Category: Science

13 Websites on Architecture/Engineering

Here are a few of the popular resources teachers are using for Architecture and Engineering:

Architecture

  1. ASCEville–Civil engineering jobs, activities
  2. Autodesk HomeDesigner–free; for olders or HS
  3. Classroom Architect
  4. The Geometry of Sustainable Architecture–in Google Earth

Design

  1. Design Evo–create logos for free

Engineering

  1. ASCEville–Civil engineering jobs, activities
  2. Concord Consortium–chemistry, earth science, engineering, life science, physics
  3. DiscoverE hands-on activities–also includes games, lesson plans, videos
  4. Gizmos
  5. Solving Problems with Simple Machines (video)
  6. Through My Window–free multi-media curriculum on engineering for grades 4-8
  7. Truss Me— design and test trusses
  8. What is an engineer–video for youngers or as an intro

Click here for updates to this list.

–Image credit Deposit Photos

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Earth Day Classroom Activities

earth day

Every year, the world celebrates Earth Day on April 22nd, a day the United Nations recognizes as International Mother Earth Day. It is a day to remind ourselves of the importance of clean air, fresh water, and unlittered land. It’s when we can all participate in making that happen rather than accepting the trash-filled oceans, the smoggy skies, and the debris-laden land that is becoming the norm in our lives.

Despite the questionable health of our world, we have made progress. Back in 1970, when Earth Day was first celebrated, trucks spewed black smoke as they drove down the highways, toxic waste was dumped into oceans with no repercussions, and the general opinion was that the Earth took care of itself. That changed when U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day’s founder, witnessed the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara California and decided it was time for someone to do something. When he looked around for that “someone”, it turned out to be himself. He started with a “national teach-in on the environment” with a simple goal: Encourage people to recognize the importance of protecting the Earth:

“It was on that day [Earth Day] that Americans made it clear they understood and were deeply concerned over the deterioration of our environment and the mindless dissipation of our resources.”

Here are online resources (click for updates) to help you share the importance of Earth Day with your students:

  1. Books for Earth Day
  2. Breathing earth– the environment
  3. Breathing Earth YouTube Video–of CO2 use, population changes, and more
  4. Conservation Game
  5. Earth Day Reading List
  6. Eco-friendly house
  7. Ecology Games from KoiKiwi
  8. Ecotourism Simulation–for grades 4 and above
  9. National Geographic Carbon Footprint Calculator

Here are some grade-specific resources:

1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade

4th Grade

Here are a few lesson plans from last year that still work well. Enjoy!

How effective is Earth Day

In the 49 years since the inception of Earth Day, there have been more than 48 major environmental “wins”. Here are some of those:

  • The U.S. Clean Air Act was passed, a comprehensive federal law that regulates air emissions.
  • The U.S. Clean Water Act was passed to regulate the discharge of pollutants into U.S. waters.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was passed.
  • The U.S. Endangered Species Act was passed to protect animal species that are disappearing.
  • The Acid Rain (what happens when normal rain becomes loaded with offensive chemicals and scalds the skin) Program obtained emission reductions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.
  • The importance of the ozone layer to the health of the Earth is better understood.
  • The consequences of too much plastic in the Earth’s oceans is coming home to roost.

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17 Websites for Chemistry

 

Here are a few of the popular resources teachers are using to reinforce chemistry in MS and HS:

  1. Beaker–a digital beaker app
  2. Chemistry collection from Carnegie
  3. ChemCapers
  4. Chemistry instructional videos
  5. ChemmyBear–resources for Chemistry and AP Chemistry classes
  6. CK12 Chemistry simulations
  7. Concord Consortium–chemistry, earth science, engineering, life science, physics
  8. Crash Course: Chemistry (videos)
  9. EMD PTE — periodic table
  10. Interactive Periodic Table
  11. Molecules–Molecules is an application for viewing three-dimensional renderings of molecules and manipulating them using your fingers.
  12. NanoSpace Molecularium–virtual amusement park about atoms and molecules; from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  13. Periodic Table of Elements–interactive
  14. Periodic Table videos 
  15. PhET Simulations for chemistry and physics
  16. Reactions–short videos on chemistry topics
  17. Slow Motion Chemistry — videos on chemistry

Click here for updates to this list.

