Fort Lauderdale, Florida sixth grader Peyton Robertson may revolutionize how we protect ourselves and property from flooding.
Earlier this month, he won the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for his sandless sandbag. The Young Scientist Challenge is sponsored by 3M and the Discovery Channel Education and is open to students in grades 5 – 8. The 2014 challenge opens in late December. Student scientists can win cash prizes and trips.
Robertson, who wants to be an inventor when he grows up, has invented a sandbag that doesn’t use sand to stop flooding. His bag is “sandless” and contains a much lighter polymer. Sandbags weigh about 40 pounds each, but the sandless sandbag only weighs only a few pounds.
The sandless bag is filled with a mixture of an “ultra-fluid” polymer and salt. When the bag gets wet, the polymer absorbs water and expands, keeping water from seeping through the cracks between bags. This bag is heavy when expanded and won’t float away either.
The polymer looks very similar to our Water Gel or Insta-Snow, or the polymer found in a baby diaper. Insta-Snow starts out as a fine white powder, but when water is added, the powder absorbs it and quickly expands.
Robertson says he came up with the idea after he and his family hid in a closet during Hurricane Wilma in 2005. It was the third hurricane in the 2005 season to reach Category 5 status. Wilma was also the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic and was responsible for 62 deaths. His neighborhood was devastated by the damage, so Robertson set off to find a way to keep the water out.
Thank you for joining us on The Spangler Effect Live this week for our last minute Halloween science demos and activities. During the two hours, Steve and Higginsworth shared a lot of fun, messy and loud experiments for spooky fun. If you missed the broadcasts, we have both available in this post. If you want more information on any of the experiments shared, we have included links to many of them too.
This is a kid-friendly activity that’s perfect for Halloween or anytime you want to make a big mess in the name of science. The best thing about this kitchen science activity? It uses supplies found in your house.
Halloween is the perfect time to whip up a perfect batch of gooey slime or to amaze your friends with the coolest dry ice experiments. And maybe a few disembodied hands.
The response from our first live episode of The Spangler Effect was so great. we want you to join Steve and Higginsworth for one final live Halloween episode. Join the fun, LIVE, on Wednesday, October 30th at 2PM EST and 5PM EST at SteveSpanglerScience.com
After several practice runs and dress rehearsals, the students at Coulson Tough Elementary in The Woodlands, Texas broke the World Record for the world’s longest human electrical circuit on October 24, 2013.
Every student in the school, from kindergarten to sixth grade participated in holding hands in a giant circle around the playground to complete an electrical circuit. The school used an Energy Stick from Steve Spangler Science that buzzed and lit up when the circuit was complete.