Gathering STEAM at home!

Written by Patricia Jarvis, Ph.D. /Bixby School  

We all have a wonderful challenge:

Our children are born as creators, scientists, thinkers, and makers! Yet how do we nurture and foster their natural curiosity at home? How do we create spaces at home that support their explorations and allow for the all important “messing about” and process of discovery?

Here is a short list of ideas that could turn into an amazing family experience!

  • Start with a clean surface and space that can become a maker station in your home. (You so not have to have a large home to do this!). Think outside the box (Do you have an underused table or kitchen desk? Is this an indoor or outdoor space?)
  • Look into possibilities with your child on how to stock the area. If it is hard to decide, use your local resources: the art store, Resource, Pinterest for ideas. What grabs a current interest? Is there something new you want to try out?
  • Think big or really little! Children often enjoy building big or tinkering little. Think about the scale of what they are interested in.
  • Materials do not have to be expensive! Recyclables, loose parts, and natural materials from outside are all great choices to get started.
  • Make space and time for your new area of exploration. Would it be fun to go there after breakfast on weekends or at the end of a long day? Would it be fun to explore with your child before you step back and let his/her creative juices flow? Offer a “maker’s jam” to your child: get comfy in old T-shirts than can handle paint and turn on some tunes-then create, invent, and tinker away!

A first project idea: A catapult!

Challenge: How many ways can you built a table size catapult?

Possible parts and pieces for your maker’s space:

  • Rubber bands (different types)
  • 20 pencils
  • Spoons
  • Pompom balls
  • Craft sticks
  • Hot glue gun
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Paper clips
  • Markers
  • Construction Paper
  • Scissors

Send us a photo your design (email it to patriciaj@bixbyschool.org) and we will share it here at Bixby School with our makers in their brand-new makers’ studio! You will have a chance to win a prize!

Youth Science Education That Comes to You

Have you heard?

There is an exciting new service in the Denver area dedicated to providing hands-on and fun science education for children from preschool to fifth grade.  Science Made Fun brings age appropriate, fun science experiments directly to your school, camp or party – no bus, no fuss!

Try an experiment now

This is the kind of experiment we would do in the field that you can do right in your kitchen, using things that you already have.  Show your kids on a micro level how dish soap works to clean up those dinner dishes.

Exploding Colors Experiment

  • milk experiment, youth science education

    Exploding Colors experiment is FUN science education.

    Items needed: One half cup of milk, a shallow bowl, a cotton swab, dish soap and multiple colors of liquid food coloring (do not use gel, it sinks).

  • Directions: Place the bowl on a stable surface, pour the milk in the bowl and put a drop or two of each color in different areas of the milk.  The food color should remain on the surface of the milk, but if it doesn’t it is either too heavy or the milk’s fat content is too low.  Put a drop of dish soap on the cotton swab and touch the soaped end to any of the colors to see the effect.  Do this with each color to see the lovely “exploding colors”.
  • How to explain it: Milk has fat in it, invisibly bonded together, allowing the food coloring to float on top of the fat.  Think of it like the little bits of fat all holding hands with each other, supporting the color drops. Dish soaps are great on greasy or oily dishes because it breaks the bonds in fats allowing them to separate. When you add the dish soap to the milk, the fat separates and moves, allowing  your colors to expand.

 

Through exciting hands-on experiments Science Made Fun programs are thoughtfully designed to stimulate young minds, activate students’ innate curiosity and nurture each child’s budding imagination.  Alongside our team of professionals, students are guided through the learning process, becoming REAL scientists performing REAL experiments!

Find more experiments to try at home or view our science education programs at ScienceMadeFunKIDS.