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We Landed on the Moon July 20 1969

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong was the first man to place foot on the moon. Commemorate that this year with an exciting collection of websites and apps that take your students to the Moon. Here are some you’ll like:

  1. Apollo 11: Countdown to Launch via Google Earth
  2. Apollo 11 VR
  3. Google Moon–see the Moon in 3D with your Google Earth app
  4. How we are going to the Moon–video
  5. JFK Challenge — takes kids to the Apollo 11
  6. NASA Educator Guide to the Moon (for teachers)
  7. Moon Phase Simulation Viewed from Earth and Space (interactive, elementary and middle school)—and associated Lesson Plan
  8. Observing the Moon in the Sky (interactive, elementary)
  9. Moonrise to Moonset (media gallery, elementary)

More on space

In Love with Space? Here are Great Websites to Take You There

10 Space Websites That Will Launch Your Class Study

Solar System Scope


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

5 Fun Science Experiments Kids Do at Home

Getting ready for extra time with kids? Here are five great ideas that are energizing and motivating:

5 Fun Science Experiments Kids Can Do at Home

All children are born scientists. Until education – or spoilsport parents – ruins them.

Kids have a natural curiosity that is insatiable due to their innate ability to get to the bottom of anything they set their minds on. Be it blowing soap bubbles or building towers of spaghetti, they are second only to seasoned engineers and CEOs at getting results.

However, over the past few months, kids have largely been cooped up at home due to the impact of COVID-19; the lack of access to a tried-and-true schooling process and resources will result in young children missing out on foundational concepts in literature, math and science that prepare them for a lifetime of learning and working.

Virtual schooling is clearly not an effective solution, according to a study done by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), which looked at schools specifically designed to teach coursework online with significant budgets invested in research and planning. “If they can’t make it work, it seems unlikely that parents and teachers Googling resources will do any better,” said Eric Hanushek, economist and education researcher at Stanford.

Well, don’t let that deter you. As a STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) learning advocate for kids, I can’t understate the importance of teaching simple scientific and number concepts at home, because science isn’t something you learn only in a classroom. Research shows that kids as young as pre-school or kindergarten age have divergent thinking capabilities. Trying out simple experiments with things found in and around the house can improve their critical reasoning as well as spatial skills, and promote a curiosity-mindset that they’ll carry well into adulthood.

So, here are some fun activities and easy DIY projects to get your kids excited about science. Before you let them dive right in, please make sure all experiments are done under adult supervision.

1 Naked Egg

Let’s start with a simple one. Eggs are one of the favorite props in many kiddies’ experiments (and recipes).

What you’ll need:

  • 2 eggs
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • 2 glasses

How to do it:

  1. Fill one glass – a little more than half – with vinegar and the other with water.
  2. Dip one egg in each until the eggs are completely submerged.
  3. Let them soak for 24 hours and remove them the next day.

What happens:

As time passes, you’ll see bubbles form on the surface of the vinegar egg. At the end of 24 hours, you’ll find that the egg that was in the vinegar completely loses its shell and becomes “naked.” It’ll also be significantly larger in size than the one you kept in water.

The science behind it:

This demonstrates a principle called “osmosis.” The vinegar is made up of two parts: acetic acid and water. The acetic acid reacted with the eggshell and dissolved it. The water traveled through the egg’s membrane in such a way that the concentration of water on both sides of the membrane becomes equal. This “flow” is called osmosis.

Great link:

https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/growing-and-shrinking-egg/

2 Diet Coke Eruption

Warning: This might make your clothes and/or your kitchen messy. So try this outdoors.

