Share it! Science : November 2015

"Mighty Wolf"- Music that Makes Learning about Science and Nature Fun!

jeff and paige mighty wolf kids music science and nature
It has been a lot of fun reviewing the playful and educational new children's album, "Mighty Wolf", from Boulder, CO based duo, Jeff and Paige. As I listened to each track I wished more and more that I had known about Jeff and Paige when I was teaching elementary and early childhood science! Not only is each tune catchy, encouraging little guys to get up and move, but also accurately describes ecological ideas with the proper vocabulary. So often the music I would find for my youngest students would be lacking in any real science content. "Mighty Wolf" does not skimp on science or talk down to children, yet it keeps learning light and kid-friendly.

The album is a combination of song and spoken interludes that narrate a family hiking trip. "Mighty Wolf" is a tribute to Jeff and Paige's son, Wolf. The story of their hike through different habitats, ecosystems and the descriptions of the various wildlife they meet make this album a captivating story from start to finish. Each song also stands alone as a way to teach natural science ideas such as: keystone species, animal adaptations, scavengers and even ladybug and butterfly ecology.

Songs such as "Triple Rainbow" and "Black Widow" encourage kids to dance and move. As you can see from their live performances, it would be difficult for little learners to sit still during their engaging music.

Jeff and Paige are scientists and educators whose careers have evolved into the joyous work of sharing science and messages of ecology through song. Their talent has been recognized by the Parents' Choice and Creative Child Magazine Awards. They have played over 600 shows and have produced several albums including: Get Outdoors (2013), 21st Century Energy Superheroes (2011), Songs from the Trail (2009) and Rocky Mountain Tunes for Rocky Mountain Kids (2007).

Jeff, Paige and Wolf! image credit: Caroline Colvin
I would highly recommend "Mighty Wolf" to any early childhood or elementary classroom and definitely for learning and entertainment at home! To learn more about Jeff and Paige you can visit their website, or find them on Facebook or YouTube.

Want to win a copy of "Mighty Wolf"? You can enter to win below. Follow the directions in the Rafflecopter box. This giveaway lasts until December 8th at 12:00 AM E.S.T. Please use the e-mail address that you can be readily reached at when you sign into Rafflecopter! This is how we will contact our winner.

A copy of "Mighty Wolf" was provided for review, however the author was not compensated in any other way for this review. All opinions in this post are those of the author.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fun and Educational Gifts for the Young Scientists on Your List

'Tis the season for gift-giving. We've searched high and low for great science related gifts that are not only educational but also fun. Throughout the week we will be posting gift guides based on a particular science related theme. If you've got an aspiring astronaut, an insatiable tinkerer or one who wonders about wildlife you are sure to find just the right gift in our series this week!

Science Gift Guides:

Don't Blame the Turkey!

You've probably heard that eating turkey makes you sleepy. Or maybe by now you've heard that it's just a myth! Science says that you can indeed get sleepy after eating your Thanksgiving meal, but the turkey is not to blame.

Turkey contains the amino acid L-tryptophan. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. After we've digested our turkey, L-tryptophan travels to our brain and is transformed into another chemical called serotonin. Our bodies serotonin use to calm us down and help us sleep. Scientists understand that L-tryptophan can only make a person tired right away if there are no other amino acids present in the meal. There are actually a lot of other amino acids in the turkey, besides the L-tryptophan, so turkey cannot be the culprit.

So why do we feel sleepy after Thanksgiving? There are other reasons why eating a large meal might make you sleepy. When you eat a lot of food, blood moves to the stomach to aid with digestion and away from other areas. With your blood headed towards the stomach there is not as much oxygenating your brain. It's what I like to refer to as the "food coma".

Kids can read more about this phenomena in this article at

Looking for a turkey science activity? Try this: Exploring Melting Point: Turkey Timer STEM. 

Thanksgiving Tidbit: Cranberry Science!

