Solar Bags are 50 feet long and are made from a very thin plastic. When inflated, the black plastic heats the air up inside the Solar Bag. The air expands and the bag floats in the air. Our fabulous and dedicated Steve Spangler Science crew ran across the outfield at Coors Field last week to fill the balloons up with air. We filled the stadium with Solar Bags.
Steve also gave 800 teachers, cub scout and girl scout leaders Solar Bags to take back to their group for a hands-on learning experience. If you are a teacher or educator that received a Solar Bag, we have a homework assignment for you. Give your students or kids a little lesson in the properties of air and inflate your Solar Bag. Take pictures and videos of the experience and upload on the 9News site under the SendIt tab. Your video may be featured on upcoming episodes with Steve Spangler.
You can also use dry cleaning bags for a classroom demonstration. Using a heat source on the ground, completely deflate the dry cleaning bag. Hold the bag over the heat source with the open end down. Warm air is less dense than colder air, so the bag should begin to inflate and float.
Our annual Weather and Science Day reached a new height this year with the launch of a weather balloon during the event. The weather balloon was launched with help from The Edge of Space. During it’s flight, it reached the edge of space at a height of 93,000 feet. That’s higher than Mount Everest and higher than what a military jet can fly (50,000 feet). The balloon drifted northeast and landed hours later near Synder, Colorado.
Beaker “piloted” the weather balloon along with three flags from 9News, the Colorado Rockies and Steve Spangler Science. The balloon also had three cameras onboard that recorded hours of flight footage. You can see Beaker at the edge of the heavens and his violent fall back to earth after the balloon ruptured.
The underlying lesson was to work with The Edge of Space people who love flying balloons as hobbyists. Their dedication and passion to ballooning was inspiring.
Launching a balloon from Coors Field in the middle of the day isn’t as easy as it sounds. The balloon was going to take a journey up through aircraft flight patterns and could potentially be very hazardous. The FAA granted us special permission and diverted air traffic for 10 minutes for the launch.
This was the biggest Weather and Science Day, and although we do not have official numbers yet, we definitely had the biggest crowd ever.
The weather balloon was the biggest piece of Weather and Science Day, but it wasn’t all we did.
Students, teachers and weather and science fans also learned about the science of air, solar energy and the freezing and expanding powers of liquid nitrogen during the one hour event.
Watch The Spangler Effect for an upcoming special half-hour episode dedicated to the weather balloon launch, flight and science behind it.
Q: Tell us a little about who you are… A: I am a very personable and outgoing person who loves to make the best out of every situation. I feel as though no man or woman is better than the next and that we all need to work close to one another to really expand our horizons in life. Having the privilege to work for such a great company has allowed me to have a multitude of opportunities that I never thought were possible or that I would ever even come across in my life. I have been with the company now for 3 1/2 years and still wake up every morning excited to come to my job and work with my friends. It really takes a unique work environment to be able to say that your coworkers are not just team members but lifelong friends and that is one of my favorite things about working at Steve Spangler Science.
Q: What do you do at Steve Spangler Science? A: I help oversee the production of the fun kits and educational products that we provide to our great customers. I also oversee the coordination of having Goodwill come into our facility to help produce some of our products which in turn helps us out a lot by keeping our production demands down. Thank you Goodwill!!!
Q: What do you like best about what you do? A: I love knowing that the product I touch not just only helps further and expand the education of kids but also puts the fun back in science. Being able to work here gives me a comfortable feeling of knowing how much the company gives back to the community in various ways. It helps me understand the significance of a family owned and operated business and the importance of the great morals they work and live by.
Q: What is your favorite Steve Spangler Science moment? A: My favorite moment(s) would be when we were able to go down to Weather and Science Day at Coors Field. Having that many kids and teachers that are excited to learn about science/education is incredible and really wow’s me till this day. I am hoping to see this breathtaking event come together again this year. Keep your fingers crossed!
Q: What is something you wish every SSS customer knew? A: I want every SSS customer to know how much we appreciate your feedback as well as input. We put so much hard work and dedication into our product and ordering process that we are always in search of how to improve on it to make the best experience for our customers. Thank you — all you guys ROCK!!!
Q: What is your favorite science experiment? A: I would have to say my favorite is WCIB-250 Cloud in a Bottle. It still till this day amazes me to see a cloud right in front of you. My second choice would be WEXB-050 Bouncing Bubble Kit just because who doesn’t love to bounce a bubble in your hand. If you haven’t tried either one, you are missing out.
Q: What do you like to do when not on the job? A: I like to stay active, especially outdoors. I love snowboarding, hiking, camping, spelunking, and running outside just on a random path to see where it ends. Enjoying time with my family and friends is definitely the highlight of my days though, no question about it.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share? A: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln
I live my life by this quote because of its importance and truth. I ‘m just saying…
From the moment the gates opened at 9:30 AM, there was an air of excitement that ran through Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies. The event was billed as the largest hands-on science show ever presented in Colorado… or maybe the country for that matter. In 2009, the Colorado Rockies teamed up with 9News KUSA-TV and Steve Spangler Science to produce the first annual Weather and Science Day, which drew a crowd of 5,400 and earned the Spangler team their first Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Physics Lesson.