What you’ll need:

  • A packet of Mentos
  • A large bottle of Diet Coke (Soda or any carbonated drink will do as a substitute)
  • A test tube or paper roll to hold the Mentos loosely
  • A small paper card

How to do it:

  1. Go out on the yard or the garden and select a place where there isn’t much of anything around for 6 to 8 feet. Place the Diet Coke on a table or on the ground.
  2. Stack 7 Mentos just like they are in the packing, but in a way they can fall out easily. Use a paper roll or test tube.
  3. Open the Diet Coke slowly so that it doesn’t fizz out.
  4. Cover the test tube with a little paper card and invert it over the mouth of the bottle.
  5. Pull out the paper card, letting the Mentos fall into the bottle quickly.
  6. Move back quickly from the bottle without turning your back to it (or else you’ll miss the sight).

What happens:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlSMNQ5K51

The Diet Coke blasts up in a sky high – okay, not-so-high – explosion. But it’s a veritable fountain of the sticky stuff.

The science behind it:

The carbon dioxide (CO2) in the soda is what makes it bubbly. It’s mixed into the fizzy drink when they make it at the factory. Diet Coke rises higher probably because of some of its ingredients, and it is less sticky because of whatever sugar substitute it uses.

Now, the CO2 isn’t released from the drink until you pour it, or shake the bottle, or let it lie for a lot of days. It’s just waiting – raring, rather – to escape in the form of bubbles. Shaking the bottle or dropping something into it breaks the surface tension of the liquid and allows bubbles to form on the surface. Mentos have very tiny pits on them like a golf ball, which means the surface area increases dramatically, making space for a real lot of bubbles to form.

Experiments have proved that 7 to 8 pieces of Mentos are good enough. The world record height of the blast is about 29 feet.

3 Double Color Flower

Magic happens when you combine science and art. The super-creative overlap between STEM and the arts is known as STEAM. Here’s an experiment that falls into this category.

What you’ll need:

  • A couple of flowers (preferably white) with a clean and thin but sturdy stem.
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • 2 glasses or vases
  • A knife

How to do it:

  1. Get a couple of flowers. White flowers such as carnations work best because the color change happens quickly, but you can get daisies, roses or any moderately big flower you can find.
  2. Fill the glasses with clean water. Add different food coloring to each. Make the colors strong. We use food coloring instead of paint so that the plants get non-toxic water.
  3. Grown-up help alert! Slit the stem vertically from the bottom in two equal parts the roughly length of the glasses.
  4. Part the stem carefully and place one half each into the two glasses.
  5. Place the split flower and glasses in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

What happens:

You will start to see the flower change color in a few hours. It might take anywhere from a day to three for a significant difference in color, depending on the flower you choose, the weather, and the place where you keep it.

The science behind it:

The stem of a plant has tube-like transport tissues called xylem. The water is sucked up the stem and moves to the leaves and flowers, from where it evaporates via little openings called stomata. The evaporation creates pressure for more water to be sucked up through the stem, pretty much like drinking water with a straw. The whole process is called transpiration. The speed of transpiration depends on the temperature, wind, light and humidity.

Great links:

https://redtri.com/simple-science-experiments-with-5-supplies-or-less/slide/4

Science Experiments with Water

Science Activities with Plants

4 Extra Strong Paper Cups

There are loads of things we take for granted in everyday life. The most unassuming of objects can prove otherwise.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 dozen paper cups
  • 2 sheets of strong cardboard

How to do it:

  1. Place 2 cups inverted on the floor side by side. Stand with one leg on each and see them get crushed. Just for the fun of it.
  2. Arrange 12 cups inverted and evenly spaced out in a grid of 4 x 3 on the floor.
  3. Place a cardboard sheet on top of the grid.
  4. Kids only please! Gingerly stand on top of the cardboard sheet.
  5. If it doesn’t break, place another layer of cups and the second cardboard sheet over this layer. Step up on top!

What happens:

The paper cup structure holds up. Likely, the structure with two floors holds up just as well.

What happens:

When you place many cups side by side, your weight is distributed across all of them by the cardboard sheet. Each cup has to bear just a fraction of your weight. The minimum number of cups needed to support your weight depends on the size and quality of the cups and, well, your weight.

