Turtles Teach: Springtime Science!

The weather is warming up, the sun is starting to shine (sometimes) and flowers are starting to bloom! All of this makes a wonderful combination to do some science! In this project we’re going to create rainbow flowers.

White flowers Supplies

What you’ll need:

  • white flowers, like carnations
  • small jars
  • water
  • food coloring
  • paring knife or scissors
  • tape
  • adult assistance or supervision

Step One: Trim the Stems

Trim the stemsCut the stems of the flowers so they are 10-12 inches long. (Have an adult help!) Using a sharp knife carefully cut a 6 inch slit through the bottom of the stem. Remove any large leaves. Be sure to keep the cut edges moist since exposure to oxygen will make the flowers wilt at a faster rate.

Step Two: Add Dye

DyeFill your jars with water and add between 10-20 drops of food color (or more depending on your preference). Place each separate stem end into a cup of colored water. Prop up the flowers so they don’t fall over. We had some fancy mason jar covers, but tape should work as well to help prop the flowers.

Step Three: The Waiting Game

Waiting gamePlace the jars by a window and hopefully you will begin to see the first hints of color after a few hours, but wait 24 hours to see an even more dramatic change.

What’s Happening?

Flowers go through a process called transpiration, where it releases moisture into the atmosphere. As moisture is released, more water is pulled up through tiny tubes in the stem called xylem. Water molecules have the tendency to stick together, so as one water molecules leaves the flower, it brings another one up with it.


Did you like this activity? Then you might be interested in our single-day Spring Break Camp!

Turtle Bay will be offering single day camps April 11th – 13th for children 7-10. Campers can register for one, two, or all three days. Each day will be different from the next as we cover matter, energy, and forces. All camps will feature hands-on and self-led activities that encourage collaboration and innovation.

Tuesday, April 11th – Magnificent Matter

With all things hot and cold, campers will discover the states of matter and how they’re important to us. Some activities include changing milk into one of our favorite desserts to stacking liquids on top of each other!

Wednesday, April 12th – Energy in Action

Campers will explore the sights, sounds, and properties of energy in many forms. From discovering the power from the sun to watching the effects of sounds, we will be learning all about the power or power!

Thursday, April 13th – Fantastic Forces

Though our superhero forces may be lacking, there are still many super forces to be explored! Campers will check out the unseen forces of our Sundial Bridge and see if they can explain the mystery behind magnets.

Whether you have enrolled into one of our camp programs before, or if this is your first time hearing about them, we invite you to check us out! For additional information and registration forms, visit www.turtlebay.org/learn/camps. We have a limited space, so hurry!


From our science journals to yours,

The Education Team at Turtle Bay

Turtles Teach: What is Dry Ice?

Known for its spooky fog and subzero temperatures, dry ice is a mysterious and fascinating substance… but what is it?

dry ice

Everything is made of matter. Matter can exist in many states: solid, liquid, or gas. For instance, water can be liquid, solid (ice), or a gas (vapor or steam). We can change the state of matter by changing the environment that matter is in. You may know we can change water’s state just by changing the temperature. To make water into ice, we freeze it! To make water into a gas, we boil it! However, temperature is not the only factor that determines a substance’s state. Pressure is just as important. Water can be in all three states in normal pressure (1 atmosphere or 14.7 psi); this is not the case with dry ice.

Dry Ice is not made with water, but carbon dioxide. You may know carbon dioxide as a gas, the gas we exhale when we breathe. It too can freeze and change into a solid, but our freezers at home can’t do the job. Special factories use extremely low temperatures and high pressure just to make it. The extremely cold and pressurized carbon dioxide is brought to normal pressures and will solidify into dry ice. This ice is -109 degrees F. But what makes dry ice so fascinating is its ability to sublimate (Sublimation is when matter changes from a solid to a gas). At normal pressure, dry ice cannot be a liquid. When it “melts” it turn directly into carbon dioxide gas! You may see the fog that comes from its icy surface, but carbon dioxide is a clear and colorless gas that we can’t see… The fog is actually the result of water vapor in the air condensing from the cold gas, similar to your warm breath meeting the icy cold air during the winter. When dry ice is added to water, the carbon dioxide gas bubbles up to the surface quickly making the water look like its boiling.

