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Tints & Tubes | Camp Yellow Scope

Howdy Campers!

Welcome to week 4 of Camp Yellow Scope: Tints & Tubes. Who's ready to have some fun with science?

Click here if you’d like to download printable instructions. You can also print out a lab worksheet to record your observations, jot down ideas, and design your own experiments! If you collect your worksheets together from all eight weeks, by the end of the summer you will have your very own Camp Yellow Scope notebook! You can even add some extra sheets for new experiments that you design yourself.        

Experiment 1: Up goes the water

You’ve probably watered plants in your house or garden. Have you ever noticed that when you water the plants, you water the soil and not the leaves and flowers? How does the water gets to all parts of the plant? Is there a magical elevator in the stem that pulls the water up?

This week we are going to do experiments to explore how water moves through plants. All you need is water, food coloring, and a stick of celery!

Let’s get started

Clear a space on the kitchen counter, your desk, or the picnic table in the backyard. Put on some clothes that can get messy, and get ready to do science!


What do you think will happen when you put a celery stalk into colored water?
Record your hypotheses in your worksheet.

Supplies week 4 | Camp Yellow Scope







  1. Put on your safety goggles.
  2. Add about half a cup of water to the cup. 
  3. Add 5-6 drops of food coloring to the water. Stir to mix. (You want a nice dark color).
  4. With adult supervision, cut a small piece off the bottom off a stalk of celery to create a flat end. 
  5. Place the celery in the colored water with the cut side down and the leaves up. Let it sit for about one hour. During this time, see if you notice any changes.
  6. After an hour or so, remove the celery from the water and, with adult supervision, cut a small section about one inch up from the bottom. Lay the celery slice on its side and take a careful look.
  7. What do you see? Draw your results on lab worksheet.
  8. Return the celery to the colored water and leave for several more hours or overnight. Check back every few hours.
  9. Observe the leaves. What do you notice? Draw your results.

What’s happening?

Even though you placed the bottom of the celery into the colored water, you likely noticed that the color moved all the way up the celery, even to the tips of the leaves. How does this happen? How does water move up the celery – apparently defying the laws of gravity?

To answer this question, let’s think about what you did during your experiment. When you looked at the cut slices of celery, you likely saw small round dots of color. The circles are actually cross-sections of a series of long narrow tubes that run lengthwise through the celery stalk. These tubes are called xylem (fun word, right?). Xylem helps to move water from the roots of a plant up to the leaves and flowers. How does this work?

This upward movement of water (or any liquid) is called capillary action. Capillary action happens because of two properties of water:

  1. Water molecules like each other so much that they stick together. This stickiness creates surface tension because water molecules are more attracted to each other than they are to the air. We learned about this during Week 2 of Camp Yellow Scope.
  2. Although water molecules like to stick together, sometimes they want to stick to other substances even more. In this experiment, the water molecules are more strongly attracted to the xylem tubes in the celery than they are to other water molecules. So they stick to the sides of the tubes and are pulled up. As the surface water molecules move up the tube, they pull along the other water molecules. In this way, water moves up the celery stem.

Capillary action is what allows water to be pulled up the stem of a plant to be delivered to all the different parts of the plant. 


Carnations Capillary action | Camp Yellow Scope

Paper towel capillary action | Camp Yellow Scope

Why does it matter? 

Can you think of examples of capillary action from your daily lives?

capillary action in a narrow tube | Camp Yellow Scope
  1. When you clean up a juice spill with a paper towel, it's capillary action that draws the liquid into the paper towel! 
  2. Capillary action helps to move tears across your eyes, clearing away dust  and particles and keeping your eyes clean. 
  3. If you want to make the whole bread moist by dunking a small portion in gravy, you need capillary action.


You own it!

Test yourself: Match the Column!

  1. A narrow tube that helps to carry water in plants.            a. Capillary action
  2. Formation of tears requires...                                       b. Narrow
  3. For capillary action to occur, the tube needs to be...         c. Xylem

Answer Key: 1-c, 2-a, 3-b

We hope you had fun learning about the built-in straws in celery. Next week we'll use capillary action to separate colors in dyes! So check back next Tuesday for new experiments and more summer science fun!