Great link:

https://www.science-sparks.com/how-can-you-stand-on-a-paper-cup-without-breaking-it/

5 Oobleck

What state is toothpaste or jelly – solid or liquid? Turns out, they’re colloids. Oobleck is

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups corn starch
  • 1 cup water
  • Food coloring

How to do it:

  1. Take water in a bowl.
  2. Add the food color.
  3. Add 1.5 cups corn starch to it. Mix with a spoon at first.
  4. Slowly add the rest of the corn starch. As the consistency of the mixture strengthens, knead with your hands.

What happens:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nw8KaHglokQ

You get a gooey, slimy mixture that was termed “Oobleck” in the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck. When you knead the mixture or tap its surface, it feels hard. But when you dip your hand inside slowly, your fingers slide through it as if it’s water. This is exactly how quicksand works.

The science behind it:

Oobleck is a “non-Newtonian” fluid – it acts like a liquid when it’s being poured (this property is called viscosity) and like a solid when a force (in this case, pressure) is acting on it. Some of its properties:

  • When you roll Oobleck into a ball, it solidifies. But when you stop moving it, it melts back in your hand.
  • It is messy but can be washed away completely with soap and hot water.
  • When left in the open for too long, it hardens and turns back into cornstarch.
  • It isn’t poisonous, but tastes awful.
  • Make enough Oobleck in a large tub or bin and you can walk on it.

Over to You

What do you think of these experiments? Which ones are you going to try right away?

While parents certainly can’t match the school’s resources and expertise in imparting science and technology education to eager little minds, there’s quite a bit we can do to grow the next Einstein (or Musk) at home. If you have a bit of extra space and a stuff lying around, why not try and build a science lab at home for the budding genius?

AUTHOR BIO:

Shreiya Aggarwal-Gupta is the owner of the early education startup Kidpillar, which aims to provide developmental opportunities and resources for young children in the field of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) via kid-friendly journals, practical DIY-kits, and simple project-based learnings and workshops. Shreiya is also a passionate blogger, computer science engineer, finance whiz, and “perfect mommy” to her son.

@KidPillar

More science

In Love with Space? Here are Great Websites to Take You There

Ward’s Science–So Many STEM Resources

PASCO Motion Sensor–A Must for Science Classes


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

National STEM/STEAM Day Nov. 8th

National STEM Day is November 8 and the unofficial holiday celebrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education throughout the United States.

Here are some great ideas for celebrating:

Ten Ways to Celebrate National STEM Day with NASA | NASA

National STEM Day is November 8 and the unofficial holiday celebrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education throughout the United States. The day focuses on helping students advance in STEM fields, a priority of NASA as we continue to push the boundaries of exploration and soar into the future. In celebration of National STEM Day, we challenge you to engage and inspire the Artemis generation as we go forward to the Moon by 2024 and continue to innovate in the areas of Earth science and aeronautics. To help you join in on the festivities, here are 10 ways you can celebrate National STEM Day with us.

49 STEM Activities for Students 

On November 8th 2019, we will celebrate National STEM Day to get kids excited about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Together the STEM subjects represent some of the fastest-growing and most in-demand fields in the United States.

While STEM topics seem a natural fit in high schools and post-secondary curriculum, education experts are promoting a focus on STEM subjects for younger and younger children. You might be asking, what will a four or five-year-old student be able to understand about these subjects?

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We Landed on the Moon July 20 1969

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong was the first man to place foot on the moon. Commemorate that this year with an exciting collection of websites and apps that take your students to the Moon. Here are some you’ll like:

  1. Apollo 11: Countdown to Launch via Google Earth
  2. Apollo 11 VR
  3. Google Moon–see the Moon in 3D with your Google Earth app
  4. How we are going to the Moon–video
  5. JFK Challenge — takes kids to the Apollo 11
  6. NASA Educator Guide to the Moon (for teachers)
  7. Moon Phase Simulation Viewed from Earth and Space (interactive, elementary and middle school)—and associated Lesson Plan
  8. Observing the Moon in the Sky (interactive, elementary)
  9. Moonrise to Moonset (media gallery, elementary)

More on space

In Love with Space? Here are Great Websites to Take You There

10 Space Websites That Will Launch Your Class Study

Solar System Scope


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.