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Late Bronze Age timeline: 2000 – 1000 BC

By |2017-09-10T17:55:52+00:00September 10th, 2017|Central Asia, History|

Earliest known spoked wheels, from a grave in western Siberia When about 2000 BC the Central Asians invented better wheels with spokes, so you could fight from your chariot, a new wave of Indo-Europeans moved from Central Asia west to Greece, and Italy, or south into Egypt and Iran, and from Iran about 1500 BC to India. Some of [...]

Science in Central America and South America

By |2018-04-11T18:24:13+00:00September 10th, 2017|Central America, Science, South America|

A rubber ball made by the Olmec people (about 1000 BC) With different natural resources available to them, the people of South America and Central America invented different things than the people of Europe, Asia, or Africa did. One early invention was rubber. The Olmec people invented rubber (in fact the word "Olmec" means "rubber people" in the Aztec language, Nahuatl). The Olmec began to [...]

Where does chewing gum come from? Central America

By |2018-04-12T08:53:22+00:00September 8th, 2017|Central America, Food|

Sapodilla tree - where chewing gum comes from Nobody knows when the first person began to chew gobs of sap from trees, but it was probably before they were really even people. Certainly somebody was chewing gobs of tree sap as early as 3000 BC in Finland. People also chewed gum in ancient Greece, early North America, [...]

What is rubber? History of rubber

By |2018-04-08T11:21:56+00:00September 8th, 2017|Science, South America|

A big rubber tree in Mexico Olmec people, living in southern Mexico, invented rubber about 1600 BC. It was just as they were beginning to build their empire. Rubber starts out as the sap of a Central American tree - the rubber tree. You tap the tree or cut it down for the sap. Then you mix the sap [...]

What is electricity? Physics

By |2018-06-01T10:27:39+00:00August 16th, 2017|Physics|

What is electricity? A bolt of lightning in the sky What is electricity made of? Everything in the universe is made of atoms.  Those atoms are made of electricity. Atoms are made of even smaller particles called protons, neutrons, and electrons. Electricity is electrons that have gotten loose from their atom. (More about electrons) The protons and neutrons [...]

History of Bicycles

By |2018-04-11T18:26:49+00:00August 7th, 2017|Modern Europe, Science|

A velocipede Bicycles were invented bit by bit in many different countries. They grew out of earlier inventions like wheels (from Central Asia) and wheelbarrows (from China), but Karl von Drais, a German inventor, built the first riding machine with two wheels, one in front of the other, that you had to balance on, in 1817. Like wheelbarrows, this [...]

South/Central America Scavenger Hunt

By |2018-04-12T08:53:01+00:00June 11th, 2017|Central America, South America|

Tomato How many things can you find around your house that people had in South or Central America before 1500 (before the European invasion)? If you don't find many around your house, how many can you find in a grocery store or a department store? Here are some suggestions: Tomatoes Honey Corn (or [...]

Knitting history – Stocking frames and Luddites

By |2018-11-20T12:50:23+00:00June 8th, 2017|Clothing, Modern Europe|

Knitting history: Stocking frame knitting machine (1750) Knitting silk stockings In the 1500s AD, knitters in Spain and France started to produce very fine knitted silk stockings, with little tiny stitches - something like today's knee-hi stockings. Knitted silk stockings were much more comfortable and fitted better than woven stockings. They were stretchier. Soon [...]

What are hydrocarbons? Simple science – Chemistry

By |2017-06-02T08:24:00+00:00June 2nd, 2017|Chemistry|

A model of a methane molecule Hydrocarbons are molecules made out of hydrogen atoms and carbon atoms. Methane is the simplest hydrocarbon molecule: just one carbon atom with four hydrogen atoms stuck to it. Because both carbon and hydrogen were common in nebulae, hydrocarbon molecules are very common in space. Many of these molecules [...]

What is helium? Atoms, elements, and chemistry

By |2018-04-01T20:58:53+00:00June 2nd, 2017|Chemistry|

Diagram of a helium atom Helium is a very simple atom. Helium is a simple atom. The nucleus of a helium atom has two protons and two neutrons. Around the nucleus, there are two electrons. The only atom simpler than helium is hydrogen. Stars and helium There are helium atoms inside stars. The star [...]