Tag Archives: steve spangler

Creating Unforgettable Learning Experiences

By April Oaks

Growing up, I did not like science.  It was by far my least favorite subject.  I didn’t understand it and it certainly wasn’t fun.  With exception to an amazing physics teacher in high school, I never had any other teachers who helped me see any value in science.  I did have great teachers… just not in science.

 

Now I’m the mother of a science nut!  I have a son that is crazy about science.  He is smart and curious and has a strong desire to learn all he can about science. As his mom, I feel an obligation to teach him all I can, and help encourage the good things he is interested in.  A few years ago this was a problem, because I still didn’t like science.  However, I knew I had to get over that to help encourage my son’s desire to learn.   So, I did what I needed to… I faked it.  I pretended to love science.  I also researched simple science concepts, and found lots of science experiments to do with my kids.   Thank goodness our kids start out small so I didn’t have to know a lot in the beginning.

Soon enough, I didn’t have to fake a love for science; I really did love it!  I began to love it because I found out it could be interesting and fun.  Steve Spangler has been my main resource for everything science because he has such a fun way to present all concepts.  His videos are especially helpful and entertaining to watch.

If you are a teacher or parent who wants to create unforgettable learning experiences, copy Steve’s enthusiasm and have fun with your kids.  Don’t lecture!  It’s easiest to learn when you are having fun.  Make things explode, create a mess, and learn about the things around you.  Science is awesome!

Here are some of my favorite ideas from Steve Spangler.   Don’t just watch the videos, read how things work.  Steve’s explanations are easy to understand and so fascinating!  If you don’t see an explanation for how something works, click on tabs surrounding a video or product until you do.  You are going to feel so smart when you see how simple science concepts help you understand complex principles.

  1. Egg Drop  – Newton’s Law of Inertia is Awesome!  I still can’t believe this worked so easily!
  2. Boo Bubbles - You have to try this!  However, if the Boo Bubble container isn’t in your budget, you could try this experiment to build your own.
  3. Vanishing Jelly Marbles - This is one of my son’s favorites.
  4. Marshmallow Masher  – Just fun… and cheap!
  5. Windbags  – Seriously, incredible.  Such an easy way to understand a complex principle.  Read how it works here.
  6. UV Beads - Quickly see how sunscreen works.
  7. Centripetal Force Board - Crazy Fun!  We love this board.  You could do similar experiments with a bucket of water, or grocery bags filled with food.
  8. Film Canisters - Nothing makes my son happier than making things explode.
  9. Balloon Skewer - For Halloween we gave out tricks instead of treats.  We put a few balloons, a skewer and instructions on how to do this experiment in a plastic bag for each kid who came to the door.
  10. Walking on Eggs - Unbelievable!  Who would guess an egg could be so strong!


I am a mom to two great kids.  My son Luke is a science lover.  He is so passionate about science, that he has gotten the rest of the family excited about it, including his artsy little sister, Megan.  In our house, we are constantly looking for new ways to learn and experiment.  We talk about science every day, and once a week have Luke’s friends over for his “Monkey Mind Science Club”.  Steve Spangler has been our main resource when we want to learn something new.  In the day, when I’m not talking science with my kids, I’m busy selling real estate in Salt Lake City.  Occasionally I have time for my hobbies too, which include skiing, hiking, photography, graphic design and blogging.

 

 

All Aboard for Science at Sea in 2013

Spangler Seminars heads out to sea for the third time in June 2013 for Science at Sea in Alaska. Come aboard Holland America with our award-winning naturalist and Steve Spangler to explore the inside passage of Alaska. Travel to Juneau, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Ketchikan and Tracy Arm while experiencing one of a kind excursions and lectures only available to Science at Sea participants.

The roundtrip leaves from Vancouver, BC, Canada on June 22, 2013 and returns on June 30, 2013.

This trip isn’t just for teachers – it’s for anyone who wants to learn more about the geography, history, wildlife and more. This is an educational experience of a lifetime, so bring your children, your friends, significant others and extended family. This is a family affair.

To come along with us on this special interactive and educational trip, you need to register in two places. First, register for Science at Sea on our website. Our Science at Sea seminars and naturalist-led excursions are unique and are only for our group. You will also get a special pre-cruise kickoff class with Steve and our Naturalist,  John Scheerens, to prepare you for the trip on June 22nd.

The cost of the Spangler part of the event is $1695 per person. This includes the cost of all of our customized shore excursions in each port, ground transportation, the onboard instruction with our naturalists, and a few surprises that are part of any Spangler experience. You may register additional people under your primary registration for the discounted fee of $1495 per person. Remember… this fee includes the price of all of the shore excursions and entitles family members and friends to participate in all of the onboard workshops and experiences.

Next, choose your cabin aboard the Holland America Zuiderdam. The Spangler Science team has partnered with Holland America to offer special group discount pricing to everyone registered for Science at Sea (a fee structure not available to the public). The rate for your room will be separate from your event registration fee above and will be paid directly to Holland America Line. Once you’ve registered for the Science at Sea event, our personal Holland America Line cruise consultant will contact you to help guide you through the cabin selection.

Why Should I Travel with Science at Sea? 

You can expect the same high level of support and professionalism that you’ve come to count on with all Steve Spangler Science experiences.

This is an experience with the elite Steve Spangler staff and time with Steve himself. We have people in place to make sure you have an amazing experience, hands down.  Every detail is planned and organized ahead of time. All you need to do is get on the boat and the rest is taken care of for you. We will take excursions as a group, but also allow for time on your own for souvenir shopping or exploring.

Make sure you bring a camera to record your personal experiences, but don’t worry about documenting everything. The entire experience is recorded by our Emmy-Award winning videographer, edited and distributed to all Science at Sea guests.

