The museum has compiled a list of helpful online resources and fun, educational activities that parents can take advantage of as you look for ways to continue keeping your children learning from home! As always, if you are looking for new, STEM-related educational ideas to keep your children engaged from home, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
In the late 2000's, the museum partnered with the Richmond Times-Dispatch to provide a series of educational articles written by the museum's curators for elementary and middle school students. Each Sci Kids article explores a different scientific topic and correlates to the Standards of Learning.
Egg Drop Engineering Challenge
Brainstorm a way to keep an egg safe from a drop. Sketch your design on paper. Use various supplies around your home (paper, cotton balls, toilet paper tubes, tape, etc) to engineer your design. Test by dropping your design from a height. Carefully check your egg to see if it landed safe or cracked. Make it a family competition!
Oobleck – a non-Newtonian fluid
Pour one cup of cornstarch into a large bowl. Next, slowly add 1/2 cup water to the cornstarch, mixing as you pour. The oobleck should be relatively thick, like pancake batter. It reacts as a solid if you tap hard, but as a liquid if you press gently. If the oobleck is too thick add more water, if too runny add more cornstarch. Food coloring can be added to the water before mixing for colorful oobleck. Do you have tonic water and a black light at home? Tonic water contains quinine, which will glow under a black light, making your oobleck glow!
Measure 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide (20-volume works best), and use a funnel to pour it into an empty, clean water bottle. Add 1 tablespoon of dish soap into the bottle, and swirl gently to mix. Food coloring can be added if you want colorful elephant toothpaste! If you want to give your foam stripes like some toothpastes, put the drops along the inside rim of the bottle’s mouth. Let them drip down the inside of the bottle, but do not mix. In a separate cup, mix together one tablespoon of yeast and three tablespoons of warm water. Stir for about 30 seconds to loosen any clumps. Carefully pour the yeast mixture into the bottle then quickly step back, and watch your reaction go!
Pencil and Bag Magic Science
Fill a plastic baggie about ¾ full of water and seal it closed. Sharpen a few pencils (the sharper the better)! Have a family member hold the plastic bag tightly by the top. Firmly push the sharp pencil through the plastic bag. Continue pushing the pencil until the point is through the other side of the bag. How many pencils can you push through?
Sun Catcher Craft
Cut out the center of a paper plate and attach clear shelf liner or wide clear tape to the back with the sticky side facing the front of the plate. Travel outside to pick a few flowers or leaves to decorate your sun catcher. Once you have arranged the flower petals and leaves, cover your designs with another layer of clear shelf liner or wide clear tape (cut to fit inside the paper plate). Use a hole punch to make two holes near the top of the plate, and attach yarn or a pipe cleaner for hanging.
Educational Web Resources
Smithsonian Learning Lab
Children and Nature
National Geographic Kids