Can You Name the Landforms?

18 05 2012

The continent of North America is a great place to discover all of the different geographical features that the world has to offer! Can you name all of the landforms in the map below?

  1. Archipelago: sometimes called an island group, is a chain or cluster of islands.
  2. Bay: a large body of water connected to an ocean or sea formed by an inlet of land due to the surrounding land blocking some waves and often reducing winds.
  3. Gulf: A deep inlet of the sea almost surrounded by land, with a narrow mouth.
  4. Isthmus: A narrow strip of land with sea on either side, forming a link between two larger areas of land.
  5. Island: A piece of land surrounded by water.
  6. Lake: A large body of water surrounded by land.
  7. Peninsula: A piece of land almost surrounded by water or projecting out into a body of water.
  8. River: A large natural stream of water flowing in a channel to the sea, a lake, or another stream.
  9. Strait: A narrow passage of water connecting two seas or two large areas of water.

You can find other fun geography maps at Enchanted Learning!

Undersea Explorers

16 05 2012

Maybe it’s because summer is approaching, but we’ve got the ocean on our minds. Have you visited the ocean? Swam in the sea? We did some research to learn about some famous explorers and adventurers who focused on the ocean.

  • Robert Ballard- (June 30, 1942 – ) is an American undersea explorer, marine scientist, and US Naval officer who has been on over 65 underwater expeditions in submarines and deep diving submersibles. He found the Titanic and many other wrecks. Ballard has revolutionized undersea exploring by using remotely controlled submersible robotic devices (including Argo-Jason; Argo is a remotely controlled submersible vehicle with cameras, and Jason is carried in Argo and sent from it to collect samples and perform other functions).
  • William Beebe- (1877 – 1962) was an American naturalist and undersea explorer. In 1932, Beebe and Otis Barton descended 3,000 ft (914 m) in a bathysphere (a pressurized steel sphere invented by Beebe and Barton). They descended off the coast of Nonsuch Island, Bermuda, in the Atlantic Ocean. During the dive, they communicated with the surface via telephone.

  • Jacques Cousteau- (1910-1997) was a French undersea explorer, environmentalist, and innovator. In 1943, Cousteau and the French engineer Emile Gagnan invented the aqualung, a breathing apparatus that supplied oxygen to divers and allowed them to stay underwater for several hours. Cousteau traveled the world’s oceans in his research vessel “Calypso,” beginning in 1948. (Calypso was a converted 400-ton World War 2 minesweeper; it sank in 1996, after being hit by a barge in Singapore harbor).
  • Sylvia Earle-(August 30, 1935- ) is an undersea explorer, marine biologist (specializing in botany), and author. Earle has done pioneering work in studying ocean life, and she has helped develop the equipment necessary for underwater exploration. During 50 underwater expeditions and over 6,000 hours underwater, Earle has discovered many new marine species and set many diving records. In 1970, Earle led a team of five aquanauts (underwater explorers) who lived for 2 weeks (during which they experienced an underwater earthquake) in an underwater laboratory in a U.S. government project named “Tektite II.” She has discovered many underwater phemonena, including undersea dunes in the Atlantic Ocean off the Bahama Islands.
  • Jacques Piccard-(1922- ) is a Swiss ocean explorer and scientist who was the first person to go to the deepest parts of the Pacific Ocean. On January 23, 1960, he and U.S. Navy Lt. Don Walsh descended over 35,802 feet or 7 miles (10,912 m) in a pressured bathyscape, called Trieste. They went to the bottom of the Challenger Deep of the Marianas Trench (200 miles southwest of Guam), the deepest place on Earth. The trip took five hours. The bathyscape was built by Piccard and his father, Auguste Piccard (1884-1962), a notable Belgian physicist and inventor.
Make an Origami Whale!

Make a Mother’s Day Bouquet!

10 05 2012
Mother’s Day is this weekend, and we couldn’t be happier to celebrate moms and every thing they do! This year, we wanted to make a bright and happy bouquet that would last for a long time. Here’s how we did it:
  • Card stock (assorted colors)
  • Decorative Scissors
  • Glue
  • Stapler (optional)
  • Envelopes

To make this hand made flower bouquet, we need to start by creating a ‘vase’ for the flowers to stand in. To do this simply follow these steps:

- First cut a simple wave across the top of a sheet of card stock.