Our naturalist, John Scheerens, is extremely knowledgeable about Alaska, especially the science side of Alaska. From the marine life to geology, to glaciers and the history of the area, John knows it all. Ask him any question you may have about Alaska and he will either know it or be able to get an answer in a short time.

While at sea, we offer exclusive educational opportunities where John share information on the science of the area – wildlife to look for, points of interest and helpful sightseeing tips. John knows all of the secret spots to eat, where to visit, what to see and what not to miss.

Our excursions are unique and special to our group. No one else on the cruise gets the opportunity for the same experiences. Our tours are in-depth and travel to remote locations.

 

Bubble Bubble on the Wall, Who's the Squarest of Them All?

Bubbles! Bubbles! Bubbles! My bubbles!

It’s one of the most memorable scenes from Finding Nemo. We also love bubbles at Steve Spangler Science. The science of bubbles is as fascinating as bubbles are engaging.

First, start with a good bubble solution. The secrets behind great bubbles are dish soap and glycerin. Just don’t use the antibacterial dish soap. Dawn works the best.

Glycerin is the true secret to the best bubbles because it keeps the bubble hydrated. A bubble will pop in the air because the water evaporates. The glycerin will hold onto that water and extend the life of the bubble. But don’t let it touch your skin. Oil and dirt are the enemies of bubbles.

The best bubble blower is a pipette with the end cut off. Just remember to blow through the pipette and not suck.

How do you make a round bubble a square? Start with a cube structure. You can make one with straws or sticks. Dip the cube into a bucket or container of bubble solution, then, using your bubble blower, carefully drop a round bubble into the center of the cube. Square bubbles!

We have you covered for all of your bubble needs –  pipettes, glycerin, bubble solution, gloves, square bubble maker and more, visit our Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles page. For experiments and more on the science behind bubbles, visit the Square Bubble experiment.

Weather and Science Day with 9News, Steve Spangler Science and the Colorado Rockies Reaches All Time High

Our annual Weather and Science Day reached a new height this year with the launch of a weather balloon during the event. The weather balloon was launched with help from The Edge of Space. During it’s flight, it reached the edge of space at a height of 93,000 feet. That’s higher than Mount Everest and higher than what a military jet can fly (50,000 feet). The balloon drifted northeast and landed hours later near Synder, Colorado.

Weather and Science Day May 2012 Courtesy 9News.com

Beaker “piloted” the weather balloon along with three flags from 9News, the Colorado Rockies and Steve Spangler Science. The balloon also had three cameras onboard that recorded hours of flight footage. You can see Beaker at the edge of the heavens and his violent fall back to earth after the balloon ruptured.

Weather Balloon with Beaker. Courtesy 9News.com

 

The underlying lesson was to work with The Edge of Space people who love flying balloons as hobbyists. Their dedication and passion to ballooning was inspiring.

Launching a balloon from Coors Field in the middle of the day isn’t as easy as it sounds. The balloon was going to take a journey up through aircraft flight patterns and could potentially be very hazardous. The FAA granted us special permission and diverted air traffic for 10 minutes for the launch.

This was the biggest Weather and Science Day, and although we do not have official numbers yet, we definitely had the biggest crowd ever.

The weather balloon was the biggest piece of Weather and Science Day, but it wasn’t all we did.

Students, teachers and weather and science fans also learned about the science of air, solar energy and the freezing and expanding powers of liquid nitrogen during the one hour event.

Liquid Nitrogen explosion during Weather and Science Day Courtesy 9News.com

Watch The Spangler Effect for an upcoming special half-hour episode dedicated to the weather balloon launch, flight and science behind it.

Rocket Boy Homer Hickam Ignites Passion for Science in 4th Grade Engineers

The 4th graders at Willow Creek Elementary and their amazing teacher, Lisa Heaton, took a lesson out of the books, literally, and tested their rocket-building skills.

They read Homer Hickam’s book, Rocket Boys. Then they set out on their own to design and build a rocket out of construction paper, tape and clay. That’s it. No engines or explosives helped launch these rockets into the air. They simply used air pressure.

I first learned how to make the PVC Rocket Launcher several years ago while speaking to teachers at Space Camp for Educators in Huntsville, Alabama. This hands-on rocket activity is an extension of the normal space unit that is standard at this grade level across the school district.

Each student was given two launch tries. Some of the rocket designs were great while others just blew up on the launch pad. For those that failed the first attempt, they had to go back to the drawing board to reanalyze their designs, fix the flaws and head back out for the second launch. The success rate for the second launch was well above 80%… and the young rocket engineers were amazed to see their success.

Every student placed their rocket on the launch pad and expected success. When some experienced failure, it gave them a chance to go back, learn from their mistakes, and try again. Failure is the best learning tool a student can acquire.

This is what sets spectacular teachers apart from ordinary teachers – taking a grade-level standard, adding a hands-on activity and making it home to the dinner table that night. This lesson made a book come alive, taught the science of rocket design and air pressure, success and failure skills and so much more.

If you have any question of the impact this one activity made on Ms. Heaton’s students, visit her teacher blog, LisaHeaton.com and read their comments.

Homer Hickam’s 1998 book, Rocket Boys: A Memoir,was based on his life as a young boy in Coalwood, West Virginia, as an aspiring rocket scientist. It was made into a movie, October Sky, in 1999.

Rocket Boys has been translated into eight languages and has received many awards. It was selected by the New York Times as one of its Great Books of 1998 and was an alternate Book-of-the-Month selection for both the Literary Guild and Doubleday book clubs. It was also nominated by the National Book Critics Circle as best Biography of 1998.

If you are a teacher and are interested in making your space unit come alive, here are some resources offered with permission from the Space Academy for Educators and the U.S. Space Camp.