Showing posts from July, 2011

Beaker Bash Science Camp - Week 3 in Review

It's hard to believe that 3 weeks of science camp have come and gone.  What a great time we've had!  This week we wrapped up our learning with some investigations of force and motion, UV light and properties that make things glow or change color, bubbles, and density.
Here are the highlights:
We used nature paper to create shadow art and made bracelets with beads that change color in the sun. We experimented with glow powder and atomic glow under a black light and compared the results to placing those materials in the sun light.We had a potato gun fight and learned about Newton's 3rd law of motion - "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."We simulated an oil spill in an "ocean" and students tested a variety of materials to be used for clean up.  Student suggestions were dish soap, baking soda, and the dehydrated gel powder that we had experimented with last week.  Then we tried out the oil absorbing polymer and sea sweep.  If you don&#…

Beaker Bash Science Camp – Week 2 in Review

It took us 2 days to get around to making our shoebox guitars but it was a great 2 days!  We built up our background knowledge about sound instead of jumping into the build.  To do this we made all kinds of sounds using balloons, palm pipes, and glass jars.  We got so good at it, we were even able to create some great music videos.  Finally, we understood enough about the effect of air traveling and sound waves bouncing that we were able to make predictions about how to best set up our shoebox guitars and everyone got busy.  Of course they had to purchase their supplies from Mrs. Kaiser first so they all made a trip to Beaker Bank.  After making our guitars, we experimented with the variables a bit.  In the end, we realized that the same exact rubberband positioned differently on the shoebox could produce a different pitch.  I think the kids were a bit surprised at the science behind the music.
Of course we spent time in the garden again this week.  We’re not getting much rain, so i…

Beaker Bash Science Camp – Week 1 in Review

The turnout for camp is small in number but we had a great 1st week.  In our absence, the poor student garden had been overrun with weeds.  The campers and my adult helpers took care of that with determination.  Each person claimed a section for themselves, pulled weeds, fed them to the pig to make compost, watered existing plants, transplanted cabbages, and planted some seeds.  We were rewarded with a few cherry tomatoes and when we visited the school/community garden we collected enough blueberries to make muffins from scratch!  On top of that, we found a robin’s nest with an egg.  We’re watching it and wondering if the egg is one that didn’t hatch in the spring or some late bloomer.  As if that isn’t enough life science, we hit the jackpot when we discovered that our young apple trees are getting along nicely.  A golden delicious apple was hanging gingerly from a branch.  We agreed the best thing to do for the tree was to pick the apple so that the tree could focus its’ energy on …

Day 3 Science in the Rockies

All good things must come to an end… and so it is that the end of Science in the Rockies 2011 has arrived.  This morning was magnetic, electrifying, and a real shot in the arm! I mean all of that very literally.  We took the Total challenge and found the iron.  Steve made us all Money Smoothies rich in iron  (ok – so we didn’t all get to have one but we watched him do it). 
I learned that electric pickles are awesome; so I’ll be stopping by the grocery store before going to science camp this week.  All graffiti isn’t bad.  LED graffiti is cool. Having a game of tug-o-war at the family reunion will never be as entertaining as the potato gun fight at SITR11!!
If you don’t believe me, then you’ll just have to see it for yourself.  Given the opportunity, spending time at a Steve Spangler event will exceed your every expectation.  You walk away with knowledge, experience, and “the stuff” you need to “do science” with your students.  I’ve never seen a more professional, organized, capable grou…

Day 2 Science in the Rockies

Just another day in the life of the average science teacher... You know what it looks like... start by getting some caffeine in your system.  If you're my roomie for the conference that is your pre-coffee coffee.  Then proceed directly to the pile of broken glass and walk across it in your bare feet!

Slip Steve a note (like a middle schooler) and pray he'll honor your request to bring your friend up on stage as one of his "special little helpers" for her birthday
Then get ready to play with some dry ice and make a bubble you can hold and bounce. Happy Birthday Angela!
As if we weren't having enough fun, then we got to make music and alter our voices using Sulfur Hexafluoride.
Like I said, just an average day in the life of a science teacher.  IF you are at Science in the Rockies with Steve Spangler that is.  Want to see more pics and some video?  Check out my gallery.

Day 1 Science in the Rockies

Yesterday was our travel day and all went well. Three of my colleagues and I have arrived in the Denver, CO area for 3 days chock full of exciting science adventure.  Steve Spangler is every bit the master scientist that he appears to be on YouTube folks!  We already have filled a large teacher tote bag (you know the ones I mean) TWICE and it is absolutely overflowing with materials.  The evaluation for today asked which of the demonstrations we would be most likely to use and which one we would not.  I can honestly say there isn't a single thing he showed us today that cannot be applied in K-5 science.  The current challenge will be aligning it with the NC Essential Standards.  That is totally do-able though.
What do I really like about Steve?  Let me name a few things:
1. High energy level.
2. Half comedian/half scientist.
3. He makes real-world STEM career connections to the activities.  (This should really be the #1 on the list of things I like about Steve.)

Of course we did a…