Showing posts with label Squishy Circuits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Squishy Circuits. Show all posts

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Two Collections of Hands-on Science Lessons Students Can Do At Home

Online lessons and virtual meetings with students and parents can be good, but at a certain point students are going to want to do more than just look at their screens and answer questions. That's why it's worth thinking about some hands-on activities that we can suggest students do at home alone or with the help of their parents. One of the activities that I'm planning to send to my students next week is a mini solar house project that is featured on Microsoft's Hacking STEM website.

Hacking STEM is a Microsoft website that offers about two dozen hands-on science lessons. The activities are a mix of things that students can probably do on their own and some that probably can't be done without the supervision of a teacher or parent with working knowledge of the concept(s) being taught. For example, the mini solar house project that I'm having my ninth grade students do can be done safely without my direct supervision (I'm removing the glue gun component and having them use tape). But the "party lights" activity on the same page is not something they'll be able to do on their own.

As I mentioned in the most recent episode of The Practical Ed Tech Podcast Exploratorium's Science Snacks website has dozens and dozens of hands-on science projects for students of all ages. There is a subsection of the site called Family-Friendly Snacks that offers activities specifically designed for parents to do at home with their kids. The vast majority of the projects can be done with common household items. And in response to the COVID-19 outbreak Exploratorium has a selection of activities and videos about viruses.

BONUS: Squishy Circuits!
Years ago I shared this TED-Ed Talk about squishy circuits. Squishy circuits calls for making conductive dough (play dough) to create circuits that light up bulbs or run other simple electronics. Danny Nicholson offers detailed directions on how to make and use squishy circuits.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Science is Fun - Ideas and Resources for Hands-on Science Lessons

Conducting lab experiments was my favorite part of every science class that I had in middle school and high school. There was something about the hands-on aspect of science labs that always got me excited about learning. I'm sure many of you felt the same way and that your students feel that way now. Here are some places to find ideas and resources for conducting hands-on science lessons.

Scifun.org, written by a University of Wisconsin chemistry professor, features twenty-five fun and safe science experiments that can be performed with household items. The experiments introduce students to basic chemistry concepts through fun, hands-on activity. The experiments on Science is Fun are probably most appropriate for use with students in the fourth through ninth grade. In addition to providing detailed directions for conducting each experiment, Science is Fun provides an explanation of the chemistry at work in each experiment. Complementing the experiments are easy-to-understand explanations of many chemicals and elements on the periodic table. 

The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has a great selection of hands-on activities that teachers can use offline in their classrooms. There are activities for twelve topics. Activities for every grade level from pre-K through high school and beyond can be found on the website. To find an activity for your classroom select your grade level then select the topic(s) you want your students to learn about through hands-on activities. A couple of the activities that I liked when I was browsing the catalog were making and flying helicopters and making recycled paper. All of the activities on the site include the standards addressed, the materials needed, and directions for carrying out the activity for the first time.

Discover Your World is a free 158 page activity book from NOAA. The book is available as to download as a complete package in one PDF or you can download it in three separate sections. The sections are titled Explore the EarthUnderstand the Earth, and Protect the Earth. In total the book has 43 activities appropriate for most K-12 classrooms but the majority of the activities seem to be most appropriate for grades four through eight. The activities in Discover Your World are hands-on activities designed to help students learn about topics in meteorology and climatology. A few of the activities that I like include reading nautical charts, building a barometer, and being a weather reporter.

This post would not be complete without including my favorite hands-on science lesson, Squishy CircuitsSquishy Circuits is a project developed at the University of St. Thomas for the purpose of creating tools that students can use to create circuits and explore electronics. Squishy Circuits uses Playdough-like to enable hands-on learning about conducting and insulating currents as well as creating circuits. The Squishy Circuits website provides directions for creating the dough and offers ideas for lessons using the dough. Watch the TED Talk below for an explanation and demonstration of Squishy Circuits.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Make Your Own Squishy Circuits

Last night on Facebook Kevin Jarrett posted a link to Sylvia's Super Awesome Maker Show. For those not familiar with the show, it features a young girl named Sylvia making things like paper rockets, crazy putty, and squishy circuits. The squishy circuits episode caught my attention because I had written about squishy circuits last fall. In the squishy circuits episode Sylvia shows viewers how they can make their own squishy circuits to safely experiment with electric circuits. Watch the episode below then head over to Make where you can find the full directions and materials lists.



Applications for Education
If you're looking for a good, safe hands-on electricity lesson for your students, making squishy circuits could be just the thing for you. Click here to watch a TED Talk about squishy circuits.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Squishy Circuits - A Hands-on Electricity Lesson

Squishy Circuits is a project developed at the University of St. Thomas for the purpose of creating tools that students can use to create circuits and explore electronics. Squishy Circuits uses Playdough-like to enable hands-on learning about conducting and insulating currents as well as creating circuits. The Squishy Circuits website provides directions for creating the dough and offers ideas for lessons using the dough. Watch the TED Talk below for an explanation and demonstration of Squishy Circuits.



Applications for Education
Creating Squishy Circuits could be a great hands-on science activity for elementary school or middle school students.