Matter comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, temperatures, and states! Dry ice is just one of the cooler substances.

Hope you learned something new, from your favorite educators at Turtle Bay!

Things to Do in 2017

In case you are looking for something to do with you little ones while the big kids head back to school, or are wanting to provide fun learning opportunities for your children… Turtle Bay is a good place to start! Turtle Bay is already a place for interactive, exploratory fun, but did you know about some of our regular programming that is available to you? As the New Year starts, we invite you to join us as we experience the following programs this year.

Little Explorers

Little Explorers
These little ones got an up close meet and greet with Virginia, the box turtle.

Every Thursday morning, little ones ranging from 2 to 5 years old come with their families for the Little Explorers Program. This program facilitates a play-based learning environment where young children can investigate, create, and discover. Because Little Explorers is in the Mill Building, you can join in rain or shine. A typical program usually includes a story, an activity, and a take home craft all led by one of our docents. January’s theme is Nighttime Wonders. Join us in February to learn all about what’s On the Farm!

Little Explorers
We aren’t afraid of getting our hands dirty! This explorer is investigating a worm as he learns about what makes soil healthy.

Family Second Saturday

Family Second SaturdayIt’s in the name! Every second Saturday of the month, we invite everyone in the family to join us for an afternoon of interactive and educational fun. Although we offer new and exciting activities each month, we occasionally pull out some of our popular favorites! Keep an eye on our calendar for upcoming Family Second Saturday topics and activities; we hope to see you and the whole family there!

This month’s Family Second Saturday: Dry Ice Investigations

February: Innovations

Science Saturday

Science Saturday
Chemical Reactions come in all colors and sizes! Here we have colored Alka-Seltzer tablets being dissolved in warm and cold water. Do you think they had the same reaction?

Following our family Saturday program, each third Saturday of the month we feature Science Saturday. During this event, guests will have the opportunity to experiment, observe demonstrations, and hopefully will be able to answer the question, “What is going on?” as we explore and investigate.

This month’s Science Saturday: Science of Small

Science Saturday
How many glass beads in each glass do you see? Hint: there’s 3 altogether. Come see us this Science Saturday and find out what is going on!

February: On the Ranch


We hope to see you here soon!

Shasta County’s First Mini Maker Faire

Trilogy Challenge
During the faire, Trilogy Architecture hosted the “You Shall Not Pasta!” Bridge Building Challenge. Students from Cypress show off their pasta bridges before they are tested.

November 12th was the first Shasta County Mini Maker Faire. With 100+ vendors, over 2000 attendees and countless opportunities to create, this event met all of our expectations and more! Here are some highlights and pictures from the faire.


Turtle Bay’s very own loom gave many makers the opportunity weave yarn to create a textile.

The Shasta County Mini Maker Faire was an opportunity for makers from all over North State and beyond to come together to not only showcase their passion, but to celebrate and inspire creativity, collaboration and hands-on experiences. This event was geared to be family-friendly and we are excited to share that over half of our attendees were under 18! We hope to continue this celebration as our younger community members are inspired by our local makers, educators, parents, and enthusiasts to build, design, innovate, and create.

Set up
Finalizing all the details before the participants arrive!

Although many of the activities provided by our makers are more difficult to recreate than others, we couldn’t help but to give you some ideas and activities you could do at home! Stay connected with the our maker community by following us on Facebook. Happy making!

Mad Science Lab: Cabbage Chemistry

This experiment may be aimed for children, but if you release your inner mad scientist… we won’t tell!

Red cabbage juice may sound like the newest health fad, but really this liquid has been used in chemistry labs for years… That’s right, chemistry! Chemistry scientists, or chemists, study things that are so incredibly small we can’t see them. They study atoms and molecules. Because these particles are so small, the best way for chemists to study them is testing and observing how they act in certain environments and how they interact with other chemicals, like cabbage juice!

