STEM Spotlight: Roller Coaster Engineer

What is more fun then riding a roller coaster? Ask mechanical engineer Chris Gray and he’d say building one! At Greater Coaster International, Chris applies his creativity and engineering know-how to build exhilarating (and safe!) roller coasters.

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August 2013 E-News: Celebrating Family Fun Month…Science Style!

August is Family Fun Month! As summer vacation is drawing to a close & families are gearing up for another school year, this month is the perfect time to incorporate learning into your family activities. You may think that combining science with anything outside of school sounds like a parental pipe dream, but with a little hands-on experimentation you can get your child’s brain buzzing, create great family memories & gear everyone up for the upcoming academic year. 

From hunting hurricanes and counting constellations to classifying geodes and befriending beetles – we’ve searched out some of the best & most fun sizzlin‘ science activities that will fill your month with scientific discovery for the entire family! 

Backyard Weather Station:

Summer is the season of hurricanes, heat waves and thunderstorms. Encourage your kids to explore meteorology by helping them build a backyard weather station! Explore the elements of temperature, rainfall, wind speed, air pressure and more with just a few simple items from your local hardware store. Keep a weather calendar to describe whether it was hot or cool, humid or dry, or clear or stormy each day. Kids will discover the basics of scientific observation and record keeping while satisfying their natural curiosity about weather.  Build Your Own Backyard Weather Station

The Sky’s The Limit:

Some of the best backyard science can be found right over your head! Discovering astronomy is magical for kids and the stars during summer reveal some of the most dramatic constellations. Take your family on an astronomical adventure by participating in an evening star watch and try to locate the Big Dipper or Milky Way. Grab a few lawn chairs or just a blanket and let your cosmic journey begin! Free Constellation Map, Phases of the Moon, Games & More…

Wacky Water Games & Bubbly-ology:

Nothing says summer like swimming, splashing and slippin‘ and slidin‘ in some cool, refreshing water. Whether you are looking through a sprinkler to see a rainbow or measuring the waves at the beach-with a few simple tools, you can turn water play into water exploration! Gather a few plastic tubs or bowls and have kids move water from one container to another to discover the properties of water such as measuring volume, experiencing the force of suction, water surface tension and gravity. Keep your summer bubbling with excitement with a small plastic swimming pool, a hula hoop and our Super Science Bubble recipe to create the human bubble!  Summer Bubble Activites

Get Buggy:

Most kids are natural entomologists — people who study insects. Foster their curiosity during the buggy summer by leaving something sweet outside, like a slice of fruit with a drop of honey on it, and seeing what types of insects it attracts. Another idea is to plant different colors and types of flowers with your kids and see which ones attract butterflies!  Little kids can observe the bugs (the ones that don’t sting) with a magnifying glass and describe what they see. Older children can talk about insect classifications and the benefits of some bugs.

What Bug Is This? Bug Identification for Kids

Entomology for Kids – All Things Buggy! 

Grow A Vegetable Garden:

Turn a salad into a science lesson! A vegetable garden is full of botany lessons for kids. Plant a family garden this summer and talk with your kids about what plants need in order to grow. Have kids identify whether the ingredients are a fruit (tomato), a root (carrot), a legume (Peapod), or a flower (broccoli). If you are considering doing some Earth-friendly composting as a practical backyard science lesson- Check out our Compost in a Cup Experiment on our website! Vegetable Gardening With Kids

School may still be out, but science fun is always in! Whether you’re taking a last-minute family vacation or enjoying your remaining summer vacation at home, the possibilities for scientific discovery and exploration are as great as your imagination! The great outdoors is the ideal laboratory, so encourage your young scientists to get outside this and explore the world around them. Science is a great way to keep student’s brains buzzing & for families, like yours, to spend time together while making memories that are fun, exciting and educational!

Looking for More? Check Out These Additional Resources:

101 Nature-Oriented Things To Do This Summer!

Fun Summer Science Activities

Kids Summer Time Bucket List!