For a complete introduction and to get to know each Fuddlebrook story/concept, work your way across the main menu bar above. Have fun exploring, and please contact us with any questions you may have!
But that's not all. Check out the introductory video that explains why we created the Fuddlebrook School Science Series.
Learning about the science of color and the art of color is very “cool!” Don’t forget to appreciate the wonder of color this holiday season!
Reward that good Thanksgiving dinner behavior with this fun science activity that teaches a lesson about friction.
Color is all around us and there’s no time like the holidays to experience it. Twinkling lights, bright colored decorations, ribbons, and beautiful packages all add to the wonder of the season. Let’s take a moment to consider the science of color. It’s truly awesome!
Most people perceive a million different colors. We have many words for these colors, but language can never capture our extraordinary range of hues. Our powers of color vision derive from cells in our eyes called cones, three types in all, each triggered by different wavelengths of light. Every moment our eyes are open, those three cones fire off messages to the brain. The brain then combines the signals to produce the phenomena we call color.
Take one cone away—go from being what scientists call a trichromat to a dichromat—and the number of possible combinations drops to 10,000. Almost all other mammals, including dogs and some monkeys, are dichromats. The richness of the world most humans see (color blindness affects approximately 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women in the world) is rivaled only by that of birds and some insects, which also perceive the ultraviolet part of the spectrum.
Researchers suspect, though, that some people see even more. Living among us are people with four cones, who might experience a range of colors invisible to the rest. In fact, British scientists discovered such a woman known only as cDa29, (and suspect there are more) about a decade ago. It’s possible these so-called tetrachromats see a hundred million colors, with each familiar hue fracturing into a hundred more subtle shades for which there are no names. And because perceiving color is a personal experience, they would have no way of knowing they see far beyond what we consider the limits of human vision.
What would it be like to see through cDa29’s eyes? Unfortunately, she cannot describe how her color vision compares with ours, any more than we can describe to a dichromatic person what red looks like. Learn more.
In the book Liza’s Colorful Tale, we learn more about color and the light waves that create it. We create colors beyond the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue by mixing, adding or subtracting colors. But that’s not all. Check out our holiday art project as we create cool and colorful ice sculptures.
Even though most of us don’t have super vision like cDa29, seeing a million colors is pretty special! Take time this holiday season to “drink in” the wonder of color that surrounds us.
The Thanksgiving meal is something we look forward to all year, but it can be tough on a kid! Wedged between Great Grandma and Aunt Martha, using company manners, and listening to grown-up talk for what seems like hours, can make the best-behaved child squirm. After you clear the dishes, reward that good behavior with this fun science activity that utilizes only some coins and a butter knife to teach a lesson about friction.
What is friction exactly? From matches to machines, friction is one of the most significant phenomena in the physical world. Like gravity, friction is a force. If a car needs to stop at a stop sign, it slows because of the friction between the brakes and the wheels. On the other hand, in some cases we want to prevent friction so it is easier to move. A ball rolls to help reduce friction. Machines and engines use grease and oil to reduce friction so they can last longer. A third way to reduce friction is with less surface area. A thin blade allows for little friction between an ice skate and the ice. In our Fuddlebrook® book The Sled Race, Freddie and Bert learn that friction can have a big impact on the results of their race with Liza!
As part of that book, you can also learn a lesson about Newton’s First Law of Motion and friction by offering this post-Thanksgiving activity. Watch our young scientist Chloe demonstrate The Fuddlebrook Magic Money Stack. It may take a few tries, but will engage children for a very long time!
Then take the activity further. Try The Fuddlebrook Magic Money Stack using different objects like pennies, checkers, or quarters. Next, what happens if you stack more than 12 coins? Try using other tools, such as a playing card or a ruler, to remove the bottom object. Choose one variable to change and predict what you think will happen.
Want more fun ideas? Check out our Quirkles site too.
This new series marvelously succeeds in introducing young students to inquiry-based, experiential learning of scientific concepts that are age-appropriate. Moreover, students have the opportunity to explore story-based scientific concepts further through hands-on investigations.
--Teresa, Biology Ph.D; former elementary teacher, Springfield, MO
The thing I love most about the Fuddlebrook series is the connection aspect. Not only have the creators connected literacy and science, they have also provided opportunity for exploration of all areas of life. The dispositions and traits of the characters are consistent throughout the books and lead to discussions about friendship, bullying, loyalty, honesty, and humility. Fuddlebrook is "teaching the whole child by connecting to life."
--Carolyn, First Grade Teacher, Ozark, MO