Doodle Science - June 2011

Circulated to schools, organisations and individuals - covering primary science and related bits and bobs.
Lovely little Daphnia all swimming around in a jam jar.
Maybe not the world's most affectionate pets but they are strangely hypnotic.
I decided to breed some to give them a good chance so I can get my pond well stocked with these little swimming crustaceans. They are algae eaters and can have sudden population booms and clear green water blooms.
There are several species and I think these are Daphnia magna.
The females are the big ones and the males only get to about half their size. There are a whole host of other creatures that flit about in the water colomn and a jam jar of pond water can be mesmerising at this time of year.
I am still delivering Science and Maths shows, workshops and CPD for teachers but I am also writing another book.
This one is about the sciency questions I get asked and if there is any that makes you think "Why is that?" please email me and I will do my best to answer when I've worked it out. New show. Primarily Maths, I hope the name describes it, and there are in class maths demos/activities too.
Great Dates in Sci and Tech for June
1st 1846 ~ Le Verrier predicts the existence and location of Neptune from looking a irregularities of the orbit of Uranus.
3rd 1769 ~ On Tahiti James Cook observes the tranist of Venus. This was one of the "Big Science " events of its time and was able to provide information that allowed the calculation of the size of the solar system.
5th 1683 ~ The First university museum opens as the Ashmolean opens its doors.
15th 763 BC ~ Solar eclipse in Mesopotamia is recored and provides and anchor for chronology and calendars
21st This year ~ Mid summer solstice, the longest day and shortest night in the northern hemisphere.
23rd 2006 ~ A tortoise possibly collected by Darwin dies. Harriet was about 175 years old.
26th 1948 ~ Shockley filed the patent for the transistor, almost all electronics we use today dates back to this.
Something to try
Making little friends.
Keep Daphnia or some other little crustacea, they may not be the biggest class pets but they are fascinating.
You can use material from a pond, or get a bag of live fish food from a pet shop and save them.
I have also kept Sea Monkeys which seem to be the same thing as brine shrimp (Artemia sp.) and they are great.
The crucial thing seems to be that they need salt water and occasional feeding.
Triops are fantastic but trickier, mind you, you do get the fun of seeing if they eat each other.
Apparently they are all happy with small amounts of fish pellets or dried yeast.
Using a wide container will keep them oxygenated and changing the water occasionally will help with waste build up.
Or if you are using Daphnia you could let one lot go and get some more.
Health and safety
The water from all these should not be drunk. Wash hands after handling.
Web site well worth a visit
and have a look at Science Gems for useful things.