-Fold a small section of the cardstock in to create a tab.

-Fold the card stock into three sections and glue down using the tab.

Next we move on to creating the flowers!

For this you will use different colored card stock to make the flowers brights and colorful!

- Cut out circles of all colors and sizes.

- Cut petal designs to the edges of the larger circles

- Glue the smaller circle into the center of the larger circle.

- Grab some green card stock and cut out stem shapes for as many flowers as you want to make.

Finally, glue the stems of the flowers into the vase to be sure that they will not fall.

You can always add extra decoration to the outside of your vase. Try adding your own special, personalized message to your mother on her special day!

¡Cinco de Mayo!

4 05 2012

The 5th of May marks the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Although the Mexican army was eventually defeated, the “Batalla de Puebla” represents a symbol of Mexican patriotism and unity.
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated all over the United States and in Mexico (mainly in Pueblo) and includes mariachi music, folklorico dancing, parades and other types of festive activities.

A fun and easy craft to do for the celebration is making Mexican tin cut-outs:

Here’s what you will need:

  • A disposable pie plate or roasting pan (cleaned)
  • A marker
  • Scissors
  • A large nail, hole punch, or pencil
  • String or yarn
  • Scrap cardboard or newspaper

You can create any shape you want, but here are some templates for a star or a crescent moon!

1. First, print out your design or draw on the pie plate.

2. Cut out the design

3. Lay down a piece of cardboard or newspaper to protect the surface of the table and then use a large nail (hole punch) to poke holes at the top, where the string will go through.

4. Using a nail or a pencil, make indentations all over the piece to decorate.

5. Attach a string to the top & hang anywhere!

Celebrate Mother Earth!

22 04 2012

On April 22nd, The United States, as well as 175 other countries will be celebrated Earth Day! This day is celebrated every year to increase awareness and appreciation for our beautiful planet.

Did you know there was an anthem for Earth Day?
Joyful joyful we adore our Earth in all its wonderment
Simple gifts of nature that all join into a paradise
Now we must resolve to protect her
Show her our love through out all time
With our gentle hand and touch
We make our home a newborn world
Now we must resolve to protect her
Show her our love through out all time
With our gentle hand and touch
We make our home a newborn world

Here in the Guide to Being Green you do fun activities and learn ways to take care of Mother Earth!

Another great idea for Earth Day is to make a reminded to turn off your lights! This saves electricity and energy!

Here’s what you will need:

  • Scissors
  • Scrap cardboard (like a cereal box)
  • Glue
  • Marker
  • Ribbon or String

1. Cut a light bulb shape (about 3 1/2 inches wide and 6 inches tall) out of the cardboard. Then use the cardboard to trace over construction paper. Cut out light bulb and glue on top of cardboard.

2. For the base of the bulb, cut out a strip of construction paper (about 1 1/2 inches wide and 3 inches long), wrap it around the neck of the bulb, and glue it in place.

3. After it dries, use a marker to draw threads on the bulb base and to print your conservation message. For a hanger, tape a loop of ribbon to the back of the bulb.

4. Hang it on a doorknob for a daily reminder!

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Awesome Works of Art Influenced by Children’s Toys!

15 04 2012

The imaginations of today’s contemporary artists seem to have no limits. Artists are able explore the wonderful world of children’s toys by creating gigantic masterpieces that are very fun to look at! Some incorporate discarded toys, and others create large-scale balloon dogs or Lego’s. Here are some of our favorite artworks that share a wonderful child-like imagination:

1. Jeff Koons, “Balloon Dog” and “Puppy” (1994-2000): Created out of stainless steel with a mirror finish, Koon’s balloon animals range from 43 feet to 10 feet tall. In 1992, he was commissioned to create “Puppy”, a sculpture of a white terrier puppy covered in a variety of flowers.

2. Peng Hung Chih, “Little Danny” (2001): Little Danny was created with 660 wind-up dogs that start yapping and moving when you enter the room. Chih was interested in presenting the world from a dog’s perspective to visitors that enter.