Ticket sales to this year’s event were in excess of 10,000, making this a real challenge for the Steve Spangler Science team. “When we originally sat down and starting planning the event with Steve, he challenged us to help him create something more than a sit-and-watch show,” explained Carly Reed, special event coordinator at Steve Spangler Science. “Steve suggested pony rides in the parking lot, but we quickly refocused his creativity to something more doable.” The final decision was ambitious, but not completely out of the question. “Let’s give each person a BoomWhacker and teach the world’s largest lesson on the science of sound,” Steve Spangler commented while frantically looking for the phone number to the BoomWhacker headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. The biggest hurdle would be to come up with a way to quickly distribute all of the plastic tubes to an audience of this size. Game on!
If you’re wondering… BoomWhackers are plastic tubes that vary in size and color and can be used to play different notes by “whacking” them on your hand. Each person who attended Weather and Science Day received a single BoomWhacker to use later in the presentation.
Kathy Sabine, Chief Meteorologist at 9News kicked-off the event with a behind-the-scenes look at the weather center at 9News. Video played on the Jumbotron as Kathy shared her experiences predicting Colorado’s unpredictable weather. “The scientific method is a part of everything I do as a meteorologist,” said Kathy Sabine. “Colorado’s extreme changes in weather keep me on my toes as I use our weather models to make the most educated guess possible as I predict what’s going to happen.”
Kathy Sabine and Steve Spangler are long-time friends who have been working together at 9News since 2000. Kathy knows first hand what it means to be a part of one of Steve’s big demonstrations (she’s done her fair share of screaming while exploding pumpkins, being vacuumed packed or walking on glass). Steve started by asking his 9News colleague Amelia Earhart to find volunteers in the audience who could answer a few science questions. The answers to these questions about the air we breathe and how temperature affects the states of matter set the stage for a spontaneous eruption of an enormous liquid nitrogen cloud that literally consumed both Steve and Kathy (who eventually reappeared to a large round of applause).
The sounds of science were up next as everyone in the audience participated in a lesson on sound waves, pitch and volume. Steve used the pentatonic scale (C,D,E,G,A,C) to demonstrate rolling rumbles of sound that changed in pitch and volume. “I couldn’t believe how cool the sound was when we were actually doing the activity,” said Shelly Flenner, a sixth grade teacher from Aurora, Colorado. The lesson on sound came to a crescendo with the formation of a giant drum circle. From that point forward, standard applause was replaced with a sea of BoomWhacking sounds.
Matt Reynolds from the Colorado Rockies joined Steve Spangler on stage for a lesson in high-flying objects… specifically limes! Specially made launchers were used to test the difference between shooting limes using combustible gases or compressed air. Matt fired a total of six limes to outfielders who tried their best to catch the high flying objects. The compressed air launcher won the challenge with the lime flying over the Rock Pile seating eventually landing in an open field.
Kathy Sabine returned to the stage to talk more about Colorado’s extreme weather. Microbursts are a phenomenon common to Colorado whereby a sinking column of air moves downward until it hits the ground, eventually spreading out in all directions. Upon hitting the ground, a microburst often forms a giant vortex ring. Steve and Kathy used a variety of smoke ring launchers to demonstrate the properties of a vortex ring, but unlike a microburst, these smoke rings traveled across the field… or into the audience where kids could hardly wait to get hit! Steve mentioned that the large smoke cannon came from a firm in Minnesota called Colle+McVoy who were kind enough to loan the cannon to him for both the Ellen Show and this event.
Steve turned everyone’s attention to his many helpers on the field for the big finale… his trash can kabooms! Coming full circle to his liquid nitrogen demonstrations at the beginning of the program, Steve talked about the science behind an explosion. “In simplest terms, an explosion is a sudden release of energy accompanied by a raid increase in volume,” Steve explained as his demo team took their positions behind each of the large trash cans. Liquid nitrogen was confined in a small container to demonstrate the sudden release of energy. Each trash can was filled with lightweight plastic balls like the ones found in a ball pit. The final result was a giant kaboom accompanied by a colorful shower of plastic balls flying through the air. What a great way to signal the end of the second annual Weather and Science Day.
In a post-show interview with Becky Ditchfield from 9News, Steve Spangler responded to a comment made by President Obama during a recent interview with Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook headquarters. “President Obama said that he wanted to make science cool… and I think we’ve got a few thousand people here in Colorado who can help him reach that goal. It starts with parents and teachers finding creative way to make learning fun. Events like this can only help kids foster a sense of wonder and a genuine desire to want to explore new things.”
This was our sneak peek of the Smoke Ring Launcher that aired on television the day before the event…
Weather and Science Day has been rescheduled for next Tuesday, May 17th. The Colorado Rockies management team decided to reschedule the event based on tomorrow’s forecast for rain/snow and cold temperatures in the morning during the event. There is no need for kids to be cold and wet.
The event will now be held before the 1:10 p.m. game on May 17th against the San Francisco Giants.
For those with tickets, your options are:
1. Keep your tickets and attend the May 11 game.
2. Exchange your tickets for the rescheduled Weather & Science Day on Tuesday, May 17, 2011. You must return ALL of your May 11 tickets to the Rockies Group Tickets office via mail or drop-off.
3. Exchange your tickets for another game, May 24-26 or June 13-15. You must return ALL of your May 11 tickets to the Rockies Group Tickets office via mail or drop off.
Cross your fingers for a better weather day and we will see you next week.