Microbes and Alexander Fleming: Germ Game

Who was Alexander Fleming? Alexander Fleming was a scientist
that lived from 1881 to 1955, and he was a physician, microbiologist, and
pharmacologist. He was interested in the study of microorganisms, the
tiny little creatures you can’t see that can cause you to become sick!
Microorganisms are often called germs! There are 6 types of microorganisms:
bacteria, fungi (yeast and mold), archaea, algae, protozoa, and viruses!

To study and understand how microorganisms live and behave,
Alexander Fleming would leave bowls of bacteria cultures around his workspace.
One day in 1928, Fleming noticed that a culture plate of a bacteria called staphylococcus
aureus
had become contaminated by mold. The mold seemed to be defeating the
staph bacteria! By using his scientist observation skills, Alexander Fleming
concluded the mold contained a substance that was effective against bacteria,
and he named this substance penicillin.

Penicillin is part of a large group of medications that can
be used to fight bacteria called antibiotics. Antibiotics are very
useful in treating bacterial infections like strep throat (caused by streptococcus),
sinus infections, staph infections (staphylococcus aureus) by killing off the
bacteria causing the infection. Viruses, another type of germ, cannot be
treated with antibiotics for a few reasons; viruses are not living organisms
like bacteria, viruses replicate and reproduce cells differently, and viruses
are usually fought off by your immune system.

Doctors use vaccinations to prevent humans from getting
viruses that can make us very sick. Vaccinations take weakened forms of
diseases like polio, influenza (the flu), and measles and inject them into your
body to build up a resistance. Your immune system is your body’s defense system
that protects you from disease and helps to keep you healthy! When a
vaccination enters your body, your immune system fights it off and remembers
how to fight off the flu or polio germs that may enter your body in the future.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a virus that the world has never
seen before, and this is why it can seem so scary. This is a new virus that our
body has no resistance to, and doctors haven’t had the time to create a
vaccination to help keep us healthy. While doctors and nurses are working hard
to treat sick people with the coronavirus, there are lots of things that we can
do to help stop the spread of this new virus!

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends that you
wash your hands often, especially after blowing your nose or coughing, use hand
sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, and avoid touching your eyes,
nose and mouth. By touching doorknobs, desks and many other places where germs
collect, washing your hands will stop them from being introduced to your body!

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

To better understand how germs can be passed from person to
person, you can play High Touch High Tech’s Germ Game! By taking some glitter
and lotion, we can observe how the microorganisms we can’t see are being spread
across our world!

Want instructions on how to play the Germ Game? Visit us at:
https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/germ_game.pdf

The Fungus Among Us

What do you think of when someone talks about fungi? Often,
mushrooms are the first image to come to mind, or maybe even a corny joke about
being a fun-guy.

While mushrooms are commonly recognized as fungi, the
classification is much larger than you may think! Fungi are distinct due to
their wide variations of size, shape, color, ability to thrive in a range of
environmental conditions, and their many uses in modern day society. Fungi are
the source for many of the medications we use, like penicillin, and even found
in the foods that we eat. The yeast we use for baking bread is a single-celled
fungus, and the mushrooms we encounter on a walk outside are multi-celled
fungi!

 It wasn’t until the
late sixties that fungi gained their own scientific category, separate of
plants. One of the main factors in the new classification was due to the
bacteria’s methods of “feeding”. Rather than basking in the sun to create
chlorophyll, by way of the photosynthetic process, fungi require the nutrition
found in organic matter. This makes their eating habits similar to those of
animals!

Sizzlin’ Science Summer Camps

Many of the schools and organizations who choose to book
summer programs with us, continue to book year after year. This may be a result
of the benefits that teachers and parents see when their students are involved
in summer learning programs.

Studies suggest that students lose roughly a month of
learning during the summer. Though a child can regain much of the knowledge
lost during summer break, it is important to remember that learning loss is
cumulative. Many believe that over time, the summer slide directly contributes
to the achievement gap between students of different socioeconomic backgrounds.

