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Virtual Science From The Dirtmeister's® Den

In addition to our usual list of dynamic in-person programs, we are excited to announce that beginning November 1st, 2020, Science Plus will be offering a full slate of new curriculum-based, online virtual science workshops.

Thanks to the work of our awesome production team, we have developed nine different online programs that are specifically designed to meet the science learning objectives and standards that have been identified for students in grades K-5. Each interactive workshop lasts about one hour and is designed to be presented live via Zoom or some other compatible platform. All of these synchronous programs are presented exclusively by science celebrity and award winning author, Steve "The Dirtmeister®" Tomecek and each features a PowerPoint program that includes about a dozen pre-recorded demonstrations of the various scientific concepts that fit into that program's theme. Because the program is live, The Dirtmeister® will be able to interact with participants, asking and answering questions and allowing students to share their thoughts on the topic. Each virtual workshop session costs $125.00 and will be limited to about 30 participants. Please note that since these programs contain copywritten materials, they are restricted to a single live performance. Recording and reuse are strictly prohibited.

The following programs will be available starting November 1, 2020:

Using the Scientific Method to Bust Some Legendary Myths of Science

This program explores some of the major misconceptions in science (some of which are still being taught) while focusing on the use of the scientific method. We discuss why it is important to do experiments to test ideas and theories, and take a close-up look at some of the ground breaking work of great scientists in the past, including Archimedes, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Edison and Tesla. Some of the topics included in the program are the true shape of the Earth, the position of Earth in space, why the Sun appears to move, the nature of gravity, the science behind levers, and the true story about who really invented the lightbulb. We also explore the truth behind some famous urban legends including whether toilets flush backwards south of the equator, whether you can really balance an egg on its end during the equinox, and if lightning can strike the same place twice.

May The Force Be With You

This program is designed to take a close-up look at some of the forces that are at work in our world around us. We begin by defining what a force is and then investigate how they can be used in calculating the amount of work done when objects move. Next, we explore the role of gravity and demonstrate the differences between potential and kinetic energy. Finally, we examine Newton's three laws of motion and look at how friction impacts a moving object and conclude with demonstrations of how levers, wheels, and other simple machines allow us to multiply the power of a force.

Dirtmeister's® Electric Show

This program is designed to introduce students to the physics of electricity and trace its development from a being a simple scientific curiosity to its use as the most versatile energy source in the world today. Along the way we answer several important questions including the differences between current and static electricity, how batteries produce electrical current, what are some typical insulators and conductors, and how light bulbs work. We also spotlight some of the great achievements by famous and not-so-famous scientists including Volta, Oersted, Faraday, Edison and Tesla. We conclude with a look at how electrical power has been produced in the past and what the future holds for "green" alternative energy sources including solar and wind power.

Magnificent Matter

In this program, students explore some of the properties of matter and discover how those properties allow materials to be used for different things. We start by demonstrating that all matter must have mass and volume. Students are then introduced to the different forms that matter can take including solid, liquid, gas, and plasma, and see that when matter changes from one state to another, it is a physical change. We then demonstrate several other physical changes including a water thermometer, hot air balloon, and an unusual form of ice. Students will also investigate some "mystery matter" which is sometimes a liquid and sometimes a solid. We conclude with a look at the differences between physical and chemical changes with a few classic experiments that kids can safely try at home.

The Wonders of Water

This program explores the water cycle and some of the amazing properties that water has. We begin by looking at the processes of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation and how together, they work to renew the fresh water on our planet. We also investigate some of the unique chemical and physical properties of water such as density, cohesion, and surface tension that set it apart from other common substances. We conclude with a discussion of weather and climate change and the role that water plays in helping to keep our planet in balance.

Fantastic Fossils

From the bones of a terrible T-rex to prints of shells and leaves found in rocks, fossils provide scientists with a window into past life forms on our planet and offer clues on how it has changed over time. In this program, we look at exactly what fossils are and how they form. With the help of some actual dinosaur fossils, we examine how paleontologists can tell how large an animal was, what it ate and how it walked. We conclude with a look at how fossils can be used to reconstruct past environments on the Earth and let scientists see how our Earth has changed over time.

Rock Around The Block

We live on a rocky world and over the years, people have found many uses for rocks and minerals including the first tools, basic building materials, and decorative jewelry and gemstones. In this program, we take a close-up look at some of the important properties of rocks and minerals and discover how geologists use them to classify rocks and minerals into different groups. Using some simple demonstrations, explore how igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks form and how you can tell the differences between them in the field. We conclude with a look at how the rock cycle works and how scientists use rocks to unravel the history of our planet and learn how it has changed over the past 4.5 billion years.

The Dynamics of Dirt

Some people think that "dirt" is just something to be cleaned up, but like air and water, soil is really one of the most important resources that we depend on every day. In this program we look at how soil forms and some of its important properties including texture, structure, chemistry, and ability to hold water. We also explore the complex ecology of soil, including some of the life forms that call it home and how they interact with each other. We conclude with a look at why soil conservation is important and some of the ways that people can help protect this critical resource.

Earth Out Of Balance

Our Earth is a special place and unique among the planets in our Solar System. So far, it is the only one that we know of that can support life and it can do so because of the delicate balance of several cycles that have operated over our planet's history. In this program we look at how humans are impacting some of these cycles, and how we are changing the balance that controls the quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and our global climate. In addition, we look at how land use decisions have led to habitat destruction threatening the well being of millions of life forms. We conclude with a discussion of what individuals can do to help put things back into balance and how we all have a role to play in protecting the health and well being of our planet.

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