15 YouTube Channels of Fun Science
iGameMom has created a list of YouTube channels focused on teaching students about science. Channels vary in focus from talking about science in general (Bill Nye) to demonstrating experiments (ScienceBob). Each channel comes with a link and a short description. iGameMom is a site that has created a collection of apps and other resources parents can use at home to engage their kids in learning. Where it is geared toward mothers at home, some of these resources would be great for the classroom as well. To see the list and explore iGameMom’s site, click here.
Phillip Torrone shares his experience with creating tabletop biospheres. These miniature underwater worlds are able to remain healthy and vibrant without human interference. In order to see the procedures, the site requires you to register however, Phillip provides a number of useful images that can help you navigate the project yourself and even has a useful graphic that talks about how the system works. To see Phillip’s article, click here.
Want to Kick it Up a Notch?
I remember doing a similar project to this in High School, but it was a little more complex. Our project incorporated two ecological ‘spheres’ that were connected as opposed to one self-contained system. Using 2 liter bottles, we used the top to attempt growing a plant and we had an underwater sphere below it ((see picture below)). This unit does require watering to stay viable, but provides a lot more to observe. If you want to get even more complex, vary how much each group waters their plant and/or have some groups use plant food or other substances to see how that affects the entire system.
Gross Science Experiments
Jenae has compiled a list of ‘gross’ experiments that are simple, hands on, and demonstrate complex scientific concepts. The tactile nature of these experiments make them excellent for younger students and special education classrooms. Each project on the list comes with a sample image and a link to a page with procedures. Jenae is the creator of the site “I Can Teach My Child” where she shares different projects and activities families can do at home. Many of these projects a good for the classroom as well. To see the ‘Gross’ experiments and/or to get more fun ideas from Jenae, click here.
This video by “Best of Orlando” shows a couple of cool activities you can do with almost frozen water. The basic idea is to take purified liquid water that is very cold but has not become frozen and introduce it to bits of ice in order to cause an ‘instant’ phase change. This project is interesting but can be extremely finicky and might not always work. Purified bottled water is required and you may have to play around with the amount of time the water is in your freezer as this can vary according to your device. This makes it difficult to do this project in the classroom, but the video provides a good demonstration.
Adjusting for the Classroom
The version of this project shared above is difficult to perform successfully because it is difficult to know when the water has reached the correct temperature and it is easy to trigger the effect prematurely while you are transferring the water from the bottle to the glass. However, the more commonly used format of this project has a better success rate and circumvents these issues, lending itself better to a classroom environment. I have found a step-by-step video demonstrating this other format and have shared it below. If you really want to feel like you have ‘Elsa Powers’, you can gently open the cap and create the effect with a little ice. What is really important to note is that this version uses rock salt to lower the temperature of the ice and make the cooling process occur faster. It is also how they measure when it is the right time to pull the bottles from the ice.
A Year of Science Experiments for Kids
Dayna has compiled a list of science experiments she has used over the course of a year. The projects are separated by month with each month containing 2-3 related project links. The article also contains a number of other useful science links. Dayna’s blog, “Lemon Lime Adventures”, is a space where Dayna shares different lesson/project ideas as well as her personal life experiences. To see the list of projects and/or to explore Dayna’s blog, click here.
Rockstar Scientists Art
Megan Lee has created artwork representing different famous scientists throughout history. These pieces are available to buy in multiple formats, including an all-inclusive, chronological poster. These pieces would be great to display in the classroom or as inspiration for a class project/review. All of the artwork is available to purchase on Megan’s Etsy store. ((Disclaimer: FUTD is not associated with Megan Lee and does not benefit from the sale of her work in any way))
Using This in Class
Though the posters themselves don’t offer much in the way of information, they can used to inspire a review activity. Using what they learned in class, students can be challenged to make cards or posters that represent the concepts they are learning in class. In order to complete this activity successfully, students would need to understand the main idea for the concept they are focusing on. Not only will this project check for understanding, but the work students produce can be used as study tools.
Crystal has shared a fun and easy project using paper to explore light and color. By covering black colored paper with a thin film of clear nail polish, students can create paper that reflects light. This project can be reproduced in the classroom though it would take two separate lessons to complete as the paper needs time to dry. Once complete, the paper could be used to discuss light and color. The procedures are available on Crystal’s blog: “the Science Kiddo”. “The Science Kiddo” has a number of easy projects to try with most of the content focusing on science. To see the procedures for making rainbow paper and/or to explore Crystal’s blog, click here.
The Science of Happiness
This infograph shared by Omar Kardoudi shows how different factors affect our level of happiness. This graphic can be used as a poster and/or as inspiration for a class project. This graphic is available for free and can be accessed here.
50 Facts About Earth
This infograph created by the company “Giraffe” shares 50 interesting facts about Earth from space to the core. This fantastic visual would make a great poster for any science classroom. To access the infograph, click here.
How Clouds Make Rain
This project shared by Colleen demonstrates how clouds make rain. Students place drops of food coloring onto a layer of shaving cream that sits atop a jar of water. After a few drops of food coloring has entered the shaving cream ‘cloud’, the students will start to notice the color ‘raining’ into the clear water below. This demonstrates how clouds produce rain and can easily be done in class or at home. The original post includes procedures for this project as well as information about different cloud types. To see the original post, click here.
Make Hot Ice
This project shared by Anne Helmenstine shows you how to create ‘hot ice’ using sodium acetate. Not only is this project visually effective, it is also a great way to demonstrate phase change and to discuss how and why different solutions have different boiling/melting points. The procedures for this project are posted on the site “About Education”. “About Education” is a sub-site of About.com that focuses only on educational topics. To see the procedures and/or explore “About Education”, click here.