Citizen Science Project
Space has always been a big interest of mine, which is why I chose Gravity Spy as my citizen science project, which I found on Zooniverse. This particular project interested me because gravity waves are still a fairly new discovery in the field of science and there is still a lot of research going on regarding gravity waves. LIGO is the most sensitive and complicated gravitational experiment ever built, and with the data it collects there are often many glitches. The project I was tasked with was to identify glitches the gravity wave detectors have picked up as either a ‘blip’ or ‘whistle’. The blips simply looked like blips that popped up on the chart, and whistles showed up as thin lines that stretched across the graph. If there was a blip, I’d sort it into the blip category, and if a thin line was stretching across the graph, I’d classify it as a whistle. It was very fascinating to find out just how these sensitive detectors pick up the gravitational waves emitted from the two distant black holes a few hundred lightyears away combining two create one supermassive black hole. In all, this was a very interesting project that taught me more about the concept of gravity waves. I was able to help categorize information gathered by detectors like LIGO to help advance future research regarding gravity waves.
As my citizen science project, I entered the site zooniverse.org to find a project I was interested in. After some deciding, I chose to do the WildCam Darien project. This was a task where citizens could analyze images taken from forests and classify animals that were visible within the pictures. I completed about a dozen of these pictures, classifying over twenty animals. Some of them were quite difficult, as I could not identify any animals inside at the moment, and yet with close observation, I was able to discover them. This project is very useful to scientists because sometimes, scientists collect way too much data and they are unable to analyze it all. And so, they call upon citizens of science to help them.
Citizen Science Project
I chose to do Radio Galaxy Zoo’s In Search Of Erupting Black Holes activity on Zooniverse. This activity involved looking at radio wave and infrared pictures of the same area of space and identify whether the picture contains a supermassive black hole. This helps the scientific community by giving scientists more information about supermassive black holes in all of their stages of life. This way they can learn more about how these black holes work and how they are formed. I picked this activity because I find space to be very interesting and black holes are fascinating because of their mysteriousness.
Westpark Curriculum Night
I participated in the curriculum night held at Westpark Elementary to educate students about science with fun activities. Some of the other students ran a demonstration on burning different elements and showing the elementary school students how they burn in different colors. The station I helped in was about food coloring and shaving cream. We showed the students how shaving cream and food coloring don’t mix well, so you can swirl it into fun patterns and designs. Then, because paper absorbs the dye easily, laying a paper over it and then removing the cream results in a cool card that they could then use as a bookmark. The experience of teaching kids a little bit about science and having a fun activity was really cool. My favorite part was seeing kids’ reactions to seeing their paper for the first time. I participated in this curriculum night because it is always fun to teach younger kids and take part in a fun activity. I think this was an important event to be a part of because it’s a great way to get younger kids interested in learning about science in fun ways, and I had a good time.
For my community outreach I worked with Tyler and Jocelyn at the Club Rush event during lunch for our school. Our main goal was to try and get other students interested in taking chemistry, and joining the SNHS, and to help we were demonstrating the Elephant toothpaste experiment. The main issue with it was that, since our teach wasn’t there we weren’t allowed to use a high enough concentration of Hydrogen peroxide leading to not much happening in the experiment. We hopped to increase the rate of the reaction by covering the top and shaking the flask, which turned out not to be the best idea. The pressure built from the reaction blew out the top and sprayed the solution on the ground resulting in some pretty funny reactions.
Elementary school Outreach Project
I attended the West Park Curriculum night. The whole thing seemed science themed. I was able to work with the shaving cream and food coloring stamping experiment. We sprayed come food coloring into a tray and added a few drops of food coloring. After that we swirled the coloring to make a design and carefully laid an index card into it. Then you scrape the excess away, the pattern of the food coloring is shown on the card, like a stamp. It was really cute to see the kids look confused at first and then see their face light up when we scraped the shaving cream away and they saw the colors on the page. It was also cool to go back to my elementary school as a high school senior and see how things have changed and talk to some of my old teachers. I really enjoyed the experience.
Community Outreach Project
I attended the Phoenix Audubon Center trip. We went to the Rio Salado Audubon Center in Phoenix. While we were there, we were split into groups with several other volunteers and asked to plant Milkweed and Fairy Duster plants. These plants are among the only plants utilized by the monarch butterfly. Interestingly, the Rio Salado lays right in the migration path of the monarch butterfly, making it a very important breeding ground. It was pretty manual work, but it was cool to see the sizes of the rocks we dug up and the way groups of strangers could come together to so something good for our environment. We were also asked to go down into the riverbed and dig up an invasive grass. That part was crazy! We had to dig up the root balls that had grown around river rocks and entangled themselves in the roots of other plants. The grass itself grew so thick and so tall we had the hardest time seeing the bases of the grass clusters. It was pretty fun to peel back the plants and throw my body weight onto them to keep them out of the way. The ground under the grasses was cool, too; the dirt filled with slender roots peeled away in layers. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the project. I loved the team I worked with and the way I felt when it was all said and done. It is definitely something I would do again.