Thanksgiving is a great time to consider the science of food! What do you know about the bright, tart, cranberries that make up the cranberry sauce that accompanies your turkey? Here is a hint: it doesn't start out as jell that is shaped like a can! In this post we'll explore some science facts about cranberries that might inspire some scientific thought during your celebratory meal!

Cranberries are an interesting fruit. From growing in acidic bogs to their ability to float, there is a lot of fascinating science here! Here are some science tidbits about cranberries and some activity ideas to keep the kiddos busy on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Cranberry Science Activities Facts

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you make a purchase after clicking a product link. Please see disclosures page for more details.

Cranberry Facts

Cranberries grow in bogs. Bogs are a type of wetland, known for acidic water and thick sphagnum moss. Cranberries need fresh water to grow. To adapt to their acidic surrounding their tough stems and leathery leaves store fresh water. The cranberry has some small thin roots that help to absorb organic nitrogen, which is something they need to survive. If they could not absorb this extra nitrogen it would be difficult for the plant to survive in this sterile soil lacking in nutrients. 

Cranberry plants are very resilient. One that is undamaged can live practically indefinitely. Some cranberry plants in the bogs of Massachusetts are 150 years old or more!

So why is it when we see a commercial for cranberry products are they standing up to their waists in water? Are the cranberry bogs that wet? Some bogs do have fairly deep water. However, the cranberry bogs most likely do not. Due to air pockets inside the cranberry, they have the ability to float. Farmers realized that it was easier to harvest the berries by flooding the bog and scooping them from the water. 

Cranberry Activities

Do your cranberries float? If you have some fresh berries, try it out! Cut one open. What do you see? 
inside a cranberry air pockets science lesson
Inside the cranberry! ©SBF 2015

You can also use the acidity of a cranberry to do some pretty cool secret spy science. Make some cranberry "Spy Juice" and write some secret messages using the directions for "Spies and CSIs". 

More Thanksgiving Science

Check out this fun STEM exploration of those pop-up timers that come in your Thanksgiving turkey.

Here is another great Thanksgiving dinner science activity, super easy to set up, my go-to for those crazy school days before Thanksgiving break! 

You might also want to try some of the experiments here at the Thanksgiving Food Lab.

cranberries science and activities

DIY STEM Gifts For Kids

DIY STEM gifts for kids science kits
Looking for a DIY gift for the kiddos? How about a homemade science kit, tinker kit or invention box? There are so many great ideas out there. With a little time and effort, you can put together a gift with more play value then something from the store.

If you are interested in other science themed gifts, be sure to stop by the other posts in this series: Fun and Educational Gifts for the Young Scientists on Your List.

Build Your Own Science Kit

With a little creativity you can build your own science kit with inspiration from Share it! Science activities, like Spies and CSI's, Balloon Rockets, Hidden Colors in a Leaf, 5 Ways to Make a Real Rainbow, Science with Christmas Leftovers, Dreidels and other Spinning Tops, or any other of my Saturday Science Experiment series. Or, put together one of these science kits from some great kids bloggers!
girl scientist STEM science kits DIY
I Can Teach My Child: Science Kit for Kids Gift Idea. This great science kit idea is complete with a free printable: "Fascinating Science for Kids" full of experiments that can be easily accomplished at home. The whole kit can be put together for under $20!

Little Bins for Little Hands: Homemade Kids Science Kit with 20 Experiments. A supply list of items that are easy to acquire at the grocery or dollar store and links to some great simple at-home science experiments!

Fun at Home with Kids: DIY Science Kit Gift for Kids. A science kit to accompany the author's book: The Curious Kid's Science Book. Great ideas, simple materials!

The Kitchen Pantry Scientist: Homemade Science Lab. All the supplies you need to turn your kitchen into a science lab!
boy scientist science kits DIY

Playdough to Plato: DIY Home Science Kit. Put together a simple science kit and print out some cool science kit cards to get you started on your science adventures! 

A Girl and a Glue Gun: The Science Box. Directions for making a box full of science activities.