One of the most common reasons for deciding against summer
learning opportunities is a matter of cost or funding. High Touch High Tech
recognizes the importance of making summer programming accessible to every
student, parent, teacher, and schooling district. We will always put the
ability to educate our community first, by providing the same high quality
science experience at every location, accepting grant funding for programs, and
giving every student the opportunity to receive the high-quality STEM education
that they deserve. 

Often the schools that book High Touch High Tech for summer
camps year after year also choose to take advantage of our low priced, high
quality elementary programs and after school enrichment programs. We offer a
range of program types in such a wide variety of grades and academic settings
because we realize how important it is for students to have access to hands-on
STEM education year-round. We believe this creates an environment that is
conducive to prolonged interest in the STEM fields and sets students up for
academic success.

Summer Learning Loss

Summer is fast approaching, and our eye is on the important
topics. What is the true cost of all the time spent away from the classroom?
How can we continue to stimulate and inspire bright young minds, in a way that
feels fun and exciting to both kids and parents?

Research shows that students that stay actively involved in programs that involve physical and mental health exercises have tended to score higher on standardized tests than those who are not engaged in such activities during the summer break. More than that, studies have revealed that keeping students in such beneficial programs may ultimately affect the likelihood of those students to advance beyond the socioeconomic classes that they were born into.

High Touch High Tech aims to make itself available to any
community, organization, or school where there is a need or desire for
educational enrichment. We believe that we can be an asset to students learning
how to interact with scientific concepts, and that learning can be fun.

Not only is it crucial to keep young minds engaged and
learning during time spent away from the classroom, but early involvement in
STEM based education is a monumental factor when considering which students
will go on to get degrees in STEM related fields. Research finds that students
who are interested in STEM fields early on in their education, by 8th
grade, are more likely to graduate with a degree in a related field than those
who performed highly on tests in STEM fields.

High Touch High Tech puts an emphasis on fun, hands-on
methods of learning.  We strive to
deliver exciting programs year-round, helping guide a student’s engagement with
scientific concepts by way of auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning
methods. This allows us to the opportunity to reach the child where they are at,
through which ever learning style is most suitable to their naturally preferred
learning method.

25 Years of Prioritizing Education

The focus on education is ever increasing. In our
technological, fast paced world, the focus on providing a well-rounded, ample
education is critical. To develop into intelligent, innovated adults, the
foundation of education must be engaging and copious.

Lifelong success begins early. Studies have shown that
children who enter the K-12 system unprepared rarely catch up to their peers.
The effects of early education are sustained into adulthood. Children having
participated in high quality preschool and elementary programs yielding better
academic achievements, increased employment and earnings, as well as reduced
crime and delinquency. Investments in early childhood educations have the
highest return-on-investment, seeing a return rate of 15-17% each year.

For students to perform at a competitive level, STEM
literacy in early education must be highlighted. STEM education teaches much
more than science and mathematics. By focusing on hands-on learning, students
can comprehend real world situations while developing problem solving,
leadership, critical thinking and creative thinking skills.

By instilling creative and critical thinking at a young age,
we establish a basis of innovation. Innovation is critical to building a
better, safer world. High Touch High Tech has worked for over 25 years to
establish early STEM education as a priority around the world. The foundation
of an enriching science education will propel modernization and minds on the
cutting edge.

 High Touch High Tech
offers programs to satisfy all STEM domains for students of preschool to middle
school ages. Our mission of STEM literacy in early education was founded more
than 25 years ago, and research continues to prove our approach to be most
effective.  Future scientists will
remember High Touch High Tech as their science inspiration.  

25 Years of Slime

In recent years, the slime trend has taken the internet by
storm. There are over 13 million posts with #Slime on Instagram! This trend has
even been responsible for glue shortages at craft stores around the world!