Xylem acts like a straw | Camp Yellow Scope

We'd love to see how your experiments turned out! Were you able to see the colored dots of xylem in your celery? Share your photos or videos:

  • Facebook: Yellow Scope Science Kits for Girls
  • Twitter: @YellowScopeGirl, #CampYellowScope
  • email:

For more exciting experiments, check out our science kits on the SHOP tab of our website!


Strawberry DNA | Camp Yellow Scope

Howdy Campers!

Welcome back to Camp Yellow Scope. We hope you enjoyed last two weeks learning about detergents, dyes and drops! Are you ready to have some more fun with detergents? It's week 3 of Camp Yellow Scope: Strawberry DNA!

Click here to download printable instructions for the experiments. You can also print out a lab worksheet to record your observations, jot down ideas, and design your own experiments! If you collect your worksheets together from all eight weeks, by the end of the summer you will have your very own Camp Yellow Scope notebook! You can even add some extra sheets for new experiments you design yourself.

Experiment 1: Strawberries & Strands

You may have heard of genes and DNA. DNA is found inside the cells of all living things – from humans to guinea pigs, and fungus to strawberries. DNA contains the instructions to make living things.

But have you ever seen DNA? Well today is your lucky day! And you don’t need to visit a fancy science lab - you can isolate DNA right at home. How cool is that?! In the first two weeks of Camp Yellow Scope, you used detergents to paint on milk and to destroy water drops. Now you'll use detergent to isolate DNA from strawberries. (And you thought dish soap was just for washing dishes...!)

Let’s get started!

Clear a space on the kitchen counter, your desk, or the picnic table in the backyard. Put on some clothes that can get messy, and get ready to pull the DNA out of strawberries!


What do you think will happen when you mix dish soap with strawberries? Record your hypotheses on your lab worksheet.

supplies week 3 | Camp Yellow Scope


1. Put the rubbing alcohol in the freezer to chill. You'll use it later.  Warning: Rubbing alcohol should only be handled by an adult.
2. Make the DNA Isolation Solution (see sticky note)
3. Remove the green top from the strawberry. Place the strawberry in the baggie.
DNA isolation solution | Camp Yellow Scope4. Add 2 tablespoons of the DNA isolation solution to the baggie with the strawberry.
5. Carefully push the air out of the baggie and seal it tightly.
6. Use your fingers to squeeze, smash, and mush the strawberry in the extraction solution until there are no large pieces left.
7. Place the sieve over the small glass or jar.
8. Pour the strawberry mixture from the bag into the sieve.
9. Once all the liquid has drained through (you can gently push on the strawberry pulp with the back of a spoon to help it drain), set the sieve aside and discard the leftover strawberry material.
10. Tilt the glass or jar containing the strawberry liquid, and very slowly pour 1 tablespoon of ice cold rubbing alcohol down the side of the glass. The alcohol should form a layer on top of the strawberry liquid. Be careful not to mix the two layers.hint use flashlight | Camp Yellow Scope
11. The DNA will collect at the interface between the two layers (the place where the two layers touch). It will look like stringy, gooey, white strands. Look through the side of the glass to see strands of DNA in the strawberry liquid.
12. To collect the DNA, carefully dip the bamboo skewer or toothpick into the alcohol layer and swirl around the interface. Carefully pull out the skewer or toothpick and check it out up close!DNA isolation from strawberries | Camp Yellow Scope






What’s happening?

Each part of the DNA isolation solution plays an important role in pulling the DNA out of the strawberry.

  • Dish soap: The detergent helps to dissolve and break open the membranes of the strawberry cells.
  • Salt: Salt helps to break up the cellular proteins that surround the DNA to release the DNA strands.
  • Rubbing alcohol: Because DNA is not soluble in the alcohol, it clumps together, or precipitates, in the alcohol.

DNA extension experiments |Camp Yellow Scope

Why does it matter?

Can you think of real world examples where isolating DNA is important


  • At crime scenes, scientists isolate DNA from blood or hair samples to identify victims and criminals. This branch of science is called forensic science.
  • Paleontologists isolate DNA from ancient human, animal, or plant samples to identify and characterize species.
  • Doctors isolate DNA to detect genetic diseases.

