Category Archives: Science Mini Spark

Science Mini Spark #10 Scared of Snakes?

Visit this video and learn more about vipers without having to actually see one in person. 

Choose a project below to create to earn this mini spark. 

* The word “Viper” comes from what term, meaning giving birth to live young? Make a definition page with this word with the definition and five other interesting words from the video.

* What allows the viper’s fangs to be extra long? Research snake fangs and create a pic collage or other visual with your findings. 

* How does the snake’s rattle make noise? Draw a pictures showing this process. 

Share your work with your teacher or your EY coordinator.


Science Mini Spark #9 How do insects breathe?

These little creatures have it all figured out. Learn more about how insects breathe without lungs. 

Check out this Newsela article called “How Insects Breathe” to start building your background information about this topic.

Now watch this video.

This short article about ants will give you an idea about how oxygen circulates in insects and humans breathe differently.

Create a teaching page to share with your peers showing what you learned.

Take it further:

Compare and contrast humans and insect breathing processes

What is interesting about the way pill bugs breathe?

Science Mini Spark #8 Cold Weather Science Experiments

Below Zero Temperatures = Science Experiments!

When it is cold outside you can LEARN! Check out these Cold Weather Science Experiments and figure out if it’s real or a myth!  Don’t forget to share your results!

  1. Freezing Soap Bubbles: Head outside with some bubble solution and blow some bubbles!  NOTE:  Try heating up the bubble solution in the microwave beforehand.  You can make your own bubble solution with 2 cups of water, half a cup of dish soap, and 2 teaspoons sugar.
  2. Banana Hammer: Hang a banana outside for a few hours and it will freeze solid-solid enough for you to be able to hammer actual nails with it.
  3. Make An Ice Thrower: Fill a Super Soaker with boiling water and then shoot it out into the cold.  When very hot water meets very cold air, the water vaporizes, turning it into ice crystals…essentially, homemade snow.  Don’t have a Super Soaker, just use the pot you boiled the water in.
  4. Freeze-Fry An Egg: Don’t actually eat it, but leave a frying pan outside for about 15 minutes and then crack an egg into it.  What happens?
  5. Instant Freeze Water – Bottle Slam

If none of these experiments catch your interest, a simple Google search for “Cold Weather Science” will display several options.   Show what you have learned in an interesting manner.


Science Mini Spark # 7 Platypuses couldn’t get any more unique….Right?

They are mammals with a duck like bill and flippers and lay eggs!! Add glowing green fur to the list! Read this article published by Newsela to learn more.

Pick an activity to to keep learning:

Take the quiz after the article and check your work.

Locate each of the locations/cities/states/countries/schools mentioned in the article on a map.

What other animals have biofluorescence? Do research to find out. Create a list of 5.

Research scientific sketching. Create a scientific sketch of a platypus.



Science Mini Spark #6 – Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence: A machine is said to have artificial intelligence if it can interpret data, potentially learn from the data, and use that knowledge to adapt and achieve specific goals.


For this Mini Spark, have fun exploring Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the following ways…

Science Mini Spark # 5 – How Clean Are Your Hands?

After spending some time at the playground, soccer field, or in the backyard, it can be easy to see the dirt on our hands.

What you can’t see are the invisible-to-your-eye germs that accumulate on your hands throughout the day. To see the effect those germs have, give this this eye-opening experiment a try.


What you’ll need:

  • Three slices of bread (the kind from a bakery or homemade works best — the fewer preservatives the better)
  • Three resealable bags


  1. Label each of the three bags:
    • Control
    • Dirty
    • Clean
  2. Place one slice of bread in the “control” bag without touching it.  You can use clean tongs, or turn the resealable bag inside out and use it like a glove to get the slice inside.  Seal the bag.
  3. Remove a second slice of bread and have your child touch the bread with her unwashed hands.  Place the bread in the bag and seal it.
  4. Have your child wash her hands with soap and water.
  5. Take a third slice of bread and have your child touch the bread with her freshly-washed hands.  Place the bread in the bag and seal it.
  6. Take all three sealed bags and put them in a cool, dry place.
  7. Look at the bread daily and write down your observations, but do not take the bread out of the bags. In a few days, mold should start to appear. What slice of bread gets moldy first? Which grows the most mold? Which grows the least? If mold starts to appear, have your child take a ruler and measure it and record your observations. You can even draw a picture of the bread each day, or keep a photo diary by taking pictures of the bread each day to watch the changes over time.

Learning about hand hygiene

When Should I Wash?

“You should wash your hands before, during, and after preparing food. Also wash before you eat, after using the restroom, after blowing your nose, after touching animals, and any time your hands appear dirty,” says Terri Stillwell, MD, Associate Hospital Epidemiologist at Mott Children’s Hospital, where she is responsible carrying out various roles for infection control and prevention. Dirty hands can spread all kinds of germs from the common cold to food poisoning to more serious illnesses.

How Do I Wash?

Most of us do not properly wash our hands. The Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) recommends a multistep process:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

“The scrubbing part of washing your hands is important. It’s the combination of the friction of rubbing your hands together along with the soap that really gets them clean. Take your time and sing or hum the Happy Birthday song twice,” says Dr. Stillwell. If soap and water are not available, Dr. Stillwell recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. “Make sure it’s at least 60 percent alcohol. Rub the sanitizer all over your hands just like if you were scrubbing your hands with soap and water. Then allow the sanitizer to dry.”


Science Mini Spark #4 Oil Eating Bacteria?

Researchers developed an inexpensive test to identify oil-eating bacteria that can clean up crude oil spills.

Watch this video about an oil spill, and

how we try to clean it up using bacteria.

