New Friends at the Jersey Shore


Do you know what these are? Some thought they were “fish eggs” and the others called them “jellyfish eggs”.  My friend Tina did the research and found out that they were salps.

 Salps are small filter-feeding organisms which pump water through their body to feed and move.  Unlike jellyfish, they have a spinal cord at some point in their lifetime. They arrived with the warm waters of the Gulf Stream.  Swimming with them felt like moving through a sea filled with elbow macaroni! They stuck in hair and bathing suits but were otherwise harmless.                                                         

What is great about these organisms is that they remove carbon from the water. The carbon exits the system of the salp when it excretes waste (goes “number 2”) and the pellets sink to the sea floor and can stay there for centuries!

 Taking carbon out of the upper water surface of the ocean leaves more room for the carbon in the water and this means less will escape into our atmosphere as carbon dioxide- a notorious global warming gas. Ultimately these little critters are helping the ice caps stay afloat! For this, the polar bears think salps rock!

Summer Fun- Boat Building Challenge

Check out this activity on our website: Test Your Boat Building Skills.  Gather the supplies and challenge your friends to make boats out of aluminum foil. Then see whose boat can hold the most marbles!  See how our Science Bug Investigators did by watching this video. After doing this experiment, post your high scores as comments!

Funny Little Bird

As a grabbed my cat out of the woods, I couldn’t imagine why this little bird sat only feet away within arms reach. Then it dawned on me, this is only a fledging, or a young blue jay developing into an adult.  I put the cat in, got  my camera, and luckily I found the fledging again.  It could only make short fights from branch to branch.  Blue jays leave the nest when they are anywhere from 17 to 21 days old.  One of the parents kept a careful eye on me and squawked if  I got too close. The family will hang together all summer as the fledgling reaches adulthood.  Blue jays not only use the voices to communicate but will also raise the crests on the top of their heads when they feel danger is present. They also are able to mimic the sounds of certain hawks, cats, and humans. Until this little fledgling can fly really well my cats will be staying inside!

Fledgling Blue Jay


Feathers still growing!

“Catch the Science Bug” Series on PBS Rhode Island Receives Silver!

The “Catch the Science Bug” series on PBS Rhode Island has won a Parents’ Choice Silver Award! 

The idea to create a series was presented to me in 1999.  I was taking a class at Emerson College taught by Rex Trailer  former host of Boomtown. One day after class, Rex suggested that I host my own children’s television show on science.  This was like telling an aspiring high school hockey player that he could be the next Tim Thomas. I had no idea how this would all come together but had to try. Slowly but surely the pieces fell into place.   I couldn’t be more thankful that I caught the Science Bug and went along for the ride.  There have been over a thousand people who helped make Catch the Science Bug what it is today.  Sending all of you a BIG THANK YOU!  

Our next step is to reach even more children by making these episodes available on DVD.  We will keep you posted on our progress via blog entries.

A Happy Almost!

In March I entered an Oprah “call for viewers”. You had to state how the show has made an impact in your life.  Although I have learned many things from watching, Oprah started “Live Your Best Life” at the same time I started Catch the Science Bug.  The programming provided invaluable inspiration and direction when I was starting from scratch. 

In April, Harpo called and said that liked what they learned and we made the first cut for a photo appearance on the show. However, this particular segment did not make it to air but we are still very grateful, thrilled and humbled to be acknowledged by the Harpo producers.  By teaching and promoting science, we hope to inspire others to LIVE THEIR BEST LIFE!!!!   

Thank you Oprah and all the producers at Harpo Productions!   You’ve had a BRILLIANT 25 years!

Tip #1 Studying for Science

Having trouble studying science? In fact this tip can be applied to any subject.  A great way to help you learn new material is to draw it out in pictures.  Take the time to add labels, definitions, and color to your drawings.  Review them often.  Doing both of these things will help you remember!

This card was made by Isabel who is in fifth grade. Her teacher requires definitions and pictures.


I like this card becuase you can not see roots growing underground but you can in this picture. (by Isabel)


As a reminder that factories can cause pollution in the environment, Isabel drew a factory smoke stack and a lake with a fish that tells us about pollution.

Happy Earth Day 2011!

500 Dolphins make Tampa Bay their home! Tampa Bay is one of the busiest southern seaports!


When I first started teaching back in 2000, “being green” was mainly talked about by one of our favorite frogs in reference to his skin color.   In the last 11 years our environmental consciousness has definitely grown and is continuing to do so and that means…things can only continue to get better. For this, I am so thankful.

In regards to the earth and better environmental practices, what are you thankful for today?

Category: Be GREEN

Baby Bug

Can you see the insect in this picture?  If you can not see the insect it is almost in the middle of the picture. It is a lighter green than the color of the leaf.  It is a baby.  Can you identify this insect?  Wait, here’s a close-up!

Answer will be posted once we get a few guesses!

Category: Insects

Science Bug on


Kim Bent was interviewed for is a resource for

teachers that provides lessons, learning tools, continuing education opportunities, guides, articles and much more for teachers. Check out our interview for teaching tips, up-coming episode information, and learn who we picked as our Science Hero! 

Category: Science Bug News

Help Scientists Learn More About Birds!

Pileated Woodpecker photo by D. Gordon E. Robertson

Turn your backyard into a bird observation area that is part of a worldwide network by adding your bird sightings to eBird.  eBird is a worldwide database about birds!!!  People all over the planet are recording the different types of birds, how many they see, and the date and time that they spotted the bird in their backyards. 

By adding your observations you will have your own eBird page which will be a record of what is going on in your backyard.  The site says you can add birds that you see on vacation as well. Think about it… a lifetime record of all the birds you ever met! Very cool!

This information helps scientists and conservationist learn more about birds and our environment!  You can use to help you identify the birds you see. 

I once saw a pileated woodpecker in my backyard, which is a very large bird that to me sounds like a chicken. I honestly thought someone’s chicken had gotten loose was roaming the woods until I got my binoculars out and found the noisy bird pecking in a tree. I haven’t see it since, but if I do, I will let you know on eBird!  I will log (submit to eBird) the sighting of the six wild turkeys that came though my yard at dusk yesterday.  You just never know what feather friend might show up!

Three of the six wild turkeys

Category: Birds, Wildlife