Category Archives: Informal Science Education

Science Takes a Summer Vacation – Selfies from the Road

Although our science kits and materials don’t sit on the shelves in our distribution center for long, they are still granted a summer vacation, like all of our human staff members at Steve Spangler Science.

Our science kits are also not exempt from the selfie craze.

Summer Science Selfies - Science Kits from Steve Spangler Science

We gave our science kits a one week summer vacation and let them lose in the world. They traveled from coast to coast and even checked out a little football in South America.

The Larry's Lab Crew Visits Times Square in New York City - Steve Spangler Science Selfies
The Larry’s Lab Crew Visits Times Square in New York City

Our products demonstrated that they can go anywhere and bring learning to everyone. This is road worthy hands-on science!

Saltwater Truck visits the Sand Dunes - Steve Spangler Science Selfies
Saltwater Monster Truck visits the Sand Dunes in Colorado

The science kits have returned and are ready to head to your home or school in time for back to school learning.

Growing Creatures visit Washington, DC - Steve Spangler Science Selfies
Growing Creatures visit Washington, DC

We want to hear where you like to do science. How did you bring Steve Spangler Science into your summer vacation? Did you make Insta-Snow on the beach in Hawaii? Or grow a lizard in Death Valley? Shoot soda geysers in Millennium Park? We want to see your summer science selfies.

6 Test Tube Experiments in a Rack visits the St. Louis Arch - Steve Spangler Science Selfies
6 Test Tube Experiments in a Rack visits the St. Louis Arch

Share your science selfies on InstagramFacebookTwitter or email them to us. Use #SpanglerSelfie so we don’t miss them.

Magic Sand visits Rio and the World Cup Soccer - Steve Spangler Science Selfies
Magic Sand visits Rio and the World Cup Soccer

If you haven’t celebrated summer with science yet, what are you waiting for?  Get colorful, get geyser soaked,  slime it up,  wear growing gators as a mustache or whatever your heart desires.  Just make sure your selfie makes you smile!

The Growing Lizards Visit the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco - Steve Spangler Science Selfies
The Growing Lizards Visit the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Send us your selfie by August 1st. Our team of science selfie experts will choose four favorites and notify the winners by Aug. 5th. Winners will have 24 hours to respond with email, phone and address. If they fail to do so in the time frame, another winner will be chosen in their place. Kits will be sent out after Aug. 6th.

Beaker and Instant Snow Day visit Mount Rushmore - Steve Spangler Science Selfies
Instant Snow Day and Beaker visit Mount Rushmore

Our favorite four #SpanglerSelfies will win a science kit that you can take wherever you’d like.

Geyser Rocket Car visits the Beach - Steve Spangler Science Selfies
Geyser Rocket Car visits the Beach

We also need your vote -

The products have a bet going on whose vacation was the best. What is your favorite #SpanglerSelfie? Is it Magic Sand at the World Cup or Larry’s Lab in Times Square or one of the others? Share it socially or leave us a comment below with your vote. Help us settle the bet and calm down our disputing product line. Those products can get unruly after returning from some down time.

Instant Snow visits the Grand Canyon - Steve Spangler Science Selfies
Instant Snow visits the Grand Canyon

 

 

The Fresh Prince of Science Fair

“The Fresh Prince of Science Fair”
(To the tune of Will Smith’s “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”)

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 12.17.05 PM

Now these are some lyrics all about when
My board got judged with a pad and a pen.
If you have a few seconds, just hang right there,
I’ll tell you how I got a blue ribbon in the last science fair.

In back of the library, past the stairs,
that’s where my school has our science fairs.
Hypotheses, procedures, results, and conclusions
about weird topics like germs and pollution.

...and bowl cuts...
…and bowl cuts…

But a couple of kids didn’t do what they’re told,
forgot to test their guess with any variables.
All those kids got an “F” and then I got scared,
but I remembered all I learned and that I came prepared.

Poster board feelin’ fresh when the judges came near.
They were quickly impressed and said, “It’s looking so clear.
If there were a science band you’d be sitting first chair,
but for now here’s a ribbon. Good job, at this fair!”

I got back to my house about 3 or 3:30
and I yelled to my mama, “It’s cool to be nerdy!”
She smiled at me and had some ice cream to share.
Life is good, as the Prince of the Fair.

ice-cream
Time to invent a time machine.

© DJ Souza for Steve Spangler Science

Show us your Science Selfie & Win a Science Kit

Gone are the days of searching for a good-willed and trustworthy  passerby to ask to take a photo of you and your friend.  (Which has greatly decreased overall camera theft! )

No more sitting still while your Grandma took your picture. Well, I guess we still have to do that..

Actually, we LOVE this photo, and are so happy this grandma (Diane Gribosky) snapped it!
Actually, we LOVE this photo, and are so happy the kids sat still while this  amazing grandma (Diane Gribosky) snapped it!

Thank you technology, for allowing us to turn the camera face around to our selves and take …YES, you know what I’m talking about… The Selfie.

It seems everywhere you look, someone it taking a Selfie.  If you look over your shoulder, the girl who sits next to you at work is probably taking a selfie right now.

Yup, see…

#OFFICESELFIE
#officeselfie

You find Selfies splashed on Facebook walls and Twitter feeds. They are filling up your Snap Chats, and even being sung about on your radio! Maybe, you even see them on our website?!? (Hint, Hint)

So do you embrace the trend, or run away screaming?

