Which ingredients are key to making a good marinade? Are there certain ingredients in a marinade recipe that help the marinade stick to the food? Can science help you figure out which ingredients you need to create a marinade with super sticking power? This science experiment involves making a set of standards against which students will compare their marinated foods, so there is plenty of fun and colorful preparation and testing to do in exploring which ingredients will result in blocks of tofu with the most marinade.
Students will be able to tell because the tofu blocks that hold the most marinade will be the ones with the most intense color! If your kids are curious about how much a marinade adsorbs versus being absorbed, try cutting open some of the tofu samples after they have soaked. What can you tell from looking at the inside? With the basic setup in place, students can extend the kitchen science activity to test other ingredients like lemon juice, lime juice, soy sauce, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce, oils, or sugar sweeteners or store-bought marinades.
Exploring the variable of "time" is also a good extension for this kitchen science activity. How long should a food marinate for the best adsorption? Is there a maximum time? Students can test with the tofu to see if length of time in the marinade makes a difference, but be aware that other food types have different recommendations for how long they should be soaked in a marinade. By the end of this kitchen science exploration, students may be able to update a family marinade favorite to make it even tastier!
In this family STEM activity, kids are challenged to find the easiest way to drill holes in a raw potato.
There is a "simple machine" key to this challenge! A raw potato can be pretty firm, and trying to punch or drill holes into it can be more difficult than you might expect. Science, however, holds the key to making it easy! In this week's family-friendly science activity, students experiment with pencils and straws to find the easiest method for drilling holes into a potato.
Is there a way to use pencils or straws and take advantage of one of the six types of simple machines to help? Find out with a fun hands-on science activity! The following Science Buddies activity on the Scientific American website has all the information you need to do this science activity with your students at home: A Simple Machine to Make Potato Holes. Family STEM experiment invites sweet and sour taste test fun. What balance of vinegar and sweetener will taste best to your kitchen scientists?
Some foods are specifically created to be sour, or even very, very, tongue-wrinkling sour, and others are designed to appeal to our sense of sweet. Many tasty foods even combine ingredients with qualities of sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and savory. Cooks and other food scientists work hard to create amazing and mouthwatering foods and drinks they hope will appeal to your sense of taste.
They may experiment with different ingredients, or different amounts of each ingredient, or even different ratios of ingredients as they try and make the tastiest food or drink. Once they have a recipe they like, they have a formula which can be used to make the food or drink again. Will it taste exactly the same the next time? If they follow the recipe, they should use the same amount of each ingredient, and the food or drink will hopefully taste the same.
How they measure , however, can make a difference! In this week's family-friendly kitchen chemistry activity, students experiment with creating a drink made from water, a sweetener, and vinegar. In a step-by-step process, students mix and taste test their drinks with varying amounts of sour and sweet. What ratio of each ingredient will have the most pleasing taste?
Kids will have fun thinking like chefs and like scientists to create a tasty drink formula. This science activity will also encourage them to think about recipes and how to make sure every batch of a recipe turns out the same. This sweet and sour exploration begins with vinegar, so get ready for some tongue-wrinkling kitchen science fun! The following Science Buddies activity on the Scientific American website has all the information you need to do this science activity with your students at home: How Sour or How Sweet Is Your Lemonade? This week's family science activity uses sugar as an ingredient, but you and your students could use any sweetener to experiment.
You could even turn this activity into a comparison of different sweeteners to see how each tastes and which one your taste testers prefer. How do powdered sugar substitutes or sweeteners compare when mixed in the drink? How does a liquid sweetener compare?
Whether your students are interested in sugar alternatives for general health reasons or have an interest in reduced sugar or sugar-free alternatives for Type 1 diabetes or low-carb lifestyles, customizing this family science project is easy to do and can lead to a lot of useful and tasty kitchen fun!
