Share it! Science : November 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Eduporium: A Great Resource for Educational Technology


I'm excited to be reviewing Eduporium, an online platform that helps connect kids, schools, homeschool and makerspaces to educational technology. Not only am I sharing all of Eduporium's services and resources with you, but Eduporium has also been very generous in providing a fun DIY Electro Dough kit, and a $50 shop credit for us to give away to a reader. Additionally, Eduporium is offering Share it! Science readers an exclusive discount code. You'll find details about each at the end of this post.

The Eduporium vision resonates with me in that they strive to provide experiences for children that will help them build skills, hone their imagination and creativity, and allow them to become real world problem-solvers. Another fabulous goal of Eduporium is to make ed tech accessible to schools and other organizations through education, program support, profit-sharing programs and educational discounts.

This video sums up Eduporium's mission nicely:



Eduporium offers a bright and engaging web page for students, parents, teachers and school administrators. Exploring their offerings you'll find cool tech, projects, a map of skills, activities and resources. For teachers and school administrators there is the Tech Lending Library, workshops, teacher collaboration sites, options for making ed tech affordable, and more.

The "cool tech" section is a great resource for learning more about a specific type of technology, i.e. Arduino or circuit stickers, and gives you an introduction about the tech, how to get started with it, the ways it can be used in education and some project ideas. In some cases, there are links to state education standards that might be met by using the technology or completing a project.

I was impressed with the project and activity sections. In "Projects" you'll find tons of fun project ideas that include a full supply list and helpful thoughts on how to put the project to use in a classroom. Projects include things like a DIY digital camera and DIY portable boombox. The "Activity" section has plenty of activity ideas that use technology available on Eduporium. These also include a full parts list so it is easy to get started and classroom resources.


I think some of the most useful sections as far as developing our student's real-world skills are the "Map of Skills" and "Resources" sections of the site. Both are works in progress, but there is a lot of potential and I look forward to see where each will go. "Map of Skills" features interviews with real-world professionals highlighting the skills needed for that career, how technology plays a role and other useful life-shaping information. "Resource"s includes "Wise Up Wednesday" workshops meant to teach about different technology that Eduporium has to offer schools and makerspaces.

The offerings for teachers and schools are unique. I'm excited to share these resources with colleagues in the field because I think they truly will help bring technology to their classrooms or makerspaces.

The "Tech Lending Library" is a cool program where teachers can borrow items for a small rental fee, that can then be used towards purchase if they choose to do so. This is a fabulous idea, since you never really know if something will work in your particular teaching setting until you've tried it out. Since obtaining an entire classroom set of ed tech products can be very pricey, this takes out the guesswork and allows schools to pilot a product and see if it makes sense for them to purchase.

By far one of the most important services Eduporium provides is tech affordability. One of Eduporium's goals is to make technology accessible for all students. There are several ways they are working to make this possible: profit-sharing, academic discounts, grants and young inventor discounts.


Schools can become a part of the profit sharing program. This allows schools to collect a portion of the profits generated from purchases made on Eduporium by their community members (families, faculty, etc).

Academic discounts are available for those who qualify. A brief questionnaire makes it easy to find out whether or not you can take advantage of educational pricing, sometimes up to 85% off in order to make technology accessible to all classrooms. These discounts were put into place by some of the major technology companies, but few people know about them, so the funds go unused. This is your chance to take advantage of these programs for your classroom!

Eduporium awards an educational technology grant of $250 each month to fund proposed projects. You can submit a proposal for a project on the website.

Discounts are also available for "young inventors". Kids can write to Eduporium about how they want to change the world, and they just might get the help they need to do so.


To help implement technology into schools, Eduporium teaches workshops and provides opportunities for teacher collaboration.

Currently, Eduporium is offering three different types of workshop opportunities. The workshops serve groups of students and their teachers, just teachers, or workshops that highlight how to use different products. These give people a chance to see this technology in practice, similar to the benefits of the Tech Lending Library it allows exploration before committing to purchasing a product before knowing how to incorporate it into learning or whether it will work in a particular setting.

Any school or school district can sign up for their own space on Eduporium's site. These teacher collaboration sites empower teachers within a school or district to work together and share ideas by providing a space to share lesson plans, or ask questions. There is the potential for teachers to post "wish-lists" for upcoming materials that will be required and share them with their students or the communities' users. Schools and districts can set up their own stores where products they are choosing to use can be purchased.


On Eduporium's forums teachers and the community can post questions, collaborate ideas and more. As an educator, I find this to be an invaluable resource. None of us are teaching in a bubble, so it is awesome to have a space for collaboration!

To take some of the guesswork out of building a school STEAM program or get kids started making, Eduporium offers kits and bundles. Different types of tech are bundled together to create all the supplies needed to explore a certain area, such as circuits, or robotics. The bundles teach skills that build upon each other and are chosen for age and skill appropriateness.

The Eduporium shop provides a space to purchase kits, maker tools, robotics, products to learn coding and even computers and tablets. In fact, Eduporium has offered Share it! Science readers an exclusive discount code. Use the code SHAREITSCIENCE now through May 31st, 2017 to receive 10% off of your ed tech order!

