Category Archives: Cool Products

Test Tube Desk Organizers for a Teacher or Science Fan

The main purpose of all of our products at Steve Spangler Science is to make science fun. It’s even our slogan. But not everyone uses our science supplies for their intended purpose. We always enjoy hearing about innovative ways that our customers are using our products.

For your favorite teacher or science fan - a Test Tube desk organizer | Steve Spangler Science

We decided to take a step back from our science focus and look at some of our products more creatively. Our Baby Soda Bottle Test Tubes and Rack are purchased for so much more than lab supplies. Some use them to store beads and buttons and other sewing items, fishing lures and hooks, jewelry kit accessories, earrings, travel products like shampoo and anything and everything that should stay dry and fit into the tube. A woodworker even recommended Baby Soda Bottles for safe small saw blade storage.

Here’s a new idea we came up with  for the science fan or teacher in your life – use Baby Soda Bottles and a Rack for a desk organizer. The test tubes will hold all of your small pushpins, staples, paperclips, rubber bands and anything else you want to stuff into them. It’s also a safe place to store scissors.

The Baby Soda Bottle Desk Organizer is an inexpensive and creative gift or organizing solution for disorganized teachers, students and science fans.

For your favorite teacher or science fan - a Test Tube desk organizer | Steve Spangler Science

For thirty science activities that use Baby Soda Bottles, visit the experiment page.

To purchase a set of six Baby Soda Bottles and a Rack, visit the Steve Spangler Science store. Office supplies sold at local retailers.

Easing the Fears and Anxieties Through Team Building Activities During the First Days of School

By Blog Editor Susan Wells

As the back to school season starts, what types of feelings are stirred up? For me, it was always a mixture of excitement and joy over new clothes and school supplies and a knot in my stomach knowing I was headed into a new class with a new teacher. There were so many unknowns and stresses placed in that first day of school.

Activities to make the first day of school go smoothly. | Steve Spangler Science

While some kids are ready and eager to return to school, many face a plethora of fears and aren’t ready to say goodbye to the freedom of summer.

Our Steve Spangler Science First Days of School Kit not only contains activities to turn students into friends, but also engages the kids and gets them excited about learning.

If you are a teacher, you know how difficult it is to enthrall a new classroom of students who have spent long lazy days dulling their minds in the sunshine. How do you grab their minds, shake some oohs, ahhs and laughter out of them, and become the coolest teacher in the school?

The First Days of School kit is packed with several Steve Spangler experiments and science toys.

First Days of School Kit - Activities to Team Build, Ease Anxiety and Welcome Them Back to School | Steve Spangler Science

If it makes it to the dinner table, you win!

Windbag Wonders Team Building Activity
Give each student a Windbag and ask them to blow it up as fast as they can. How many breaths will it take to inflate the 8-foot-long bag? The kids will blow and blow and blow and swear that it’s impossible. It may seem that way, until you share a little secret called Bernoulli’s Principle. Inflate the bag in front of them with one breath. Now divide the students into groups of three to five and have them inflate the Windbags. Ask the students to create a free standing structure. The highest structure wins the challenge. As a chorus of laughter and chatter erupts, the students will be so engaged, they will forget all about missing mom or dad. They may even meet a new friend or two.

 

Team building and engaging activities for back to school and throughout the year with Wind Bags | Steve Spangler Science

Do You Trust Me? 
Before the students arrive in the classroom, set up by adding 1/2 a teaspoon of Water Gel in a styrofoam cup. Fill a pitcher of water and set it aside. When the students come into the classroom, choose a volunteer. Have the volunteer hold the cup above eye level while you fill it. Don’t let them see inside. The Water Gel is a special powder that is similar to the polymer found in baby diapers. When you pour the water in the cup, the powder will absorb it.

Do you trust me? Water Gel trick to build connections and teach the science of polymers. | Steve Spangler Science

Talk about the idea of trust and say “If you give me your trust this year, I promise to teach you things that will change your life forever!”

Now hold the cup over the student’s head and poke pencils through the cup. Have the student promise not to runaway, and warn, “you may get wet, but I really need my pencils back.”

Pull the pencils out of the cup. The water will appear to have vanished and the room will fill with shouts of “how did you DO that??”

Before you give yourself away, have the students make guesses as to what happened to the water. Get them asking questions and making predictions. Now that’s the science of leadership!

Rainbow Friendship Bead Bracelets
Give each student five or so Color Changing UV Beads and a pipe cleaner. Ask them to string the white beads and make a bracelet with the pipe cleaner around their wrist. The beads will remain white until exposed to ultra-violet light, like sunlight. The secret is a pigment in the beads that responds to UV light waves. Remove them from sunlight, and they return to their white color. You may want to “forget” to tell them that the beads have this special power and instead send them home or out to recess with the bracelets to discover on their own. Fuel their curiosity by asking the students how and why they change color.