So, why cabbage juice? Red cabbage juice can be used as a pH indicator. When mixed with any liquid, the cabbage juice will change color depending on that liquid’s pH. The pH determines whether a chemical is an acid or a base. Acids have low pH values (1-6) and the molecules donate what we call a hydrogen ion (H+); bases have high pH values (8-14) and the molecules donate a hydroxyl ion (OH-). These ions interact with the cabbage juice and make it change color! When a substance does not have these ions, we call it neutral. For instance, pure water is neutral and has a pH of 7.

Safety First!

Some chemicals are safer than others; we will give you some ideas on safe chemicals to use during this experiment. If you want to explore more we recommend sticking to your kitchen supply; any food grade substance is safe to handle.

Red cabbage stains very easily, make sure you’re wearing clothes that are dark colored or that can be stained.

ALWAYS have an adult present when doing science experiments; not only do adults help you stay safe, they like to learn too!


Test Tubestubes

If you don’t have a set of test tubes and a test tube rack like this one, you can use clear glasses to hold your liquids.

Eyedropper – if you don’t have one you can easily use a straw! To use, submerge the straw into the liquid so that the level inside the straw is how much you’d like to transfer (for this experiment you want to measure 1-2 inches from the bottom of the straw). Then place your finger on top of the straw so that it is airtight. Then place you straw over where you would like to transfer it to and move your finger off the straw.

Red Cabbage – you don’t need a whole head, one cup of shredded cabbage will be plenty

Assorted Liquids –We recommend vinegar, baking soda (mixed with a little bit of water), lemon or lime juice, milk, aspirin (dissolved in some water), dish soap, and whatever else you’d like to test (remember our safety guidelines!).


  1. If your cabbage is not already shredded, have an adult chop it up into smaller pieces.
  2. Put cabbage into a non-aluminum saucepan and add just enough water to cover it.
  3. Bring to boil and boil for 10-15 min.
  4. Pour cabbage juice into a container while straining out the cabbage leaves. Place in fridge until you are ready to test!
  5. Collect the liquids and dissolve any solids you’d like to test. You should use enough of each so that the amount of liquid is about ¾ inch from the bottom and you can see it from the side.
  6. Once you have placed each liquid in their glass or tube, add enough cabbage juice until you can see the color.

What’s going on?

As we talked about earlier, cabbage juice uses color to indicate the pH level of liquids. Blue/Green color appears in substances that have a high pH value. Light/Bright Pink appears in substances with a low pH value. Remember which one is which? Arrange your tubes/glasses so that you make a pH rainbow! What liquids turned the juice pink? Which turned the juice blue or green? Did any leave the juice purple?

Remember: you’re a chemist! Record your data, ask questions, make predictions, and do some research if you’d like.

Make sure to take pictures and share with your friends too!

Don’t forget!

We are taking registrations for both of our single day camps. November 22nd is Up, Up, and Away Camp and December 20th is DIY Science Camp. More information and how to sign up can be found here.

Summer Science – Bubbles!

Although summer’s end is approaching, let us remember that there is plenty of time left for some our favorite activities! We would like to share with you one of our personal favorites: blowing bubbles! Sure, bubbles on the back patio these summer evenings can be relaxing and fun, but we challenge you to take blowing bubbles to the next level with these hands-on activities.

First, you will need plenty of bubble solution. If you already have some on hand, awesome! If not, here is our go-to recipe. Feel free to look up any DIY bubbles recipe for these activities.

DIY Bubble Solution

1 gallon of water

1 cup of Dawn dish soap

2 tablespoons of glycerin (available on Amazon or Carolina Biological)


Gently mix all ingredients in a large container. Let it sit overnight for best results! Once you’re ready, divide the solution into smaller containers to reduce risk of spills and maximize the potential of fun. Plastic food containers and dish pans work well. If you plan on using the solution over a longer period of time, keep what is not being used inside a closed container in a cool area, like indoors.


Things to remember about bubbles…

– Bubbles like things that are wet, not dry. Dip your hands or tools in bubble solution to keep the bubbles intact, with wet hands you can catch and handle the bubbles.