                DNA double helix | Camp Yellow Scope

    You own it!

    Test yourself: true or false

    1. Dish soap helps dissolve and break open cell membranes during DNA isolation.
    2. Doctors have no use for isolated DNA.
    3. DNA is soluble in alcohol.
    Human DNA to sun 600 times | Camp Yellow Scope

    Answer Key:
    1. True.
    2. False. Doctors isolate DNA to analyze for genetic diseases.
    3. False. DNA is not soluble in alcohol, so it clumps together and precipitates out.


    We hope you had fun learning about DNA and isolating it from a strawberry! Next week at Camp Yellow Scope, we’ll explore celery and its built-in straws! Intrigued? Check back next Tuesday for new experiments and more summer science fun!


    We'd love to see how your experiments turned out! How much DNA did you pull out of the strawberries? Share your photos or videos: 

    For more exciting experiments, check out our science kits on the SHOP tab of our website!

    Drops & Detergents | Camp Yellow Scope

    Welcome back Campers!

    It’s Week 2 of Camp Yellow Scope: Drops & Detergents! If you missed Week 1 of Camp Yellow Scope, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Click on Newton, our friendly lab rat (and fellow camper) to check out last week’s exciting experiments with milk and food coloring.

    Click here to download printable instructions. You can also print out a lab worksheet to record your observations, jot down ideas, and design your own experiments! If you collect your worksheets together from all eight weeks, by the end of the summer you’ll have your very own Camp Yellow Scope notebook! You can even add some extra sheets for new experiments you design yourself.

    Experiment 1: Drop & Flop

    When you think of summer, what comes to mind? Beaches, water parks, and neighborhood pools? Water and summer go hand-in-hand. You’ve probably noticed that when water splashes on the edge of the pool or other surfaces, it forms droplets, instead of spreading out evenly into a thin layer. But have you ever wondered why water forms drops?

    This week we’re going to explore the wonderful world of water and find answers to this question! How many drops of water do you think can fit on a penny? Five? Ten? Let’s experiment to find out!

    Let’s get started!

    Clear a space on the kitchen counter or another flat surface and get ready to science!





    How many drops of water do you think you can stack on top of a penny before they spill off? Will the drops sit beside each other or pile up? Record your hypotheses on your lab worksheet.



    supplies drops & detergents | Camp Yellow Scope

    1. Put on your safety goggles, if you have some. If you wear glasses, that works, too!
    2. Add half a cup of water to each of the two cups. Label cup 1 as “Plain Water” and cup 2 as “Soapy Water”.
    3. Add one teaspoon of dish soap to cup 2. Stir gently to mix.
    4. Place one of the pennies on a flat surface.
    5. Fill the dropper with plain water from cup 1.
    6. Carefully add drops of water to the penny, one by one, counting as you go.
    7. Keep track of the number of drops you add until the water spills over the edge of the penny.
    8. Record the number on the table below.
    9. Place the second penny on the flat surface and repeat the experiment, this time adding drops of the soapy water from cup 2, counting as you go.
    10. Record the number of drops of soapy water you were able to add until the water spilled off the penny.
    11. Now repeat the experiment two more times for each condition – Plain Water and Soapy Water – and record the number of drops on the table.
    12. Calculate the average for each condition. (See the sticky note for help with how to calculate an average.



       Number of Drops




    Run 1

    Run 2

    Run 3


    Plain Water





    Soapy Water





    calculating averages | Camp Yellow Scope


    What did you observe? What shape did the plain water drops form? How about the soapy water? Did the penny hold more drops of the plain water or the soapy water? Record your observations on your lab worksheet.

    What’s happening?

    You probably noticed that the plain water formed round drops that merged together to make a tight dome of water on top of the penny. This is due to surface tension. Surface tension happens because water molecules are attracted to each other - they want to stick together. The molecules at the surface of the water get tugged on unevenly by the water below. This pulls the surface molecules inward, forming a strong and flexible film on the water’s surface. As you add more drops, the force of gravity becomes stronger than the surface tension forces. When this happens, the water spills over the edge of the penny.

    surface tension forms water drops | Camp Yellow Scope

    So why didn’t the soapy water form a tight dome? As you learned last week, soap molecules are made up of two different ends – a water-loving end and a water-hating end. As the water-hating ends try to move away from the water molecules, they push to the surface. This weakens the attraction between the water molecules and breaks the surface tension, so the water can’t form drops.

    soap breaks surface tension | Camp Yellow Scope


    Why does it matter?

