Category Archives: Science Mini Spark

Science Mini Spark #12 What is Nanotechnology?

Listen to what these kids think of when they hear about Nanotechnology

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Watch this short video a few times to learn about the tiny world that makes up pretty much everything.

When you are done watching the video one time all of the way through, get out a piece of paper and rewatch while you record some information. Pause as needed.

1. Record the measurement for

 *the human hair in nanometers (it is on the little piece of paper)

*the red blood cell

* when you are smaller than he wave of visible light

* the Rhino virus

2. What are nano materials? 

3. How can nanotechnology be used in the future?

 

Science Mini Spark #11

Microbes that Could Eat your Trash

Each year humanity produces roughly 400 million tons of plastic, 80% of which is discarded as trash. Of that plastic waste, only one-tenth is recycled. 60% gets incinerated or goes into the landfills, and 30% leaks out into the environment. Fortunately, there are microbes that may be able to take a bite out of this growing problem.

After watching this video, answer these questions in an interview format. You are the interviewer and the interviewee is a plastic starfish.

How are man made polymers different than those found in nature ?

What are some common forms of plastic?

How do you break plastic’s chemical bonds?

What  never before identified bacteria was found in the lab from this video.

Why type of engineers worked on the project to create super enzymes?

What was discovered in Japan?

Turn your work in to the EY coordinator to earn this mini spark.

New Enzyme Sets a Speed Record

If you want to read about a new discovery check this out!!! This article is from May 2022.

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.

Source: https://www.pbs.org/show/crash-course-artificial-intelligence/

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.

HAND HYGIENE EXPERIMENT

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

Instructions:

  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.”

Source: https://www.mottchildren.org/posts/camp-little-victors/dirty-hands

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.

Source: https://ed.ted.com/lessons/which-is-stronger-glue-or-tape-elizabeth-cox#digdeeper