By Blog Editor Susan Wells
My favorite part of my job as Social Media Manager at Steve Spangler Science is seeing all the amazing experiments and lessons teachers share with us on Twitter. Some of our nation’s best teachers share how they make science come alive in their classrooms.
This week, we received a tweet from Zachary Champagne, a district facilitator for the Mathematics Formative Assessment Project at the Florida Center for Research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. He is also a fourth and fifth grade math and science teacher in Jacksonville, Florida.
Zak says one of his favorite things to do is be a guest teacher in his own children’s classrooms.
He explains, “Initially I would schedule time with my son’s teachers for me to come in and do some awesome science (all inspired by Steve and this blog!).”
About three years ago, Zak was planning to do a holiday-themed science activity and was brainstorming ideas with his son, Aiden.
Aiden really wanted to do something with Pearl Swirl Baby Soda Bottles and decided to turn them into reindeers. His dad wasn’t immediately sold on the idea, until Aiden explained, “we can glue eyes on the bottles and use pipe cleaners as antlers.” And that was the beginning of Pearl Swirl reindeers.
They have made the reindeers every year since. This year, Zak made them with his daughter Anna and 36 third grade students at Greenland Pines Elementary. He explains the experience –
I think the highlight of the pearl swirl reindeers is that each child gets to keep their reindeer and take it home. And it always reminds me of a lesson I learned from Steve years ago…if we can make it to the dinner table then we have won. I just picture these 36 third graders teaching their parents and siblings over the holidays about how liquids move inside themselves and continue to move after a force has been applied. It gives me chills.
– Zachary Champagne
Remember that we mentioned our teachers are the best of the best? Here’s a little additional info on Zak. He was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2006 (the Nation’s highest honor for a mathematics or science educator) and was named Duval County’s Teacher of the Year in 2010.
Not too shabby.
1. Fill each Baby Soda Bottle 3/4 full with water.
2. Add a few drops of food coloring or True Color Tables (won’t stain like food coloring).
4. Add a few drops of Pearl Swirl and top Baby Soda Bottle with water.
5. Replace cap on BSB and tighten to prevent leaks.
6. Glue eyes, antlers and nose to make the reindeer.
7. Let dry.
If you have a fun, new and engaging activity that you use to make science come alive for your own children or in your classroom, share it with us @SteveSpangler or @SpanglerScience or use #MakingScienceFun.