The Q? Blog

A bumblebee feeds on the nectar and pollen of a flower. Help us transcribe bumblebee records on September 20. Smithsonian photo by Rosa Pineda.
A bumblebee feeds on the nectar and pollen of a flower. Help us transcribe bumblebee records on September 20. Smithsonian photo by Rosa Pineda.

Late September Events in Q?rius: Tattoos, Insects, and More!

This month our events feature tattoos, bumble bees, fungi, and more. All events are free, unless otherwise noted, and take place in Q?rius, the interactive science learning space on the ground floor of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. New event listings and cancellations can pop up at any time, so check the Upcoming Events calendar for the most current information. Sept. 9 - Oct. 14 – Tattoo Universe , an Art-Science Workshop...Read more
Tags: pollinator

Latest Posts

Students Learn How to Solve a Forensic Mystery in 'A Grizzly Discovery'

A group of hikers stumbles across a human skull in the woods of West Virginia. There was a report of a missing 65-year-old woman from a nearby town – could this be her skull? To find out, the bones are sent to the forensic anthropologists at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History for analysis and identification. The experts solved the mystery, and now your students can learn forensic techniques and see if they can reach the same...Read more
Students discuss how to analyze human bones during the "Forensic Mysteries - A Grizzly Discovery" school program in  Q?rius. Smithsonian photo NHB2013-02793 by James Di Loreto.

Dinosaurs Were Just the Tip of the Iceberg

We’ve all fantasized about living in a world where dinosaurs roam the Earth, a place like Jurassic Park, rife with the perils and excitement of living amongst these odd creatures. While it’s safer for us now, what a shame that birds are the only living descendants of the dinosaurs that walked on two legs and included the infamous T. rex . About 66 million years ago, T. rex and other large dinosaurs disappeared from Earth suddenly. Their demise...Read more
Late Cretaceous scene. Depiction by Mary Parrish, Smithsonian.

'Dig Deep': Teaching Students How to Locate Geologic Resources

Most of us don’t look at a phone, a car, or a building and think, “Where on Earth did they find the materials to build that?” Even if we do think about how something is made, we focus mainly on the technology and engineering required, not necessarily where those materials came from. With the help of Smithsonian geologists Ben Andrews , Michael Wise and Tim Rose , we developed the “ Dig Deep ” school program to break this habit and dive into the...Read more
Students apply their new skills to solve the final challenge in the “Dig Deep” school program. Smithsonian photo NHB2014-01468 by Leah M. McGlothern.

Back to School with 'Reefs Unleashed'

How many species live below the surface of the ocean and how do scientists count them? With so many rocks, corals, and other crevices, there are a million places for creatures to hide! In our “Reefs Unleashed” school program, visiting students explore these questions as they consider the importance of measuring biodiversity in coral reefs. "Reefs Unleashed" is one of six staff-led Q?rius school programs for grades 6-12 offered at the Smithsonian...Read more
Tags: reef
Middle school students examine an Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure, or "reef hotel," during a "Reefs Unleashed" school program. Photo by Smithsonian Institution.

Butterflies and Moths, Oh My!

One of the topics that fascinates visitors of all ages in the Margaret A. Cargill Collections Zone is butterflies. The butterflies are some of the most-viewed objects in Q?rius. Visitors love getting a close-up look at the pretty creatures, pointing out the diversity of colors, and even zooming in on the details using the microscopes. There are at least three places where butterflies and moths can be found in Q?rius. First, there is the great...Read more
Colorful butterflies, including the giant blue morpho (bottom right), are on display in Case A in the Q?rius Loft. Photo by Smithsonian Institution.

Q?Crew Teen Volunteers: Helping Visitors Explore Q?rius

We spend a lot of time talking about how Q?rius is so awesome because of all of the amazing technology in the space, the incredible opportunities to chat with real, live Smithsonian experts, and the chance to explore objects from the collection up close and personal. And all of those things are pretty spectacular. But the heart of Q?rius is the Q?Crew , a group of dynamic teen volunteers who have dedicated their summer vacations to helping...Read more
Tags: teens
A Q?Crew teen volunteer, right, helps visitors learn what’s inside some of the rocks in Q?rius. Photo by Smithsonian Institution.

My Summer at the Museum as a 'Bug Guy'

You might think scientists are boring, nerdy, and quiet, but at the YES! Program (Youth Engagement Through Science) high schoolers learn the truth. That's the same lesson I learned. Going into my first day at the program I was scared but curious. All I knew was that I was going to be working at the O. Orkin Insect Zoo . I was going to be a bug guy. When I got to the behind-the-scenes lab, I was pleasantly surprised by the other bug people. They...Read more
Tags: teens
YES! intern Manuel holds an Atlas moth pupa behind the scenes at the O. Orkin Insect Zoo. Photo by Smithsonian Institution.

Choose Your Weapon: Shark or Vending Machine

You may have heard that more people die from vending machine accidents every year than from shark bites. My fourth grader knew that, and it's not hard to dig up statistics to confirm it. So, if we're going to make the world a safer place by eradicating vending machines or sharks, I'd choose vending machines. Yet, populations of vending machines seem to be stable or growing, while sharks are on the decline. In honor of Shark Week, I perused the...Read more
Tags: shark
Silky Shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) off the coast of Cuba. Photo by Alex Chernikh, via Wikimedia and EOL, CC-BY.

August Events in Q?rius: Films, Fish, and Fungi

We’re offering a diverse lineup of events this month, including some films, a few ocean-related events, and one about fungi. All events are free, unless otherwise noted, and take place in Q?rius, the interactive science learning space on the ground floor of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. New event listings and cancellations can pop up at any time, so check the Upcoming Events calendar for the most current information. August...Read more
Tags: events, ocean
Marine scientist and author Stephen Palumbi and his son Anthony will show some short films and sign their new book, August 10. Photo courtesy of Stephen Palumbi.

Q?rius Welcomes the National Science Teachers Association

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) members who came to the Q?rius open house July 18 were like kids in a candy store. They peered through the microscopes at bees and sand grains, listened to and created insect karaoke, tapped their way through an interactive touchscreen activity about coral reef dwellers, sniffed scents and guessed what made them, and held and examined most of the 6,000 biological, geological, and anthropological...Read more
Tags: events
NSTA members crowd the Collections Zone to examine the some of the 6,000 objects in Q?rius. Photo by Smithsonian Institution.

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