It seems like summer has only just begun, but the truth is, school will be starting in just a few weeks in many areas and nothing says preparation for school like Spangler Science’s Big Bag of Science!
Science is such an all-encompassing area, and one of our (many) goals here is to try to help as many kids (and adults, too!) learn just how awesome and interesting and fun science can be. Remember, our goal here isn’t just to get kids excited about an explosion or a color change or a geyser, etc. – it’s to get kids excited about learning so that they become LIFELONG learners.
Our Big Bag of Science is just what your home needs to help everyone who lives there or visits there do experiments that will help a student (and we are ALL students) make connections and get a little sampling of all different kinds of science, each with experiments and explanations galore to make the process flow smoothly. Physics, chemistry, biology. . . . measurements, observation. . . you name it, and this kit has it.
Just look at that Big Bag of Science – all those many possible experiments that will open up the world of science to your kids and help them greet the new school year with enthusiasm and eagerness to learn more and more!
While they’re at school, you’ll want to play with our Big Bag of Science, too. Just try not to use anything up completely because, believe me, your kids know what was there when they were forced to leave this kit behind, and they’ll expect it all to still be there when they get home this afternoon.
There’s just nothing like our Big Bag of Science to get and keep kids interested in science.
They make great gifts, too. The holidays aren’t that far away, you know.
I like mysteries, and I like fairy tales, and I like science. Let’s put them together!
What possible mystery could there be about UV Beads? Well, for starters, they’re all identical in the package – snow white, and not really very interesting in appearance. Ah, but appearances can be deceiving. . . .
And what connection could we make between UV Beads and fairy tales?
What if an intrepid young person were to be given a goal, say, the King offered his kingdom as a prize to whoever brought him the most interesting object in the kingdom? Young men and young women everywhere would flock to the palace in hordes, each with ideas and suggestions and examples, and it would be up to the King to select the most interesting object and award the prize.
Now, one young man in particular had an idea, and he knew it was a good one.But he needed to package his idea in such a way that he could easily transport it to the palace.
His idea? UV Beads. They were white and mysterious, and yet when exposed to the sunlight, they turned into a beautiful rainbow of bright colors. That’s pretty interesting, don’t you think? This young man thought so. His name was Sol, and he was a young man of many talents.
One of his talents was needlework, and he decided to get out his crochet needle and work a simple bracelet containing five beads, one of each color, to bring to the King.
He started with a basic chain stitch.
After that fifth stitch, Sol slipped a UV bead over the loop.
Five plain white UV beads with five stitches in between layers, and Sol snipped the yard and tied the ends into a bracelet!
Sol slipped the bracelet onto his arm, but on his way to the palace, he thought of some other ways to prove to the King that his contribution to the contest was the most interesting one. He made a few more bracelets, and put them into amber medicine bottles!
He put all the bottles in his backpack and set out to the palace to show the King. The UV beads were so fascinating to Sol that he just knew the King would think so, too.
Here’s a closeup of what the bracelets looked like in their amber bottles:
When Sol arrived at the palace, he presented a bottle to the King, who said, “What is this? An amber bottle with a simple bracelet inside? How is this interesting?”
“Just you wait, Your Majesty,” said Sol. “Slip this bracelet on your wrist, and go stand by that window with your bottle.”
The King did so, and the moment the sun’s UV rays touched the plain white beads, they began to turn beautiful colors.
“This is amazing!” shouted the King. “This is by far the most interesting thing I’ve ever seen! Please tell me more!”
So Sol explained to the King about the sun’s UV rays, and about the amber bottle being able to block these rays.
“So this is why my medicine always comes in an amber bottle!” shouted the King. “UV rays have the power to change things!”
“That’s right!” said Sol happily. He had a feeling that he knew who was going to inherit the kingdom, and he was right, too.
“I brought enough amber bottles and bracelets for everybody in the court,” said the new King Sol.
And they all lived happily ever after, and nobody was ever sunburned again.
Non-Newtonian fluids are an aspect of science that is simple, interesting, and a lot of fun. Non-Newtonian fluid experiments are also inexpensive; there are only two ingredients and both are probably already in your pantry.
School’s out, but that doesn’t mean learning is on hiatus. There are so many cool experiments to keep kids busy and their imaginations soaring, and most of them don’t cost much, if anything at all. Non-Newtonian fluids are one of these.
But what IS a non-Newtonian fluid?
