Tag Archives: steve spangler

The Big Bag of Science!

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.

Check out the awesome – it’s Steve Spangler’s Big Bag of Science!

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.

Tornado Tube: Vortex in a Bottle!

You can use our tornado tube experiment to introduce students to kinetic energy, potential energy, and weather. This simple plastic tube can help kids discover how air pressure and density work together to create an incredible force of nature.  To put it simply, Spangler Science’s tornado tubes are all about the science of vortex energy, the swirling, twisting and spiraling action that can be found everywhere in nature – in the air, in the water, in the sky. . . everywhere!

When you let the water out of the sink or tub, that swirling that you see is vortex energy.  What you see in your bathtub is what Dorothy Gale and Toto saw right before they were whisked away to Oz, only theirs was in the air and yours is, well, in the bathtub.  Or sink.  Kitchen or bathroom – it doesn’t matter.  It’s a vortex.  Take cover.

Tornado tubes:  all different colors to create a vortex in a bottle!
Tornado tubes: all        different colors to         create a vortex in a                  bottle!

I like to do this experiment immediately after doing the Mentos/Diet Coke experiment, because after the Mentos Geyser goes off, you’ve got all those empty two-liter Diet Coke bottles anyway!

Mentos Geyser!  Don't throw the 2-liter bottles away!
Mentos Geyser! Don’t throw the 2-liter bottles away!

So rinse them out, peel off the label, and fill one of the bottles with water.  Add a little food coloring to make the vortex show up more clearly.

Screw your tornado tube to the filled bottle.  Turn the empty bottle upside down and screw it into the remaining half of the tube.  Make sure your seal is good.

Tornado TubeNow turn your bottles over so the one filled with water is on top.  Watch the water spiral through the tornado tube, creating a whirling vortex that looks exactly like a waterspout.  Or, in the air, a tornado.  Or, in your bathtub, a swirling tube of water that sometimes goes clockwise, and sometimes goes counterclockwise.  Google THAT.  Black holes are vortexes, too.  Wow.

Big Blue Vortex!
Big Blue Vortex!

Steve Spangler’s Tornado Tube is one of the simplest and most interesting science projects; it appeals to every age.  Very young children can use it, and so can everybody else!  It can introduce a unit on weather, and it can demonstrate quite a few aspects of physics.  It’s made of tough plastic, so if a child drops it, it probably won’t break.  If you order several, each student can have his/her own color so there won’t be any mix-ups.

And we all know that we all want our own tornado tube in our own color.  For our very own.  They’re inexpensive enough so that everybody in the group can have one.

Be ready to hear large groups of students muttering “I don’t think we’re in Kansas any more.”




SITR Encouraging Teachers to Fill Classrooms with STEAM

Steve Spangler Hosts a Hands-on Science Institute for Teachers – Science in the Rockies – that Explores Strategies for Incorporating the Arts with Current STEM Initiatives

Lanyards for teachers ready for Science in the Teachers SITR

With more emphasis being put on teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), teachers are eager to learn how to integrate more science and engineering challenges into their daily curriculum. 

The business community has also discovered that students need more than facts and concepts to compete for STEM-based jobs.

Learning how to effectively communicate scientific ideas and engineering solutions requires a connection to the arts (oral, written and visual communication). STEM is turning into STEAM, and Steve Spangler is leading the charge.

Teachers learning and having fun at Science in the Rockies #SITR

That’s why 168 teachers from 5 countries are attending Science in the Rockies this week at the Sheraton Denver West Conference Center. During the three-day training, teachers will participate in more than 75 hands-on science experiments and engineering challenges aimed at engaging students on many levels.

The leader for SITR is none other than Denver’s own Steve Spangler, who is well known throughout the country for his eye-catching science experiments and engaging presentation style as a science communicator. 

Science in the Rockies Flash drives and test tubes - take home learning materials for SITR

“I believe that at its root level STEM is all about creating the next generation of young scientists and engineers,” says Spangler, who started his career as a science teacher in the Cherry Creek Schools from 1991-2003. “Science in the Rockies is all about teaching teachers how to turn ordinary activities into unforgettable learning experiences that will spark passion and enthusiasm in the students they reach.” 