What your kids learn about various sweeteners can easily be used to make tasty soda alternatives, sugar-free lemonade, or other beverages. See the activities and projects list above for additional family science activities that can help guide explorations like these. Science Buddies Project Ideas that support student exploration of diabetes and other global health issues are sponsored by Novo Nordisk.
Take apart a simple flashlight and reassemble parts to explore basic circuits in this home science activity. What materials make good conductors of electricity? Find out when you test household materials to "close" a homemade circuit. In this week's family-friendly science activity, kids learn about electricity by taking apart a small flashlight and using the parts to create a simple circuit. With a few wires that might be salvaged from a household junk drawer, kids create a working circuit that causes the flashlight bulb to light up. After successfully making a working circuit, kids create a break in the circuit by detaching one of the wires from the battery and then test different materials to see which ones can be used as conductors and which ones are insulators.
A conductive material is one through which electricity flows easily. When a conductive material is placed in the circuit, it will close the circuit, and the flashlight bulb will light up. Because an insulating material does not let electricity flow easily, when an insulating material is placed in the circuit, the circuit remains open , and the bulb will not light up. What materials work best as conductors and insulators?
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Does a material have to be metal to be conductive? Gather a bunch of small objects around the house and put them to the test in this electricity-focused activity. You may even notice that some conductive materials seem to work better than others. Is the light brighter with some materials than others? Why do you think this is? The following Science Buddies activity on the Scientific American website has all the information you need to do this science activity with your students at home: Which Materials Conduct Electricity?
Put science on the summer calendar! Camp is open. Campers can come for a week or all summer long, through August 5, Do you have a really enthusiastic Camper? Choose both! Campers can choose to use both kits for a summer full of exciting robotics, electronics, and programming. Add this flexible, convenient, online camp to your summer mix for creative robotics, electronics, and programming fun all summer long! Once enrolled, campers can log in at any time and as frequently as they want, making it easy to fit Camp in, regardless of other summer plans. Pair creativity and STEM for engaging projects and activities that students can enjoy any time of the year.
These are just a few of the many creative science projects at Science Buddies!
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This is hands-on science that could reward industrious young engineers with a healthy dose of improved network speed. What does a parabola have to do with your Wi-Fi? Grab a protractor, your math skills, and some aluminum foil to find out! Whether you are playing a game on a console system, streaming videos on a tablet, or scrolling a favorite app on your phone, having a solid Wi-Fi signal is probably really important in keeping you connected when you are at home.
If you tend to use a lot of data when you are not home, maximizing your time on Wi-Fi may be even more important in terms of staying within your monthly limit. If your Wi-Fi works well, switching off of cellular and over to your home network may be no big deal. It your Wi-Fi doesn't work reliably, however, being forced to use your home network may be a real problem. It can be very frustrating when Wi-Fi cuts out in the middle of something you are doing, for example, and finding yourself unable to get certain content to load over Wi-Fi can put a serious crimp in your home Internet use.
Both of these scenarios can be frustrating for people who are trying to use a home network and can't reliably stay connected or find the Wi-Fi sluggish. By investigating different materials and how they may block or weaken radio waves, you may be able to pinpoint items or materials in your house that stand between you and the Wi-Fi router and are causing connection problems or Wi-Fi slowdown. Using ordinary household materials, build and test a parabolic reflector. Once the cardboard and aluminum foil device is assembled, attach it to the antenna of your router and experiment to find out the best angles to boost the signal through your house.
Science with Personal Impact Together as back-to-back projects, this pair of computer science and technology projects might make a huge difference in your home Wi-Fi. By better understanding what may be causing interference in the Wi-Fi signal and by experimenting with a parabolic reflector, you could maximize the Wi-Fi signal in your house. By the end of this set of projects, you will know exactly where you want to sit for the best streaming, app-loading, game-playing, video-watching Wi-Fi experience. From bird seed to bird feet, there are exciting science projects you can do with students of all ages to encourage interest in birds.
