Category Archives: Seasonal Science

Holiday Science: Long-Lasting Christmas Jelly Marbles Polymer

Our polymers are more than just awesome, great fun, beautiful, and educational, you know.  Our polymers are awesome, great fun, beautiful, educational, and long-lasting.

How long-lasting are they, you ask?  I really don’t know yet.  The polymers in this Christmas decoration are seven years old and still going strong.

Seven years old and still beautiful!
Seven years old and still beautiful!

What you see up there is a Christmas candy jar with about a tablespoon of Spangler Science’s Clear Jelly Marbles, about three drops of green food coloring, and a cup of plain tap water.  Don’t put the lid on the jar until the jelly marbles and water reach the top of the jar.  THEN put the lid on.  Once you put the lid on the jar, the marbles won’t grow any more because they need a little air to help them grow.  (Please notice that this jar has a lid that seals!  That’s important.)

It took these Jelly Marbles only a few hours to grow to the size I wanted them.  If I removed the jar’s lid and drained off the water, the polymer Jelly Marbles would shrink back down to the size of rock salt again, but they wouldn’t be “dead;” when I added water again, they would grow again.

Would they still be green?  Nope.  Not if I rinsed off the food coloring.  I could keep them their own clear, invisible-in-the-water selves, or I could drop in some red, or blue, or green again, or create my own colors by combining primary colors.  I could drop in an Easter egg color tablet. I could use a Spangler Science True Color Tablet.

True Color Fizzers

The point is, seven years ago I made a pretty and decorative Christmas decoration using some simple polymers – clear jelly marbles – some food coloring, and some water, and I’m still using that pretty and decorative Christmas decoration this Christmas.

At Spangler Science, you will find many products and ideas that you can use during almost any holiday time – simple ideas, simple projects, ideas you can use by yourself or with your family, even with young children.

 

 

 

Jane GoodwinJane Goodwin is a professor of expository writing at Ivy Tech Community College, a hands-on science teacher for College for Kids, a professional speaker and writer, and a social media liaison  for Steve Spangler Science.  She wanted to be a ballerina and an astronaut, but gravity got the better of her.

Gift Giving Made Easy

The season of giving is upon us, so  I know you are wondering who you can turn to when looking for the perfect gift for your little scientists, right?   Steve Spangler Science, of course!  And who better to answer all of your questions about what kits will work best for your budding professor, than your friendly Customer Service Team? Um.. no one!

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Steve Spangler Science has tons of great options for gift giving this season!

Steve Spangler Science has made it even easier to shop for the holidays on our website, and we’ve added some great new products just in time for big seasonal shopping.  Simply click the Products tab on the black bar at the top of the page to find our Holiday category.   Under this section you’ll not only be able to search for gifts by age, but you can also check out our selection of Stocking Stuffers, and this year’s Top 12 Toys!

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The newest edition to Steve Spangler Science was the highly anticipated launch of our Spangler Science Club!  This subscription program is perfect for the children, parents, teachers and even yourself.

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Spangler Science Club

Spangler Science Club provides a box packed with new experiments that are delivered to your door each month.   The best part of the Spangler Science Club is that you can tailor it to your budget!  If your pocket book is tight this season, you can start with a month to month subscription.   But you will gain the most value if your budget can stretch to purchase the 12 month subscription (up to $5 savings each month, per kit!)

20141016_Spangler_Science_Club_05.3If you’re a one and done kind of gift giver, we have a huge selection  for you too!  Our Customer Service Team has complied a few ideas for giving to both the individual child, as well as some for a family to share.

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Six Test Tube Experiments in a Rack  (Item#WTTC-200)

Customer Service Team picks for giving to the Individual Child

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Sick Science Simple Circuits ( Item #WSKS-123)

 Customer Service picks for giving to a Family

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Pop Top Rockets (Item #WPTR-500)

 

Customer Service picks for giving to your Teacher

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Baby Soda Bottles Test Tubes & Rack (Item# WBSB-500)

 

If there are just too many options and you simply can’t decide, the best choice would be to give the gift of shopping! A Steve Spangler Science Gift Certificate will always fit perfectly, and is an amazing gift for that special educator, parent or child.  Plus, the customizable amounts allow you to give great gifts without breaking your wallet.