Interested in learning more about Eduporium? Check out their site, read their blog, follow them on social media, or visit their YouTube page!

Stay tuned as next week we will feature an interview with Eduporium CEO Rick Fredkin, and another great giveaway!

Ed Tech Giveaway!

Enter to win a DIY Electro Dough Kit plus a special $50 shop credit at Eduporium.com! This kit is a super fun way to teach kids about circuits while building and creating their own dough models and figures that light up or make sounds. This giveaway runs from December 1st, 2016 until midnight (EST) December 7th, 2016. You must be a resident of the United States to enter. Enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be announced below and across our social media platforms.


Check out this video to see how it works!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Although this review was sponsored, all opinions are my own. All images and giveaway items provided by Eduporium.com

Thursday, November 24, 2016

20 Truly Unique Etsy Gifts for Science Loving Kids and Adults


'Tis the season for gift-giving, and I've scoured Etsy for some of the coolest, unique gifts for science-lovers. These are definitely not items you'll find at the mall, and you don't have to wait in line or camp out in front of the store the night before to score a fabulous handcrafted gift. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing these items under my tree!

This post contains affiliate links, please see disclosures for more information.

Under $20

Know a biologist, science teacher or college student who'd love some double helix bling? Check out these DNA earrings in gold or silver.

http://tidd.ly/8da1e5cd

For those of you who miss Pluto, you'll find your beloved demoted planet and all of its dwarf planet friends in this cute crocheted set. A fun stocking stuffer for your favorite amateur stargazer.
Jazz up a classroom window with this beautiful amoeba suncatcher.  A classy gift for an inspiring science teacher. 
http://tidd.ly/cc6c7d7a

How about a lung cookie cutter? Learn some anatomy the tasty way! Another great stocking stuffer! 

http://tidd.ly/6029294a


Some DNA replication humor with your cup of joe. This biology mug is perfect for a chuckle and fueling a science grad student or teacher's morning.
http://tidd.ly/542e53f0
Once this magnetic slime is out of the stocking, you might have to put opening the rest of the presents on hold! Too much fun! 
http://tidd.ly/a1fa1b08

What chemist wouldn't want these crocheted Erlenmeyer flasks gracing their desk? Also fun for some kid's scientist imaginative play. 

http://tidd.ly/9a32592

How about this dapper chemistry tie clip? It not only dresses up that boring tie, but also keeps it in a safe position during science lab demonstrations. 

http://tidd.ly/8f22c5a

Teachers like Ms. Frizzle love to accessorize with science! Do you know one that would like to sport an animal cell necklace? All of your favorite organelles are right here! 

http://tidd.ly/12e6bd9

Deck out the Christmas tree with a DNA ornament featuring a quote from James Watson, of Watson and Crick fame. (Sorry, folks, no Rosalind Franklin version!) 

http://tidd.ly/c679e0a7
Learn your constellations while you wrap your gifts with this cool constellation wrapping paper! Great for any season or gift. 

http://tidd.ly/7d004521

Outfit your entire science club with these gloriously nerdy science buttons. My personal favorite is AH the Element of Surprise. 

http://tidd.ly/746dc303

$20 and up

Celebrate sharing the wonders of the world with a child with this beautiful wall art. Great for a kid's room!
http://tidd.ly/65980983

Bestow a beautiful mitochondria locket on the person who fuels your soul...or cells... Seriously, nothing says romance like a powerhouse of an organelle.
http://tidd.ly/e29bf2d4

Speaking of cells...know a crafty biologist? Get them this DIY cell embroidery kit!

http://tidd.ly/a1cca060

Wouldn't this science wall decal be an awesome addition to an elementary science classroom wall? Also great for a kid's bedroom.

http://tidd.ly/1ac9c5dc

Know someone who is outfitting a baby nursery? Start their small creature off right with this print featuring a Carl Sagan quote. 

http://tidd.ly/de0a5f7f

This neuron necklace would make a very classy gift for someone interested in psychology or neuroscience. Science is beautiful!

http://tidd.ly/138204ac

Have a space-obsessed kid or a future astronaut? These space themed prints would make an adorable gift to decorate their bedroom.

http://tidd.ly/54eca696
And last, but not least, jump start your favorite baby's Earth science education with this water cycle onesie! Very cute, and educational to boot.

http://tidd.ly/54eca696
Still searching for the perfect present? Check out these Editor's Pick holiday gift ideas from Etsy. 





Friday, November 18, 2016

Fall Nature Walks: Can You Spot a Bird's Nest?


Now that the leaves have fallen from the trees, there are a lot of natural wonders exposed and easy for the careful observer to find. I recently noticed a bird's nest high up in an oak tree while out for a walk. I continued to look up and noticed a big bunch of leaves that was most likely the handiwork of a squirrel.


Next time you are out for a fall or winter nature walk, look carefully in the bushes and up in the tree branches around you, I bet if you are observant and patient, you'll spot a bird or beast habitat too!

While you're out there, see what you can see for lichen, galls and fungus too! 


