Give Their Brain a Science Workout with Weather, Matter and the Cell Life Cycle Activities
I can remember when I first got excited about science. I was sitting in my first grade classroom. Ready to go over the usual worksheets when my first grade teacher announced that today we would discuss gravity. I don’t remember all that she said that day. But I do remember her putting water in a vase, swinging it around and around really fast, like a windmill, and explaining that gravity kept the water from falling out. I was mesmerized that the water stayed in. I couldn't help but think it’s got to be a magic trick. But no, it was just science. That’s what I want for each of my three. They may never go into the STEM field. But science, technology, engineering and math are all great ways to exercise the brain. Critical thinking, the ability to ask questions, analyze and solve problems, are all essential skills needed in order to do well in college and life in general. So it’s off to the science brain workout we go.
Happy Learning!Looking to enhance knowledge in: Cell Cycle Educational Activity Focus: Cell cycle and the cure for cancer Develop and use models to show the changes that occur in a cell during the cell cycle (including changes in cell size, chromosomes, cell membrane/cell wall, and the number of cells produced). Predict, based on the models, what might happen to a cell that does not progress through the cycle correctly. First, have your high school scholar review the cell cycle with this great interactive game (I had to go ahead and click ‘enter’ despite the fact that the ‘loading game’ message never went away). Next, have them think about how cells go from healthy to ‘sick’ during the cell cycle with this video Cancer: from a healthy cell to a cancer cell
After the video ask them to tell you: In relation to the cell cycle, how does cancer form? How do cancer cells spread? What are three types of treatment for cancer? They can learn more about cell mutations and the link to cancer with this Hallmarks of Cancer slide show. Lastly, have your high schooler begin working on a cure for cancer with this interactive game.
Looking to enhance knowledge in: Engineering Educational Activity Focus: Construct devices or design solutions using scientific knowledge to solve specific problems or needs: (1) ask questions to identify problems or needs (2) ask questions about the criteria and constraints of the device or solutions (3) generate and communicate ideas for possible devices or solutions (4) build and test devices or solutions (5) determine if the devices or solutions solved the problem and refine the design if needed (6) communicate the results.
First have your middle school scholar look at this video to be clear about “What is Engineering?” Your middle schooler can either learn about the challenges of designing a football helmet to stop concussions or participate in cosmetic chemistry. Their task? Create a concussion resistant football helmet or all-natural lip gloss for friends. Make sure to remind them that with any engineering endeavor they must consider the following: Brain storm Design a model by drawing a picture. Build. Make modifications. Rebuild.
For interest in football, next they can watch this video on “Smart Helmets’
Put their engineering skills to practice: Activity: Build a football helmet to prevent concussions Use a raw egg with egg glued to bottom of carton. Use random materials around the house (i.e. cardboard boxes, tape, paper, cotton balls etc. Use materials to design a helmet Drop egg in ‘helmet’ on floor - Rules – helmet has to stay on and prevent egg from cracking.
Activity: Make lip gloss that will prevent lips from drying out. After your child completes their project, remember: Make modifications and rebuild if necessary. Ask what would they do differently, why or why not? Looking to enhance knowledge in: Matter! (Second or Third Grade) Educational Activity Focus: Plan and conduct scientific investigations to determine how changes in heat (increase or decrease) change matter from one state to another (including melting, freezing, condensing, boiling, and evaporating). First review the differences between solids, liquids and gases with this neat interactive science game. Next, take it to the kitchen. Make butter, pancakes or boil water. Anything that your whiz kid can see change from a solid to a liquid, liquid to gas or liquid to solid. This video is a great science experiment on making butter. Lastly, discuss with them or have them write down for you: What evidence of chemical change did they observe? Did they have any misconceptions about what they thought would happen? Did a chemical change take place and how do they know it did or did not? (FYI: Point out just because something shows evidence of chemical change does not always mean that a chemical change has taken place. Whenever there is chemical change a new substance is formed.) Looking to enhance knowledge in: Weather! Educational Activity Focus: Analyze and interpret local weather condition data (including precipitation, wind, temperature, and cloud cover) Describe weather patterns that occur from day to day Use simple graphs and pictorial weather symbols For a week have your kindergartner use a crayon or marker to color in the weather for each day using the Weather Data Chart At the end of the week have them count the number of sunny, cloudy, rainy days. Remember to ask which weather days they saw most often. Keep this up for two weeks and ask your little genius if they think there is more sunshine, rain or warm weather where you live based on the ‘data’ they collected. Once the seasons change have them re-do the weather chart and ask if they see any changes in the weather pattern.
Here’s to Closing the Achievement Gap!