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If you need more information on any of our products, please call our Customer Service Team at (800) 223-9080, or leave a comment below and we would be happy to help you out.

Happy Shopping!!!

How to Study Density with Popcorn

by Christy McGuire, Contributor

Thanksgiving is almost here! You can use one of the original foods from the first Thanksgiving to discuss density with your students. Popcorn is fascinating because it changes so drastically during the cooking process. The color, shape and texture of a popped kernel are all different than those of an unpopped kernel. If you can spare the day before Thanksgiving break, this simple density experiment would be a great way to practice their inquiry skills, and a great excuse to have a treat in class!

How to Study Seeds with Popcorn/How to Combine Thanksgiving and Science in your Elementary Classroom

If your students have already covered density, this is a great time to practice doing a full exploration complete with a written report. You might simply give them access to the relevant materials and set them loose with this challenge:

Find how density changes for popped verses upopped corn. Check the results of your experiment and write a description of your findings, including an error analysis.

If density is a new concept, or if your students are struggling to get the hang of the scientific method, you can help them figure out the procedure. Make them do as much of the thinking as possible though! Science is more fun for the engineer making the decisions than for the technician doing as he is told.

Leading questions to help students develop their procedures

How do we calculate density? (mass per volume)

What measurements will we need to take in order to find density? (mass and volume)

How do we measure mass? How do we measure volume? (balance, and appropriate beakers)

How are we changing the popcorn? (popping method)

The Science of Popcorn

Hints for a successful experiment

You can expect your popcorn to increase in volume by about 16X.

To  pop the corn over heat, put a couple of tablespoons of oil in the pot or beaker, add corn and heat over medium heat.

If you are using a microwave, you can measure the volume of the popcorn in a bag of microwave popcorn and assume the same volume is in a second bag of popcorn that you pop before class.

Increase accuracy by repeating with varying quantities of popcorn, or by combining data from multiple lab groups.

Science of Popcorn

Data Analysis

If you wish, you can have your students graph mass a function of volume for various amounts of unpopped corn, then do another graph for the popped corn. The slope of these graphs will be the density of the popcorn.

You can also ask your students to compute density algebraically, then graph density as a function of popped or unpopped.

Requiring students to analyze the accuracy of their results could provide some very interesting feedback. Lab groups could compare results with the rest of the class. They can also compare the initial and final masses and try to defend any changes that they find. My experience is that the mass of the popcorn actually increases during this experiment. Don’t tell your students! See what they can come up with to justify their own answers. Factors that they may want to consider include the mass and volume of the oil used to cook the kernels and the humidity on the day of the experiment.

No matter what your students’ level, this experiment can be adjusted to provide a challenging, and interesting exercise. I hope you will enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Christy McGuire is a trained physics teacher who loves developing new ways for students to engage with science.  While taking a break from the high school classroom, Christy rediscovered that young children are tons of fun, and can learn powerful science and math too.  Now she is attempting to cross the excitement of early childhood style learning with serious STEM study to benefit students on both ends of the learning process.    Find activities and reflections on STEM learning on her blog: www.ThrivingSTEM.com.

Preparing for Halloween Parties

The temperature is getting cooler and it’s starting to get dark earlier.  Leaves are changing on the trees and pumpkin flavored items are starting to arrive in the super markets.    It’s a great time to drink cider and shop for new science gear. (wink, wink)logoautumnhalloween Yes, it’s officially becoming fall!

What else do we enjoy during the fall?  Oh yeah, that autumnal celebration with door bell ringing, candy comas and ghoulish fun.  That’s right,  it’s time to start preparing for Halloween parties!

