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More to Explore

Staff favorite science resources from around the web.

 

 

Monarch butterflies may be doing better than thought, controversial study suggests

Audience: Teens and Adults
Grades: 6+
Duration: 5 minutes

Learn the power of community science data reporting and how it can help expand research knowledge. Andy Davis, an animal ecologist at the University of Georgia, and his co-authors scoured data collected by the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) over 25 years which suggest that the monarch butterfly population is actually increasing. This contradicts information from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which suggests that monarch butterflies are endangered. Read this National Geographic article to learn more about the limitations of the NABA data set and the future of monarch butterflies.

Detroit River Story Lab

Audience: Teens and Adults
Grades: 9+
Duration: Variable

Have you ever felt the relief of cool, flowing water on a sunny day? For many, spending time by a river is a big part of summer in the Midwest. But rivers are much more than fun on a hot day: they also bear witness to the communities that surround them. How do we make sure those stories live on? What do rivers do for us and what can we do for them? The University of Michigan’s Detroit River Story Lab is on a quest to answer those questions and more.

SpinWearables STEM Resources

The SpinWearables team, including U-M researcher and museum Science Communication Fellow Bridget Hegarty, has created a resources list with some favorite collections of science activities, educational computer games, videos, and more! For some hands-on activities using simple supplies and tips to get started at home, check out the recent parent workshop

- Dr. Bridget Hegarty, postdoc in Civil and Environmental Engineering

 

BBC Earth Kids

BBC Earth offers shows and programs that are beautifully done and worth exploring, and families will especially enjoy their Earth Kids content.

-Tim Donahue, Exhibit and Display Coordinator

Storytime from space

has been a fun discovery for my family during this time. A particular favorite was Mousetronaut. Who doesn’t love a story read from space?

-Melissa Westlake, Assistant Director for Exhibits

Powers of Ten

Keep in mind while watching the short film, Powers of Ten, by Charles and Ray Eames, that it was produced in 1977. It employed the system of exponential powers to visualize the importance of scale. Stay on the official Eames site to view some excellent design.

-Todd Berenz, Exhibit Preparator/Designer

Time Scavengers and Field Excursions

Time Scavengers blog and Field Excursions page is a great place to learn about paleontology from paleontologists with great science communication skills. One of the founders is U-M Museum of Paleontology’s collection manager Jen Bauer.

-Jade Marks, Science Communication Manager

How to Smile

A huge compendium of fun activities from informal science centers around the world, indexed by age and topic. It’s a great resource for parents and teachers alike!

-Kira Berman, Assistant Director for Education

 

ChemCollective

is an online lab space where you can conduct virtual experiments that reinforce chemistry topics like stoichiometry, solubility, acid-base chemistry and more!

-Jade Marks, Science Communication Manager

 

World Soil Day: Berlese Funnel 

World Soil Day is recognized by the United Nations on December 5th to bring attention to the importance of healthy soil and responsible soil management. With the help of a grownup, you can build a special trap called a Berlese Funnel to help you discover exactly who lives in the soil beneath your feet. Use this graphic from the Natural Resource Conservation Service to identify your underground neighbors.

-Recommended by Jade Marks, UMMNH Science Communications Manager

Mark Rober's YouTube channel

is a favorite of our family. Rober was formerly a NASA engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and now produces entertaining science videos with a high level of wow factor! 

-Alicia Comer, Science Outreach Grants Manager

PhET

simulations are a collection of online tools for interacting with STEM concepts across multiple disciplines: Physics, Chemistry, Math, Biology and more! You can explore by topic or by grade level. Build a molecule, explore Faraday’s Law, or play a radioactive dating game.

-Jade Marks, Science Communication Manager

 

The Water Story Animation

Audience: Children and Family
Grades: 1-6
Duration: 5-10 minutes

The Water Story offers two animations that show the different parts of the water cycle. Children can select Professor Dew who demonstrates the water cycle in relation to the ground or Droplette who visits the Great Lakes for her water adventure. The Water Story is one of many offerings from the Michigan Water Stewardship Program which is dedicated to educating the public about our water resources and what people can do to conserve them. It offers content for educators, residents and students. 