    Can you think of ways surface tension is important in your everyday life?

    • Insects such as water striders are able to walk across the surface of the pond because of the tight film (surface tension) on top of the water.
    • Have you noticed the red liquid in a thermometer? It’s able to rise and fall because of surface tension.
    • Your raincoat has likely been treated with water repellent materials that cause water to “bead up” instead of soaking into the fabric.

    design your own experiments Drops & Detergents | Camp Yellow Scope


    You own it! Test yourself: True or False?

    ducks are waterproof | Camp Yellow Scope
    1. Soap can reduce surface tension.
    2. More drops of soapy water can fit on a penny than plain water.
    3. Surface tension allows insects to walk on water.

    Answer Key:
    1. True.
    2. False. More drops of plain water can fit on a penny because of surface tension.
    3. True.

    We hope you had fun learning about water droplets, soap, and surface tension! Next week at Camp Yellow Scope, we’ll do one more set of experiments using dish soap. This time we’ll use soap to isolate DNA from fruit. How cool is that?!

    We'd love to see how your experiments turned out! How many drops of water could you fit on a penny? Share your photos or videos:

    For more exciting experiments, check out our science kits on the SHOP tab of our website! 

    dyes and detergents | Camp Yellow Scope

    Howdy Campers!

    Welcome to Camp Yellow Scope! It’s going to be eight fun-filled weeks of exciting and colorful science experiments.

    Meet two of your fellow campers: Mae and her good friend, Newton, the lab rat. lab partners Mae and Newton | Camp Yellow ScopeThey’ll be your lab partners all summer long - to offer fun facts, advice, and safety tips along the way.

    Click here to download printable instructions for the experiments. You can also print out a lab worksheet to record your observations, jot down ideas, and design your own experiments! If you collect your worksheets together from all eight weeks, by the end of the summer you will have your very own Camp Yellow Scope notebook! You can even add some extra sheets for new experiments you design yourself.      

    Experiment 1: Painting on milk

    Let’s start camp with a fun activity that everyone’s familiar with - painting! Not sure that sounds “science-y” enough? Well, we’re not going to be using brushes and paper, we’ll be using chemistry to paint on milk!

    When you mix milk with food coloring and a drop of soap, some pretty exciting things happen. Be prepared to amaze your friends and family with this dynamic science experiment! It might seem like magic, but it’s science!

    Let’s get started!

    Clear a space on the kitchen counter, your desk, or the picnic table in the backyard. Put on some clothes that can get messy, and get ready to paint without a canvas or brush!

    supplies list | Camp Yellow Scope


    Before starting an experiment, scientists first make a hypothesis. Do you know what a hypothesis is? Right! A hypothesis is a guess or prediction about what you think is going to happen in the experiment.

    What do you think will happen when you add drops of the food coloring to the milk? Will the two liquids mix? What do you think will happen when you add dish soap to the mixture? Record your hypotheses on your lab worksheet.


    1.  Put on your safety goggles, if you have some. If you wear glasses, that works, too!
    2.  Place a wide, shallow bowl or plate on a flat work surface. Carefully pour some milk into the bowl.
    3.  Add several small drops of food coloring to the milk. (We used red, blue, yellow and green in our experiments.) Space the drops out around the bowl.
    4.  Touch the tip of the toothpick to a drop of dish soap and then lightly touch the toothpick to one of the colored drops. What did you see?!
    5. Now touch the other colored drops with the dish soap. Did the colors move?
    6. Continue to touch the colored drops to make different patterns.
    7. Draw your results.

    Congratulations, Camper, you painted with milk!

    What’s happening?