It’s a fluid that is both liquid and solid, depending on what you’re doing with it. Non-Newtonian fluids defy the laws of viscosity, or ease of flow. Water is highly viscous and flows smoothly, but syrup, ketchup, mustard, and honey don’t pour – they gradually flow.
Get a large bowl and put a box of cornstarch in it. Gradually add water until you’ve got a gooey concoction; you can start by using a large spoon to mix but you’ll end up using your fingers.
When your cornstarch/water ratio is such that it doesn’t splash when you tap it with your finger, it’s ready to play with.
Scoop some into your hand and work it into a ball. It will stay solid and round until you stop rubbing it. Once you stop rubbing it, it will turn into a puddle in your hand and drip right through your fingers.
Remember Silly Putty? That’s a non-Newtonian fluid, too.
But what is really fun is quicksand. Oh, not real quicksand, although it’s easier to escape from than old cowboy movies would lead you to believe. What’s really fun is creating some “quicksand” in a big container and dancing on it.
In a large container, start dumping boxes of cornstarch and adding water, mixing with your hands until it “taps” just right.
The above pictures are from the Shazaam Science program at Ivy Tech Community College’s summer College for Kids program, but even the celebrities love to walk on water, Spangler Science style!
So do these experiments at home with your kids, or at school with your students. . . .
Then appear on Ellen DeGeneres’ show and demonstrate how a person can run across or dance on top of a good non-Newtonian batch of fake quicksand and only sink when you stop moving.
Everybody loves science, even famous celebrities. That’s because with science, there’s just so much to love.
Our UV beads are pony beads that have been treated so that they react with the sun’s UV rays. The beads are snow white when they are not in the sun, and they turn various colors when the sun’s rays hit them.
For this reason, our UV beads are fantastic when you or your children plan to spend some time at the beach or any place that is outdoors, in reach of the sun’s rays.
Many parents or childcare providers like to give each child a little bracelet made of UV beads, or weave a bead or two into a child’s hair, or safety-pin a single bead – or two or three – to a child’s swimsuit or play clothes. When the sunscreen is applied to the child’s skin, some is also spread over the beads. When the beads begin to turn color, it’s time for more sunscreen! In this way, even very small children can help take responsibility for their own sunscreen application!
The beads will turn colors even when the day is cloudy, but the colors will be brighter in bright sunlight. Remember, our skin is in danger from UV rays even on cloudy days, and the beads can help us stay alert!
Have you ever wondered why most prescription medicine is sold in those amber bottles? UV rays can’t penetrate the amber, so your medication stays fresh; UV rays can actually change the chemical content of your pills.
A good experiment is to put a few UV beads in an empty amber medicine bottle and replace the lid. Take the bottle outside; even the brightest sunlight can’t touch the beads!
But if you open the lid and let the sunshine touch the beads, they will change colors.
Pour the beads into your hand and the colors will really flow!
The high school and college students in my community are wearing their UV beads in an even more creative way – they’re crocheting a long chain, with a bead placed every ten stitches or so, tying the ends together, and winding them around their wrists. Apparently these wrist-wraps are quite popular, and with the UV beads, they’re quite useful as well!
I’ve seen some of the students wear this as a necklace, but most of them are using it as a wrist-wrap.
Pretty cool, huh.
Well, they made one for me, and I sure thought so!
By the way, water will not hurt your UV beads at all, but it will wash away the sunscreen you put on them. Be sure to reapply your sunscreen the minute you see the beads start to turn colors!
Both multi-colored and clear jelly marbles can be used for this experiment, and both work equally well, but you’ll be able to SEE the results better if you use the clear marbles.
First of all, you’ll need to hydrate the tiny polymer balls and let them grow. I usually put some in a shallow pan and add water.
For experimenting, I like to use nasturtium seeds because they grow so incredibly fast. Any kind of seed, except the very large ones, may be used.
Using a VERY sharp knife, make a tiny slit in the jelly marble, and insert the seed. It’s okay for the seed to stick out a little bit, but most of it should be inside the jelly marble.
My kids looked at the pan of seeds-inside-the-marbles and said, “Jeepers, Mom, it looks like a pan of fertilized eggs!” They do, sort of. That’s another kind of lesson, however.
Like any kind of hydroponic garden, the nasturtium seeds should, within a few days, germinate and begin to grow. When they are still pretty tiny, I’ll transplant them to some actual dirt, polymer ball and all!
The water jelly marble will continue to help hydrate the plant even after it blossoms; that’s one reason people put a pinch of polymer marbles under the root or with the seeds of both vegetable and flowering plants. Polymers are the gardener’s best friend!