Teacher Newsletter | Pensacola MESS Hall

Teacher Newsletter

To enrich your student’s science experience, the Pensacola MESS Hall has a lot to offer. From open exploration or in-depth themed field trips to classroom workshops and science shows, there is a lot to know! That’s why, once a month, we’ll send you our Teacher Newsletter to keep you updated on our programming. Learn about booking field trips, get details about a featured program, and let us tell you about hot topics in science news and hands-on activities for you to share with your students.

If you have any questions or comments, the best way to contact us is at groups@pensacolamesshall.org. Tell us what you’re looking for to supplement your students’ science education.
Click here for a list of all School Programming.

January Teacher Newsletter

Jump To:
Things to Know | Featured ProgramScience News | Classroom Activity | Learn More

Things to Know

  • We will be at Raise the Bar Conference at the new Beulah Middle School on 1/18/2020. Come visit us with your questions about our programming!
  • Dates are filling up fast for spring semester Field Trips. Visit our page today to learn more and book your class today!.
  • Gulf Coast Science Festival is March 28, 2020. Bring your class for Field Trip Day March 27th!

Featured Program

Gulf Coast Science Festival

Join us March 27th for the 3rd Gulf Coast Science Festival! This Festival will feature a variety of science- and technology-related activities, all with the goal of inspiring curiosity, experimentation, and creative problem solving by both adults and children. Visit GulfCoastScienceFestival.org for a full list of events.

Field Trip Day
Bring your students to Field Trip Day on March 27th, 10AM-Noon for an exclusive experience with fun hands-on activities, science demos, a science show, and encounters with our area’s engineers and scientists! Geared toward middle school students, admission is free, but pre-registration is required. Fill out this interest form to reserve a time for your school.

Science News Brief

A well-known star is dimming. Astronomers want to know why.

Betelgeuse (pronounced “Beetle Juice”), a red supergiant star in the Orion constellation, has dimmed to its faintest intensity in a century. One possibility is that the star, which is late in its lifespan, is about to go supernova, a type of explosion of star stuff. Astronomers are observing the star to see what else can be learned from this event. There’s a lot astronomers still don’t know about the variable behavior of supergiant stars like Betelgeuse, so any strange activity is a chance to learn more about the lives of stars.

For about 25 years, Richard Wasatonic, an astronomer, has measured the brightness of Betelgeuse with a telescope in his backyard. He’s worked with other astronomers as well.  In October, they noticed that Betelgeuse was getting fainter. By early December, they realized that Betelgeuse had become much fainter. At its brightest, Betelgeuse is usually one of the six or seven brightest stars visible to humans in the night sky. By mid-December, it had dropped to 21st brightest. 

The unusual dimming episode has made some astronomers wonder whether Betelgeuse is about to go supernova. The good news? Life on Earth would be fine if Betelgeuse did explode.

Want to know more? Read the full article on Astronomy.com.

Classroom Science Activity

Waterless Snow Globe 


  • Clear tape
  • Clear plastic cup (small ones work best)
  • Confetti
  • Paperboard circle, cut to cover the top of the cup (from a cereal or cracker box)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Balloon 


  1. Wrap the aluminum foil around the paperboard circl
  2. Place the confetti in a pile on the aluminum foil circle.
  3. Place the cup upside down on top of the confetti pile.
  4. Tape the cup down using the clear tape.
  5. Inflate the balloon.
  6. Rub the balloon very quickly on your clothing.
  7. Slowly bring the balloon towards the cup.
  8. Watch what happens to the confetti!

MESS Around

  • What happens if you change the way you touch the balloon to the cup?
  • Can you move the confetti without touching the balloon to the cup?
  • Can you make other types of materials “float?”

What’s going on?

When you rub the balloon against the fabric, static electricity is created. When this happens, electron, negatively charged particles in atoms, are transferred from one surface to the other, creating a charge. This movement of charge is what we know as electricity. In this case, it is called static electricity.

The confetti pieces in the cup have a neutral charge, because they contain protons (positively charged particles) and electrons  in equal amounts. When you bring the balloon toward the cup, the electron on the balloon attract the confetti’s protons, pulling the confetti towards the balloon. Both the cup and the aluminum circle help to sustain this electrical attraction. 

More Information

Click here for more information on our Classroom Programs. Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook to get the best updates on our upcoming programs and events, both for your classroom and your family.

If you are not already, be sure you are signed up for our monthly Teacher Newsletter to stay up-to-date on what the MESS Hall has to offer, and to receive the science news and activities we share with you!

As always, feel free to email any questions about program details or booking to groups@pensacolamesshall.org.