Earlier this month, Discovery Place celebrated Shark Week with all sorts of fun activities and special programming; it was enough to make your head swim. We conducted dissections, discussed their eating habits (spotting a white bamboo shark during a feeding in our reef rubble tank!) and even went on a hunt for shark teeth in the Museum.
This celebration taught us so much about these incredible sharp-toothed wonders of the sea. For instance, sharks possess two very amazing senses: Ampullae of Lorenzini and a keen sense of smell. How does this benefit them? Ampullae of Lorenzini are small vesicles and pores which enable sharks to detect weak magnetic fields or currents sea life produce over short ranges. These pores enable sharks to locate prey that might be hiding in sand or identif… Keep reading.
Walking into an elementary school in early June, my colleague and I discovered a large Eastern Hercules Beetle (Dynastes tityus) crawling across the sidewalk. We immediately picked it up, put it in a jar and began planning how we would integrate this impressive specimen into our lesson for the day. A little bit of research revealed that we had discovered a female Hercules beetle, pictured here and that animals in this arthropod family are pound for pound, the strongest animals in the world. Some can lift as much as 850 times their own weight! There is significant sexual dimorphism in Hercules beetlesit is easy to distinguish between males and females. Adult males have an upper horn that protrudes forward from the thorax and a lower horn that protrudes forward from the head, while femal… Keep reading.
August 14, 2012
As the manager of our Explore More Stuff Lab, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is an intricate part of each day. Over the past two weeks, I have been privileged to take part in STEMersion, a dynamic two week program involving over twenty Charlotte Mecklenburg School teachers, myself and seven local companies including Central Piedmont Community College, Siemens, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, AREVA, Discovery Place, Coca Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated and Livingston & Haven.
As part of the teacher core, my eyes were opened to what many of us thought was a dying industry in the United States: manufacturing. The biggest takeaway most of us had was that there are available jobs and thriving industries in our own backyard. We also learned many of the available career op… Keep reading.
August 07, 2012
We are excited to announce that our new Power2Give project, The Not So common octopus, has been posted. We are looking forward to having a new 8-legged friend here at Discovery Place, but we need your help! The Octopus vulgaris, also known as the common octopus, would be a great new addition to our World Alive exhibition.
Intelligent enough to solve complex problems, the common octopus is one of the smartest species of octopodes. They have been known to find their way through a manmade maze and even learn how to unscrew the lid off a jar! These octopodes inhabit the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans as well as the Mediterranean Sea. With your help, we will be able to find a healthy octopus to have at Discovery Place. Our cephalopod exhibit is looking for a new resident, and we would l… Keep reading.
When I first started working at Discovery Place in 2004 we had a 500 gallon Indo-Pacific coral reef tank. The display had been donated by a local medical office. The corals inside the tank came from a variety of zoos, aquariums and also private hobbyists. Of the 16 exhibits in our aquarium, the coral reef soon became my favorite.
I already knew that coral reefs were diverse ecosystems, home to innumerable sea creatures, both large and small. Just prior to starting at Discovery Place I had a chance to go scuba diving in the Bahamas. It was a life changing event for me. Id heard coral reefs called the rainforests of the sea before but until I was 50 underwater trying to take mental note of every animal that I saw, I didnt realize how accurate the analogy truly was. I was obsessed … Keep reading.
June 12, 2012
The newest staff member in the EMS Lab is our MakerBot ThingOMatic 3D printer. It heartily works away at making parts for activity prototyping and for upcoming lab units for students. Using a spool of ABS plastic the MakerBot has printed everything from robotic hand parts to the rocket nozzels and planets used last month by guests during our Astronomy lab unit.
The MakerBot came as a kit. It was an incredible learning experience to assemble. We spent about 80 hours assembling the kit on the exhibit floor. Our visitors got to see firsthand as it came together, including kids who participated in the assembly process.
Our MakerBot is not the most highly refined printer on the market but it is the most open. All of the software used to run it is free and open source. Anyone can downloa… Keep reading.