Teach-a-roo: Send Home Science Kit. Although geared toward teachers, this at home science kit could be adapted for a gift. Also a great idea for an educational gift for your students if you are a teacher! 
balloon beaker experiment animation

Science Sparks: All You Need for Science At Home. A thorough list of the everyday items that complete the at-home science lab. Great experiment ideas too!

Kids Activities Blog: Totally Awesome Kids Science Kit. 3 super fun experiments that require things you probably already have lying around the house.

Mama.Papa.Bubba: DIY Science Kit for Kids. Filled with items from the grocery store or dollar store. Uses "The Curious Kids Science Book" as a guide.

Glue Sticks Blog: Homemade Science Kits for Kids. Great DIY kit with a ton of experiments and experiment "recipe cards" with directions. Would make a great family gift!

DIY Tinkering and Inventing Kits

Katydid and Kid: A Kids' Tinkering Kit. Ideas to make a kid's tinkering kit with real tools!

Left Brain Craft Brain: Portable Tinkering Kit for Preschoolers. A nice little kit designed to keep a young one busy when you are out and about.

Little Worlds: Upcycled Inventor's Box, A DIY STEM Activity. A nice DIY kit full of recyclables, craft supplies and tools. Hours of good fun and learning.

The Educators' Spin On It: Build an Inventor's Box: A STEM Activity for Kids. Ideas for an inventor's box that will keep your tinkerer busy!

Gifts Ideas for Tinkerers, Makers and Engineers

gift ideas tinker, maker engineer, STEM

Do you have little builders, innovators and creators on your list this year? If so, then you are in the right place. These gifts have been specifically chosen to encourage creativity, innovation, hands-on play and learning.

If you are interested in other science themed gifts, be sure to stop by the other posts in this series: Fun and Educational Gifts for the Young Scientists on Your List.

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

Creative Building 

K'NEX Intro to Simple Machines
Levers, pulleys and gears! K'NEX building systems allow kids to explore simple machines while using creativity to build an unlimited number of different structures. Sets come in a range of prices.

Goldieblox Craft-struction Box
Supplies for crafting a variety of projects like a Spring-Car that moves and a Leap bot that leaps, in addition to unlimited creative options. Access to where you can find new ideas on videos uploaded daily! Compatible with all other Goldieblox sets. 
goldieblox craft-struction kit
Magna-tiles Clear Colors 32-pc set
Literally hours of play for all ages. I have worked with students from Preschool through Middle School who love building impressive structures with these magnetic blocks. Although a little more expensive, these are definitely worth the investment!

magna-tile building set
Did you know that you can rent LEGO? Yes, that is right! K'NEX and other toys too. With a Pley subscription, kids can play with a toy and then swap it out for a new one when they are done. A variety of pricing options.

Pley Rent LEGO Toys

Roominate Chateau
Open ended structure building. Beyond simply building a structure, materials are included to wire up motor and light circuits to add to your building. Create elevators, windmills and more. Compatible with all other Roominate sets.

roominate chateau STEM building system

Making with Electronics

Makey Makey
Makey Makey is just plain awesome. This electronic invention kit gives you an endless world of possibilities. Create music with a banana, play Mario with a play-doh gamepad. Easy to use, no programming knowledge needed. Alligator clips easily connect to objects to play with the world in ways you hadn't imagined until now! Recommended age: 8 and up.

Create over one hundred electronic projects with this introductory circuit board. Components like switches, wires, alarms and a speaker easily snap together. Awesome kit to get kids excited about electronics!
  snap circuits electronics for kids great gift idea

Kits and Sets

Auto Mechanic Super Engine Repair Set
Do you have a kiddo who likes taking things apart and putting them back together again? This is the perfect gift! They can tinker away with this toy car engine, with removable parts, horn and lights. Ages 3 and up.
Give a gift that will last throughout the year! Hands-on science and engineering projects delivered to your door monthly. Each box contains a hands-on project with instructions, Tinkerzine (a magazine of additional projects) and access to online tutorials. Pricing options vary with subscription. Ages 9-16.

