Sunday, October 17, 2010

Science Lesson #1: Rocks and Minerals

Lest we forget, at the heart of Seas Of Science is the science. I’ve been happily dancing around so far on this blog by introducing characters and inspirado. However, what we really need to do is get some science involved. My plan is to sit down once a week and work through the nuts and bolts of one science theme for an episode of the show. 

The intention of these posts is not to present a full blown science lesson, but rather to organize and outline what points I want to make during each episode. These posts are probably going to be messy, so bear with me in the meantime while I attempt to streamline some of these ideas.  

I’ve written one episode about photosynthesis. I’m going to start with ideas for the next episode, Rocks and Minerals, for the sake of not spinning my own wheels. Here’s a list of potential scientific topics to include…

1.) Minerals 
o   Rocks are made of minerals
o   Minerals are all the same “stuff” (have one of the science Crew give a ridged definition, take time to explain what exactly all the jargon means)
o   Minerals have a crystalline structure

·         2.) Familiar Minerals
o   Salt (HCl)
o   Hematite (magnetic)
o   Gypsum (? Do kids know what drywall is? Probably no)
o   Diamonds

·         3.) ROCKS!
o   Rocks are made of Minerals

·         4.) The Different Kinds of Rocks
-          Igneous (made from cooling magma or lava)
-          Sedimentary (made from cementing bits of other rocks together)
-          Metamorphic (a rock that once was one type of rock and turned into a different type of rock by being squeezed under pressure and or heated to extreme temperatures inside the earth)

·         5.) Continents we live on are made up of rocks
o   The study of rocks is geology
o   Granite (continents) vs. Basalt (ocean floor) – maybe show sweet video of underwater volcanoes??

·        6.)  Rock density
o   How rock density can affect the world!
o   Mountain building (Himalayas)
o   Subduction (Volcanoes)
Wow, that’s a lot already. I realize that’s way too many topics to address in one episode, but better to have a lot to start with then not enough, right? 

I’m thinking that for this episode, the character conflict can come from Barry being kidnapped by a tribe of rock creatures. The episode starts with Barry experiencing trouble with his circuits. The Captain steers the HMS Unknown to a planet with a robot repair shop. While Marisol, Sergio, and the Crew are off exploring, Barry gets spirited away. The rest of the characters spend the episode following clues to Barry’s whereabouts until finding him in the village of the rock creatures. The villagers have taken to worshipping Barry as a god because of his metallic body. Barry is delighted with this hospitality and newfound fame. Only after much coercing does he give up his new deity-hood and return to the ship.

Phew! These Science Lesson posts are going to be meaty!   

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