NOT ANOTHER SELFIE

No. Stop that… come back here!  We  want you to embrace the selfie.  Love your selfie.

Why, you ask?  Well, because we’d like to ask a favor.

I see you hesitantly nodding in agreement… you know this will be fun!  Ok, ready for the deets?  Here is what we want you to do:

Grab your favorite Steve Spangler Science experiment.  Did you find the one that makes you smile the biggest? Good! Now, get your trusty smart phone in hand, because…

WE WANT TO SEE YOUR BEST SCIENCE SELFIE!

That’s right! Get colorful, get geyser soaked,  slime it up,  wear growing gators as a mustache or whatever your heart desires.  Just make sure your selfie makes you smile!

Here are some examples:

IMG_47190294276284
Not a selfie!
Selfie!
Yay! Slime Selfie!

 

What do you do with your Science Selfie?  That’s a great question! Send them off to us! Share them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or email them to us. Use #SpanglerSelfie so we don’t miss them.

**Our favorite four selfies will win a science kit from Steve Spangler Science.**

Don’t forget to share your thoughts on Selfies by leaving a comment below!

**Send us your selfie by August 1st. Our team of science selfie experts will choose four favorites and notify the winners by Aug. 5th. Winners will have 24 hours to respond with email, phone and address. If they fail to do so in the time frame, another winner will be chosen in their place. Kits will be sent out after Aug. 6th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Lesson Plan – Just Insta-Snow

Meet Alan Marshall, who came with his dad to a meeting in our building today.  What a great kid!  Alan brought his iPad to pass the time, but when I saw him passing my office, I thought I’d see how he liked some Insta-Snow, as well.Alan Marshall, Insta-Snow

I think this picture sums up the experience.  Alan was excited about telling his dad what would happen if he put a long-stemmed white flower in some Insta-Snow that had food coloring in it.  (You already know, right?  RIGHT?)  (This works with colored water AND with colored polymers. )  The fact that this stuff lived inside disposable diapers made a bit of an impression, too.  

Alan liked the Insta-Snow so much that I gave him the jar.  He went across the street to the library to show the librarian how it worked.

This is how it happens, you see.  Learning.  True education.  When something makes it to the dinner table library, that something is going to be remembered.

Have fun with your Insta-Snow, Alan.  Polymer science is awesome!

My Time as a Teacher

I have a newfound respect for teachers and educators. Wow. On May 12th, I had my first solo experience in a classroom.

As a member of the Steve Spangler Science family for almost 5 years, I have helped perform science demonstrations on a few separate occasions. All of these were done with training and practice with Steve at the office. This time was different… I was on my own.

I’m recently married and blessed with two amazing step sons, the youngest in kindergarten. His teacher recently asked me if I’d like to help with their kindergarten & fourth grade science day, as she had purchased a substantial number of Steve Spangler Science kits. As if I could turn down an opportunity to play with science gear alongside six- and ten-year-olds.

Excitement filled me over the weekend. Quality time with my son coupled with awesome science and an opportunity to teach? Count me in, one hundred times. Monday morning, however, I felt like my kindergartner. Anxiety had coupled with excitement to create a concoction of nerves like I had never felt. Oh man… I was going to be teaching.

Arriving in the classroom saw my nerves spike to their zenith. All those tiny, little eyes fixated on me and my bag of science goodies. My face definitely flushed a bit, but it was broken by my son’s, “Hi, Dad!” I could do this. It’s just like coaching soccer!

The line-up of demonstrations the teacher and I had planned ranged from Insta-Snow (a HUGE hit) to Dancing Spaghetti, using both household items and Spangler-created kits, but we started with the Energy Stick. An eager volunteer hopped up in front of the classroom to help demonstrate the concept of an open or closed circuit. Eyes lit up and ears perked as the lights and sounds of the Energy Stick filled the classroom. I could TOTALLY do this.

(SIDE NOTE: A good friend’s son was in the 4th grade class. That night, she sent a text to tell me that her son wouldn’t stop talking about and designing open and closed circuits. Science success, I do declare.)

The Energy Stick led into polymer science: Insta-Worms, Insta-Snow, and Vanishing Jelly Marbles. The teacher read Diary of a Worm aloud to the class to help tie literature into the Insta-Worms demonstration. We discussed the ties between Insta-Snow and baby diapers, and we laughed at the squishy texture of Jelly Marbles. I didn’t have to worry about the occasional stutter or awkward pause. This group of kids stared and waited on my words like I was Neil deGrasse Tyson and they were a astrophysicist-filled lecture hall. Oh yeah… I was doing this.

We capped off the hands-on demos with candy science involving Gobstoppers and M&Ms, and the grand finale of Film Canister Explosions. I’ve seen and performed the Film Canister Explosion demo a bunch of times, for teachers and students. Never have I witnessed a reaction like this before. There were screams from some of the girls, “Awesome!” from a lot of the boys, and a massive gasp from the teacher. It was absolutely brilliant. Naturally, we did it twice more in the classroom, before finishing with a rocket launch in the rain. I did it!

Teachers! I get it. I understand exactly why you work for substantially less pay than you should. I know the feeling you get when a complex subject (i.e. carbon dioxide gas from vinegar and baking soda) clicks in a young mind. I can feel what makes you want to work extra hours on your evenings and weekends, just to make sure you can cover all you want to this year. I GET IT! You put so much out there, because you get so much back. It might not always be material, immediate, or it might not even be noticeable. It is, however, so worth it.