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

Let’s Scoop Some Ice Cream for Science!

Have you ever noticed that your metal ice cream scooper works better than your plastic one? It just seems to cut through the ice cream a little more easily. Well, that’s not a coincidence, and you can show yourself why in about 5 minutes by trying this:

If you own both a plastic and a metal ice scream scooper, pick one up with each hand. If you only have one scooper, a metal and a plastic spoon will work too. Now, which one is colder? That was a trick question, because if you got these from the same drawer, they are about the same temperature. But then again, the metal scooper or spoon is almost guaranteed to feel colder.

Metal ice cream scoop Plastic ice cream scoop

How is that possible? Could it be that the plastic scooper hogs the heat? No, the two scoopers are really the same temperature, but plastic conducts heat differently than the metal.

Metal is considered a very good thermal conductor. It can absorb or release heat much more easily than plastic, which is better known as a thermal insulator. When you touch your two scoopers, heat from your warmer hands flows into the room-temperature objects you are holding. This causes each scooper to feel cold, but your metal scooper will feel much colder because your heat is pulled into the metal scooper much more quickly than the plastic scooper.

ice cream scoop

Now, back to the ice cream. If you take your warm ice cream scooper and dig it into your favorite flavor of cold ice cream, the heat from your scooper will flow into the ice cream, causing the ice cream to melt wherever it touches the scooper. The scooper, having lost heat, will get colder. If your scooper is metal, the ice cream will melt quickly and easily, making it easy to carve out a scoop of ice cream. If your scooper is plastic, this will happen much more slowly, meaning you will have to rely more on your muscles to get your ice cream out of the container and into your bowl.

So, the next time you’re out shopping, think about thermal conductivity. Buy metal ice cream scoopers, but plastic coffee containers. And if you think this stuff is pretty cool, sign your kids up for Turtle Bay’s Discovery Camp! From March 28th – April 1st, we’re going to focus on “Weird Science”, from thermal conductivity, to nano-science, to squid dissections! Registration is limited, so don’t miss out and sign up today!

Turtles Teach: Programs, programs and more programs at Turtle Bay!

The Education and Programs Department of Turtle Bay Exploration Park is all about programs! We offer a vast array of school and public programs, special events and even holiday programs and other amazing opportunities across the Turtle Bay Campus and around the North State. Our programs span a variety of subjects and reach audiences as young as pre-school, through school age youth and teens, and into adults.

Turtle Bay Education ProgramsAre you an Early Childhood Educator seeking opportunities for training or new ideas for classes or programs? Join Monique Gaido in our “More to Explore Program”, funded by First 5 Shasta. We offer a wide range of professional development workshops for teachers and early childhood caregivers to help improve your skills and grow your knowledge base.

Maybe you are a teacher or educator in search of professional development opportunities for yourself and your colleagues. Join Mary Harper, our Teacher Professional Development Coordinator, for a variety of Professional Development workshops throughout the year. Topics range from facilitator trainings for Project Learning Tree, Project WET and Project WILD, to workshops on global warming/climate change, Nanotechnology and STEM Programs and even how to engage in current science initiatives via Citizen Science.

Have you heard about what is happening at Turtle Bay Exploration Park on Saturdays? Join us on the second and third Saturday of each month for Family Second Saturday and Science Saturday. For the month of March, join us to learn all about Nanotechnology, the “Science of Small”! Discover how many of our everyday and household items rely on complicated nanotechnology to function.

Spring is just around the corner, and that means Spring Break Camp! Sign up your 8-12 year old students for a week of scientific investigations in our “Exploring Food Webs” camp program. Learn all about the components of life on earth and how they all come together to create the web of life. Each day will focus on a theme, starting with the sun and the energy it provides to kick-start the food web.  Sequential days will build off the previous day as we piece together the food web that can be found surrounding Turtle Bay.

What programs are you most excited to explore?


Happy learning!

The Teaching Turtles 

Education and Programs Department