Funschooling News #19 STEM Edition

Hi! Welcome to Funschooling News STEM Edition!


Are you looking for some inexpensive, family-friendly activities that will help make the rest of your week a little more fun and interesting? This week’s learning activities include projects that turn ordinary apples into extraordinary learning experiences.

If you missed the first part of this week’s newsletter that features activities off Still Learning Something New’s October Special Days Calendar, you can link to it here. You’ll find a fun activity to do or an interesting topic to learn about each day of the week. 


It may seem unusual to think of an apple as the focus of a STEM project, but I assure you, quite a bit can be done with apples that include science, engineering, and the math parts of STEM…and maybe even the technology part too…depending on how you look at it. I’m going to add a little chemistry into the mix this week as well! I hope you enjoy it.

Note: After doing LOTS of apple experiments with my kids and in my programs, I think it’s only fair to let you know that some apples have more iron in them than others, and that can really effect the oxidation experiments. I recommend trying a variety of apples for these types of experiments to truly find ways to stop oxidation. You will also need extra apples to snack on! 😊

Apples are a fun food to study. If you would like to make your own apple study, I offer the following resource pages: 
Apple Research Project and Apple Resources

Apple Oxidation & The Scientific Method: 
A fun, at-home science experiment

Apple Oxidation Experiment

Video: Why Do Apples Turn Brown?

What Happens When Apple Meets Magnet

Science For Kids With HudsonAlpha: Enzymes & Apple Juice



5 Delicious Apple Hacks


Apple Math, Engineering, & Technology

Use apples to do math as well!
Here are a couple of videos on how to cut an apple to make something a little more special out of it. The first is a swan and the second is a puzzle.
This is where math, engineering, and technology come together in a really fun way.
I highly recommend that you go to YouTube and put the words: ‘Apple Art‘ into the search box to see some of the amazing and fun things people have done with this ordinary fruit.

How to Make an Edible Apple Swan!


Apple Puzzle

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Have a wonderful week!

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Funschooling News #17 STEM Edition

Hi! Welcome to Funschooling News STEM Edition!


Are you looking for some inexpensive, family-friendly activities that will help make your week a little more fun and interesting? This week’s learning activities include projects that put old, clean water bottles to good use.

If you missed the first part of this week’s newsletter that features activities off Still Learning Something New’s October Special Days Calendar, you can link to it here. You’ll find a fun activity to do or an interesting topic to learn about each day of the week. 


Leaky Bottle and Water Pressure

You’ll need a water bottle, water, and a nail for this activity.


Water Bottle Science Experiments

Here are some more experiments you can do with water bottles. I hope you enjoy them!

Soda Bottle Rocket Car-Physics of Toys
 Homemade Science with Bruce Yeany

Cloud in a Bottle – Science Experiment! 
Fun and Easy Science Project! Homeschool Science!



Make Non Stop Heron’s Fountain With Plastic Bottle

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Timing

Use a water bottle to do math as well!
Here’s a video that features water bottle trick flips by Dude Perfect
I hope you’ll be inspired to make up your own tricks once you get the hang of flipping water bottles.

Water Bottle Flip 2 | Dude Perfect

With this activity, you’re learn how to time a flip…with fluid.

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This instant digital download offers 30 prompts to help inspire your creativity!
Thank you for stopping by, please feel free to share this post with others!
Have a wonderful week!

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Note: If this, or any other post on Funschooling and Recreational Learning, has inspired you in a positive way, or you have featured it in a blog post, please comment and link back to where it can be found! Thank you!

Drinking Straws


Bon Appétit: A Brief History of the Straw – This article talks about:

  • How the first drinking straw was made.
  • How the bendable straw came to be.
  •  How they went from paper to plastic.
  • Krazy Straws.
  • Modern straw designs and uses. 
  • How we’ve gone back to paper straws and why.


The Atlantic: The Amazing History and the Strange Invention of the Bendy Straw – The story of the how the bendable straw was invented.

Smithsonian: Inventions – The Straight Truth About the Flexible Drinking Straw – How the first flexible drinking straw was invented.

Wikipedia: Drinking Straw – History of drinking straws and their modern uses. Also types of straws.


Howstuffworks: How are Bendy Straws Made? – The first page talks about what straws have been made up of, click on the word “NEXT” under the video and the second page will tell you what straws are made of now and how they are made. The third section is an author’s note.

