Kepler bags huge haul of planets

So many planets! 715 more recently identified, all in multi-planet systems!

"This is the largest windfall of planets that’s ever been announced at one time," said Douglas Hudgins from Nasa’s astrophysics division.

"Second, these results establish that planetary systems with multiple planets around one star, like our own Solar System, are in fact common.

"Third, we know that small planets - planets ranging from the size of Neptune down to the size of the Earth - make up the majority of planets in our galaxy."

Interesting fact of the day…

Humans have about 1,000 genes to regulate our sense to smell. Of them, only about 500 work; the rest have mutated over time and no longer function.

Considering ,that the human genome is comprised of about 25,000 genes, it would seem that smell must be pretty important to us! By comparison, the next largest gene family controls serotonin receptors, which are influence our mental health and functioning. The whole serotonin family is just 15 genes.

Want to learn more? Check out the Naked Genetics podcast for their episode “Smells like gene spirit.”

Super Secret Science Challenge FOUR

Build a super complicated, crazy contraption to distract the evil villain, Mr. Fluffy, before he can use his Puppinator to change all of the world’s dogs into cats!

Need fall crafts? We've got you covered!

Check out our fun fall crafts, tips for young entrepreneurs, information about programming for kids, explosions and a great science challenge! And get updates on next week’s great programs!

Kaleidoscope Learning: Dino Party Time!

Recently, I was asked to help plan a dinosaur party for one of our Kaleidoscope Kids. Of course, I jumped at the chance! I knew it’d be a ton of fun to make this little girl’s 3rd Birthday a blast!

Kaleidoscope Learning: Ten Easy, Cheap Crafts for Fall

At the Farmer’s Market this week, I was asked if I had ideas for simple, inexpensive crafts kids could do at upcoming Halloween and Thanksgiving events. Are you kidding? Of course, I do!

This is a great super secret science challenge all about bridges. Try your hand at structural engineering and have a lot of fun too! Help The Weather Weasel cross between two buildings using only gumdrops, marshmallows and toothpicks as supplies!

(via Kaleidoscope Learning: The SECOND Super Secret Science Challenge)

The 5 Best Free Mind-Mapping Tools for Teachers

Organizing thoughts is a difficult task, for both teachers and students. Lack of a medium to organize all these thoughts can lead to stress, confusion, and lack of success in regards to yourself, or your students. Utilize these 5 Best Free Mind Mapping Tools for Teachers in order to be the best educator possible and ensure that your students are able to reach their full potential.

Kaleidoscope Learning: Fiber Arts at the Highlands Festival at Waterloo

KLC was lucky enough to attend the Highlands Festival at Waterloo last weekend. In addition to bringing great crafts to the Festival, we met some amazing crafters. One of my favorites were the ladies from the Simpatico Fiber Collective. Rebecca and Julianne are handspinners, knitters, weavers and felters working in rural Hunterdon County. They sell beautiful, wearable fiber art and supplies for knitters and spinners.

Rebecca Dioda

 Julianne Targan

In addition to their lovely wearable art, they’re happy to share their knowledge with those who would like to learn. Those are my kinds of people! So enjoy this short video of Rebecca explaining how her parlor spinning wheel works. (There’s a good bit of simple machines science in there.)

I’ve tried my hand at spinning, and let me tell you, it’s not as easy as Rebecca makes it look! She uses that amazing yarn to create all kinds of wonderful knitted creations, like the shawl below.

In this clip, Joanne explains the basics of needle felting. This is a really relaxing hobby I’ve recently discovered. She creates amazing projects with her felting, and she felts woven fabrics that she creates as well.

Kaleidoscope Learning: Maker Faire 2013 Round up

KLC had the privaledge of attending World Maker Faire 2013 in New York this year, with our own table and a fun marshmallow launcher for the kids to make! It was an exhausting, amazing weekend — for me, my husband, Steve, and for my daughters, Caitie and Gwen. Maker Faire is a complete creative explosion. Even with four days to explore, I still wanted more time to check out all the wonderful projects!

That’s me, ready to go early on Saturday morning. 
Folks started lining up long before the gates opened at 10 am!

As a I mentioned previously, we attended Maker Faire Education Day on Thursday, then we were back out to Queens on Friday afternoon for our official set up and dinner.

Dale Dougherty, editor and publisher of MAKE, hands out paella to all the 
makers on Friday night. Thanks for the dinner Dale! It was great!

Gwen, ready to go and marshmallows loaded.Our friend Linda stopped by both days to help us out, thankfully. 
We made A LOT of marshmallow catapults with kids and adults!

So we all had fun and launched hundreds (thousands?) of marshmallows all over the Zone E. But what other booths were awesome? Well, glad you asked…

I have to start by giving a shout out to our friends at Let’s Make Robots. These guys are doing great work helping everyone in the world learn to build and program their own bots. And they’re fun to grab a beer with as well. Chris Robinson, of Rocket Brand Studios, talked himself horse both days, explaining some of the great projects created by LMR members. (BTW, we highly recommend Rocket Brand’s robots and use the Tadpole in our robotics classes at KLC.)
I also want to give props to some young makers from KLC’s neck of the woods. The guys with The 721st MCB, an Amateur Radio Club from Warren County NJ who brought their amazing E-APS Emergency Antenna Platform System to share with the world. This lightweight open source portable tool helps Amateur Radio Operators deploy HF and VHF/UHF antennas high in the field using standard parking lot light / flag poles. Great work!
Now, as some of you know, I love soft circuits, e-textiles and wearable electronics. So I was super exciting to see and meet Becky Stern on Friday night! She was even wearing her Firewalker shoes! I loved the work of bitwiseBlockuits, and Make Anything. All had prejects just right for young makers!
Other favorites included the fantastic fractals at Fractal Kit, the cool recycled boats made with the ScrapKins folks, the great bicycle powered blender by Frankenbike and Friends, the amazing arduino controlled RC toy car by RoboTech, (need to get that one for a KLC class) and the novel approach to working with DNA from Gemonikon
I could go on and on, but I won’t. There was simply too much awesome to put it all in a blog post. But if you want to take a look for yourself, the hardworking editors at MAKEhave been posting like mad.

KLC was awarded an Editor’s Choice award! How cool!