High Touch High Tech brought slime to students 25 years ago!
We were the original slime makers!

How is slime made? What makes slime so slimy? Science, of
course! To understand how this non-Newtonian fluid is created, we must
understand a little bit of chemistry. A non-Newtonian fluid is a substance that
is neither a liquid nor a solid! Slime will ooze out of your hands like a
liquid but can be picked up like a solid!

What makes slime so stretchy? We can thank polymers for
slime’s gooey, oozy qualities! Polymers are substances that are made of several
repeating until, these units joining like train cars! To create these polymers,
you must make the chemical reaction to create these polymers! Polymerization,
the chemical reaction that creates a polymer, happens when you mix all the
slime ingredients together!

In our ChemFun program, students are introduced to the world
of chemistry! Your students will become chemists, exploring chemical reactions.
They’ll even get to take home their very own slime!

For more than 25 years, High Touch High Tech has brought
students hands-on science! Throughout the years slime has been a fan favorite,
with a ‘how it works’ lesson at the very core!

Celebrating the Contributions of Black Scientists, Inventors, and Engineers

“Freedom Sun(g)” photo by Jennifer Rangubphai taken at The George Washington Carver Museum

Black History Month is celebrated
each February, recognizing the role that African Americans have served in U.S.
History. Generations of African Americans faced relentless adversity and their
achievements often went overlooked. Many African American scientists,
inventors, and engineers developed inventions that helped to advance human
history and to make our lives healthier and happier. Let’s learn more about
some of these amazing black scientists!

One of the most famous black
inventors is George Washington Carver. Carver is often called the Peanut Man,
having developed over 300 products using the peanut! These peanut inventions
include shampoo, shaving cream, animal feed, dyes, and paper! Contrary to
popular belief, Carver did not invent peanut butter. He did help to popularize
peanuts with the American public by encouraging use of peanuts to make soaps,
axle greases, insecticides, medications, glue, and frying oil!  

Mae Jemison was the first African
American woman in space, spending 190 hours, 30 minutes, and 23 seconds in
orbit. Jemison has degrees in chemical engineering, African American studies,
and even a medical doctorate! After Mae Jemison’s career at NASA, she founded
her own company that seeks to develop a love for science in students and helps
to bring cutting-edge technology to underprivileged schools around the world!

“My parents were the best scientists I knew, because they
were always asking questions.” – Mae Jemison

Garrett Morgan was another
trailblazing black inventor. He developed the original traffic signal, a
hair-straightening product, and even the first gas mask! Morgan’s breathing
device, called the “safety hood,” allowed wearers a safe breathing experience
free of smoke, gases, and other pollutants! Originally marketing this breathing
apparatus to fire departments, this gas mask was later built upon to provide
World War I soldiers from the toxic mustard gas being used in warfare. Though
Morgan’s gas mask saved many lives, his business was affected by the racial
discrimination of the time. Many people refused to buy his products due to the
fact he was African American. Morgan’s inventions saved many lives, from
firefighters and soldiers, to all vehicle operators and occupants!

Through education and a passion for
science, these black inventors and many others have greatly contributed to
advancing the life quality of people around the world. STEM education is the
key to unlock a better world, and reaching underrepresented communities draws a
unique perspective. Without black scientists there would be no elevators, air
conditioning, refrigerators, fire extinguishers, or electric light bulbs.  High Touch High Tech’s hands-on, STEM
education model reaches over 16 million students in 11 countries each year. We
pride ourselves on reaching the underrepresented in the STEM fields, and dream
of a world of diverse scientists.

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk

When you hear the word milk what do you imagine? A cold
glass of white, opaque liquid waiting for you to drink; maybe dip a cookie
in.  The milk you probably picture comes
from a cow, but milk can come from many different animals OR be plant-based.
Milk doesn’t always equal dairy. 

