How to make your own glow-in-the-dark deep sea fish

24 07 2013

Background information: Ocean creatures that live in the deep ocean where there is no light often carry a light source of their own. Sometimes, they have special cells that can make light the way fireflies do. Just as often, the light comes from bacteria that live in and on the sea creatures. For example, the flashlight fish has light spots beneath its eyes. These spots are home to millions of luminescent bacteria. The bacteria get nourishment from the fish and the fish gets to have light. Light is important for catching food. Also, light can aid in confusing larger predators.

For this art project, you will need:

-Black paper


-Glow in the Dark paint

-Hole puncher



  1. Cut out a shape of a fish from the black piece of paperImage
  2. Decorate the fish with the glow-in-the-dark paintIMG_0436
  3. Wait for the paint to dry
  4. Hole punch a hole on the top of the fish & tie a string in itImage
  5. Hold your fish up to the light to charge it upImage
  6. Hang your fish, turn the lights off and watch it swim & flow!Image

Design Challenge of the Week!

26 01 2011

This week  is installation week at the Museum, so admission is half off! But, there is still plenty of fun to be had, like in our Tinkerer’s work shop. Come in and do the design challenge of the week, or make something at home and let us know what you did by leaving us a comment.

Last week’s design challenge:  Can you make an animal out of a cardboard tube?

These are a couple animals kids at the museum made! Also, check out these cardboard tube people that visitors a couple weeks ago created!

This week’s design challenge is: Can you engineer an object that helps you hear better?

You could make a hearing-helper here at the Museum or with objects you have at home.

Balancing Butterfly

22 11 2010

We have explored balance by making tops and balancing  yard sticks on our fingers. Now we are going to learn about center of gravity by making a beautiful butterfly

Fold a piece of paper in half and draw half a butterfly on one side. Cut out your butterfly, so that it is symmetric. Trace the butterfly onto a piece of cardboard.

After you cut out the butterfly try to balance it on the eraser side of a pencil. The butterfly’s center of gravity is the point where it can balance on the pencil. Next, tape one or two pennies onto each of the wings near the top.

Find the center of gravity again using the pencil. How did the weight change the center of gravity?

Science Fair Project Help

1 11 2010

Science fair projects provide an excellent opportunity to explore science and share your findings. However, it can be difficult to know where to start. I am  sharing some of the resources I use when creating blog posts in hopes they will help you plan your science fair project.– Search their collection of over 1,000 science and math activities by subject and age range.– Read descriptions and watch videos of experiments about chemistry, density, weather, and more. There is even a category just for science fair ideas.– The Exploratorium is a unique museum of science, art, and human perspective in San Francisco. Their website is full of ways you can explore science from home.– The Science fair zone of this educational website provides examples of outstanding experiments, tips, and topics.

Also, look through the blog for ideas.  These  experiments showing capillary attraction, density of gases, and chemical bonds might pique your scientific curiosity.

What was your favorite science fair project? leave us a comment and let us know!


Young scientists experiment mixing primary colors at the Museum


A Bright Idea: Photography and Science

15 10 2010

Last winter we posted a picture that was taken of a Christmas tree while shaking the camera. Eleanor, an Austin Kids blog reader,  sent us this interesting photo of the Statue of Liberty with a similar style.

Inspired, we taped LED lights to the turntable from the Notion of Motion exhibit and turned off the lights in the room.

Next, we turned off the flash and set the camera to a longer exposure time. Having a longer exposure time means that the camera keeps the shutter open for longer allowing in more light. We held the camera as still as possible and took a picture of the lights spinning on the turntable.

Then we took another picture while moving the camera up and down. We still used the longer exposure time, so the shutter was open while I was moving the camera.

Have you taken any neat pictures lately? Leave a comment letting us know your best photography tip.

Guess what is in Motion?

20 09 2010

The Notion of Motion exhibit will open Saturday, Sept. 25 at the Museum and it is causing quite the commotion!  Come see pendulums sway in strange patterns, magnets float in space, clouds form and much more! I am looking forward to seeing the Turbulent Orb, a Large transparent sphere full of a special liquid that visitors can spin.    

Let’s go ahead and get the ball rolling and learn about fluid motion at home. We are borrowing the Notion of Motion exhibit from the Exploratorium in San Fransisco and they also gave us the idea for this experiment.    

Fill 1/4 of a bottle with liquid soap. The soap needs to have  glycol stearate in it. Add a few drops of food coloring. Turn the faucet down to a trickle and slowly fill the bottle to the top with water.    

Once it is full put the cap on and turn the bottle upside down a few times. If you see foam trickle more water into the bottle, allowing the foam to flow out over the top. Once it is foam free screw on the top and seal it with tape.    

Now you can spin, shake and twirl your bottle at different speeds, observing the patterns. Water always moves in these patterns, the soap just helps up see it.    

Scientists call this pattern a laminar flow. It occurs when layers of water are moving slowly and smoothly


 What happens when you stop twirling the bottle? Is the water still moving? How are the patterns different when you shake the bottle slowly than when you shake it quickly?    

You can try adding glitter, so you can see the movement more clearly. 

Admission is half off this week, Spet. 21-24, because it is installation week.  You can read  this blog post, showing all the fun you can have during installation week.

Mother’s Day Tulips

7 05 2009

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. If you’re wondering what to get Mom, here’s a fun project that is easy to do!

MaterialsYou will need:

 Green straws, foam egg carton, rocks, clear cup, assortment of tissue paper, glue, and scissors.

How to make it:

  1. Collect all the materials
  2. Pour rocks or dirt into clear cup
  3. Cut out tulip shapes from egg carton cups
  4. Poke a small hole in bottom of egg cups
  5. Insert straw into hole
  6. Cut small squares out of tissue paper and glue into cup
  7. Add leaves or other flower decorations
  8. Press finished flower stems into rocks


What else can you do for Mom? How about picking up your toys or setting the dinner table? Or you can make a Mother’s Day card to send with the flowers. Don’t forget to give her a big hug!