-Recommended by Brittany Burgess, UMMNH Student Affairs Program Manager

Color Your Universe

Ages: All ages
Grades: All
Duration: Variable

What vibrant colors will you bring to these NASA scenes of exploration coloring pages? You can post your colored universe on social media with #ColorWithNASA and tag @NASASolarSystem for your chance to have your artwork featured on the Solar System Exploration social media accounts and the website!

-Recommended by Brittany Burgess, UMMNH Student Affairs Program Manager

Build a Museum at Home

Audience: Children and Family
Grades: PK-8
Duration: Flexible

Have you ever wondered what happens to a star when it explodes, why it’s so hard to pull a magnet apart, or how octopuses change the color of their skin? Dive deep into the world around you and build your very own museum exhibit using stuff you have at home.  MICRO DIY offers a free guide that walks you through the museum design process as you research, curate, and design your very own mini museum.

Recommended by Brittany Burgess, UMMNH Student Affairs Program Manager

Michigan Great Outdoors Word Search

Audience: Children and Family
Grades: 3-5
Duration: Flexible

Looking for a fun activity while you're hunkered down at home? See how many nature words you can find on this Michigan Great Outdoors Word Search from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Recommended by Lori Ann Dick, UMMNH Marketing & Communications Manager

Protecting Our Water - An Activity Book

Audience: Children and Family
Grades: 4-8
Duration: 10-20 minutes

In this activity book, a sturgeon named Sturgis shows you how to protect our water. Learn about watersheds, the water cycle, pollution, and more from the Michigan Water Stewardship Program which is dedicated to educating the public about our water resources and what people can do to conserve them.

Recommended by Brittany Burgess, UMMNH Student Affairs Program Manager

Pterosaurs: Winged Prehistoric Giants that Ruled the Skies

Audience: All
Grades: 3+
Duration: 9 minutes

What if you could ride a giant pterosaur? In this video, the BBC highlights a European cousin of our giant pterosaur model, Quetzalcoatlus. The Hatzegopteryx thambema in the video and the Quetzalcoatlus northropi at the museum are closely related giant pterosaurs of similar size. 

Both lived during the Late Cretaceous period and belong to the family Azhdarchidae, a family of big-headed pterosaurs with very long necks. Most "Quetz" material has been found in Texas, while "Hatzeg" was found in Transylvania, Romania. 

Both were weird enough for fantasy fiction, and the BBC took advantage of that to imagine what it would take to ride one. People and pterosaurs were never alive at the same time, of course, but what if they were? 

Pterosaurs: Winged Prehistoric Giants that Ruled the Skies was suggested by Museum Member Penelope Thomas. 

Deep Sea

Audience: Children, Family
Grades: K+
Duration: Variable

Have you ever wondered how far down a flounder flounders? How deep dolphins dive? Or maybe you’ve mused over what lives in the Earth’s deepest oceans? You’re not alone! More people have been to the Moon than to the depths of Earth’s deep sea trenches. Learn more about what swims, floats, and drifts underwater in this Deep Sea interactive.

-Recommended by Jade Marks, Science Communication Manager

Science Crossword Puzzle

Audience: Teens & Adults
Grades: 9+
Duration: Variable

Try your hand at this sciency brain teaser from The Scientist—a publication dedicated to covering a wide range of topics central to the study of cell and molecular biology, genetics, and other life-science fields.

-Recommended by Lori Ann Dick, Marketing & Communications Manager

Deep Dive into Cancer

Audience: Adults
Grades: 9+
Duration: Variable

With one in three people developing cancer in their lifetime, cancer touches us all. To spread awareness about cancer and other chronic diseases, University of Michigan Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) student Sia Chengalvala developed this reference website with curated information on the biology of cancer. Sai's website features first-person accounts from cancer patients, prevention tips, and mental health resources for both patients and caregivers.

Sai Chengalvala is a junior majoring in MCDB and Computer Science. He created this website as part of ALA 270: Science Communication, a course taught by museum staff.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you're seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment, consult a qualified healthcare provider.

The Plastic in the Air

Audience: Children, Family
Grades: 6+
Duration: Variable

You have probably heard about microplastics in the water: tiny bits of plastic that can only be seen with a microscope that can be harmful to marine life. But did you know that microplastics are in the air too? We know they’re there, but scientists are just beginning to understand the effects of airborne microplastics on human health and the environment. Learn more about what we do know in this microplastic interactive. Once you scroll over a particle and learn about its size and composition, don’t forget to click to see where it came from!

