Share it! Science : June 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Build a Pinhole Projector to View the Solar Eclipse!

Here is a quick DIY project to build your own pinhole projector. What is a pinhole projector? It is a simple device that allows you to project an image without looking directly at it. This is perfect for viewing a solar eclipse, since it is dangerous to look directly at the Sun, even when it is eclipsed. Building, designing, and engineering a pinhole projector is a great way to get kids engaged and excited to view the eclipse that will be visible across the United States on August 21st, 2017.

The design is simple and only uses a few materials that you most likely already have at home, in the kitchen or recycling bin. A great project for upper elementary or middle-school, or even younger kids with a bit of help from an adult.

Build a Pinhole Projector to Safely View the Solar Eclipse

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

You can find the directions for the pinhole projector on my guest contributor post on From ABCs to ACTs.

Build a Pinhole Projector to Safely View the Solar Eclipse

You'll probably also want to get some solar glasses, which can be purchased fairly inexpensively as well. (Regular sunglasses are not sufficient eye protection.) This way you can see how well your pinhole projector works, and then also view the eclipse through the glasses. Be sure to NEVER look at the eclipse with your naked eye, as it can cause permanent damage.

Solar Eclipse Glasses at Steve Spanler Science
You won't want to miss our post on the details of the solar eclipse and everything you need to know about safe viewing. You can also explore the concept of eclipses to really understand what is happening with this quick lesson idea.

Not only is it exciting that the solar eclipse will be visible this summer, but it also provides a great summer vacation learning opportunity. We are so excited about eclipse viewing! Be sure to learn more to see if you'll see a total eclipse in your area!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

DIY At-Home Science, STEM and STEAM Summer Camps

Are you looking for an engaging, fun and educational way to spend the summer with the kids without spending a lot of money? We've included a bunch of great ideas for creating your own science, STEM and STEAM camp right at home this year. These plans would also be excellent for daycare, traditional camps and summer schools.

From kits that are completely packed and planned for you, to activities you can put together with supplies from home, you'll definitely find something useful here. Not only will providing science, technology, engineering, art and math activities boost your kid's brains and help combat the summer slide, but they are also super fun!

DIY Science, STEM and STEAM Summer Camps

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DIY Science, STEM and STEAM Summer Camp

Here are 5 days of Science Camp including science experiments, games and snacks you can do right at home, just collect up the materials!

Kids love nature? Check out these ideas for a DIY Science and Nature Camp including worms, seeds, leaves, trees, bugs, turtles, etc.

If you have kids ages 3-6, you won't want to miss this free STEM camp, with 5 days of STEM themed book explorations!

We are big fans of the STEAM Kids book series, and this year they are offering STEAM Camp! This at-home camp offers 5 days of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities aimed at kids ages 4-10. What makes this one even more special is that you're not alone! You'll have a camp success guide and access to a member's only Facebook group where your STEAM "camp counselors", the authors of STEAM Camp, will be available to help you out.

**Save $15 by pre-ordering STEAM Camp before June 14th, 2017!** 

Try this DIY Science Camp for 16 activities ranging from backyard geysers to homemade silly putty.

This at-home Science Camp features daily themes like the water cycle and separating molecules. Each day includes a themed activity, snack and craft ideas.

You'll find a week of experiments from things you most likely already have in your kitchen with this DIY Science Camp. Activities include "Composting Detectives" and "Homemade Soda".

This summer Steve Spangler Science is offering a 5 day, at home STEM Camp. If you are looking for activities that include all the supplies and directions, then this one is for you. Nothing to collect up or plan ahead for, and you'll still save a fortune compared to sending them to themed day camp or sleep-away camp. You can learn more here.
Steve explains STEM Camp for Parents & Grandparents in a quick video! Watch to learn all about Summer Learning with STEM Camp.

STEM Camp Collection

More Science, STEM and STEAM Activities to Fill Your Summer Days

If you're looking for other fun science, STEM and STEAM activities you won't want to miss these. Check out the Spectacular Summer Series featured here. 8 different summer science themed blog posts.

Try a STEM engineering challenge, like designing a solar oven or building a nature sculpture.

5 days of STEAM activities from building Rube Goldberg machines to hosting a Family STEAM night with the Children's STEAM Festival.

Create beautiful nature art with these printables. 

Stop Summer Boredom Before It Begins!

Build your own maker space or tinker kit with these ideas.

Use free apps to identify plants and create your own yard map.

You also won't want to miss the solar eclipse on August 21st, 2017!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

A Patriotic Spin on the Zoetrope Animation STEAM Project

Let's put a patriotic spin on one of the most popular activities we've featured- zoetrope animation. Combining the science of how our eyes work along with creating some great art that you can animate makes this a super fun STEAM project. Why not also combine this activity with your Independence Day celebration and inspire some creativity over summer vacation?

First, you'll build your zoetrope out of supplies you most likely have around the house. Then do some doodles and voila! You'll be animating in no time. If you love STEAM projects, be sure to continue reading to the bottom of the post where we're sharing some other fun patriotic STEAM ideas.
DIY Zoetrope Animation Patriotic STEAM Project

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

Supplies you'll need:

DIY Zoetrope Animation Patriotic STEAM Project

Build a Zoetrope

You will find the directions for building a zoetrope here.

DIY Zoetrope Animation Patriotic STEAM Project

Once you've built your spinning device, you can begin to create the art that you'll be able to animate. For our zoetrope design, you'll find that strips of paper that are an inch and a half wide work well for your drawings. We created an American flag design and some fireworks for our Fourth of July animation.

DIY Zoetrope Animation Patriotic STEAM Project

What other patriotic or summer designs could you make? Here are some ideas:
  • Parade floats
  • The Statue of Liberty being built
  • The crack forming in the Liberty Bell
  • A moving map of the United States
  • Talking Mount Rushmore
  • Red, white and blue Popsicle melting


Zoetropes aren't the only way to make your own animation. You can create a stop-motion movie using LEGO bricks. Or try a clay animation video. You'll find a kid-friendly clay animation article here.

Here's a classic example of clay animation in action. 

If you're interested in doing more STEAM projects at home, you won't want to miss these Family STEAM night ideas.

Patriotic STEAM for Kids

Check out these other great patriotic STEAM ideas for your 4th of July and summer vacation!

DIY Zoetrope Animation Patriotic STEAM Project

Fluffy Patriotic Slime :: Schooling a Monkey
Make an American Flag Using Water Science Experiments :: From Engineer to Stay at Home Mom
Patriotic Animation :: Share It! Science
Film Canister Rocket Fireworks :: Science Kiddo

Home with the kiddos this summer? Check out this awesome new resource to keep them creating, experimenting and tinkering: Camp STEAM! 
DIY At Home STEAM Camp for Kids