Share it! Science : June 2017

Communicate Like a Bee! Code a Message in Dance

Did you know that bees dance to communicate with each other? It's true! Scout bees collect information on where the best food sources are and bring this news back to the hive. They then do a series of dance moves in which the location of the food source is encoded.

Click on over to my guest post in the Storybook Summer series on the Rainy Day Mum blog where you can find out more about these fascinating bee dances. You'll also find some great picture book suggestions to read to kids about bees and their dances, in addition to a fun dance coding activity to try.

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Dance in Code Like a Bee

Create Your Own Dance Language

My post, Code a Message in Dance...Like a Bee, includes a free printable to help kids create their own coded messages through dance. It is a wonderful way to explore animal communication while honing coding skills.

Bee dances appear simple, but contain complex information. Older children will be fascinated by the specifics of these messages and how they can create moves that encode secret messages, while younger children might simply enjoy the idea of using dance to tell a story.

Dance in Code Like a Bee

You'll also definitely want to check out the picture book, Bee Dance, by Rick Chrustowski. It has great illustrations and explores the idea of bee communication in story form, easily understandable for children of any age.

Want to share the idea of bee dance with young kids? Here is a great PBS video from Sid the Science Kid all about the bee dance!

If you are interested in other books about the fascinating social lives of bees, you might want to find the picture book Are You a Bee? by Judy Allen.

Love insects? Here are some great insect themed citizen science projects perfect to try this summer.

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

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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.) Check out these safe options from Amazon.

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.

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!

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!

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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 now 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.

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".

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.

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

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


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

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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. Templates for the strips are included with the templates to build your zoetrope, available here. 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