Keeping a few key tips in mind, your summer bird watching may also help build your student's science skills and reinforce important observation and recordkeeping skills. Add a creative angle to summer bird watching with a display board project to share at school or hang up as a reminder of a summer of birds! Students interested in or inspired by birds can engage in bird-focused science activities and observation all year long.
But summer break and summer weather can make it especially easy to get involved with a birding project. Try one of the science projects or activities below with your students to help foster an interest in and greater awareness of birds. Tip: keep binoculars on hand for bird spotting in the backyard or at the park. Practice being very quiet and still so birds in the area do not fly off. Get a field guide or several and try and find what you see and encourage your kids to make a list or chart to track their bird spotting.
Your summer efforts might fuel a lifelong interest! How do a duck's feet differ from a bird you might have observed in your backyard? Tip: take binoculars with you, as well as pen and paper, and encourage students to sketch what they see and diagram, as best they can, the bird feet they encounter.
This kind of observation and sketching is excellent practice and can also help with identification later using a field guide. How Sweet It Is! In this science project, students experiment with hummingbird feeders in different colors to see if hummingbirds naturally are drawn to certain colors—or if they are more interested in the sweetest food. You and your budding birders may even find that different types of birds prefer to eat from different kinds of feeders.
This science experiment will help you get started with a food-focused experiment. If you want to encourage a certain kind of bird that you know lives in your area to visit your backyard, what kind of feeder and seed should you use? Tip : make a list of the birds you have seen in your area or in your yard, and do some preliminary background reading about the type of bird seed and feeder that might work best for those birds.
Then set up an experiment with your kids to compare either different types of seed or different feeding structures. Listening to different bird sounds and songs can be really important in learning to identify and differentiate birds in your area. Some birds, like the mockingbird, have very distinct bird songs that you will quickly learn to recognize.
Even common birds like the White-crowned Sparrow have a call that will quickly become familiar once you associate the sound with the bird. Why Do Birds Fly in a V-formation? What kinds of assistance or protection does flying in a group offer? Making Connections Increasing awareness of birds in your neighborhood may also broaden your student's understanding of environmental and conservation issues. Are We There Yet?
See also, Nests: Fifty Nests and the Birds that Built Them , a collection of photographs showing the wonderful diversity and ingenuity of bird nests. As you begin birding projects with students, be sure and have one or more field guides on hand. As your students get more interested in birding, however, you will want to explore larger and more comprehensive field guides. The following field guides are examples of field guides specific to North America.
Field guides for other parts of the world are also available, as are field guides dedicated to specific geographic sections of North America like the this one and specific states. Finding birds in a field guide can be difficult when first starting out. As students become more familiar with birds and more skilled in their observational skills, looking up and identifying birds using a guide will get easier. As you begin birding with your students, plan to work on solving a bird's identify as a family and agree to look again more carefully at certain characteristics or identifying marks if you see the bird again.
Keep a list! Bird enthusiasts often keep lists of birds they have seen and birds they hope to see. Encouraging this kind of recordkeeping from your students is a good science practice and will help reinforce the summer birding experience. Tip : you may be able to download a printable checklist list of birds in your area from a local parks and recreation website. In addition to using a checklist and logging bird sightings in a field notebook , creative kids may want to make a display board on which they track their sightings, photos, sketches of birds, and other bird-oriented data they gather over the summer.
Use a regular sheet of poster board that they can add to all summer long, or consider setting up a dedicated family "birding" bulletin board onto which notes, lists, drawings, and sketches can be tacked. A "poster"-style account of a summer spent watching birds makes a wonderful back-to-school project that young birders may be able to share with their classmates once school resumes.
Plus, this kind of project lets kids combine their creative skills with their science observation and research skills. What a great way to record a summer spent with binoculars, a field guide, and a notebook to track birds in the area! Families may also be interested in participating in citizen science projects related to birds in their area. These projects encourage students and scientists of all ages to put their observation and photo snapping skills to use to contribute to data repositories about certain species. Pin this collection:. This one is such a fun read, and one kids will definitely relate to!
