in caverns, there are stalagmites and stalactites that are crystals of calcium carbonate. When teaching concepts like crystals, young students may become bored as the formation of the crystal may take longer than one class period. To keep the students’ attention, incorporate crystals-related activities in other areas, i.e. math (counting or matching crystals), art, geography (where do crystals form in nature), even in physical education (students can pretend to be frozen crystals and play tag). It is best to start this activity and others that take more than one day on a Friday, that way when the students return on Monday the process is complete. For other science teaching tips related to crystals, visit:

And for other Fun Learning Science Games, we invite you to visit here:

Schumann Frequency: The Heart Beat of Mother Earth

Global electromagnetic resonance phenomenon was first discovered and by Nicola Tesla, who made his first documented observations of global electromagnetic resonance at his Colorado Springs laboratory in 1899. This led to certain thought conclusions about the electrical properties of Earth, making the basis for his idea for wireless energy transmission.  Theoretically, it is the natural frequency or rather, Heart Beat of Mother Earth and when we are mostly healthy, our human bodies vibrate to this same frequency.  The lowest “mode” of the Schumann frequency occurs at a frequency of approximately 7.86 Hertz.

The following is a very cool animation video clip demonstrating the geometrics of the Schumann Resonance of Mother Earth:  By way of transverse and longitudinal waves, Tesla researched ways to transmit wireless power and energy over long distances. He transmitted extremely low frequencies through the ground, and between the Earth’s surface and the Kennelly-Heaviside layer. By this path, he received patents on wireless transmitters that developed standing waves. Through his math experiments, he discovered that the resonant frequency of the Earth was approximately 8 Hertz.

In 1952–1954 Schumann and scientist H. L. König, attempted to measure the resonant frequencies. These researchers confirmed in mid-century, that the resonant frequency of the Earth’s cavity was indeed in this range and later named the Schumann resonance.  Since then, there has been an increasing interest in SRF in many fields of study.

For tracking weather patterns across the globe, observations of Schumann resonances document record keeping of lightning activity. The Earth’s climate and Her connection with lightning activity also show global temperature and water vapor in the upper troposphere. Scientists speculate that extraterrestrial lightning (i.e. lightning on other planets) is also observed by the Schumann resonance signatures. The Schumann resonance is also used in study of the lower ionosphere for exploration on celestial stars. Within our Solar System, there are five candidates for Schumann resonance detection besides the Earth: Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and its moon Titan.  The latest usage of observing Schumann patterns have been in predicting potential earthquakes.

According to metaphysician and scientist, Gregg Braden, the Schumann Resonance Frequency of Mother Earth has been steadily rising and will continue to until the end of 2012.

The SRF’s occur at several frequencies between 6 and 50 cycles per second; specifically 7.8, 14, 20, 26, 33, 39 and 45 Hertz, with a daily variation of about +/- 0.5 Hertz. As long as the properties of Earth’s electromagnetic cavity remains relatively the same, these frequencies remain the same.  Braden says that “time” appears to speed up as we approach what he calls Zero Point Phenomenon. For example, one 24 hour day seems not 24 hours, but rather about 16 hours or less.

Schumann Resonance is also known as The Heart Beat of Mother Earth.  It has been 7.8 cycles for thousands of years, but has been rising since 1980. Presently it is about 12 / 13 cycles. It stops at 13 cycles and is speculated to come to a complete stop on December 21, 2012, the end of what is known also, of the Mayan Calendar, and the mark of the beginning of a new cycle of consciousness on Mother Earth.

For fun Affordable Learning Games  Teaching Elementary Science in and outdoors of the classroom visit here:

Solar System Pop Quiz

Sometimes Pop Quiz is fun in Science Class.  Surprise them with this one and see how present the class is with their current knowledge of solar system and space facts!

1. Which Galaxy do we live in on Earth?

Milky Way Galaxy

2. Is our Sun considered to be a Star or a Planet?

A Star

3. When did a human being first set foot on the Moon?


4. What planet is known for being Red even though its faux tv fiction inhabitants are considered to be Green? Continue reading “Solar System Pop Quiz”

Kepler 10b: Exoplanet Discovery in Search for Earth-like Worlds

Astronomers have discovered the smallest planet outside our Solar System, and the first that is definitely rocky like Earth. In September 2010, the 4th planet of the Red Dwarf star Gliese 581, appeared to be the best known example of a possible terrestrial exoplanet orbiting near its home star.

An extrasolar planet, or exoplanet, is a planet outside the Solar System.  Extrasolar planets became an object of scientific inquiry in the nineteenth century. Many astronomers supposed that they existed, but there was no way of knowing how common they were or how similar they might be to the Continue reading “Kepler 10b: Exoplanet Discovery in Search for Earth-like Worlds”

Making an Edible Solar System

No need to try to generate excitement with elementary students about space, the solar system and planets.  They already have a natural curiosity about these things, thanks to an abundance of science fiction in the media.  Here are a great way to capitalize on this excitement and to teach them the truth about our solar system.

The first part of this science lesson is making a solar system using candies for planets. Continue reading “Making an Edible Solar System”

Meteorite Madness – Wish Upon a Star

Can you imagine being 4.5 billion years old?  That is the age of the rare 52.8 kilogram meteorite chunk that is being investigated at the Royal Ontario Museum this week by Kimberly Tait, the museum’s curator, and the ROM research team.  The meteorite is about the size of a school packsack, and it was found in Springwater, Saskatchewan last year.  The type of meteorite is called a pallasite – one of 84 found on the entire planet.   There are only 84 pallasites of all the 35,000 meteorites found on Earth.  Inside the rock, to the naked eye, there are translucent greenish spots of a silicate mineral called olivine mixed in with a grey-colored iron/nickel alloy.  What is special about this particular piece of pallasite is… Continue reading “Meteorite Madness – Wish Upon a Star”

Earth May have a Shorter Day

The 8.8-magnitude Chilean earthquake released so much energy that it may have slightly shortened the length of the Earth’s day, a NASA scientist says…

…The JPL computer model suggests that the length of the Earth day may have been shortened by 1.26 millionths of a second.  The change in the length of the day came as a result of the shift in the Earth’s axis that occurred because of the quake. The Earth’s figure axis, the imaginary line about which its mass is balanced, shifted by 2.7 milliseconds of arc, or about eight centimetres. Continue reading “Earth May have a Shorter Day”

Teaching Space and the Solar System

Teaching Outer space and the solar system is one of the most interesting topics discussed in school because of the countless variety of plantets and the idea that there is actually something else outside of our world.

In the few decades since space exploration began, probes have reached the far regions of the solar system. The solar system is the group of celestial bodies, including Earth that orbits around the Milky Way galaxy. Some hundred billion stars can be found in the universe while more than 1,000 comets have been observed regularly through telescopes.
To give this topic a little twist, here are tips to have students “get it.”

Continue reading “Teaching Space and the Solar System”