Water Jelly Marbles Give Gardening a Novel Touch!

While people are still planting seeds for the summer’s gardens, why not be a little novel about it and use some polymers, specifically Water Jelly Marbles, or Clear Spheres?

Spangler Science’s Water Jelly Marbles – Clear Spheres –  have so many and varied uses, and gardening is one of those uses.  In fact, gardening itself has many and varied uses for Water Jelly Marbles!

Water Jelly Marbles

 

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.

Multi-colored or clear, any kind of water jelly marble will work for this experiment!
Multi-colored or clear, any kind of water jelly marble will work for this experiment!

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.

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These water jelly marbles are almost full grown and ready!

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.

seeds inside the water jelly marbles

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.

Here's a closeup!
Here’s a closeup!

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!

And now, we wait.

 

Insta-Snow: It’s a Ton of Fun!

Steve Spangler’s Insta-Snow is not only a useful gardening/decorating product; it is also a ton of fun!  And when you play with it using martini glasses, it’s even more fun!  Okay, they were plastic martini glasses from the dollar store, but even so.  Tell me these aren’t elegant!

A blue scoop of Insta-Snow, and we're ready to go!
A blue scoop of Insta-Snow, and we’re ready to go!

(I always get the bucket of Insta-Snow because I use it all the time for a variety of different reasons.)  (So I need a lot of it.) bucket of Insta-SnoqMy daughter and two of her friends came by the other day with gooseberries to be made into pie, and strawberries to be made into jam, and these projects require a mommy if they’re to be successful.  While waiting for the pie to bake and the jam to gel, we brought out the Insta-Snow because Insta-Snow pretty much guarantees a good time to be had by all.

Sara is used to Spangler Science experiments and projects, but Mary and Arwa were newbies.  Sometimes I’m not sure which is the most fun to do experiments with, but I think it’s a tie.

All three young ladies put the exact same amount of snow into their martini glasses and added the exact same amount of water.  Naturally, they ended up with three different reactions.

Sara‘s glass was full of slush.  Mary‘s glass was half-full of snow and half-full of powder.  But Arwa – the Insta-Snow powder in Arwa’s glass swelled and overflowed into the plate and she ended up with a pile of perfect Insta-Snow.

Arwa Merriman, polymer scientist!
Arwa Merriman, polymer scientist!

Now, upon examination, even though it seemed that each girl was doing exactly the same thing, Sara actually put too much water in her glass and Mary stopped and started too much.  But Arwa did it exactly right and her results are proof of that.

I was kind of surprised at Sara’s results – she grew up in this house and has done Spangler Science experiments all her life!  But to be fair, she was concentrating on her pizza. . . .

Mary is a beginner, so I cut her some slack.  She also had her wisdom teeth removed that day so we’re not really sure she was mentally there all night.  Those dental drugs are fine, you know.  Her haircut was really cute, though.

Arwa is a beginner, too, but she turned out to be absolutely excellent at following directions, and she also has a lovely innate instinct for doing things well.  And she did.

Insta-Snow, Arwa's glass

 

Just look at that.  Don’t you wish you had some Insta-Snow?  You can, you know.  You can order some Insta-Snow right here!   Just choose how much you want and proceed from there!

Science experiments, remember, are just that:  experiments.  We think we are doing the same thing in the same way, but the truth is, there will always be variations, big and small, and even the smallest variation can mean a different result.

Summer’s here – finally – so what better time to order some Insta-Snow, and anything else you want – to make sure your kids are never bored this summer.

In fact, to make ABSOLUTELY sure your kids are not bored, why not sign up for the Spangler Science Experiment of the Week?  Every week, you’ll get a free experiment, complete with videos and clear instructions, in your email!  FREE!

Experiment of the Week

You can also sign up for the Spangler Science Club; it doesn’t cost much, and you’ll get a box full of awesome science swag every month, to keep your kids busy learning and having fun all summer long!

Spangler Science Club

 

Go on, click both of those links and sign up!  Then you and your family can play with Insta-Snow and other awesome things, too!

Families that do science experiments together have more fun.  Seriously.  They do.

We do.  You can, too.  Go for it!

Steve Spangler on The Ellen DeGeneres Show – May 2015

When someone is as awesome as Ellen DeGeneres, people tend to listen to what that person has to say. So when Ellen says, “Steve Spangler is the science teacher you always wanted to have in school,” we get pretty hyped-up around the office. That excitement is tenfold when it’s Steve Spangler on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

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We shouldn’t be surprised, really, that Ellen thinks so highly of our in-house magician and science teaching aficionado, she’s had him on her show a whopping 18 times. Well, at the posting of this blog, he’s only been on the show 17 times, but tomorrow marks the appearance that allows Steve to vote.

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Steve is used to getting students and teachers excited about science, but what about a talk show host?

Steve Spangler's 18th appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show May 27, 2015

Steve made his first appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in September of 2007, teaching Ellen how to blow giant smoke rings, and he returned just a month later to demonstrate his exploding pumpkin trick. In one appearance, Steve wowed Ellen and her audience by letting an audience member walk on water… or at least a giant vat of cornstarch and water… and gave Ellen a little surprise when he ignited hydrogen and oxygen bubbles, right in her hands!

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During his last appearance…

What? You didn’t think we were going to give away all of the fun and excitement on our blog, did you? You just need to wait a day for the May 27th, 2015 appearance. Of course, schedules and listings may vary from city to city, so make sure to check your local television stations to find The Ellen DeGeneres Show where you live.

