So, I had the opportunity to attend a Steve Spangler Science workshop through my work. I had never been to one of his workshops, but we do have a one of his books: Naked eggs and flying potatoes : unforgettable experiments that make science fun, that we used some experiments from last year during the Science themed Summer Reading Program.
The workshop was on ‘Exploring Amazing Hands-on Science and Literature with Young Learners’….how could I NOT want to attend???
Granted, it’s geared more to teachers than librarians, but child educators are child educators regardless of their titles. And science is totally awesome and essential. Even more so in an area where there are people who still believe the planet is flat, the sun revolves around the earth and/or that dinosaurs lived along side man a mere few thousand years ago……
That being said, it’s become one of my career goals to try to add some science, some nonfiction, some S.T.E.A.M. aspect to all my programming. For those of you who don’t know what S.T.E.A.M. is, it’s an acronym that stands for: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.
This workshop is all about making connections, and getting kids engaged.
Steve Spangler is incredibly energetic and funny. Who would have thought that a fun, interesting way to get a discussion going on air movement was to show kids how to effectively and EFFICIENTLY toilet paper a house???
It’s not enough to just toss it, oh no…. a paint roller is the perfect fit for a TP roll, attach said roller to a leaf blower and BOOYAH you have an Automatic House TP-er….
I only wish I had thought to get video of it before the demonstration was done.
Sure, there will probably (definitely) be some annoyed parents and teachers wanting to know WHY you decided to teach the kids how to do that. But, who cares, they’re now engaged and you can have conversations and discussions on WHY it worked and how air moves.
There was an experiment on bubbles…because what kid doesn’t like bubbles???
Now sadly, just making bubbles isn’t really an experiment….it’s great fun, but not an experiment. You’re not testing anything, and to be a true experiment, you need variables to test. So you could test different bubble solutions. Or…
Which types of gloves will work best to hold bubbles. What size bubble is best for bouncing? Oh yea… Bubble +Science = So much fun!
Or you could try to make square bubbles….
There were dozens of experiments involving colors. Everything from making your own at-home lava lamps to demonstrate liquid density.
To mixing primary colors.
I’ve tried a similar activity during a storytime before, using tempera paint in plastic baggies. I think I prefer this method, the color gel mixes well and the kids can then hang the baggies up against a window and it’ll give off a stained glass window effect.
Another color experiment we did was trying to make 24 different colors only using the three primary colors (red, blue and yellow).
Which was rather fun… some people just randomly mixed colors until they got 24 different shades. Others started off with a single base color and then added one drop of another, then 2 drops, then 3 drops etc., etc.; thus guaranteeing 24 different shades.
I did a bit of both. LOL
Afterward, we added some Jelly Crystals to the mixtures.
And waited….. by which means, we all went to lunch. LOL
By the time we got back from exploring the Science Museum (which if you’re in Oklahoma and you haven’t been, you really should go, it’s an awesome place).
We had crystals! Or rather, Jelly-like crystals. Being a collector of crystals, I’m not sure these would count in any-way-shape-or-form as ‘crystals’; buuut it was still pretty cool.
If you put the differnt colored ‘crystals’ together, they’ll share water between themselves and actually mix the colors; and if you decide to just let them dry out, they’ll retain the color and you can then put them in a flower pot or such. Or turn them into a frozen owie pack for the kiddos.
There was also a sound portion where we used Palm Pipes (pre-cut PVC pipes in different sizes that when tapped with the flat of your palm will make different musical notes). The task was to gather in groups and ‘make our own songs’. Which was interesting to say the least; as someone who is musically challenged, I was at a loss on this one. Fortunatly there were a few in my group who had a better knowledge of music then I did and were willing to play conductor.
Music just isn’t my thing.
Though, after the event, Mr. Spangler sent out an email on how to make our own set of Palm Pipes (sadly, no that will not be shared). If I get bored one year I might make a set and attach them to a stand; then just let the kiddos make their own music without having to worry about the different pipes disappearing.
The last portion of the workshop was dedicated to the making of something I know every kid will love…. SLIME!
Yea, you heard me. Slime.
We made regular slime, glow-in-the-dark slime, shiny slime, and even made slime using Elmers glue….. which was a ooey gooey white mess that looked like something I’d rather not speak about…. but let your mind wonder into the gutter for a moment and I’m sure you’ll get the idea. I mean, don’t get me wrong; it was indeed slime….. the visual though.
After that we made Atomic Worms….
Which are black light reactive…. oooh yea…. those bad-boys glowed like something out of a sci-fi movie.
How wicked is that? I’m going to have to remember this the next time I do a Halloween party. LOL.
Seriously, all goofing aside. It was a great workshop. We discussed various ways of linking Science and Literature together to get the kids engaged and involved. It was a wonderful experience and I only wish I could convince my bosses that they really, really want to send me on the Science in the Rockies or even better the Science at Sea workshops….. somehow I doubt they’d be willing to foot the bill for me to have a 3 day trip to the Colorado Mountains, or a week long cruise trip to Alaska…. even if we’d be discussing science.
If you ever get the chance to attend one of the Steve Spangler workshops; I would recommend it. He really is very entertaining and has a unique way of getting kids interesting in science.
If you want to check out Spanglers stuff, or order some of his science kits, go to Steve Spangler Science; and if you’re in Oklahoma and want to check out and visit the Museum, then head over to Oklahoma Science Museum to check out their prices and newest exhibits.