Friday, June 18, 2021
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
For a short time in the spring (late May through early June) it looks like someone has decorated the twigs of our hickory tree with green tinsel. These are the flowers on our shagbark hickory tree. For all the years I've watched our tree, I haven't paid much attention to the flowers. And yet I know they're there because every fall we've got hickory nuts. Turns out that shagbark hickories are monoecious - that means they have male flowers (the long catkins) and female flowers (tiny flowers at end of the twig). They depend on the wind for pollination.
You know what else is monoecious? Cucumbers, summer squash, melons, and pumpkin plants. If you grow any of those, take a look at their flowers this summer and see if you can tell which ones are the female flowers and which ones are the male flowers.
Friday, June 11, 2021
by Sandra Nickel, illus. by Aimée Sicuro
48 pages; ages 6-9
Harry N. Abrams, 2021
Vera always liked looking at the night sky.
What I like about this book: Vera is persistent. We see her ask questions: do galaxies rotate around the center of the universe like the constellations circle the North Star? How do stars at the edge of the galaxy move? And could she create a women’s bathroom at the observatory where she worked simply by taping a skirt to the figure on the door? Over time, the male astronomers begin to accept Vera’s idea that dark matter stretched between the stars.
Also – there is Back Matter! The author’s note contains more info about Vera Rubin and how galaxies move. There’s a timeline of Vera’s life and a selected bibliography for curious young astronomers who want to learn more.
Observe the night sky. What do you notice? How does it change from one month to the next, from early night to late night? Do the constellations rotate around the North Star?
Learn more about Dark Matter over at NASA’s Space Place.
Sandra Nickel is a member of #STEAMTeam2021. You can find out more about her at her website.
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
One corner of my yard lies under dappled shade of maples and cottonwoods. A colony of mayapples lives there, and has thrived (and even grown) over the years. Mayapples are native to our area, so I am always delighted to see them bloom and grow.
- white flowers
- hidden flowers
- plants with umbrella-leaves
- flowers with lots of stamens