Given Spangler’s reputation for making things fun, participants never know what to expect. What’s in store for this year’s participants? If you’re a betting person, place your money on messy and memorable.

 Teachers Send Home Multiple Boxes of Take Home Supplies from Science in the Rockies SITR

Kid City Does Spangler Science!

Bloomington, Indiana’s Kid City had a Spangler Science experience this week at Ivy Tech Community College, and according to a very professional exit poll* it was a big hit!

Kid City Science started off with marshmallow/toothpick towers.  The goal:  HEIGHT.
Kid City Science started off with marshmallow/toothpick      towers. The goal: HEIGHT.

After this project (Prize:  Insta-Snow!) a trip to the restroom to wash all that marshmallow dust off our hands was in order.  Before the students left the room, however, each got a squirt of GlitterBug Lotion to rub all over his/her hands.  They were then told to wash their hands thoroughly.

A casual handwashing will NOT get all the dirt off your skin!

One black light viewing later, and the students decided to go back to the sinks and try again.

That official exit poll* indicated that the hit of the morning was Insta-Worms.  The excitement also indicated that Insta-Worms were a popular activity.  We used Atomic Insta Worms because, well, they’re COOL, and we already had the black light.

They GLOW!

Polymer science is awesome in so many ways, and Insta-Worms is one of those ways.


Kid City students agree:  Insta-Worms rocked.

Both boys and girls agreed: Insta-Worms were awesome!
Both boys and girls agreed: Insta-Worms were awesome!
If it breaks, you can just stick it back together!  Polymers!
If it breaks, you can just    stick it back together!    Polymers!
You can make those Insta-Worms really long, too!
You can make those Insta-Worms really long, too!
The Kid City counselors loved the Insta-Worms, too!
The Kid City counselors loved the Insta-Worms,    too!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, you’re NEVER too old to have fun with science – just ask those Kid City counselors up there!

And the QUESTIONS!  All morning, super questions about polymers, and pyramids, and black lights, and more.  When there are lots of questions, there is lots of learning going on.

QUESTIONS!  There were     questions!
QUESTIONS! There were    questions!

And there was tie dye – not the t-shirt kind – the milk kind!

Tie Dye Milk
Tie dye, using whole milk, food coloring, and Dawn dishwashing detergent!
And more tie dye!
And more tie dye!
. . . and MORE!
. . . and MORE!

Color-changing milk is such a simple experiment, and yet the results are beautiful.  All you need is a plate, a cotton swab, a dot of Dawn dishwashing detergent, and some whole milk.  I think it usually looks like tie dye, but some of the Kid City students thought theirs looked like stained glass.  It did, too.

We did a lot more in our three hours together – culminating with some ice cream in a zip-lock bag – but these were some highlights.

The morning with Kid City was a lot of fun, for the counselors, for me, and from the reactions, questions, and laughter, for the students as well.  And, as with most things that create genuine laughter and fun, there was a lot of learning, as well.  I hope much of the morning’s lab ended up at each student’s dinner table, because, as Steve Spangler himself often says, “If it ends up at the dinner table, it was a success.”

As for that exit poll I was referring to up there, I asked each student, as he/she exited the lab, what they liked best.  The Atomic Worms pretty much won, but every experiment we’d done that morning was mentioned, so I count them all a success.

A success.  You know – like each and every one of those wonderful Kid City kids are now and will be for the rest of their lives.


Why Early Childhood Science Education is Important

Steve Spangler recently participated in #TeacherFriends Twitter chat and met some amazing teachers. Here are the questions and his longer-formatted answers about science education today.

Steve Spangler on #TeacherFriends Twitter Chat

1. Why is early childhood science education important?

For young learners, science is just an extension of their everyday world. We don’t have to teach young children how to wonder, discover, and explore through play because they do it naturally.

The myth is that we have to convince children that science is fun. Are you kidding? Science has always been fun for children… if it’s presented in the right way.

Continue reading Why Early Childhood Science Education is Important