Stories tagged KAYSC



Paul Explaning to the Heritage Crew what GPS is: Paul Explaning to the Heritage Crew what GPS is and how it works.
Paul Explaning to the Heritage Crew what GPS is: Paul Explaning to the Heritage Crew what GPS is and how it works.Courtesy SMM
On November 15, the Heritage Crew got to talk with Paul from Flat Rock Geographics. Paul spoke about how GPS works, what GIS is, and how people use GIS and GPS. GPS stands for "Global Positioning System." GPS is a network of satellites, used to find a position on the Earth within 5-10 feet. GPS triangulates your location by using 3 or more satellites that it can "see" by sending a message to them and receiving a location. GPS is a big factor in GIS.

GIS stands for "Geographic Information System." GIS is a combination of GPS and LiDAR, which is an imaging process that takes a laser and scans the ground, timing how long it takes to reach the point where it left the emitter, like sonar does underwater, or radar in the air. Paul and his company used GIS to map the site that we went to this summer. Flat Rock (who is helping us manage our data from Sheffield) can scan the data from the LiDAR and remove things that we don't need, like birds, trees, and even buildings! LiDAR is incredibly accurate, and has even been used to map all the burial mounds in the entire state of Minnesota!


Woodland Pottery Fragment
Woodland Pottery FragmentCourtesy Sheffield Site Facebook page
The Oneota and the Woodland traditions have different pottery and different ways of making pottery. The Oneota used ground up shells as a tempering agent, allowing them to make pots that were thinner than the Woodland pottery. Tempering is adding ingredients to clay to reduce the likelihood of cracking when the clay is fired. The Woodland tradition had thicker pots because the tempering agents they used (rocks and stones, known as grit tempering) did not allow for thinner walls; the pots would break when they were fired if they had thin walls and grit temper.

Another distinctive sign that the pottery belonged to the Oneota tradition was the decorations on the shoulders (just below the thinner part) of the pot. Oneota decorations were usually star-shaped.
Written by Bilir and Elias


The Kitty Andersen Youth Science CenterKAYSC Logo
KAYSC LogoCourtesy KAYSC
has a new crew on the block! The Heritage Crew is going to be working in the Archeology department in the museum and will be working out at an archeological dig site called Sheffield Site. They'll be digging up artifacts belonging to the Oneota along the St. Croix River. In August, they will also excavate the sites and process the artifacts back at the museum. Currently, they are learning about the different types of stone used at the site that the Oneota used for stone tools (lithics), the pottery at the site, and bones (faunal material). Most of the material dates to around 2000 years old. Follow us on Facebook at The Sheffield Site!


Disease Detectives
Disease DetectivesCourtesy Disease Detectives
Earlier this year I got the chance to work as the crew of high school staff in the Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center ( at the museum to create a series of web-based videos about infectious diseases for the Disease Detectives exhibit. We worked from January through August learning video production skills, learning about different infectious disease topics, talking to experts and folks on the museum floor. We're just getting the videos online now, and all of our videos will be on the exhibit website soon ( but I wanted to share them here as well.

For this video, titled "Got Beef? The Story Behind Antibiotics and Livestock" the crew to a slaughter house on in South St. Paul, the Minnesota Department of Health, U of M St. Paul (at 7AM to see the cows grazing), Mississippi Market Co-op, and did hours of research, prep, and post production.
Got Beef? The Story Behind Antibiotics and Livestock from Disease Detectives on Vimeo.

You can check out the video here.


On Wednesday the Make It Team from the museum's Youth Science Center talked about research using animals.

MakeIt Team
MakeIt Team

The teens watched four short videos:

  • Diabetes Hormone, a video about Diabetes research using mice
  • Fluoride in the Brain, a video about the effects of fluoride on mice and humans
  • A video about animal research from PETA
  • Hibernation, showing how animal hibernation research impacts space exploration.

After watching the videos, teens used the Democs Game to talk about the pros and cons of animal testing. Democs is a role playing activity where teens are assigned different view points and then asked to debate issues from those view points.

See what else Make It has done recently.


Ever notice that uncooked spaghetti doesn't break neatly in two when you bend it? Instead, it shatters into several pieces of different lengths. Why?

Researchers recently solved the spaghetti mystery and improved scientists' understanding of how things shatter. Because strands of spaghetti are similar in some ways to lots of brittle objects—from industrial cutting tools to body armor—knowing why spaghetti breaks the way it does may help make those things stronger and safer.

Spaghetti catapult
The researchers clamped one end of a piece of spaghetti in place, and then bent the rod until it was just about to break. Then they let the unclamped end go, and filmed the results with a digital camera that took 1,000 images per second. The pictures showed that the spaghetti rod didn't spring back to its original position like a diving board would. Instead, the release caused ripples that ran down the rod's length and bounced back from the clamped end. The spaghetti snaps where the curvature is greatest—where the ripples from the free end meet the ripples bouncing back from the clamped end. And it happens again in the remaining piece of spaghetti each time the rod breaks. (See some movies of the breaking spaghetti.)

Just getting started
Now scientists know why spaghetti breaks into more than two pieces, but the new research opens up many more questions about how objects shatter.

MAKE IT at the Museum
The recent spaghetti discovery was made possible by an extremely high-speed camera that captured photos of how the pasta bent and broke. On Saturday, December 10, between 1:30 and 3:30, you can make a zoetrope and watch some spaghetti "filmstrips" for yourself. It's free, it's fun, it only takes a few minutes, and you can take your creation home with you when you're done.


Psychologists at Emory University in Atlanta have been studying how capuchin monkeys see themselves by showing them their own reflections.

The scientists assumed that the monkeys would behave as they would when meeting a stranger. Instead, females react with curiosity and friendly gestures, while males act distressed and fearful. Psychologist Frans B.M. de Waal thinks the monkeys realize that the reflections are special, even if they're not quite sure who they're looking at.

Know thyself

When you look in the mirror, you know the person you're seeing is you. You're "self aware." (Scientists consider an animal self-aware if it touches a painted spot on its own face when it looks in a mirror.) People, apes, and dolphins recognize themselves. Most monkeys, though, don't get it.

In a series of experiments, the Emory scientists put capuchin monkeys into test chambers where they had one of three experiences: they saw a monkey of the same sex that they'd never met before, they saw a familiar monkey of the same sex, or they saw their own reflections. Reactions to the other monkeys were predictable, but the reactions to the mirrors were new. And the Emory scientists think they prove that the capuchins have reached some intermediate level of self-awareness, somewhere between seeing their reflections as other monkeys and recognizing themselves.


Singing Mouse Photo

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have discovered that mice sing.

Scientists already knew that mice make ultrasonic sounds-squeaks that are too high-pitched for us to hear without special equipment. But these scientists used microphones and computer software to study the squeaks of 45 male mice.

What's in a song?

The researchers separated the squeaks into types of syllables based on how quickly the pitch rose or fell. The mice "sang" about 10 syllables per second. And almost all of the mice repeated sequences of syllables in clear patterns. None of the mice are Marvin Gaye, exactly, but their noises meet the scientific definition of song. (People, birds, whales, and some insects do the same thing.)

Why sing?

Researchers still have to figure out WHY the mice sing. Because the mice sang in response to pheremones-chemicals that transmit messages between animals of the same species-one guess is that male mice sing to impress females.

Hear the mice singing.