3. Hans Hemmert, “German Panther” (2007): Standing at an amazing 31 feet tall, “German Panther” was created entirely out of balloons. At the end of the exhibition, the balloons were popped!

4. Florentijn Hofman, 42-foot tall toy rabbit (2011): This giant yellow bunny was created using local materials and craftsmen in Sweden. Located near St. Nicolai Church in the city center, people can walk up to the sculpture and admire its enormous size.

5. Robert Bardford, “Fairy Too”: The sculpture is created using his own children’s old toys, all coming together to make a masterpiece of unique materials.

6. Joe Black, “Made in China” (2011): Created from more than 5,500 toy
soldiers, Black’s portrait is of a Chinese soldier (taken from a photograph by
Robert Capa). All of the toy soldiers were created in China, hence the title.
When the viewer stands back, they see just a portrait. However, if you move
closer, you can see the incredible detail of different color toy soldiers!

7. Ego Leonard’s “Lego’s” (2007-2011): This wonderful, weird mystery Lego seemed to appear out of no where on a Florida beach one day. Standing at 8 feet tall, weighing 100 pounds, the Lego adds a playful and magical moment to a beach visit.

Do you have a favorite work of art? Leave us a comment and share your pick!

Spring has Sprung!

8 04 2012

Texas is a fantastic state to see wildflowers during the season of Spring! All along most highways and roads tiny little flowers begin to blossom into fields of color.

Did you know the Bluebonnet is the State Flower of Texas?
However, most people do not know the long battle behind the Bluebonnet being named the State Flower over 100 years ago.

Male lawmakers and women of the National Society of Dames of America argued between having a strong, prickly cactus as the symbol or the bluebonnet to represent Texas.

Finally in March 1901, the Bluebonnet became one of the first state symbols, representing a robust and full flower that “exemplified the spirit of Texas and its people” according to Flo Oxley, the program coordinator at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

There are now 5 known species:   L. texensis, which is scattered along state byways, the Big Bend/Chisos bluebonnet (L. Harvardii); annual lupine (L. concinnus) and perennial bluebonnet (L. plattensis).

Flower Sightings:

  • St. Edward’s University Campus (there is a large field of bluebonnets beside the baseball field)
  • Highway 290 & 183- stretching into the Hill Country
  • Loop 360 near the Pennybacker Bridge
  • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
  • Zilker Botanical Garden

Fun Facts about Bluebonnets:

  • Typically blue, the wildflower also can come in shades of pink, maroon, and white
  • Legend holds that the only place pink bluebonnets grow is south of downtown San Antonio- They took on the pink hue when the river turned red after battle for the Alamo
  • Blooming period is between March-May
  • As they age, the top petals turn purple-red
  • April 24th is Texas State Wildflower Day!
  • Despite common misconceptions, Bluebonnets are not illegal to pick, just be careful pulling over along roadways!

Easter’s Here!!

8 04 2012

Our favorite part of Easter is decorating eggs with beautiful colors! Paint usually leaves a mess, but we found an easier way to decorate your eggs! After you’re finished, you can then make a bunny basket to carry your eggs in.

All you’ll need is:

  • White Eggs
  • Tongs
  • An empty egg carton
  • Crayons

First, have an adult hard-boil the eggs and remove them from the hot water with tongs. Dry them off, and set the eggs in the carton or on top of a plastic bottle cap to cool.

Next, use the crayons to color the eggs any way you want. You can remove the wrapper or even shave the crayons to add a sprinkle effect.

The eggs can be slippery from the wax, so be careful when picking them up to decorate the other sides.

Finally, let the eggs sit in the carton for about an hour to fully dry.


Now we need to make an easy basket to hold your eggs in, or any that you find while Easter egg hunting!


  • Scissors
  • Half gallon milk or juice carton
  • Stapler
  • Construction paper (pastel colors)
  • Glue or double sided tape
  • Hole punch
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Optional: Cotton ball

1. Have an adult cut a panel from the carton (with the spout) and save it to later make a handle. Staple the open spout closed.