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

25 Engaging STEAM Projects for the Season: STEAM Kids Christmas

http://steamkidsbooks.com/product/steam-kids-christmas/ref/26/

If you loved the STEAM Kids (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) book I reviewed earlier this fall, then I'm sure you're excited to find out that the latest from this team of scientists, artists, educators and moms launches today. STEAM Kids Christmas features 25 holiday themed STEAM activities. That's right, you could do one activity a day as an advent activity!

This post contains affiliate links, see disclosures for more information.

STEAM Kids Christmas Pop Up Advent Calendar

Just like the original STEAM Kids book, the activities here encourage kids to question like a scientist, design like a technologist, build like an engineer, create like an artist, deduce like a mathematician and play like a kid. I am impressed with how the authors have done just that...again. I was not surprised when the first book was an Amazon best seller within the first week!

Click on any image in this post for more information about the book.

It is not hard to have favorite activities from STEAM Kids Christmas. Who wouldn't love combining art, science, etc. with the most wonderful time of the year? I have fond memories of watching a candle carousel spin at my Grandparents house on Christmas Eve. I was very excited to see that a project for building a DIY one is included in the book. There are so many different aspects of this project I never thought of before, engineering, designing, the science of convection currents, etc. There are lots of opportunities for learning.

STEAM Kids Christmas

I also adore the 3-D advent calendars. You can choose from a penguin or Santa template to print out and build. Put math and engineering concepts to work to fabricate these little advent boxes, then fill them up with goodies to discover each night until Christmas.

STEAM Kids Christmas Pop Up Advent Calendar

I bet you've never thought to make tangram Christmas cookies before, or create a soft circuit ornament that lights up. I'm looking forward to trying both.

I think this book series is great, not only because of the fun activities, but also the fact that it is designed to be user friendly. It is a great resource for families, teachers, after school programs or day care. With printable STEAM challenge cards and links to 25 extension projects, there are many more than 25 Christmas activities here.

The book also includes weekly activity planners and shopping lists, making it easy to plan a week full of projects. (Great for winter break!) The index is written 2 ways, one is organized by STEAM concept: Science activities, Technology activities, etc. The other is alphabetically.

STEAM Kids Christmas Sample Activities
During launch week you can get some great deals on the e-book version of STEAM Kids Christmas. From 11/9/16-11/17/16 get the e-book for $9.99 (after 11/17/16 $14.99) you'll also get the BONUS download of the STEAM Kids Christmas Coloring Book, which is chock full of 3-D stars, snowflakes, grid picture puzzles and more.

Another great deal available from 11/9/16-11/17/16 is an e-book bundle of STEAM Kids, STEAM Kids Christmas and the coloring book for $19.99 (save $15).

Buy Now
Readers who live in the EU can purchase the e-book here

You can also purchase the book in paperback on Amazon. During launch week the freebie coloring book is available by e-mailing your purchase confirmation to: steamkids@leftbraincraftbrain.com

STEAM Kids Launch Special

Looking for even more STEAM activities? Check these out.

25 Days of Holiday STEAM Activities for Kids

Friday, November 4, 2016

Exploring Melting Point: Turkey Timer STEM


How do you assure your Thanksgiving turkey has been cooked to a safe temperature, but is not overly dry? Science to the rescue!

If you've cooked a turkey you've probably seen a pop-up meat timer. These nifty devices are designed to pop up when the bird is done. But how does it work? This STEM investigation will answer that question and give the kids something to do while you're busy in the kitchen preparing for the feast.

This post contains affiliate links, please see disclosure for more information. 

Photo by M. Rehemtulla [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Every element of the periodic table has a melting point and a boiling point. These are the temperatures at which the element melts or boils. When elements are combined they have different melting and boiling points. Engineers put these principles to work when designing pop-up turkey timers. 

Here is the background information, or "spoiler", for this investigation. Depending on how open-ended you would like your student's or children's investigation to be, you can feel free to divulge this at the start, or let them make hypotheses of their own before sharing.

Inside a turkey timer is a thin piece of metal. The metal is a combination, or alloy, of lead, cadmium and bismuth. This alloy melts at a specific temperature, which is the same as a turkey needs to cook to, 180 degrees F, or 83 degrees C. When the piece of metal melts, the "pop-up" part of the timer is released.



To investigate these little devices in action, you'll need the following supplies:
Using the proper safety precautions, heat some water in a pan or beaker on the stove top or hot plate. Hold the turkey timer under the water with the tongs. Insert the thermometer in the water as well. It's probably best to make this a 2 person procedure.

by Freddyz at the French language Wikipedia [GFDLor CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

When the red part of the pop-up timer pops, record the temperature of the water. How accurate was the timer?

Try it again- to reset the timer, pull it out of the hot water and push down the red part. Allow to return to room temperature. This will solidify the alloy inside once again. To speed up the process, hold the timer closed in ice or ice water.

What do you find in subsequent trials? How consistent is the timer? Does it lose its effectiveness when it's been used more than once? Be sure to record all of your results.

Extend this activity on Thanksgiving! Here are some ideas: 
Looking for more Thanksgiving science? You'll find some cranberry science activities here. Curious about turkey genetics? Does turkey really make you sleepy?