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What we can tell you is that Ellen is a HUGE fan of our Spangler Science Club monthly kits. They’re the best way to have a science experiences created by Steve delivered right to your door.

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Before we forget, we have a database of all the 17 appearances that Steve has made with Ellen, so make sure to hop over and check that out. Then, head over to our Facebook page to make sure you’re up to date on everything going on in the Steve Spangler Science world. Finally… keep making science fun. We know you are all good for it.

Cold Equations

When I was a kid, I read a short story called “The Cold Equations,” by Tom Godwin.  It scared me to death.  It was wonderful, but it scared me to death.  That there could be a situation wherein the milk of human kindness had no power, that there could be a situation wherein someone, of her own free will, could happily and blindly enter into something with the best of intentions, and die for it, gave me nightmares for years.  The cold fact that there are, indeed, cold facts, still gives me the shakes.

Tom Godwin - The Cold Equations

Now, equations are made up of factors, and once certain factors are selected, the combination thereof is an absolute, unless the factors are changed.  However, UNLESS the factors are changed, the answer can’t be any different than the natural result of those particular factors.

If any other number wants to elbow in, it must be rejected, if the 3 and the 2 are to stay, and if the answer MUST be 6.
If any other number wants to elbow in, it must be rejected, if the 3 and the 2 are to stay, and if the         answer MUST be 6.  There is no room for a 4 in this equation, unless we change the whole intent of the equation.

When the weather is such that it creates snow, or tornadoes, or rain, etc, those things are the natural result of a combination of factors which have no choice but to produce that particular outcome.

It’s an equation.  It’s a cold equation.    When the factors are there, the product, or outcome, is assured.

When the equation contains these factors, a tornado is inevitable.
When the equation contains these factors, a tornado is inevitable.

When the equation is set. . . when the factors are selected. . . . when the product is assured. . . . no amount of bargaining or begging can change the natural outcome of this equation, whether it concerns math class, or the weather, or a spaceship on which everything was measured and weighed and ANY additional ANYTHING will result in the loss of many lives.  Even if the additional something is a sweet, innocent teenage girl who just wanted to see her brother.  Even then.

As humans, we don’t like cold equations.  I don’t like them.  You probably don’t like them, either.  They’re too, well, cold.  Humans have compassion.  We love.  We make adjustments and we adapt circumstances to meet other circumstances.

Every once in a while, “Values Clarification” makes a comeback, is tried, and is rejected again.  Compassionate people don’t like to think that any of us would ever toss someone in a lifeboat overboard, even if doing so would insure the safety and survival of everybody else in the lifeboat.  I know I would not want to make that decision.

lifeboat, values clarification

 

There are aspects of life, however, that make use of cold equations.  Math.   Science.  I’ve read that many people think they dislike math and science when it’s really the idea of a cold equation that they dislike.

With math, there’s not much we can do with a cold equation.  2+2 is going to equal 4, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

In science, sometimes we can.  Oh, there are cold equations in science, but we can almost always do some experimenting.  Sure, if you drop Mentos in a bottle of Diet Coke, the result is pretty much assured, but what if we drop more, or fewer, or diet, or flavored Mentos?  What if we use Fanta soda?  The variety of factors, while sticking to the gist of the equation, can yield all kinds of products.

Tom Godwin’s short story is about an equation that allowed no deviation.  It’s truly a cold equation.  The young girl begs for her life, and insists that she didn’t do anything to die for.

But child, you did.

Of her own free will, she inserted herself into an already factored equation, and the addition did not fit.  Any altering of the equation would bring death to several others.  There could only be one solution.

The Cold Equations, Tom Godwin, MarilynCold equations.

Most situations allow for variation, but not a cold equation.  Not everything can be altered.  Sometimes, we have to alter ourselves, FORCE ourselves to do things we really would rather not do.  Those who insist that life be altered to suit them are living in a fool’s paradise.  All the insistence in the world will not stop a tornado in its path, or make a tidal wave change its mind and turn back.   The factors in such equations can only equal a set product.

equations

Human beings have the power to set the factors and change them if we desire, in order to produce the product we desire.  Not always, but sometimes.  We have to deal with some cold equations, but most human experiences do allow for deviation.

Now, click on the link in that first paragraph and go read the short story, “The Cold Equations.”  Don’t read it right before bedtime.  Tom Godwin, your story is absolutely superb.  I was horrified, and terrified, and lost in admiration.

 

1000 Appearances and Counting – Steve Spangler on 9news

Steve Spangler is known for creating amazing hands-on science experiences for kids. Whether it involves kits, toys, or incredible experiments, kids leave an experience with Steve feeling like science magicians.

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Over the last decade and change, Steve has also spent one afternoon a week making adults feel like science magicians on Denver’s local NBC affiliate, 9News – KUSA. News anchors, meteorologists… you name it, if they’ve worked in the 9News studio, they’ve experienced the hands-on hi-jinx that follows Steve wherever he goes. That’s what defines Steve Spangler on 9News.

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If you want a small sample of Steve on 9News, check out this video for a look back at the segments that made Steve popular.

May 22, 2015 marks a special milestone for Steve – his 1000th 9News appearance. That’s 1000 times that Steve has brought fun science, incredible young scientists, or crazy experiences to televisions all around Denver and the region.

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Steve’s 1000th appearance was always going to be special, but the presence of his entire family made it even more so. Give it a watch here.

We also put together an album of our favorite #SteveMoments over on our Flickr, so give that a look, as well.

Keep making science fun, Steve.

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