I’ll file this under the “Teaching Moments” category because it’s one of the greatest comedy teaching moments of all time with Johnny Carson and Dom DeLuise. The trick is great… but Johnny Carson’s reaction and the surprise ending is probably something Dom DeLuise never imagined in his wildest dreams. Really funny science.
There’s only one problem with these “best of” video lists… someone has to actually sort through all of the videos and come up with a list! Props to our genius video editor, Bradley Mayhew, for all of his editing magic in 2008. When the year starts out with 4,500 pounds of cornstarch and water and a cement truck on The Ellen Degeneres Show… you know it’s going to be quite a year! Our video and experiment library has grown to almost 400, with 70 new science videos added to our science video library just this year. Selecting our Top 10 Videos for the year was tough, but here are our personal favorites. Let us know what you think…
BJ and Howie are familiar voices to morning listeners of Alice 105.9. Whenever their conversation veers off on a science tangent, I know that my phone might ring. Several months ago, Howie was so certain that the studio was infected with mold spores that he paid to have his workplace tested. Any guesses? That’s right… no mold of any significance. Today’s issue is one of bacteria and germs.
Early last week, Mikey the morning show producer called our office and order a Growing Bacteria Kit. Like good little science soldiers, they cooked up the nutrient agar and prepared the Petri dishes. The next day, Howie followed the growing bacteria instructions and swabbed areas of the studio where he thought the germs and bacteria were running wild. After letting the “stuff” grow for a few days, BJ and Howie invited me down to the studios for a quick look at their science project.
Here’s the important point… unless you have the samples professional tested by a qualified biologist in a lab, there’s really no way of knowing exactly what is growing on those dishes. I’ve been told by microbiologists at the University of Colorado at Boulder that while the “hairy” stuff looks bad, it’s probably nothing more than common mold. On the other hands, those brightly colored dots (red, orange and yellow) are probably something much more serious… but that’s as much as anyone will say until a “real” test is performed.
As we wrap up 2008, I’m excited to report that we’ve added more than a hundred new videos to our ever-growing library of cool science videos and science fair project ideas. We are told that this science video library represents the most complete collection of science activities, experiment ideas and science demonstrations online to date. Thanks to everyone for your feedback and suggestions for future segments. I liked the e-mail that said, “Spangler videos are like Pringles… you can’t stop at just one.” Pour yourself another cup of coffee and dig in.
Bradley Mayhew is an amazing photographer and video editor who joined our creative team earlier this year. When he visited our video storage area on his first day on the job, he started to understand the true scope of managing this video archive. There are over 240 science segments dating back to 1990-1997 when I hosted the weekly Wonder Why? science segment on NBC’s News for Kids. Many of these segments can be seen on the Steve Spangler Science YouTube Channel under the classics category. Bradley also uncovered countless hours of video from teacher workshops, summer institutes, summer science camps, keynotes and other live presentations.
We know that many teachers cannot watch our videos at school because the 9News.com play and YouTube.com are both blocked the the school firewalls. However, most teachers have open access to the content provided at TeacherTube.com We are excited to announce that Steve Spangler Science is working closely with the creators of TeacherTube.com to launch a special science experiment content channel in 2009. You can see a small part of our content on the Steve Spangler Science TeacherTube Channel.
The best part for us is that our selection of videos are updated weekly thanks to all of the segments from 9News.com This year marks my tenth anniversary as the Science Education Specialist with the NBC affiliate KUSA 9News in Denver. During that time, Mark Koebrich, Kim Christiansen, Kirk Montgomery, Kathy Sabine, Nick Carter and Becky Ditchfield experienced every variation of science experiment that fizzes, pops, smokes, explodes or occasionally catches on fire. My appearances on the Ellen DeGeneres Show are directly tied to the Ellen Show producers watching our science demos on 9News and inviting me on their show to make them even bigger.
I hope you enjoy our ever-growing library of cool science video. Any suggestions for future segments?
Ladies and gentlemen… please welcome our magicians for this evening… the amazing Bruce and Kitty Spangler.
As a very young child, I can remember sitting backstage and hearing these words as the orchestra began to play and my parents took center stage. I’ve often talked about my love for the art of magic, but few people know that I grew up in a family of professional magicians. When you live in a family of magicians, seeing your Mom float or get sawed in half is really nothing out of the ordinary. I remember taking my Dad to show-and-tell when I was in kindergarten. What did he do? My Dad pulled a torch out of his bag of tricks and ate fire for my entire class. Let’s just say that when your Dad eats fire for show-and-tell, it’s kind of a show stopper.
I recently introduced 9News reporter Kim Christiansen and photo journalist Eric Kehe to my parents, Bruce and Kitty Spangler, for a behind the scenes look at a special art that is being passed down through three generations.