– The sun and heat can deteriorate your solution and bubbles. If the indoors are not available, try to find a cool(ish) shady spot that is protected from the wind so you can enjoy your bubbles longer.

– Bubble solution is slippery! Walk carefully on hard surfaces and clean up any spills with vinegar and water. Squeegees, towels, newspaper, and paper towels are great clean up supplies when the time comes.

– If you get any solution in your eye, do not rub! Blink a lot and if necessary, rinse well with water.

– Don’t have a bubble wand? Fear not! A simple drink straw makes a fantastic instrument; just make sure to remember which end is for you mouth. When you’re not using the straw, your built in straw holder (behind your ear) is a great place to set it aside until you need it again.


Because we are scientists (bubble-ologists that is), we make observations. During these activities, watch carefully, take notes, and ask questions!!

Bubble Colors

The thin bubble film diffracts light and presents a colorful swirling surface. Watch carefully as the colors change and move around the bubble. Do you see any patterns in the colors? Do all bubbles present the same colors? Can you predict when the bubble will pop by watching the colors change?

Bubble FoamBubble Foam

Pour some bubble solution into two separate containers. Using your straw, blow as many bubbles as you can into one container; in the other whisk the solution to create a foamy mess. Compare the two containers and make some observations. Which grew faster? Which lasted longer? What is different between the bubbles and the foam? What is the same?

Bubble TechnologyBubble Technology

Find objects around your house that would make great bubble blowing instruments. (Hint: start in the kitchen!) See if you can use multiple objects to create your own instrument. Build a bubble blower from pipe cleaners, yarn, or straw!


Bubble FestivalBubble Festival: August 13th from 11:00-3:00 in the classroom

Excited for more bubble fun? We sure are! We will be hosting a Bubble Festival for our Family Second Saturday program. Here you can participate in more activities; you can make GIANT bubbles, stand inside of a bubble, and watch bubbles freeze over dry ice!! We hope to see you there so you can enjoy all the stations and leave the clean-up to us 😉

Take Time for Making

“Look what I made!”

Building, creating, and making are things we all like to do. We’ve probably all heard children exclaim “Look what I made!” with big smiles on their faces and holding a piece of paper with drippy paint or popsicle sticks overflowing with glue. As an adult, I recently exclaimed that via text to my husband with a picture of a creation that I made as a sample for one of our Make & Take Tuesday programs. Yes, even as an adult I get excited when I create something that I’m proud of. As an educator, it is so apparent how necessary it is to provide opportunities and resources for children to utilize their carefree, creative, no-worries attitude that will carry them in the future to become lifelong learners.

Imagination Playground creations
Turtle Bay managers had a hard time paying attention at the meeting the Imagination Playground sets made an appearance in…

How can you make at Turtle Bay? During your next visit, build the tallest Keva tower, construct a make believe LEGO habitat, create an original poem with our Magnetic Poetry set, the opportunities are endless! With the proper tools and support from other people that enjoy making, children will also begin to grow as makers. Keep your eyes out for one of the newest additions to our programming materials – Imagination Playground. Imagination Playground is a set of different-shaped blue foam pieces that are designed to be used freely. Children (and adults!) can use and build with the blocks however they are inspired. Keep an eye on turtlebay.org for more information about when these blocks will be available for use.

How can teachers and educators incorporate making into the classroom? Join the North State Maker Educator Meetups (MEMs)! In collaboration with Future Development Group, LLC, Turtle Bay will be launching a new forum for educators to learn about the maker movement. The bi-monthly meetups will be great opportunities for educators to share with each other, provide support for one another, network and even do a little making. The meetups will be informal and free for educators. The first meetup will be held on February 18, 2016 from 6-8pm in the Turtle Bay Classroom. Those interested in learning more are encouraged to visit www.futuredevelopmentgroup.com.

Why is making important? The maker movement is up and coming! Making connects people with the community, utilizes creativity and critical thinking skills, and inspires learning and collaboration.


We can’t wait to see what you make at Turtle Bay!


Laurinda Willard

Education & Programs Manager