Read this article to learn more about this topic. Pay close attention to the vocabulary words in the article. The meanings are listed on the last page if you need them.

Create a chatter pic to show what you learned


1. Find Chatter pic in manager

2. Make the main character a bacteria. You can draw it or find a picture.

2. Choose two of these questions to answer.  Write out your answer on paper before recording your video.

*Why is is bad when crude oil gets into the environment?
*Why do conventional methods of cleaning up oil spills present us with a problem?
What is a better alternative to conventional clean up methods?
What does a higher intensity of the red color of the Nile say about the oil-eating ability of  the bacteria in the new test?
What were the results of the Red Nile test?

Science Mini-Spark # 3 Glue or Tape?

The oldest glue in the world is over 8,000 years old and comes from a cave near the Dead Sea. Today, we have enough types of tape and glue to build and repair almost anything. But what gives glue and tape their stickiness? And is one stronger than the other? Elizabeth Cox explores the world of adhesives.

Pick an activity or two and share what you have learned.

  • This is a vocabulary rich video. Create a mini dictionary to go along with the video.
  • Write a short speech from the point of view of tape or glue explaining why it is better than the other.
  • Who invented Scotch Tape? Do some research to answer this question.
  • Why would you want to use duct tape to hold a chain of bowling balls instead of glue?
  • Make a list of all of the the types of tapes and glues that you know about. Don’t forget those made by nature.




Science Mini-Spark #2 Shadow Science 

Shadow Science 

5-ESS1-2. Represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky.

At some point of time long ago children might have used their hands to make shadows of different animals like dogs, deer and peacocks on the wall in the light of a candle or torch. It is still one of the most favourite pastimes of the children who live in areas that experience frequent power cuts. Take a look around you, and you will find a number of things that have shadows. You will see that furniture, decoration pieces, trees, electrical appliances and many more things in your house have shadows. Let’s explore  how shadows are formed.

How are Shadows formed?

Shadows are formed when an opaque object is placed in the path of light rays. An object through which no light can pass is known as opaque. One such example is your body. Since light cannot pass through your body, it forms a dark region. This dark region where the light cannot reach is known as a shadow. Opaque objects form clear dark shadows. A transparent object does not make any shadow as light passes straight through it. Translucent objects create faint shadows as light is able to pass only partially through them.
While the presence or absence of light is responsible for forming shadows, there are other factors related to it that determine the shape and size of the shadows. If the angle of the light is smaller, then the shadow formed will be much longer than usual. If the object is very close to the light source, larger shadows are formed and if an object is moved away from the light source, the shadow becomes smaller in size. The size of the shadows is also determined by whether the object is in motion or not. The size of the shadow is always slightly longer and larger than the moving object.
The size of the light source also plays an important role in the formation of shadows. Bigger light sources form blurry shadows. If the light source originates from various directions and points, several shadows will be formed and some of them may even overlap. Depending on the color of the light, you will also see shadows of different shades. Colored shadows are formed when the multi-colored light sources produce white light.
Your turn
  1. Shadow puppetry is the art of using the shadows of puppets to entertain the audience. Research this art form at and make a infographic about its history.   Send this to the EY coordinator in your building.
  2. Your shadow is longest in the early morning and in the late afternoon. In the afternoon, when the sun is directly above you, your shadow leaves your side for a little while. The sun makes the longest shadows at the beginning and at the end of the day because at that time, the sun is lowest in the sky and aimed at the sides of the various things on the earth. When the sun is directly above you, there is little or no shadow because the light from the sun is falling upon you from all the sides and there is hardly any dark region. Make a teaching page for a younger child to understand this process.   Send this to the EY coordinator in your building.
  3. A long time ago, people observed the way shadows were formed by the sun and utilized this principle in making the world’s most primitive clocks, the sundials. Learn about sundials by watching this video. Make your own sundial and take pictures of it doing its job. Send a picture to the EY coordinator in your building.

Science Mini-Spark #1 How Glass is Made

How Glass is Made

5-PS1-4. Conduct an investigation to determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in new substances.

This process is interesting and a more interesting question is how did humans begin this process in the first place? Watch a video about glass from Mystery Doug and take a few notes as you watch.


What materials are used to make glass?

Glass is made from a mixture of sand, lime and soda. When these ingredients are heated together, they form a liquid glass. This liquid glass is made into sheets by cooling and flattening. To make objects like vases, craftsmen blow into a glob of liquid glass with the help of a long tube.

Plate Glass made by Rolling:

  • Sand, lime and soda are heated together in a furnace to make liquid glass. Rollers are used to flatten glass into sheets, which are first cooled, then cut.

Plate Glass made by Floating:

  • Liquid glass from a furnace is floated and slowly cooled on the surface of liquid tin. After the glass has cooled down, it is cut into pieces.

Handmade Glassware:

  • Vases, ornaments and other intricate glass objects are made by a glass-blower. The glass-blower uses a metal blowpipe which has a glob of hot glass at the end of it. A glass blower then blows the soft glass into shape.

Glass has many uses:

  • Glasses, window panes, mirrors are few of the many things that are made from glass. Glass is not only useful, but can look beautiful too. Windows made of stained glass are works of art.

Additional Information:

  • Other glass-making ingredients can include alumina, lead oxide, salt-petre and zinc oxide which are used to make different types of glass. In the production of plate glass, waste glass from a previous melt is also added, making up 5 to 40 percent of the mixture. Melting takes place in giant furnaces, from where molten glass is floated or rolled into sheets.

Watch this animated step video about glass from Mocomi

Your turn

Draw a picture timeline/use pic collage showing several of the different glass making process. Include at least 3 science words in your visual.