    You probably noticed that the drops of food coloring sat on the surface of the milk and did not mix in. This is because milk contains fat. Food coloring is water soluble, which means it mixes well with water, but not with fat. For this reason, the food coloring sits on top of the milk instead of mixing in, or dissolving, like it would in plain water.

    soap molecule | Camp Yellow Scope

    So what caused the crazy color contortions when you touched the dish soap to the food coloring? To answer this, we need to understand a bit about the chemistry of soap. Soap molecules are made up of two different ends. One end loves water (hydrophilic) and the other end hates water (hydrophobic), but loves fat. The hydrophobic, fat-loving ends stick to the fats, surround them, and trap them.

    In our experiments, as the dish soap molecules race around trapping the fat molecules in the milk, they push and shove the food coloring molecules all around the bowl. The food coloring allows us to observe these microscopic, molecular gymnastics.

    design ideas for experiments | Camp Yellow Scope

    Why does it matter?

    Can you think of ways that soaps and detergents are important in your everyday life?

    • Have you ever tried washing your hair with only water and no shampoo? It doesn’t work very well. The detergent in shampoo breaks up the dirt and grease in your hair.
    • Think about taking your car through an automated car wash. In addition to all the big brushes and water, the machines also squirt out a lot of sudsy soap to break up the oils and dirt that collect on your car.
    • In the garden, some people use a mixture of water and mild soap to remove insects like aphids from their plants. How soap kills insects is not totally understood, but it’s thought that it breaks down their cell membranes.
    Fun fact | Camp Yellow Scope
    You own it!
    Test yourself: true or false
    1. Food coloring dissolves well in milk.        
    2. Hydrophilic means “water-loving”.
    3. Washing your hair without shampoo is a good way to way to get it really clean.
    Answer Key:
    1. False. Food coloring is water soluble and does not dissolve well in fatty milk.
    2. True.
    3. False. Shampoo is needed to break up the dirt and grease in your hair.


    We hope you had fun learning about detergents and how they help us in grabbing grease! Next week at Camp Yellow Scope, we’ll try some new tricks with soap, pennies, and drops of water. Intrigued? Check back next Tuesday for new experiments and more summer science fun! 

    We'd love to see how your experiments turned out! What did your milk paintings look like? Share your photos or videos:

    • Facebook: Yellow Scope Science Kits for Girls
    • Twitter: @YellowScopeGirl, #CampYellowScope
    • email:

    For more exciting experiments, check out our science kits on the SHOP tab of our website!


    5 tips for summer

    In Portland, Oregon, school's almost out and here comes the elusive Pacific Northwest sun (we think....!) Your children are excited for the break, but how do you keep them engaged? 

    Here are five tips to keep them from getting bored and prevent the summer learning slide:


    There are plenty of great online sites for quick and easy science experiments (, and
    acids bases ph chemistry kit designed for girls by yellow-scope.comOr sign up for Camp Yellow Scope and we’ll send you fun experiments every week, all summer long! (Launching June 5th)

    If you don’t have time to pull together the supplies for experiments, Yellow Scope science kits come with everything you’ll need to keep your scientist engaged and busy all while learning some cool science!



    ada twistSome of our favorite girl power science books are Andrea Beatty’s Rosie Revere, Engineer, and Ada Twist, Scientist.

    We also love the beautifully illustrated Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachael Ignotofsky. Readers will find geneticists, volcanologists, and primatologists, as well as mathematicians and chemists. 

    Introduce the world of science with The Fourteenth Goldfish, where fifth grader Ellie meets a teen who looks like her scientist grandfather. Explore themes of family, friendship, life, death, and what’s possible through science. By Jennifer L. Holm, three time Newbery Honor winner.

    Also, check out Jeannine Atkins' Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science, which showcases three real-life scientists (an entomologist, a paleontologist, and an astronomer), who loved science as children themselves.


    Your local library offers some wonderful STEM learning opportunities. In the Portland area, Multnomah County Library has plenty of them. Check out their “Discovery STEM Kits”.

    You can also visit Rockwood Makerspace, which provides "access to innovation, technology, equipment, software and supportive mentors”. It’s geared toward middle school kids, but is open to all.


    Take a field trip to your local science museum, aquarium or arboretum for some hands-on science fun!
    Around Portland:
    OMSI: Our very own science and technology museum with exhibits, a planetarium, and a submarine! (They offer summer camps too!)