UV Color Changing Beads - A Metaphor for a Person's True Colors. Give Students on first day of school to engage learning | Steve Spangler Science

Then use the beads for one or more of these great metaphors and life lessons -

  • B.E.A.D.S = Becoming Enthusiastic and Dedicated Students
  • The beads are a celebration of diversity – diversity is often hidden in the brightest source of light.
  • The beads are a metaphor for a person’s true colors. True colors are a person’s inner strengths, willingness to help out, a giving heart, compassion for others or being truthful. A person’s true colors may not be visible at first, but character traits may come out in life situations.

The First Days of School Kit comes complete with an Activity Guide packed with science experiments, connections to life lessons and scientific principles. The kit is aimed at making those first days of school energetic and unforgettable by using teamwork, sharing, goal setting, reasoning and creative thinking.

  • 30 Windbags
  • Approximately 250 Energy Beads (Assorted Colors)
  • 100g jar of Water Gel™
  • 50g jar of Jelly Marbles
  • 3 styrofoam cups
  • 30 pipe cleaners
  • First Days of School Activity Guide

 

 

The Flashing, Color Mixing, One-of-a-Kind White Lightning Stick

By Blog Editor Susan Wells

One of the biggest hits of the summer is the White Lightning Stick. On the Fourth of July, we held a small firework show in our front yard with our neighbors.

Along with the traditional sparklers and black snakes, we also shot off several film canister rockets and Mentos soda geysers. While the kids were waiting for the next activity, they played with the light sticks. Naturally, the sticks were first used as swords and weapons, but as the sun set, they began to really look at the light sticks and made observations.

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Create a Rainbow in a Bag – Pinch and Mix Color Mixing

By Blog Editor Susan Wells

I’m occasionally asked by teachers and school groups to bring in a few hands-on science experiments for a class. One of my all-time favorite go -to activity is color mixing with Pinch and Mix goo. Steve Spangler Science sells and all-in-one Pinch and Mix Kit for 30 students or a smaller group. You can also use gel cake frosting if you want to do it yourself.

Start this activity with a literature connection by reading the book Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh. Mouse Paint is a delightful story about three white mice who discover jars of red, yellow, and blue paint. Creativity ensues as the mice explore what happens when they begin to play in the puddles of paint. Wondrously, the three primary colors they began with become secondary colors as they play.

Now it is your turn to delight and discover. Discuss what the mice found and what happened after they were coated in one color paint and messed about in another color. Then make your own color connections by pretending you are little mice mixing the colors in your zipper-lock bag!

Squeeze 1 to 2 tablespoons of each color of goo into the bag. It’s best if you place one color in each corner and one in the middle. Then gently squeeze air out of the bag and seal it. Pinch and mix the colors together by blending the primary into secondary colors. The bag will start to take on a soft, stained glass look.

Hold it up to a light or a sunny window.

Some kids will gently and carefully blend their colors, but most will grab and squish the bag until the colors turn army green, grey and putrid purple. Don’t worry about a failed activity; the kids will still find beauty and discovery in their crazy-made colors.

Make sure you keep a Sharpie nearby, because the kids will want to bring home their creations.

For more on this fun and colorful activity, visit the Pinch and Mix Experiment page.

Pin Your Favorite Teacher Gifts to Give or Receive and Win a $100 Steve Spangler Gift Certificate

Contest Is Closed – Congratulations to our winners #4 & #13 comments – Sarah and Chelsey!

 

 

 

 

 

Parents – does your teacher have their fill of mugs, candles and smelly lotion? What are you giving your favorite teachers this year?

Teachers – what gifts do you appreciate the most? Gift cards, items for next year’s classroom, books, or hand-written notes and gifts?

We love and appreciate all teachers at Steve Spangler Science and want to help share ideas and favorites to help parents give their teachers the best this May. Our Teacher Appreciation Pinterest board has a ton of gift ideas for all kinds of budgets, teachers and craft levels.

What are your favorite gifts to give to your amazing teacher?

And teachers – what are your most memorable and favorite gifts to receive? Here is your chance to share with parents what teachers really appreciate and what gets re-gifted or forgotten. My daughter’s second grade teacher shared a clock that a student gave her a few years back. She still displays it proudly in her classroom.

Here’s how to Pin It to Win a $100 Gift Certificate to SteveSpanglerScience.com.

1. Visit Steve Spangler Science’s Pinterest page and Follow All.

2. Create a board on your Pinterest page and title it “Teacher Gifts.” For parents – in the description share why you appreciate your child’s teachers. For teachers – in the description, share why you enjoy teaching.

3. Pin at least 5 items from SteveSpanglerScience.com that you want to give to a teacher or want to receive as a teacher. You can start in our Teacher Gifts category, but don’t stop there, surf around and see what you can find. Don’t stop with 5 – pin away as long as you’d like. Please add other pins and ideas for teachers gifts that you have given, received, or found around the Internet. You are also welcome to repin from our Teacher Gifts board.

4. Include a Pin from this blog post on your Teacher Gifts board.

5. Leave a link to your board in the comments below. Two lucky winners will be chosen at random to win one of two $100 gift certificates to use on SteveSpanglerScience.com.

6. Complete your Teacher Gifts Pinterest board by midnight MST, Thursday May 23rd.

7. Steve Spangler Science will repin our favorite ideas found on your boards to share with our audience.

So what are you waiting for? Go get creative and get pinning!