It also lets adults relive those childhood memories where ordinary things — such as a pile of leaves, or a large cardboard box — can turn extraordinary with just a bit of imagination. The transitions back and forth from suburbia to dystopia in this story within a story are deftly rendered with contrasting palettes. The rollicking interactions of the sibling heroes and villains make Masterpiece Robot pure fun to read. Frank attended the University of Kansas to wrestle and write comic books. While there, he also earned a Doctorate in Pharmacy.
He has been a cancer pharmacist for the last ten years. He spends his spare time writing, fishing, and coaching his high school wrestling team. She lives in Maryland with her husband and four young children, shares her love of literature and art regularly at elementary schools, teaches art at the Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts, and works from her home studio whenever time permits.
I love the story, I love the spread of imaginative play, and I love the humor! It is so smart how the author and illustrator told both stories: the literal and the imaginative, and both stories are developed and fun to read together AND separately. The illustrator did an amazing job changing the style just a bit for the imaginative and the reality but also kept her signature style in both.
The illustrations definitely added to the narrative making this book a must get. I also loved that this is a sci-fi picture book because not many exist. There is also some great word choices and vocabulary throughout. Lastly, the reality has very little narrative, so students could write the story of what is actually happening.
The discussion questions shared below will also lead to some great activities and discussions.
After his night-time antics cause mischief, his friends decide to follow […]. After his night-time antics cause mischief, his friends decide to follow him one night, with hilarious consequences. This is the crazy, colorful, wonderful new title from the artist of Harold Finds a Voice , nominated for the Waterstones Prize.
These characters combined with the funny sequential plot makes for a fantastic read aloud. Now, I do think that sleepwalking is being used as entertainment in the story which can be a bit problematic if dealing with kids who do sleepwalk; however, I think it used in a thoughtful way because Louis is never demonized for his sleepwalking. Instead, the book is entertaining while also starting a conversation about something that kids often deal with and never find in conversations. It would also be good to read with siblings dealing with others sleepwalking.
I also loved hearing about what Louis was dreaming about then going back and looking at his sleepwalking path and matching the actual to the dream. This […]. This riotous adventure is packed with facts and lift-the-flap fun. It is such a fun book that kids of so many different ages are going to love reading.
It is about a boy who wakes up to find a mammoth wandering around his town looking for his baby brother. Trent and I loved the detailed and silly illustrations and trying to find Teddy on each page! For example, in the ocean scene there are flaps that include flaps about octopus, blue whales, corral, and more! This mix of adventure and facts makes this a perfect cross-curricular text to use or as an intro before a trip to a natural history museum. He wants to know about light bulbs, inch worms, and rocket ships. Carl sets out on a journey to find answers, but finds bigger, even more powerful questions.
Through his research and studies, Carl eventually earns the title of Dr. Carl Sagan and spends his life seeking knowledge and understanding about the universe.
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This young. This book, which is brought to life with beautiful illustrations and the great mysteries of the universe, did that for myself as an adult, too. After reading it, everyday life is once again imbued with the magic and novelty it had in childhood. The curiosity which most adults leave behind drove Sagan to be the lifelong learner that all teachers hope to foster in their students. Reading this book shows that science is all around us, that we all belong here in the universe, and that in everyone there is a scientist. I absolutely loved reading this book, and as a new teacher building my classroom library, this is the first one which I will be purchasing multiple copies of to share with my students.
It would also serve as a great example of narrative nonfiction. The most obvious use for this story is in a science unit.
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I would love to use this book to open up a discussion at the beginning of a unit on the solar system. Not only would it generate excitement, it would also begin to build some vocabulary and background knowledge. It would make the information in the unit more personal and relevant to kids, and would be a great launching point to encourage students to come up with their own questions about how the world works. This book is also a wonderful book to use for mini lessons in writing. Using this book as an example, a teacher could lead a discussion on how to choose which life events to include in a biography, how to sequence and organize it, and how to incorporate quotes from a historical figure into a writing piece.