    Hoyt Arboretum: Portland's "museum of living trees" includes 190 ridge-top acres, accessible by 12 miles of hiking trails.

    oregon coast aquarium tunnel
    The World Forestry Center: Learn about forests through hands-on exhibits and gallery, meet woodland creatures, try river rafting, and climb on Peggy the Train, our logging locomotive.

    The Oregon Coast Aquarium: If you’re up for a drive to Newport, this aquarium will make it well worth your while with animal feedings, special presentations and a mid-aquarium tunnel!


    Check out local science-themed summer camps in your area. Some of our favorites in Portland are:

    trackers northwestTrackers Northwest: Day and overnight camps for kids and teens, wilderness survival and homesteading outdoor programs for all ages.

    Saturday AcademyClasses and camps in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and the arts for students grades 2-12.

    App Camp for Girls: Week-long summer day program where girls can put their creative powers to work designing and building apps, while learning more about the business of software

    Girls Build PDX: Girls get to explore hands-on building and trying something new, on the beautiful University of Portland campus (now in Grants Pass, too!).

    yellow scope girls in stem

    While women make up half of the workforce in the United States, they currently hold less than 25 percent of jobs in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). To close this gender gap, adults must make these subjects not only cool, but also relatable. STEM careers are achievable, regardless of gender, and women have the power to build a stable, rewarding future.

    Inspiring girls to study STEM should start at a young age. However, a lasting impact requires both physical and emotional support from both parents and teachers. It’s more than what you do or say—it’s how you say it. Here are some points to keep in mind:


    hidden figuresLet’s face it; movies and television shows rarely depict women in STEM fields. And the few times they do, their appearance is skewed toward “geek” or “sexy scientist.”

    However, pop culture is making strides toward accurately representing women in STEM and showing more capable, confident scientists. For example, current middle or high school-aged girls might see themselves in Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson—the characters in Hidden Figures— or even aspire to be them one day. The work of Johnson and her colleagues directly contributed to John Glenn’s space endeavors.

    doc mcstuffinsYounger girls might get a burst of inspiration from watching TV shows like Doc McStuffins. The Disney Junior hit features an African-American girl named Dottie who plays veterinarian to her collection of stuffed animals. “Doc” has ignited a few fashion trends as well, most notably her white doctor’s coat and medical tools. Girls can take their Doc (and science) obsession a step further by playing online games and activities.


    Conducting experiments, both in the classroom and at home, gives girls the opportunity to explore and question how things actually work. Experiments encourage risk-taking and problem-solving, two skills that improve with practice.

    yellow scope kidBut rather than dictate the project, invite her to select an experiment or activity in a topic of interest. From there, ask questions: Why do you think this happened? What can you do differently next time?

    Another way to foster a love of STEM is by visiting science centers and joining hands-on exhibits. The interactive nature of children’s museums encourages discovery and exploration, all while teaching how STEM concepts exist in the world.


    Along with hands-on experiments, introduce her to a successful woman currently working in a STEM field. A mentor can help transform the stereotype of the nerdy computer scientist into a more accurate representation of a STEM professional. Depending on her age, a visit to a mentor’s office or lab will paint a more accurate picture of what it looks like to be a woman in a STEM field.


    yellow scope girl scoutsAs parents or educators, perhaps the most meaningful action you can take is encouraging your daughter’s interest and participation in science, technology, engineering or math. With that understanding, parents must follow up with questions about math and science classes, and educators should support daily projects and foster curiosity in the classroom.  

    STEM fields hold tremendous opportunity for women at all stages of life—from childhood education through adulthood. By spurring an interest at a young age, girls have the ability to explore STEM throughout their adolescent years and affirm a lifelong passion. It’s up to parents and educators to support their endeavors and inspire the next generation of STEM leaders.


    scott rhodesGuest author: Scott Rhodes, Vice Provost of Enrollment

    With an 18-year background in higher education, Scott Rhodes leads enrollment and recruitment strategies for Florida Polytechnic University. His responsibilities encompass undergraduate admissions, graduate enrollment and enrollment marketing, financial aid, student records and registration and enrollment market research.


     ada lovelace



    ada lovelaceImagination is fun – it’s responsible for movies, stories, and our very own daydreams. But what if what you imagined was actually a vision of the future?

