Why do Leaves Change Color in the Fall?

This time of year the trees seem to come alive bursting with colors of orange, reds and copper, but why does this happen? Our friends from EarthSky share how this process works each year. Throughout the spring and summer, the deep green color of chlorophyll, which helps plants absorb life-giving sunlight, hides any other colors present in the leaves of trees. The vivid yellows and oranges of fall leaves are there, but hidden. In the fall, trees break down the green pigments and nutrients stored in their leaves.

Southern Tier Science Conference

Join us after school for a FREE Science conference providing teachers with opportunities to learn and present exemplar lessons, content, teaching techniques and use of technology in the classroom. Network with colleagues from across the region, enter raffles and learn more about professional science organizations like STANYS (Science Teachers Association of NYS). October 4th
4:30pm – 7:30pm (includes dinner)
Chenango Valley High School
221 Chenango Bridge Rd. Binghamton, NY

Outcomes:
Teachers will be presenting on a variety of topics including:
– Innovative instructional strategies
– New Science standards
– Use of technology in the Science classroom
– Science content

Registration & coffee 4:30-4:45
Group 1 4:50-5:50
Dinner 5:50-6:30
Group 2 6:30-7:30

Raffles from BioCorp, Breakout EDU, Pocket Lab, and more! Register HERE. 

This conference is being co-sponsored by BT BOCES, FOSS, Southern Section STANYS, NYS Master Teacher Program and WSKG.

Lending an Ear to STEM

The absence of images in podcasts seems to be a source of their creative potential. Without visuals, listeners are required to fill the gaps-and when these listeners are children, the results can be powerful. Studies have found that children between the ages of 7-13 respond more creatively to radio stories than to stories shown on television. Audio stories prompted kids to draw more novel pictures, think up more unique questions, and solve problems in a more imaginative way than did TV tales. Here are just a few STEM related podcasts for kids:

Wow in the World: NPR’s first show for kids discusses the latest news in science and technology in a way that’s enjoyable for kids and informative for grown-ups. Brains On: Each episode of this science podcast is co-hosted by a different kid, tackling their questions with interviews, fun segments, and the occasional musical number.

E-Styles LED Bracelet Workshop

Parent/child workshop:
Hey families, are you gearing up for the LUMA festival in Binghamton? Work alongside your child as they explore STEAM concepts making their very own LED light up bracelet. This workshop is appropriate for students 11 years old and up. 
Use conductive thread, felt, and LEDs to create soft circuits with e-textiles. Your child will learn about simple circuits, e-textiles and how LEDs work. Workshop will take place in the Uncorked Creations lofts located at 205 State Street, Binghamton.

Yellow-Spotted Salamander Migration

Yellow-Spotted Salamander photo: Nancy Coddington

When the spring temperatures begin to rise and the snow recedes, the first warm rainy night of spring brings a chorus of spring peepers, wood frogs and mole salamanders. The spring migration happens sometime between mid March and April when evening temperatures rise above 40ºF as the amphibians move from the upland wooded areas to vernal pools and ponds to find suitable mates. Spotted salamanders are usually a secretive critter living under rocks, in seeps or underground in small damp burrows, so this is the night to be able to see them in large numbers. https://youtu.be/X9b02qycESc

This migration of yellow-spotted salamanders, Ambystoma maculatum, is a right of passage for some Binghamton University students. Devin DiGiacopo is a third year Phd student in Jessica Hua’s lab at Binghamton University and is researching how road salt affects spotted salamanders.

A Geneticist’s Growing Season

What does a maize geneticist do? Explore the growing season of maize, and how scientists study the plant’s genetic diversity and connect it to the phenotypes they observe. Maize needs lots of sun and warm weather to grow. Seeds are usually planted in spring, in marked rows to identify each plant by its pedigree and genotype. In the mid-summer, when the plants are ready, scientists begin crossing the varieties of maize.

Maize Genetics

There is a tremendous amount of genetic diversity in maize. Much of the maize you have seen may look the same, but across the world there are tens of thousands of  varieties of maize that are different colors, sizes, have different growing times, nutritional content, etc. Scientists at Cornell University are studying the diversity of maize, trying to connect two things: phenotype and genotype. A phenotype is any physical attribute that can be measured (also known as a “trait”). It can be something you can see like how tall the plant is, what color the kernels are, or when the plant flowers.

Maize: Feeding the World

Maize—or “corn”—has a history dating back to the beginning of agriculture, and today is used for everything from livestock feed and human consumption, to the production of starch, sweeteners, corn oil, beverage and industrial alcohol, fuel ethanol, and plastics. Maize is grown on every continent save Antarctica, and is the most widely grown grain in the world. Maize is also one of the most genetically diverse crops, allowing for selection from an incredible array of grain qualities and environmental adaptations. Maize is an excellent example of domestication—evolution in action—and researchers compare current varieties of maize with its wild ancestor, teosinte, to illustrate this principle. Maize was first domesticated from teosinte approximately 9,000-10,000 years ago.