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  • Meet SCI's Jr. Paleontologists

    Were dinosaurs purple? Pink? Green? Or all of the above? What did Earth look like when Futalognkosaurus and Giganotosaurus reigned? We have just the experts to answer these questions!

    Our 7- to 11-year-old “Jr. Paleontologists” were chosen because of their enthusiasm and expertise for all things dinosaur, and they are eager to answer your questions about the wow-worthy traveling exhibition, Ultimate Dinosaurs. Consult these Jr. Paleontologists at SCI’s $5 Family Night on December 12, where they’ll be ready to answer your questions and show off special Ultimate Dinosaurs activities!

    Until then, let us introduce you to a few of these Jr. Paleontologists:

    What made you want to be a Jr. Paleontologist at the Science Center of Iowa?

    Sadie, 8: I’ve always wanted to work at the Science Center, and when I heard they were doing paleontology, I wanted to intern so I could learn more about dinosaurs.

    Landan, 10: I’m really interested in the dinosaurs. I’ve liked them ever since I was in first grade, and I always wanted to learn more about them because they’re really interesting. 

    Chloe, 8: I’ve always wondered about nature, so I wanted to learn more, so I went to the library, and I found this dinosaur book, which looked really interesting, and ever since, I’ve wanted to be a paleontologist.

    Resean, 11: I learned that birds are technically a dinosaur! 

    Cadence, 8: I wanted to become a Jr. Paleontologist because I’ve always wondered about the history of dinosaurs. I wanted to be a Jr. Paleontologist because it sounded like it would be very interesting.

    Why do you like teaching others about dinosaurs?

    Sadie: It makes me feel proud that I’m teaching the world about dinosaurs.

    Landan: If dinosaurs ever came back, so they would have knowledge to know how to escape, so they wouldn’t get eaten.

    Chloe: Then, they get to share what I’ve learned instead of trying to find all of the books and trying to go everywhere instead of just listening to people who know about it. 

    Resean: For them to get interested.

    Cadence: It’s really cool because you can help other people learn more.

    What color do you think dinosaurs were when they lived on the Earth?

    Sadie: I think that they were brown, green or other bright colors to show off to mates.

    Landan: Well, maybe dinosaurs that didn’t need to hide could have bright colors, so they could attract females. Maybe if they had to hide, they could have colors that would match their habitat, so they could hide from predators or even help predators catch their prey.

    Chloe: Different colors, actually. Nothing can be just one color!

    Resean: All colors except for… never mind, all of them.

    Cadence: I think they were mostly brown, blue and green.

    What do you think the Earth was like when the dinosaurs were alive?

    Sadie: I think it was kind of like the Earth right now but no buildings, no people, no man-made stuff. One big continent of dinosaurs. 

    Landan: No humans, nothing we created. A lot of forests, deserts, water. In that time period, the Earth was all put together into one big continent.

    Chloe: It must have looked different. 

    Resean: All the continents were squished together.

    Cadence: All the continents were stuck together, and when it got closer to the dinosaurs being extinct, all the continents were all apart in seven continents.

  • Make Spooky Science Part of Your Halloween Party

    Caramel apples? Check. Steaming cider? Check. The ultimate Halloween costume? Check.

    But something is missing — science! Here are some ways you can add fizzing Jack-o-Lanterns, friendly STEM competition and apple architecture to your Halloween party.

    Fizzing Jack-o-Lanterns — Whether your pumpkin features a devious grin or a warm smile, take your Jack-o-Lantern to a new level with the classic baking-soda-and-vinegar reaction. After you carve your masterpiece, add a dash of baking soda, a drop of food coloring, pour in the vinegar and watch your Halloween friend fizz!

    LEGO STEM Challenge — Trade apple-bobbing for a new kind of competition, Halloween LEGO style! Give each team an array of LEGOs, and challenge them to build their favorite Halloween characters — ghosts, ghouls, monsters and more.

    Apple Architecture — Grab a big bowl of apple bites and toothpicks, and challenge your guests to build a sweet fall structure! Reward your architects with the ingredients for caramel apple bites, and let them create customized treats.

    Candy Corn Catapults — Gather a few simple ingredients for this Halloween physics challenge. Have your party guests team up to build catapults with Popsicle sticks, rubber bands, spoons and tape. Then, see who can launch candy corn the farthest!

    Balloon Ghost — Grab a black permanent marker and draw a pair of circle eyes on a white balloon. Pour baking soda and vinegar in an empty water bottle, secure the balloon on the opening and watch as a spooky ghost appears!