    Inventors tend to think like this. They might see a wheel and invent a bicycle, or a bird and invent a plane. Ada Lovelace saw a calculator and imagined a computer!

    Think of the difference between a calculator and a computer. A calculator is useful, sure – especially in math class! But also if you’re building something like a skyscraper, doubling a recipe for baking cakes, shopping at the grocery store, or trying to get a rocket  launched into space.

    A basic calculator is great for short-cutting math problems, but it doesn’t play music, show videos, or let you draw pictures.

    Ada Lovelace imagined and understood a world of computers that was over a century ahead of her time. Let’s learn more about this famous female of computer programming.

    ADA LOVELACE (Augusta Ada Byron) (1815-1852)

    ada lovelaceAda Lovelace was born in London, the child of Lord Byron, a famous Romantic poet. However, his marriage to Ada’s mother Annabella was quick and unhappy. They separated a month after Ada’s birth, and Ada would never meet him.

    Determined her daughter would not inherit her father’s mood swings and erratic behavior, Annabella immersed Ada in education by the age of four. Particularly subjects that were full of logic, like mathematics. One of her tutors was Mary Somerville, an astronomer!

    By the time she was 12, Ada was fascinated with the idea of making a flying apparatus, and toyed with ideas of powered flight.


    analytical machineAt a party when she was 17, Ada met “the father of the computer”, Charles Babbage. They talked mathematics and Babbage shared all about his ‘Difference Engine’ that he was making to do calculations. It was basically the first design of a (giant) calculator.

    Ada went to his house the next day and was able to see the thing in person. She was hooked. From then on, she and Babbage wrote letters to each other until her death at age 36.

    But Babbage was already working on another, better machine before he finished the first one. He called it the ‘Analytical Engine’, and this one could do even more difficult calculations.

    He asked an Italian engineer to write an article about it, and enlisted Lovelace to translate it from French to English.


    ada lovelace programLovelace did translate it, but had her own thoughts and comments that she added in as Notes. Her additions made the article three times longer than the original! It was published in 1843, and she only initialed it with A.A.L., for her birth name (the name we know now comes from her marriage).

    Within these Notes is the very first computer program. She explained (in Note G) the sequence of operations for how a code could be written so the machine could calculate Bernoulli numbers.

    Lovelace also mentioned that there was no reason the machine couldn’t also read codes for letters and symbols too, in addition to just numbers. She talked about how it should be able to repeat a series of instructions – something we know as ‘looping’, used in programming today.


    ada lovelaceBut besides offering the very first computer algorithm, Lovelace saw beyond the math. She saw this ‘engine’ theoretically being able to do other functions. That it "might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent."

    Wait, a machine that could do something other than represent quantities? This was unheard of. Lovelace had just quietly invented the concept of computing.

    She said that “the science of operations, as derived from mathematics more especially, is a science of itself, and has its own abstract truth and value.” By 'science of itself' she unwittingly refers to computer science!

    She figured that sound, music, text, and pictures could made digital and even manipulated by engines such as these. This was going way beyond just the numbers.


    ada lovelace faster than thought bookThough her notes were published, Ada Lovelace’s visionary insights were just too big for the rest of the world to comprehend.

    It was only about a century later that a book called “Faster Than Thought: A Symposium on Digital Computing Machines” would bring them back into the limelight. This was in 1953, when computer science was just beginning to be explored.

    In the ‘70s, the US Department of Defense made a new programming language.  A Navy Commander suggested naming it ‘Ada’ in tribute. ‘Ada’ is still used today in everything from space research, to transportation, to healthcare.

    So, what do you imagine? Who knows where it could lead!


    Thanks for your votes - all 1221 of them!

    Thanks to your support, Yellow Scope has been selected as a FedEx Small Business Finalists for 2017. Thank you Yellow Scope community and thank you FedEx! Check out this video we made with their great team!

    What's next?

    FedEx will choose 10 winners from the 100 finalists. Winners will receive a combination of grant money (up to $25,000 for Grand Prize winners) and FedEx Office print and business services. FedEx started this grant program four years ago to help small businesses grow. We hope to be among the amazing pool of FedEx small business winners. Click here to watch our video application to learn more about how the FedEx grant will help us grow our business and connect more girls to science.

