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A STEM Summer, Week #2

For those of you following along, here are my Week 2 Plans for A STEM Summer.

Weekly Theme: Farms

Monday/ART: Light and Dark pp. 8-9 in I Can Paint! by Irene Luxbacher

Tuesday/SCIENCE: Soda Bottle Terrarium

Wednesday/TECHNOLOGY: Visit the Woodland Park Zoo

Thursday/ENGINEERING: Build a solar oven

Friday/MATH: Fun with the Math Balance (Jenna), Hands on Equations(Bruce)

Materials Needed:

Art: green, white, black, blue, red and yellow paint, art paper, and (optional) a foam roller

Science: a 2-liter bottle of soda (with cap), soil, rocks or pebbles, a sharpie, seeds and/or small plants, and (optional) activated charcoal and spaghnum moss

Engineering: 1 pizza box, newspaper, scissors, tape black paper, plastic wrap, foil and a ruler

Build a Boat

A couple of weeks ago my kids and I went to a special event at Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island. A wonderful volunteer there named Mr. Bob was teaching kids how to build boats. My son Bruce(7) had sooooo much fun with this, especially because real tools were involved. I thought this would be a great engineering project for Week One of my A STEM Summer plans.

The first step was to use a hand drill to drill a hole in the boat’s hull.

The next step was to hammer little nails all around the boat’s deck for the “railings”.

A wooden dowel went into the drilled hole for a mast, and string wound around the nails for the deck railings.

Then Bruce added a sail and some decorations, and he was all done!

Desalination Experiment

Here’s a really easy science experiment to do with your kids that will make you feel like a hero-mom after just five minutes of prep-work…try desalinating water. This is a project my kids and I tried on Tuesday this week, as part of our A STEM Summer adventures. Our theme for week 1 is Oceans, so this was a good fit.

What you do is mix water and salt in the little bowl. Then you dump the salty water into the big bowl, and clean out the little bowl.

Place the little bowl inside the big bowl of salty water and cover the whole thing with plastic. Put something heavy (like Grandma’s broken watch from the dress-up box) in the center of the plastic. Place the whole contraption out in the sun and wait.

Confession time. Here’s where we had to totally cheat. Tuesday, July 3rd was so cold where we live that the furnace turned on, I was wearing fleece, and we had to fudge a bit with the “put the bowl out in the sun” part of the experiment instructions. Instead, we heated up the salty water in the microwave and then put the plastic back on. This time, the experiment worked!

By the way, you can of course use a rock instead of an old broken watch.  We were just pretending to be castaways on a dessert island.  🙂

Art on Mondays, Day 1

Can I just confess that I am soooooo not an “art mom”?  But when I read things like Raising Artistic Children on blogs like Exploring More I get inspired.

For the Art on Mondays segment of my A STEM Summer plans, I needed something really basic and teacher-proof (although I HATE that term).  Irene Luzbacher’s 123 I Can Paint is the perfect, inexpensive book for me because it is holding my hand through the whole process.  (Here are my Week 1 plans for A STEM Summer.)

Just unleashing my two-year-old with finger paint inside my house is scary to me.  But I’m coping.

Lesson #1 (pp 6-7) is called Mix it Up and it teaches the terms primary and secondary colors.

This is Bruce’s final product.  He’s 7.

This is Jenna’s work.  She’s almost 3.

Here are my results.  I’m 30ish.  🙂