Seasonal Science: Will These Fall Favorites Sink or Float in Water?

Looking for an activity that’s educational, kid-friendly, and seasonal? Check out this simple DIY science experiment that utilizes fun fall objects and the age-old question: Will it sink or float? This experiment tests the concepts of density and buoyancy. Basically, dense objects sink and buoyant objects float. 

All you need to conduct this experiment is a large bucket or container of water and a collection of your favorite fall items, such as gourds, leaves, pumpkins, apples, or acorns—the possibilities are endless! 

Step 1: Categorize 

Get a piece of paper and separate it into two columns: sink and float. Go out and collect different sizes of fall leaves so your child can see how size and shape factors into the experiment. Don’t forget to grab some heavier items that are sure to sink like gourds and pumpkins, too. Next, have your child make guesses on whether each item will sink or float. This gets their brain thinking critically before getting to the fun part!

Step 2: Experiment

Now comes the real action! Take each item and place it in the bucket to see whether it will sink or float. See what happens when you push a floating item down to the bottom of the bucket. Try each object more than once, just like a real science experiment, to ensure accurate results. Don’t forget to record each answer and check if their guesses were correct. 

Step 3: Reflect

Encourage curiosity! Ask your child what all of the sinking items and what all of the floating items had in common. Inquire why they may think certain items floated or sank. Don’t forget to explain the concept of density and buoyancy to seal this science lesson in their brains!

Soaking up the science is as easy as 1, 2, 3. This seasonal sink or float project provides a fun, educational activity to kick off the autumn season! Don’t forget to whip up a couple of tasty, water-based fall drinks to enjoy while you explore.

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How Hollywood Movies Make Fake Rain and Snow

 

Sometimes the weather in a movie can help set the scene, and other times it’s the entire focal point. A scorching trek through the hot desert, a kiss in the rain, a holiday miracle under the falling snow...the list goes on! 

Have you ever wondered how Hollywood producers create these weather effects for a scene when it’s not actually raining or snowing? Let’s find out. 

Singing in the Rain

 

 

 

Whether it's an extreme downpour or a light drizzle, rain can set the mood for a great movie scene. Sometimes, set designers connect massive hoses to fire hydrants or trucks during outdoor shoots, then spray the hoses as desired from substantial heights.

Indoors, though, Most filmmakers use one or multiple rain curtains or rain bars, devices that create a rainfall effect when paired with some clever camera angles, lighting, and fans. 

Let It Snow

 

 

 

Hollywood waits for no one, which means that many holiday movies or snowy sets are actually filmed during other seasons or in places that rarely get snow. So, how do filmmakers make fake snow to create the perfect winter wonderland?

In the very early days of movie magic, substances such as white-painted cornflakes, salt, and flour were used to create the illusion of snow. Nowadays, CGI accounts for some of the amazing effects, but science has also come a long way in creating the perfect snowy substance that’s both safe and believable. 

Thin paper and plastics are two substances that are often shredded to look like snowflakes and blown around with huge wind machines to create a faux snowy scene. It may not sound picturesque, but it sure looks good! 

DIY Movie Set 

 

If you’re looking to create your own movie magic, there are simple recipes for artificial snow that don’t break the bank. All you need is laundry soap flakes or instant potato flakes and a strong fan to create a decent illusion of blowing snow. If you’re looking to set the stage with snow on the ground, you can mix liquid starch, laundry soap flakes, and blue food coloring. 

Creating your own rain may take a bit more effort. But all you need is a garden hose and a bit of determination! 

Next time you’re watching your favorite film, keep an eye out for the special weather effects filmmakers use to create the illusion of rain or snow. It may not be real water, but it’s still magical!

 

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Start Feeling Festive with These DIY Fall Drinks

Certain tastes can transport you back in time to your childhood or evoke some of your favorite memories, especially surrounding the holiday season. Did you know that you can make your favorite festive drinks from the comfort of your own home? 

Satisfy your taste buds while staying safe by becoming your very own barista. Try out these four DIY drink recipes that all have one thing in common: water! 