2. Use construction paper to cover the carton (you can use glue or tape).

3. Use the hole punch in the center of the spout ridge to create a spot where the whiskers go. Place the pipe cleaners in the holes, then glue on the googly eyes.

4. Next, the bunny needs ears. Cut ear shapes from the same color construction paper, then cut smaller ear shapes (pink) to glue on to the middle of the ears. Staple the ears on the top of the base so that they stand up.

5. Finally, create the handle by trimming the cut carton side, covering it with construction paper, and stapling it to the basket!

6. Add the finishing touch of gluing a cotton ball to the tail of the bunny basket.

Guide to April’s Night Sky

2 04 2012

Have you notice the two brightest stars that have been next to each other in the sky? They were actually planets! Jupiter and Venus, to be exact. The beginning of April marks the end of Jupiter from our night sky, and it will slowly disappear in the middle of the month. What new planets can be seen this month?

  • Mercury rises at dawn in the east. At 6 a.m. on April 22, place Mercury at the center of a pair of 7 x 50 binoculars. On a line extending halfway to the 10 o’clock position, you will see Uranus, only 2 degrees away!
  • On April 3, Venus becomes an extra sister in the Pleiades, and should prove to be a splendid sight. Venus will be at its brightest on April 30!
  • The moon does not rise until late dawn on April 23, so we will have a great dark sky on the 22nd for the Lyrid meteor shower. In 1982, around 300 were seen within a three-minute period! Observations throughout history show this stream is at least 2,600 years old.
  • Mars is still visible until morning (Mars looks like it is twinkling red and white light).

Check out this video from the Hubble Site for more information on April’s Night Sky!

César Chávez Day

31 03 2012

Did you know March 31st is César Chávez Day? This day is celebrated in Texas, Colorado, and California!

César Estrada Chávez was born on March 31, 1927 in Yuma, Arizona and passed away in 1993. He was a Mexican-American farm worker, leader, and civil rights activist who pushed for the development of labor unions for workers. He eventually formed the National Farm Workers Association (along with Dolores Huerta), later becoming the United Farm Workers (UFW) to fight for better wages and better working conditions.

His aggressive but nonviolent approach made the farm workers’ struggle a moral cause with widespread support throughout the country.
Chavez was charismatic and self-taught. He created a community that came together by inspiring well educated Latino idealists and encouraged them to offer a liberating  devotion to the farmworkers’ movement. His slogan is “Sí, se puede!”, which means “Yes, we can!”

In 2008, President Barack Obama stated:
“Chavez left a legacy as an educator, environmentalist, and a civil rights leader. And his cause lives on. As farm workers and laborers across America continue to struggle for fair treatment and fair wages, we find strength in what Cesar Chavez accomplished so many years ago. And we should honor him for what he’s taught us about making America a stronger, more just, and more prosperous nation. That’s why I support the call to make Cesar Chavez’s birthday a national holiday. It’s time to recognize the contributions of this American icon to the ongoing efforts to perfect our union.”

Draw your own Rose!

21 02 2012

Roses are one of the most popular and beautiful flowers on Earth! Did you know that there are over 100 different species of roses? For some of us, they are very hard to draw. But, if you follow these simple steps you can draw your own rose!


  • Blank sheet of paper
  • Black marker
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Red and green crayons, markers, etc.
  • Optional: Red and green tissue paper and glue

1. Start by drawing your rose using a pencil.

2. Once completed, outline the rose with a black marker.

3. Color in the stem and rose petals with green and red markers or crayons.

4. Shred tiny pieces of green and red tissue paper (you can use scissors to cut smaller pieces).

5. Use glue to fill in the flower, then place the tissue paper on top of the glue.

6. Decorate the background!

Celebrate Black History Month!

17 02 2012

It’s February & that means it is time to pay tribute to the ground breaking African-American scientists and inventors who made their incredible stamp on the world!

Patricia Bath:
Patricia was born in 1942 in Harlem, New York.

She is the first African-American female to receive a patent for her medical invention, the Laserphaco Probe! The probe has revolutionized cataract surgery around the world (cataracts are clouding that can develop in the eye and makes it very difficult to see). Patricia has set a great path for African-American women working in the medical field by serving on the staff of the UCLA Medical Center, as well as a resident in ophthalmology (anatomy of the eye) at New York University.