    Our gift to you!

    As a thank you to our Yellow Scope community for your votes, we're offering 10% off any order from our online store through Sunday April 23, 2017. Use code FEDEXFINALIST. 

    At Yellow Scope, we're committed to empowering girls and closing the gender gap in science!

    Thank you for supporting us in our mission,
    Marcie, Kelly and the Yellow Scope Team




    Thanks for your votes - all 7121 of them!

    Thanks to your support, Yellow Scope has been named a 2017 American Small Business Champion by SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, with the support of Sam’s Club.

    Together you voted for us more 7000 (!) times - confirming what we already knew - our Yellow Scope community is the best! 

    SCORE SCORE is rewarding us with a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, specialized training, publicity, and business mentoring. See the full list of the 102 American Small Business Champions here!
    We are now in the running to win one of three additional $25,000 grand prizes! This summer, a judging panel of small business experts will select three Grand Champions from the group of 102 Small Business Champions to be announced September 14 at the SCORE Awards Gala. (Fingers crossed!)

    You can help us get closer to this goal by sharing our good news on social media using the #bizchampion hashtag.
    Yellow Scope shop itemsIn celebration of our Championship win, we're offering 10% off any order from our online store  through Monday April 3, 2017. Use code BIZCHAMPION. 

    At Yellow Scope, we're committed to empowering girls and closing the gender gap in science!

    Thank you,
    Marcie, Kelly and the Yellow Scope Team


    The Science of Hugs

    February 14, 2017



    hug candy valentineIt’s Valentine’s Day! A day all about appreciating the ones we love, which can include giving gifts, having special meals, and spending time together. But none of those would mean as much without a big ol' hug!

    Hugs from loved ones and friends make us feel good - we feel more connected and supported. But the benefits don’t stop there.

    Science tells us that hugs can actually make us healthier.


    For example, hugs make us less stressed. Now, we think of stress as a bad thing, but evolutionarily it’s really quite ingenious. The hormones released during stress help us to be at our peak in fight or flight situations, like running from a lion (back in the old days). Our heart rate increases, blood pressure goes up, muscles get energized, and you even think more clearly.

    lion causes stressMost of us aren't trying to escape from lions nowadays. Today stress is more likely to be the day to day worries we carry around with us.

    Neurologist Robert Sapolsky says, "For 99 percent of the beasts on this planet, stress is about three minutes of screaming in terror after which it’s either over with or you’re over with.  And we turn it on for 30-year mortgages.”

    The effects of having our bodies bathed in stress hormones long term are devastating. Along with increased heart rates and prolonged high blood pressure, other nonessential systems get turned off, like your digestion, growth, and notably, your immune system.

    When your body is always in high gear, the risks go up for diabetes, digestion issues, heart problems, and susceptibility to illness.


    girls hugThe challenge is to find ways to turn off those stress signals and give our bodies a break. Valentine’s Day is a chance to try out one of the best ways – hugging.

    Turns out hugs reduce stress both directly, and psychologically. The benefit of hugs may seem obvious on an emotional level, but let's take a look at the science too:

    • Hugs involve putting pressure on the skin, which contains receptors called Pacinian corpuscles. These little bio triggers send signals to a nerve bundle in the brain called the vagus nerve. A hug tells the vagus nerve to slow down the heart, which then decreases blood pressure.

    • Hugging makes us feel part of a supportive social network. According to the World Health Organization, feeling part of a community is a major determinant of health. A recent study shows evidence that hugging conveys social support, which is directly linked to healthier immune systems, and better antibody responses to vaccines. Hugs can literally help to ward off the common cold!

    • Hugging decreases the stress hormone cortisol, calming us down.

      girl hugs dog
    • Hugging triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin, which promotes feelings of trust, bonding and loyalty. Known affectionately as the ‘cuddle hormone’, this little chemical is the foundation for human connection.
    So there you have it:  hugging is good for your health! And for you pet lovers out there, hugging and contact with your pet counts, so take time for cuddles from your dog and cat too!