Apple Cider

 

 

Nothing says autumn has arrived quite like a hot mug of apple cider. Make this fall classic with only four ingredients and a slow cooker. All you need is apples, oranges, cinnamon sticks, and—of course—water!

1. Place everything in the slow cooker.
2. Add water. Use enough to cover the fruit.
3. Cook for 6–7 hours on low heat or 3 hours on high heat.
4. Mash the fruits. Take a giant spoon and begin mashing up all those warm apples and oranges. 
5. Simmer. Allow this liquid mash to simmer for another hour.
6. Strain. Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the cider.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup 

 

Fall hasn’t started until pumpkin spice enters the picture. This easy DIY recipe allows you to make a syrup to put in any of your coffee drinks for that extra fall flair to your caffeine fix. The basic ratio for a simple syrup is one-part sugar and one-part water. You’ll need equal parts brown sugar and water, pumpkin, cinnamon sticks, ginger root, vanilla bean paste, and whole cloves.

1. Heat. Heat the brown sugar and water together until dissolved.
2. Add remaining ingredients. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, paste, and cloves to the mix.
3. Simmer. Allow the mixture to simmer for a few minutes. 
4. Pour. Pour through a fine mesh strainer and you’re set!

Hot Chocolate

 

 

 

Nothing warms the body and soul more than a mug of hot chocolate. Grab a blanket, turn on your favorite holiday movie, and get cozy. A single serving ready in just 2 minutes? Yes, please! All you need is 10 oz. of hot water just off the boil, 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon of half and half, and a dash of salt. 

1. Add all dry ingredients into a mug of hot water. 
2. Stir.
3. Add desired amount of half and half.

Sparkling Cider

 

 

 

Even though you can enjoy it all year long, there’s something special about sparkling cider in the fall. Plus, it makes the perfect non-alcoholic drink for the kids to toast later in the holiday season on New Year’s Eve! Make this fizzy favorite with four ingredients and a freezer. You need frozen apple juice concentrate, frozen white grape fruit concentrate, lemon-lime soda, and ice. 

1. Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl.
2. Serve

These four DIY drinks will set the mood and have you feeling festive in no time. Water you waiting for?

 

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Celebrating Essential Workers this Customer Service Week

 

By Essential Chairman and CEO Chris Franklin

One of our primary goals at Essential is to ensure that it is easy for our customers to do business with our company – from turning on the tap or stove, to seamlessly paying their bill. But when a customer needs to reach out to Aqua or Peoples, that typically means something is not going according to plan with their service. It’s our frontline customer service representatives’ job to help resolve each issue successfully and efficiently, and make sure that every customer has a positive experience.

Many would say that working directly with customers during a pandemic is a little more difficult and stressful than usual. Yet over the past seven months, our essential frontline employees have delivered impeccable service to customers across our footprint with kindness and grace, going above and beyond the call of duty. This week, in recognition of Customer Service Week, we are celebrating the Essential, Aqua and Peoples employees who interact with our customers on a day-to-day basis and provide not only positive experiences, but deliver essential services to each and every customer. 

Like many other times throughout 2020, the events affecting the world have changed the way we work and interact. We engage with our customers in different ways and from different locations, yet still strive to provide excellent service regardless of a customer’s circumstance. In 2019, we launched a customer survey specific to experiences with our call center and our field services, which has been instrumental in allowing us to stay in touch with our customers. Our customer service employees are able to respond to customer issues appropriately and ensure any unresolved issues are handled timely – which is vital to each customer having a positive experience, especially in a time of national crisis.

Essential has more than 3,000 employees across our 10-state footprint, who are all dedicated to protecting and providing essential resources for more than 5 million people. Our employees know, that when we deliver natural resources and essential services, we are really enabling people to live better, fuller lives. Earlier in 2020, I asked that we thank the essential workers, including healthcare workers, grocery store employees, our frontline utility workers, truck drivers and so many others. I am personally extending that thanks this Customer Service Week, recognizing all of our dedicated employees who work each day to provide an incredible experience for our customers, both directly and behind the scenes. I thank each of them for their dedication to our mission, and to each of our customers, for they are a huge reason for our success. 

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