Continue reading Preparing for Halloween Parties

Brought to you only by Steve Spangler Science

Did you know that there are over 100 original items that you can only purchase from Steve Spangler Science?

MAGIC COLOR-CHANGING FLOWERS (another exclusive from Steve Spangler Science! )
Magic Color-Changing Flowers (Exclusively at Steve Spangler Science! )

 

I know what you’re thinking… and yes, it really is possible!

Even though Steve Spangler Science has several items being distributed to retail stores both nationally and internationally,  there are still items that only available through SteveSpanglerScience.com.

 

Mysterious Water Suspension
Mysterious Water Suspension

 

Steve Spangler Science has created several original kits, DVD’s and digital experiment guides (including some items that are currently in seasonal demand,  such as our Ghost Science Kit, Vampire SlimeHalloween Science Party and our Halloween Science Experiment Guide) that are exclusive to Steve Spangler Science.

Ghost Science Kit (Another exclusive item from Steve Spangler Science!)
Ghost Science Kit – (Another exclusive item from Steve Spangler Science!)

 

So, how do you find these fantastically exclusive items, you ask?  It’s easy! Just look for their trademark logo tag!  (Example shown below.)

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You can also find them conveniently listed under “Only At Steve Spangler Science“, or by searching  the website for Experiment Guides.

Halloween Science Experiment Guide
Halloween Science Experiment Guide

 

The Sick Science Collection is one of our newest and largest additions to Steve Spangler Science.   These kits were slowly released each week, beginning in April 2014.  When the final kit is released this year, we will have a grand total of 24 new kits!  Pretty amazing, right?

Amazing Square Bubble Sick Science Kit! (Isn't the color of the bubble concentrate amazing, too?)
Amazing Square Bubble Sick Science Kit  (The color of the bubble concentrate is almost as amazing as the Square Bubbles this kit makes!)

 

If you’re looking for some stupendously fun kits to add to your curriculum this school year, these Sick Science Kits are the kits to purchase!  They are great for home schooling parents and teachers alike!  The activity guides for these kits are packed with large, full color pictures and easy to read instructions.  But, you’ll also get an exclusive link to special videos relating to the experiment where Steve is your teacher!  He will explain the science behind the experiment itself, and how some steps on to take it further.

Sadly, the introductory sale price will not be around much longer, so this is the time to scoop them up!

 

Windbag Wonders Sick Science Kit
Windbag Wonders Sick Science Kit

 

(Spoiler Alert: I’m about to sound like an info-mercial in 3…2…1….)

But wait.. there’s more! The most unbelievable part is that for a limited time you are also able to purchase our complete Sick Science Collection Volume 1 (a compilation of our first 12 Sick Science Kits) for the price of 10!  (Twelve, twelve, twelve kits for ten! Ok, I’m done now.) 

Balancing Nail Puzzle Sick Science Kit
Balancing Nail Puzzle Sick Science Kit

 

As if all of this isn’t enough, do you know what else is exclusive to Steve Spangler Science? Teacher Training!

Our Spangler Virtual Online Learning is a perfect way to gain credits, fulfill your continuing education requirements with hands-on science fun, and see how Steve is putting the S back in STEM, all in the comfort of your own home!  We are currently offering Steve’s Virtual Science Workshop and Story Time Slime Online with Julie Gintzler.

Prefer to get out of the house for educational experiences?  Then you should look into Science at Sea!   A one of a kind, inspiring, and educations cruise to Alaska for teachers, friends, colleagues, and family.  Come set sail with us in June 2015!

All of these items and more are available to you, and brought to you only by Steve Spangler Science!

Want or need more information about any of the items or workshops listed above? Contact our friendly Customer Service Representatives at (800) 223-9080!

 

Joy Gintzler's Bio
Joy Gintzler’s Bio

Bio: Joy Gintzler is a jack of all trades.  Currently a Customer Service Guru and Blogger for Steve Spangler Science.    She mixes cereal without remorse and loves engaging with customers, especially when helping plan events.