Keeping Warm and Finding the Scientific Fun in a Polar Vortex

Schools across the Midwest have been closed for two days and the same cold air mass is moving east.  Southern cities, like Atlanta, are reporting school closings due to the cold weather as well.  While parents and guardians struggle to make alternative arrangements for children who are missing school, sending kids to school during a polar vortex could be as dangerous as sending them to school with a hungry polar bear. (Even Anana, the polar bear at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, is not doing well with these conditions.  She’s a city bear and does not have the same fat blubber layer as her wild cousins to keep her warm!)  While the weather outside is frightful, science is definitely delightful.  And if you’ve no school to go…try these awesome science experiments, for ages 2 and up (with parental guidance of course!)  The extreme cold conditions can quickly lead to frostbite in children and adults alike.  With frostbite, skin literally freezes; it can be preceded by frostnip, a reddening of the skin combined with stinging and/or numbness.  Our domesticated pets, especially dogs,  are also not immune from these conditions and can also get sick with cold-related illnesses.  However, if you have a pet yak, they are probably doing alright.  Regardless of your species, surviving in extreme cold temperatures is no easy task so be safe and stay informed.

Pet Yaks in the Snow (2009)  by Gul Hamaad Farooqi on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Pet Yaks in the Snow (2009) by Gul Hamaad Farooqi on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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