Calling In Sick

This whole week I've been home sick. It's been terrible. Extremely sore throat and now it's moved into my head. I finally am starting to feel a small amount better. I was getting tired watching tv, it was crazy. So it's just been bed rest for me now since Sat. morning.

I guess it's just that time of year when everyone gets sick with something. I'm ready for the spring to get here, I miss the warm weather and going to the beach. At least I'm sick when it's cold out, better then when it's nice and sunny outside, that's what Jamie had said.

Hopefully everyone else is doing better then me right now! Talk to you all soon.


Chocolate & Snow

Everyone’s talking about the big snow storm tomorrow. It’ll be a Valentine’s Day Nor’easter! It seems like though with all the talk about it that we aren’t going to end up getting hit too bad. At first they were saying some pretty high amounts but last I heard for our area we are getting 1-3 inches. Not to bad at all. It seems strange to be this far through winter without having a good snow storm. Usually by this time of year you dread the news on another potential snow storm that is going to hit us with feet of snow. I love watching the snow fall though. I always find myself squinting up to the sky trying to see where they are all coming from.

Snow storms are great if you are home and have no where to go. I always go outside and shovel and play in the snow. I am one of the few people who honestly loves to shovel! At college I used to help out the maintenance staff by shoveling out my dormitory after a snow storm on the weekends. I did it when they weren’t around but I think that they caught on because they started leaving the shovel out right by the front door.

I also love how quiet it is after a snow fall, this is a great time to go for a walk. Everything is covered in snow and there aren’t any footsteps or people anywhere. It has a sense of calm and purity.

So we’ll see how much snow we end up getting in the morning. It should start sometime tonight and go through the morning. Have a great Valentine’s Day!


Portsmouth High School Science Fair

Monday, Feb. 5, 8:55 am.

I'm outside the Portsmouth High School where I’m going to be one of the volunteer judges for their Science Fair. It was nice to check out the school and get involved with helping out at the school.

I signed in and got the score cards of the projects that I was assigned to review. I judged 9th grade projects and one 10th grade one. The projects were really interesting, I was impressed with the overall work and knowledge that went into each of them.

The first project was about mold. It compared organic foods to ones with preservatives. It was great to see the thought process and all the hard work that was put into it. There was pictures of the before and after, and trust me it was very gross! Turns out spaghetti sauce should not be left out in the open! Preservatives are supposed to help with the shelf life of food

One student did the classic grow plant experiment. He tested how salt water affects lettuce. Using water right out of the river he watered different plants with a variety of salinity levels. It was pretty interesting to learn that a small amount of salinity actually helps the plant grow, about 1 ppt. Interesting. Over all though, I found that the students didn’t understand that you need to have more then one test for each test case. This was most apparent with the lettuce, at 12 ppt the plant never grew, but at 14 ppt and on it continued the previously establish downwards plant height decline. The conclusion was that 12 ppt killed the plant, humm, umm, ahh No I said. Here we learned the importance of having more then one test case to determine their results.

One of the students came up with her project idea with her mom. Which laundry detergent best removes a variety of stains. Turns out red wine is the hardest stain to get out no matter what you use, and ketchup is the easiest. It was so much fun asking about their Variables, Hypothesis, Scientific Methods, and Conclusions. Turns out the results were the opposite of what most would have guessed, the Stop & Shop Store brand laundry detergent ended up working the best overall and was the least expensive. Interesting again.

One was on what melts ice fastest. The student looked at what the state currently uses and compared it to other potential options. Living in RI, ice happens. It was great to hear the explanations of my many questions for them. Turns out table salt melts ice the fastest and plain dirt had no effect. Interesting.

One of the other girls decided to determine if crickets had a color preference. She decided to do this project because she hates bugs and wanted to know if wearing a certain color will make them stay away. I thought that this was a great use of science. It turns out that they were significantly drawn to the colors brown and red and stayed away from pink and orange. It was a great project and you could tell that she worked hard on the display. I knew that there would be a great reason to keep my Easter pink and orange striped socks around!

The final project that I had judged was the only 10th grade one that I did. The project looked at the best way of getting rid of bacteria found on house hold sponges. It was an amazing project that went above and beyond any science fair project that I had seen. The regular sponge left out on the counter collected around 1,000 colonies of bacteria! Yuck!! She then tested 3 methods of disinfecting the sponges, soapy water, microwave and boiling water. It turns out that the best way to disinfect your sponge is by microwaving it for 2 minutes. By doing this the test showed you’ll only 1 colony of bacteria left, soapy water and boiling had more. She also tested to see a comparison of how long you can let the sponge sit out, 1, 3 and 5 days. If you only let the sponge sit out 1 day the results were the best. The project we very informative and properly run, I had a great time learning all about the topic. I know that I’ll be microwaving my sponges from now on!

I had a great time volunteering at the Science Fair, it was great seeing all the different projects and ideas that the students came up with. I liked being able to help them think of ways that their project could be used in the real world, and I loved hearing their response to the questions that I had for them. It’s something that I will definitely do again next year. I've done a few activities that revolve around incouraging math and science in middle and high school kids and I've really enjoyed them all.