-Recommended by Jade Marks, Science Communication Manager

What Dinosaurs ACTUALLY Looked Like?

A colorful science animation courtesy of kurzgesagt.org

Audience: All
Grades: 4-12
Duration: 12 minutes

The past is a vast and mysterious land that begins at the big bang and ends in the present, expanding with each passing moment. It is the home of everything that came before, the key to understanding our present. Here we find the most amazing creatures to ever roam our planet, hundreds of millions of species so diverse that our imagination cannot do them justice. Unfortunately, the past carefully guards its secrets. 

Recommended by Lori Ann Dick, UMMNH Marketing & Communications Manager

The Adventures of Sammy Soil

Audience: Family
Grades: K-5
Duration: Variable

Color the pages while reading about Sammy Soil’s adventures from the farm to the beach. Discover the importance of conservation of our natural resources in recognition of the United Nations World Soil Day, December 5th. 

The Adventures of Sammy Soil is made available by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture.

Recommended by Jade Marks, UMMNH Science Communications Manager

 

 

Climate Emergency: Atmosphere Feedback Loop

Audience: Adults
Grades: 5+
Duration: 9 minutes

Global warming is altering Earth’s weather patterns dramatically. A warmer atmosphere absorbs more water vapor, which in turn traps more heat and warms the planet further in an accelerating feedback loop. Climate change is also disrupting the jet stream, triggering a feedback loop that brings warm air northward, and causes weather patterns to stall in place for longer.

Recommended by Melissa Westlake, Assistant Director for Exhibits

How The Immune System ACTUALLY Works

Audience: Teens and Adults
Grades: 6+
Duration: ~11 minutes

From COVID-19 to a cut on your finger, your immune system works hard to ward off micro-sized invaders. But how does it all work? This video by Kurzgesagt explains: “The human immune system is the most complex biological system we know, after the human brain, and yet, most of us never learn how it works. Or what it is. Your immune system consists of hundreds of tiny and two large organs, and it has its own transport network spread throughout your body. Every day, it makes hundreds of billions of fresh cells. It is not some sort of abstract entity. Your immune system is YOU.”

Seeking science in another language? Explore the Kurzgesagt German Channel or Spanish Channel!

Food is too good to waste!

Audience: Ages 7-11
Grades: 3-5
Duration: 15-20 minutes

Food waste refers to uneaten or unused food that gets thrown away. Most often this waste is transported to landfills with other garbage, where it can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 40 years to decompose.

Kids can learn how to reduce food waste and help protect the environment with Apple and her friends in this activity book from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Like humans, wasps seem to recognize faces as more than the sum of their parts

Audience: Teens and Adults
Grades: 6+
Duration: 5 minutes

Want to learn more about wasp facial recognition? Learn the techniques used by Sophia Moon as a member of the Tibbetts Lab. The research indicates that smaller and less complex brains are capable of holistic facial processing, similar to that performed in human brains. This research opens the door to ask more questions about holistic processing, how best to study it, and if multiple experiments can test the same process.

NASA’s Webb Delivers Deepest Infrared Images of Universe Yet

Audience: Children and Adults
Grades: Pre-K and up
Duration: 5 minutes

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) offers the highest resolution images of space to-date. Read the impact of this new technology in NASA’s article, and below is the opinion of our own Buddy Stark, the UMMNH Planetarium Manager.

“For me, the most noteworthy aspect of images like these is always that they serve as reminders of both humility and hope. In a broad sense, this isn't the first time we've seen an image like this. An image that demonstrates thousands of galaxies, each with billions of stars, housed in a tiny portion of the night sky. It's worth taking a pause like this to be reminded of the incomprehensible size of the cosmos and how remote our physical presence is in the universe. At the same time, these moments crystallize what scientists mean when they use phrases like the "hope of discovery." Even though the JWST took this image considerably more quickly than a comparable Hubble image, it is a vast improvement over what we had seen before. We are at an instant in history where we don't know everything the JWST will be able to show us, and the hope of what we will be able to learn with a new instrument is always an exciting time.”