STEM/STEAM Students Can Rock Their World With Some At-Home Experiments:by Marilyn Ostermiller

Everyone feels like blowing off steam sometimes.

          No time like the present. November 8 is National STEM/STEAM day, the day designated to celebrate all things related to science, technology, engineering, art and math. The idea is to interest kids in exploring these disciplines because of growing demand for those skills. Government studies indicate the number of STEM jobs in America from 2001 to 2010 tripled the rate of growth in non-STEM jobs. https://nationaltoday.com/stem-steam-day/

Back to blowing off steam: One sure way is to make a paper mache volcano that erupts. The ingredients for this one, suitable for kindergarten through second grade, are common to most households:

  • cardboard
  • newspaper
  • paper cup
  • acrylic paint
  • liquid dishwashing detergent
  • red food coloring
  • baking soda
  • white distilled vinegar

Plan on two days to complete; one to make the volcano and a second to make it erupt.

 

Detailed instructions are available at https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/paper-mache-volcano-1253091

volcano school project

Education has its own rewards, but this scientific experiment that demonstrates how sugar crystals are formed, also results in sweet sticks of rock candy. Start with granulated sugar and water. Food coloring and flavoring are optional. Supplies include glass jars, wood skewers and clothes pins. Patience is required. Plan to put the crystals somewhere they won’t be disturbed for up to a week.

This Spruce Eats video provides step-by-step instructions.

https://www.thespruceeats.com/rock-candy-521016

Sugar crystal rock candy on skewers in bright red and purple

By the way, blowing off steam has two meanings. The original dates back to the 1800s when it referred to easing the pressure in a steam engine. These days it refers to relieving pent up feelings by loud talk or vigorous activity.

Here are some recent PB’s that celebrate STEM and STEAM topics and people:

makers 2

sophie cover - 3x4 - 100dpiMarilyn Ostermiller is a long-time journalism who spends much of her time writing for children and experimenting in the kitchen, often with mixed results.

Marilyn Ostermiller

Photo credit: Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels

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Spring Sprouts

If you can’t wait for the weather to get warm enough for planting and digging in the garden, try SPROUTING SEEDS. Seed packets are in grocery stores and it’s easy to try sprouting them with the kids All you need is a package of bean seeds and paper towels.

1. Wet paper towels.  Place 3 or 4 seeds onto the wet towel, fold it to cover the seeds.

2. Place the folded towels in a warm area and keep them moist by sprinkling them with water every few hours.

3. Check the seeds every couple of days.  You should see them sprout before a week is through.  Don’t give up if it takes a little longer.  The warmer the area, and the moister the towels remain, the faster the seed will sprout.

What to do with them once they’ve sprouted?  While it might be tempting to eat your own sprouts, I wouldn’t.  Some seeds are treated with certain chemicals and can cause illness. YOU CAN, however, plant them in dirt and have a “mini” garden on a windowsill.  They can also be put directly into your garden outdoors when the soil is ready.

Try different kinds of beans to see how long each takes and compare their different characteristics.  Take a photo and send it to me. I’ll post some of them here.

Science Web Sites

Here are two really fun and interesting websites for all things about science.  The first one has experiments you can do at home that are easy and entertaining.  Check out these wonders at: http://www.sciencefunwithmom.wordpress.com

The other website is sponsored by the Science Channel and provides supplemental information in areas such as earth, physical, life science and more.  Thee is homework help for all grad levels as well.   http://www.rocketscienceathome.com

Celebrate the wonders of the world and try a little science at home.  Stay tuned for more science fun next Friday.