Tag Archives: stem

STEM: Build a Solar Oven

STEM is quickly becoming my favorite educational subject. It is so much fun to create these fun projects at home with my kids, we all feel as if we are playing and building, when in reality I am helping to stimulate their skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It is an important subject in todays world. So many of our important careers have STEM components. Colleges look for STEM based backgrounds, and even supply STEM based scholarships. Schools are quickly trying to create a broader base of classes and programs available in these subjects, but with defunding of public schools many are unable to incorporate these programs. As parents it is our job to fill in the gaps with extracurricular activities, groups, and even working with our kids at home. It only takes a little parental interest to make a project that seems boring and make it in to a fun and interactive game.

We have been trying to share different STEM activities at least once a month on the blog. We know that kids look forward to them, but we also know that parents get busy, and may not have the time to find things like this on their own. We also know that a lot of us pin great ideas to try, but we sometimes get so busy we lack the motivation and time to actually follow through. Many of you have told us that when you see our blog posts it reminds you that you can do these things. And many of you do. So we will continue to share in hopes that we can help you to accomplish the things you plan.

This month we want to share this fun STEM project is not only fun, it is also pretty tasty! PBSKids has shared a simple solar oven that can help you and your kids to create S’mores! Simply follow the incredibly easy to follow tutorial and enjoy the treats of your labor. 

STEM Activities: Experimenting with Weather and Lightning!

STEM has become such an important part of science in classrooms around the country. It is not only a very important part of our current lifestyle, we use science and technology in nearly every major job now, it is also such an important part of our daily lives. This moths fun STEM activity deals with weather and lightning. Since everyone has to live in the weather, why not take a moment to get better acquainted with how it works and why its important?

This months STEM activity is from Learn Play Imagine, a great blog written and created by Mom Allison. Her little weather experiment is so much fun your kids will want to do this everyday. Not only does he teach us how lightning is made, with her instructions you and your kids can actually CREATE lightning at home.

STEM - Weather and lightning

Allison and Learn Play Imagine shares some incredibly cool insight in to lightning and weather with this experiment. We highly recommend heading over to her page to fully understand the experiment and to see step-by-step tutorial with a Youtube video to give you guidance to complete the experiment in full.

Don’t forget to check out some of Allison’s other great experiments and blogs while you are there.

Check out these 10 myths about lightning for you to share with your kids while you work:

MYTH 1 – LIGHTNING NEVER STRIKES THE SAME PLACE TWICE 
Fact: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it’s a tall, pointy, isolated object. The Empire State Building was once used as a lightning laboratory, because it’s hit nearly 25 times per year, and has been known to have been hit up to a dozen times during a single storm.
MYTH 2 – LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES THE TALLEST OBJECTS 
Fact: Lightning is indiscriminate and it can find you anywhere. Lightning hits the ground instead of trees, cars instead of nearby telephone poles, and parking lots instead of buildings.
MYTH 3 – IN A THUNDERSTORM, IT’S OK TO GO UNDER A TREE TO STAY DRY
Fact: Sheltering under a tree is just about the worst thing you can do. If lightning does hit the tree, there’s the chance that a “ground charge” will spread out from the tree in all directions. Being underneath a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties.
MYTH 4 – IF YOU DON’T SEE CLOUDS OR RAIN, YOU’RE SAFE 
Fact: Lightning can often strike more than three miles from the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or even the thunderstorm cloud. “Bolts from the Blue,” though infrequent, can strike 10?15 miles from the thunderstorm. Anvil lightning can strike the ground over 50 miles from the thunderstorm, under extreme conditions.
MYTH 5 – A CAR WITH RUBBER TIRES WILL PROTECT YOU FROM LIGHTNING 
Fact: Most vehicles are safe because the metal roof and sides divert lightning around you. The rubber tires have little to do with protecting you. Keep in mind that convertibles, motorcycles, bikes, open shelled outdoor recreation vehicles, and cars with plastic or fiberglass shells offer no lightning protection at all.
MYTH 6 – IF YOU’RE OUTSIDE IN A STORM, LIE FLAT ON THE GROUND
Fact: Lying flat on the ground makes you more vulnerable to electrocution, not less. Lightning generates potentially deadly electrical currents along the ground in all directions, which are more likely to reach you if you’re lying down.
MYTH 7 – IF YOU TOUCH A LIGHTNING VICTIM, YOU’LL BE ELECTROCUTED
Fact: The human body doesn’t store electricity. It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give them first aid.
MYTH 8 – WEARING METAL ON YOUR BODY ATTRACTS LIGHTNING
Fact: The presence of metal makes virtually no difference in determining where lightning will strike; height, pointy shape and isolation are the dominant factors. However, touching or being near long metal objects, such as a fence, can be unsafe when thunderstorms are nearby. If lightning does happen to hit one area of the fence. For example, the metal can conduct the electricity and electrocute you, even at a fairly long distance
MYTH 9 – A HOUSE WILL ALWAYS KEEP YOU SAFE FROM LIGHTNING
Fact: While a house is the safest place you can be during a storm, just going inside isn’t enough. You must avoid any conducting path leading outside, such as corded telephones, electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, plumbing, metal doors or window frames, etc. Don’t stand near a window to watch the lightning. An inside room is generally safe, but a home equipped with a professionally installed lightning protection system is the safest shelter available.
MYTH 10 – SURGE SUPPRESSORS CAN PROTECT A HOME AGAINST LIGHTNING 
Fact: Surge arresters and suppressors are important components of a complete lightning protection system, but can do nothing to protect a structure against a direct lightning strike. These items must be installed in conjunction with a lightning protection system to provide whole house protection.

 

How Strong is Spaghetti?: A STEM Activity

Frugal Fun 4 Boys has always been one of our favorite blogs. If you still aren’t following Sarah, you are missing out. We have been highlighting Sarah’s amazing ideas for years, and once again, we just have to share her brilliance.

STEM is such an important part of our education system now, after all, STEM activities are jobs in the future. STEM doesn’t have to be difficult, frightening, or intimidating. It can be fun, exciting, and easy to do.

How strong is spaghetti

This fun spaghetti project helps kids to understand how engineers go about choosing material for building bridges and other structures. It shows how some material works well in one scenario, but does badly in another. Sarah says the experiment is meant for children 13+ but it works well with children younger than that as well as long as parents can read the article with their kids and make it more understandable according to the age group and level.

Make sure you check out some of Sarah’so the great ideas at Frugal Fun 4 Boys. We mean it, you do not want to miss out!

Now it is your family’s turn to find out: how strong is spaghetti? And we would love to hear what your discovered, so please leave us a comment below.