ESRL Global Systems Division

Wooly Magma: A Mammoth Project

During the week of November 27th NOAA will be busy with a science model of a different sort. 4,000 "Wooly Magma" education kits will be assembled from 8:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. on a daily basis until the inventory goal is met. These kits are part of a larger education and outreach kit designed to be distributed nationwide to commemorate NOAA's 200th Anniversary. The kick-off event for that outreach effort takes place at WeatherFest, a hands-on science and weather show for students that has traditionally been associated with the American Meteorological Society's Annual Meeting. This year the conference will be held in San Antonio, Texas in January.

Wooly Magma is a felt project that teaches participants (best for ages ten and up) about the structure of the Earth. The felt model is constructed with colorful wool rovings (wool that has been washed, carded, and processed into long strips), each correlating to a layer of the Earth that is named and discussed during the crafting process. A 1¼ inch psychedelic rubber ball is used to represent the Earth's inner core around which the wool is wrapped to create a solid sphere of felt. At the end of the felting, the balls are cut open to reveal a geode-like layering.

This project was designed by ESRL/Global Systems Division's Annie Reiser (a non-scientist) as her contribution to a past science festival held at NOAA in Boulder. The project, which supports NOAA's cross-cutting environmental literacy program, has since been offered to groups for Bring Your Child to Work Day activities at the Boulder Labs.

To tackle this "mammoth" project, Reiser has enlisted the help of community organizations with artistic abilities and a supportive spirit for education and outreach. Members from the Boulder Handweavers Guild, The Denver Botanic Gardens, CU students, The Denver Museum of Nature and Science, retired NOAA employees, as well as numerous other NOAA employees will be helping throughout the week. Some 350 pounds of wool roving will be pulled into over 24,000 colorful strips, assembled with other kit parts, and shipped to Silver Spring, MD where they will be incorporated into the final kits. As a "thank you" for lending assistance with the project, the non-NOAA volunteers have been invited to a NOAA tour and Science On a Sphere® demonstration at the David Skaggs Research Center.

Contact information
Name: Ann M Reiser
Tel: 303-497-6634
Ann.M.Reiser@noaa.gov