Milk technically is classified as an emulsified colloid.
That is just a fancy way of saying that fat and protein globules are suspended
in water.  Milk is opaque because the
solution is balanced, which means the globules are floating evenly throughout
without sticking together in one place!  

All mammals secrete milk from their mammary glands for their
babies, which means that everything from cows to blue whales produces milk!
Milk production for their young is one of the main features of mammals. Do we
drink whale milk? No, but humans consume milk from a variety of animals.  You probably have had cow’s milk, but what
about goat or camel? There are parts of the world where both of those are also
common!

Something that has gained popularity in the past few years
is plant-based milk, which could include almond, coconut, cashew, soy or oat
milks. Remember how I explained that milk is essentially globules of floating
protein? Well these plant seeds can be transformed into milk by simply putting
them into solution.  For instance, to
make almond milk all you have to do is soak almonds, blend them with water, and
strain.  You could also pick some up at
the store!

We all drank our mother’s milk (or formula) for at least the
first year of our lives, but what is the benefit of consuming milk when we’re
older? Milk is a great source of fat and protein for a growing child, but can
also be a great source of calcium for strong bones.  Dairy milk for a long time seemed to be the
main go-to for consumers, but trends are leaning more towards these plant-based
milks.  Plant-based milks are suitable
for vegans, more environmentally friendly, more climate friendly, and great for
anyone who is lactose-intolerant. They also can be a great source of calcium
and other nutrients without the sugar you find in milk.

Lactose is a type of sugar (a disaccharide composed of glucose and galactose) and is the primary carbohydrate in the milk of mammals. All mammal milk has it but it can vary from animal to animal.  Cows’ milk, for example, has 12g/cup and goats’ milk has 9g/cup of lactose. Lactase, an enzyme produced in our intestines, is what helps our bodies break lactose down into digestible sugars. If someone lacks lactase, they won’t be able to digest the lactose, which may lead to digestive trouble. Lactose intolerance can develop at any point in your life and some cultures have a high rate of lactose intolerance since a lot of their cuisine doesn’t include dairy.  

Will you follow the trend and switch to plant milk? Or stick with traditional dairy? 

25 Years of Hands-On Scientist Training

“I hear and I forgot. I see and I remember. I do and I
understand.”

High Touch High Tech believes in hands-on education. We
believe that is the only way to learn science. Afterall, High Touch is in our
name!

At High Touch High Tech, we take our hands-on education
approach to training our scientists. Teachers and parents can schedule our
programs and feel confident knowing our scientists know the material, have
in-the-classroom experience, and want your students to take inspiration away
from our lessons!

We look for scientists with a passion for education, working
with children, and with science backgrounds! Our scientists really are
scientists!

While training our to-be-scientists in classrooms, they’re
allowed to develop the critical thinking skills and real-world knowledge to
adapt to your classroom. If there are disciplinary issues, innovative student
questions, or any other wavering factors, you can be sure that our scientists
will handle the situation with grace and experience!

High Touch High Tech has brought STEM education to students
for over 25 years, reaching more than 16 million students each year! Our
hands-on approach to your students education is what we practice across the
board, because it’s the only way to learn!

High Touch High Tech Program Beginnings

High Touch High Tech has developed a programming network of
over 150 STEM programs over the past 27 years. Our programming extends from
introductory chemistry, paleontology, climate change, to 3-D printing! As an
author and leader in the STEM enrichment education, High Touch High Tech has
adapted and created hands-on education content that has resonated with
students, teachers, and parents across the globe. 

We at High Touch High Tech like to say, “we were STEM before
STEM.” Since 1992, we have adapted to education standards, trends, and
scientific advancements to provide our students with up-to-date enrichment. Teachers,
parents, and High Touch High Tech franchise owners can feel confident in the
content we provide to students.

Each year we are creating fresh, original experiment content
to satisfy our customer and franchise networks. Many teachers have built High
Touch High Tech in-school field trips into their year-to-year teaching agenda,
and we will continue to grow with the education standards.