Friday, August 11, 2006

Science Fun

It's time for another round of the AW Blog Chain! In the last post, Kelly wrote about kids who make a difference in the world by trying to improve literacy in their communities. Fantastic! I hope more kids find out that reading can be both fun and rewarding.

I'd like to suggest that science literacy is as important as reading literacy (literary literacy?). Of course the two go together - a kid with poor reading comprehension is going to have a tough time in all subjects. A problem, though, is that a lot of people think that science is boring or only for geeks or for boys*. Au contraire! Science can be fun.

Now, there are lots of computer programs, and web sites and books that are designed to teach science to kids. Personally, I think hands-on learning is much more fun. I'll highlight some of the online resources for at-home science.

- If your kid likes cooking (and who doesn't like an experiment you can eat?) there are lots of possible experiments you can do in your kitchen. The Exploratorium has science projects involving candy, bread, eggs, pickles, and spices.

- Want something more explosive? How about mixing mentos with coke, or making a soda bottle rocket?

- The Exploratorium web site also has a whole section on
sports science. Read about it, then give it a try.

- Rat Lab has a variety of projects, from extracting DNA in your kitchen to turning pennies green.

- tells you how to make your own slime or fake blood.

- For the budding Nancy Drew (or CSI), the National Library of Medicine has lots of links for kids interested in forensics and crime scene investigation.

- HHMI's Cool Science for Curious Kids has some biology related experiments.

- Project Dragonfly is a site for "inquiry based science learning".

- Neuroscience for Kids answers questions about how the brain works.

- For musical accompaniment, I recommend the catchy Bloodmobile song and animation (with They Might be Giants), this collection of old singing science records and the physics songs site.

Pick one or two experiments to try, have some fun, and everyone might learn something along the way!

* If someone claims that science is an exclusively male activity, point them to the Women's Adventures in Science site.

Next in the chain is Matt, at Fireflies in the Cloud.

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Blogger Cath Smith said...

Some really great links there, Peggy. (are you a librarian by any chance?).

Anyhoo - nice post.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Simran said...

Cool ideas Peggy. I remember doing some great science experiments with my three girls when I was homeschooling them. Now they're all grown up and graduated.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Pass The Torch said...

Awesome post! I'm linking to you TWICE!!

12:18 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Sis, you forgot about one of the tastiest experiments of all that we did when I visited....home made ice cream.

It's really COOL science.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

Hey Bri -

I had an ice cream post as a "draft" that I finally published. Check out Instant Ice Cream.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

cath -

I'm no librarian, but I've always had librarian envy.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Cool links. I need to go find a neighbor kid and play with some mentos! Nah, my son in law will do just fine.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous bk30 said...

Peggy great post..and the "bloodmobile" link. I had to play it 4x's once for each kid :)

1:23 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

The ice cream post is great. I don't know if it's safe for AW'ers to see what the Atomic Bear looks like, of course they might mix me up with the Hubby.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Kappa no He said...

We just started summer vacation here and are very up for filling our days with something besides naps and old Simpsons' episodes. Can't wait to show J all the fun links! Thank you!

3:41 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

"I don't know if it's safe for AW'ers to see what the Atomic Bear looks like"
I think you let the cat out the bag when you posted a picture of yourself on your web site :-)

3:51 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

Ha Peggy, My sister-in-law is going to love me when I teach the Nephew how to make a coke and Mentoes rocket. Absoloutly love me. I'll blame you :D

4:25 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

Lee: just explain that it's in the name of education. Every rocket scientist has to start somewhere.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Simon Haynes said...

My kids love cooking, and are getting quite good at it. The 11 year old makes her own muffins (from ingredients, not premix) and does a mean fried eggs and bacon. It's not uncommon for me to wake up to a cooked breakfast or a freshly baked cake.
The 8 year old makes scrambled eggs and toasted sandwiches.
I believe in letting them use ovens, sharp knives and hot fat, despite their age. They won't suddenly learn how to use them safely the instant they turn 14 or 15.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Matt D. said...

There are some really awesome links up there. My kids and I thank you for posting them.

My followup post to this is up:

12:13 AM  
Anonymous Gillian said...

Love those experiemnts! I am officially a child again, just so's I can play :).

I do think you need to meet my mother, though. You and she think alike.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous D. T. Kelly said...

Thanks for the links!

Always looking for new ways to make learning fun for hte kiddos.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Bhaswati said...

What a cool bunch of links! I am going to check each one of them right away. Thanks for sharing.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Mad Scientist Matt said...

I hadn't heard about the Menthos and Coke one. But I felt rather deprived growing up... I heard all these stories about how my uncles nearly blew themselves up with black powder, and these days it's nearly impossible to buy potassium nitrate as a kid. I really missed out on some great pyromania trouble I could have gotten into.

But at least sometimes my father would bring home a bottle of liquid nitrogen from work. That was fun to play with.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

When I was a kid - like 5, maybe - I found my brother's old chemistry set - suitable for kids much older than I was - and started playing with it, following the instructions and everything. It was a blast. :D But then, I'm a science geek. :)

Great post!

8:40 AM  
Blogger cesarcarlos said...

Really great resources. I wish I had this great instrument that is the web back when I was in school. Our chemistry teacher was this funny looking man (A blend between Homer Simpson and Mr. Weatherby) who screamed in histerics when no one understood. And I liked chemistry, I just didn't feel the call to learn more.

Very nice post.

9:45 AM  

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