Sarah E. Goode:
Sara was born in 1850 as a slave and was later freed after the end of the American Civil War. She then went on to open her own furniture store in Chicago. During the late 1800s, many people did not have enough space in their apartments for beds, so Sarah invented a folding cabinet bed which she received a patent for in July of 1885.

The versatility of the cabinet bed allowed for a space to sleep as well as a desk that could be used for writing or storage. Sarah was the very first African American woman to receive a United States patent!

Rick Kittles:
Rick is an American biologist who was born in Georgia. He specializes in human genetics, specifically tracing African-American ancestry through DNA testing. Keith and his team analyzed DNA from 408 African-Americans in an 18th century graveyard in order to figure out what part of Africa they came from.

Knowing where your family has come from is an incredible story to unfold! How much do you know about your grand parents or great-great grandparents? What country did they come from?

With the help of your family, you can make your own Family Tree! You may be surprised at the results!

Click here to learn more about other amazing scientists, inventors, and ground-breakers in African-American history!

Be my Valentine?

13 02 2012

It’s almost time for Valentine’s Day! What a great way to show those you love how much you care by creating something special!

Here’s one craft that will add a lot of love to your Valentine’s day!

Create a Stained-Glass Heart made out of melted crayons:


  • Crayons (light & bright colors work best: think pinks, purples, and reds)
  • Hand held pencil sharpener or a pair of scissors (be careful, an adult may need to shave the crayons)
  • Waxed Paper
  • Permanent marker to write your own message
  • Optional: glitter to add a little shine!

Step 1: Peel the paper off of the crayons (try soaking in warm water for better results). Use a pencil sharpener or scissors to shave the crayons over a large sheet of waxed paper. Spread the shavings evenly on the paper. The more shavings, the better!

Step 2: This step is for parents–Set oven to 175 degrees and place the cookie sheet into the oven. Time may vary depending on how much shavings you use, but it should take about 5 minutes to completely melt. Keep checking on the progress every few minutes!

Step 3: After the crayon shavings have completely melted, take them out of the oven to let them cool for another 5 minutes.

Step 4: After allowing the crayons to cool, you can draw heart outlines to cut out! Try different sizes to see how many you can make!

Step 5: After you’re done cutting out your hearts, decorate them for your Valentine–add glitter, written messages, or anything you desire!

The hearts really start to shine when you hold them up to a light or place them in a window!

We hope you have a great Valentine’s Day!

Ready, Set, Roll! Is Back: Build Your Own Roller Coaster at Home

30 01 2012

Have you ever watched skiers going down their track, or gone so fast down a slide that you never thought that you would stop?

With the welcome return of the Ready, Set, Roll exhibit, we thought that we should investigate how you could create your own working track from materials that can be found in your own home.

What you will need:

-Tubing for example: Toilet paper roll, wrapping paper tubes, insulation tubes

-A variety of balls (sizes and weights)




-Books (used to raise height)

We had fun experimenting with different tubes to see how crazy our roller coaster could get! Check it out:

First we built a simple ramp (like a ski jump). The aim of this track is to allow the ball to pick up as much speed (acceleration) while it is traveling down the ramp and finally to land in one of the cups at the bottom.

From this we then tried the same ramp with different balls of different sizes and weights. Would the different sizes/ weights of the balls make a difference?

The image below shows a more advanced track, this time including a loop in the middle. In order to make it around the loop, your ball needs to gain enough velocity. What can you do to make sure your ball builds enough speed to conquer the Loop d’Loop?

To add an obstacle to your track, try adding a jump to see if your ball can make it across the gap.

For our jump, we used paper cups to hold up the track. Do you think you could make a wider gap for your roller coaster?

Finally, you can add a spiral cone to catch the ball in at the end of your track! It is very easy to make–Just draw a circle on a piece of paper, then either cut out a circle or have an adult do it for you. Next, you tape both of the sides together and add your finishing touch to the track!

You can make your roller coaster as long, loopy, or extreme as you want! See how adventurous you can get.

Once you’ve created your own coaster, you can try out ours at the Museum!


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