Groovy Lab in a Box
Groovy Lab in a Box is another awesome hands-on science and engineering project subscription service. Subscribe to receive monthly STEM projects, or purchase individual boxes. Projects include building your own light-up dance pad, and airplane design challenges. Ages 8 and up. Prices vary depending on subscription or single box purchase.

2 Groovy boxes that might be of particular interest to your engineer are:

Gift Ideas for Budding Biologists and Naturalists

Are you looking for a gift for a young biologist or naturalist? I'm sure just about everyone can think of a kid who can't get enough time playing outdoors, collecting insects, building tree forts and fairy houses. If the kids on your list can't get enough of plants, animals and nature then these fun and educational gifts are for you!

You will definitely find something here that your young nature explorer, future botanist or biologist will love! From science kits and sets to grow plants to pretend play toys, it is here. You're sure to find a great gift for a kid that is not only full of play value, but also educational value, too.

If you are interested in other science themed gifts, be sure to stop by the other posts in this series: Fun and Educational Gifts for the Young Scientists on Your List. 

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you make a purchase after clicking a product link. Please see disclosures page for more details.

The gear every biologist needs to explore nature! 
Backyard Safari Magnifying Glass 
A large lens lets young explorers view specimens at 4x magnification. Sturdy construction, designed for adventures!

kids magnifying glass
Every naturalist needs a close up look at wildlife to learn more. These little insect viewers are great for temporarily examining small creatures.

Discover the love of learning with Educational Toys from Learning Resources! Shop now! Nancy B's Science Club Binoculars and Wildlife Journal 
These light-weight, durable binoculars are an excellent exploration tool. The Wildlife Journal is full of prompts, creative writing and drawing activities.

nancy b's science club binoculars
New Sprouts Grow it! 
A sweet pretend play set for future gardeners and botanists! Great for the little guys.

Nature Bound Cargo Vest
For keeping tools, specimens and other necessities! With 4 cargo pockets and several loops to attach carabiners to your young scientist can carry all the necessary gear to explore!
kids nature exploring cargo vest
Nancy B's Science Club Nature Keeper and Tree Diary
A young botanist's dream! Press flowers, preserve leaves and make notes and drawings along the way.
nature keeper tree diary botany kids

Experiments and Nature Kits! 

ScienceWiz DNA Experiment Kit
Extract DNA from fruit and look at it close up! Solve a chromosome puzzle and model messenger RNA. Tons of authentic Biology fun in this little kit!
  DNA biology genetics experiment kit
Amazing Bacteria Science Kit
Pre-poured agar plates make collecting and growing bacteria simple. A great way to show kids the importance of hand-washing! Recommended for Ages 5 and up. 
  bacteria science kit for kids

Get Growing! Greenhouse
Kids who love plants can get some growing practice in indoors this winter with this mini-greenhouse! Seeds for sunflowers, beans and sensitive plants included.
kids greenhouse growing kit
Root Vue Farm
Another great choice for those fascinated with plants. Plant seeds in this self-watering system and watch their roots grow. Kids get to see part of the growing process that is normally hidden in the soil.
child and root vue science garden kit
Science on a Tracking Expedition
In this kit, kids learn to identify animal tracks through matching activities. Make your own plaster casts of animal footprints.

Green Kid Crafts Science and Discovery Boxes
In addition to providing a monthly subscription service, Green Kid Crafts sells its Science and Discovery boxes individually. For biologists check out: Ocean Science Box, and Nocturnal Animal Discovery Box. Each is filled with science and eco-friendly craft activities for lots of hands-on fun!
backyard science discovery box

Discover Nature as a Family!

The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families and Classrooms
Clare Walker Leslie is an expert at inspiring a love of nature in children and adults. This book provides activity ideas and prompts to get the entire family engaged in nature throughout the entire year!
 the nature connection by Clare Walker Leslie