Category Archives: Teacher Spotlight

More Giant Soap Bubbles – Henny Penny Preschool in Action

Giant soap bubbles seem to be sweeping through schools everywhere these days, and our friends at Henny Penny Preschool recently sent us an update with some great shots of their kids in action.  Amy and Craig Dolley are always looking for unique ideas to get their students excited about science and when they saw our giant soap bubbles they knew the activity would be a hit.  From the look of this photo, I think they were right!

Science "Left Behind" in American Schools

One Nation Left Behind

You may have seen the recent commercials showing a child raising flags representing America’s standing in school ranking world-wide. I came across an article for the same campaign that shared some striking, but unfortunately not surprising, statistics. According to the “One Nation Left Behind” program, 20 countries outscore the US in science education and 93% of US middle school teachers have little or no science training.

As standardized testing becomes key in schools nation-wide, the decline in science education becomes widely apparent. The Strong American Schools Website offers more staggering statistics and eye-opening quizzes that help drive home the point that our children are not receiving enough science education. Check it out and be prepared for some shocking results.

However, the One Nation Left Behind campaign is committed to creating awareness about the growing education problem in America… from science, to math, to English.. and offers opportunities to get involved in your community.

Cup Cakes For Science

cup cakes for science

Preparation for standardized testing has taken a lot of the fun out of the classroom, but good teachers will find a way to sneak the fun back in. REALLY good teachers will sneak the fun back in and teach some awesome lessons at the same time!

Science teachers frequently say, “I love all the activities you do, like being able to make slime, or make water float in a bottle, but of the 220 activities you taught us, only a handful were allowed in my school curriculum. There just isn’t enough time for science because it’s not on the big test!”

A colleague went to her principal and asked: “If it is not in school time, but in private time, do you mind if I teach science?”? The principal agreed.

On average, an elementary teacher spends about 15 minutes per child per year on his/her birthday, and each year that time grows shorter. That’s why “Cup Cakes for Science” was born. The kids were offered a choice between a traditional party or a science party where the birthday child gets to be helper. After one party, the class was hooked, and they even asked for science parties for their brothers and sisters too.

Children are starving for science. It is sad when a teacher has to find sneaky ways to put science back in the curriculum, but if it means trading cup cakes for science, then that is what a teacher has to do. This teacher with 23 children was able to provide those children with 23 additional learning experiences they have never had before and those experiences were unforgettable.

Plus, the Birthday Boy/Girl got to do all the really awesome stuff! And there were still cup cakes!

Contest Winner Makes Summer Camp a Huge Success

color mixing wonder

When we invited our customers to show us their Summer Science Camps with You Tube videos, Cheryl Purdum when above and beyond the call. Any teacher who is willing to dress up as a Mad Scientist to win a gift certificate to our website clearly deserved that winning title.

Cheryl followed up with us later in the summer to let us know that her summer camp was a huge success. Her pictures were such a treat… I loved looking at the kids’ facial expressions and to truly see a sense of wonder. The color mixing activities looked like they were a big hit, and the cornstarch walk was a riot. Just the look on their faces tells the whole story!

I can’t think of anyone who could have put the gift certificate to better use. Thanks so much, Cheryl, for your enthusiasm for teaching science and for all that you do to create experiences for kids that they’ll never forget.

cornstarch water walk

Science Experiment Receives Lots of Feedback

seven-layer-columnA few weeks ago on my 9News segment I featured a Seven-Layer Density column. It’s a colorful way to talk about density in the classroom. Well… we thought we had all of our facts straight, but when we inadvertently put in the experiment write-up that oil and water don’t mix because they have different densities, my email box was flooded with concerned teachers, parents, administrators and more, who wanted to set the record straight. Yes, it’s true, oil and water don’t mix because of their intermolecular polarity, not because of density. I love when people actually get involved with the experiments we are posting and care enough about the information to let me know when it isn’t quite up to par.

So, we had our density problem solved, it would seem the Seven-Layer column had experience its fifteen minutes of fame, but, no… this one just wouldn’t die. The day after my news segment, some of our staff noticed that the vegetable oil and rubbing alcohol layers had switched places! Knowing the great response we received before, we opened it up to our readers for their thoughts on what was happening with our column. Posted below is what you had to say…