The Inventors.org: Drinking Straws – This short article starts with the history of the drinking straw and ends with other things spiral wound tubing lead to.


Days of the Year: Drinking Straw Day – January 3rd of each year is drinking straw day. Learn about the history of drinking straw day and how to celebrate the day. Try a recipe for Mint Julep – an adult drink. A kid-friendly mint julep recipe can be found on Twice As Good Show.com

NASA: Rockets – Rocket Pinwheel – This cool experiment requires a straw, balloon, pencil, a sewing pin, and tape to make it. Go to the site for full instructions.


Manufacturing.net: Va Plant Produces 4B Drinking Straws Annually – Information about a plant that makes more then 4 billion straws a year.

Going Plastic Straw Free


Seattle Time: The last straw? Seattle will say goodbye to plastic straws, utensils with upcoming ban – News article about a new ban.

Washington Post: A campaign to eliminate plastic straws is sucking in thousands of converts – News article about a young man on a campaign to eliminate plastic drinking straws.

Straw-Free.org – Find out what you can do to help the campaign and go straw-free.


Strawless Ocean.org – Find out who’s going straw free and what you can do to help.

Engineering.com: Engineers Develop Edible Straws to Combat Plastic Pollution – New developments in drinking straws that are plastic free.

One of the ways to help the straw-free movement is to reuse the plastic straws that you do have in positive ways such as in art projects, science experiments and math activities. Below, you will find videos that show you fun ways to reuse plastic straws. Once you are done with them, clean them out well, and get creative!
Straws can be cut down and melted, and used in some cool ways, as you’ll see in the selected videos.
If you like to use straws, purchase reusable straws in stores and online.
Once your plastic straws are gone, make straws from other materials, as show in the videos below.


Videos

HowStuffWorks: Stuff of Genius: Joseph Friedman: The Flexible StrawThis 1:27 minute video tells you about the inventor of the bendy straw.

YouTube: Drinking Straw PlaylistThis playlist includes information about the history of drinking straws, and fun activities you can do with them such as science experiments, art projects, and math activities.
Some videos will require adult supervision to use a lighter, hot glue gun, or cutting tool.
Here’s one of the video from the list…


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Gardening With Recycled Materials

There are quite few containers that can be used as inexpensive gardening tools such as seedling starters, planters, and tools.
Here are a few of the things you can save:

Food grade plastic containers in all sizes: Yogurt and sour cream containers, soda/water bottles, fruit cups, milk/water/juice/vinegar jugs, salad, cake/cupcake, and plastic take-out containers, 5 gallon water jugs, buckets, nut/candy containers, parmesan cheese containers, juice bottles, litter and other large food grade containers, coffee containers (K-cups and large containers), vitamin bottles, and others.

Other Things To SaveStyrofoam: Cups, take-out containers, and egg cartons – cans – glass jars – cardboard egg cartons – milk/juice cartons, newspaper, cardboard tubes, and whatever else you find useful!

Ideas For Use


Plastic cups can be used to plant seedlings. Larger ones can hold a flowering plant and most herbs to full growth. They can be decorated with paint and stickers and given as gifts too. Pop holes in the bottom with a drill or use a candle, nail, and pliers to make holes. (Adult supervision suggested.)

Plastic containers with lids, water bottles, and vitamin bottles are great for storing seeds. Soda bottles can be turned into self-watering planters, or used as a planter.

Milk cartons can be turned into planters that can easily grow a basil/herb plant, a flower, or lettuce. Paint the carton with acrylic paint and decorate with foam stickers or paint a picture. Milk cartons can be cut down and used as temporary plant markers for seedlings.


5 Gallon containers can be turned into a self-watering container garden.

Egg cartons can be used to sort seeds before planting or to start seedlings. 

Milk/water jugs make great watering containers. Simply pop a few holes in the lid with a nail or drill. Use plastic jugs to make plant markers too.

Salad containers can be used to store harvested veggies in the fridge.

Cardboard Tubes can be cut down and used to start seedlings.

Take out containers are great for watering seedlings and to put under plants.

Plasticware – Save your better quality plastic-ware to spoon soil to containers, rake soil to add flower seeds, or to smooth soil over seeds with a knife.

More Information

Inspiration Laboratories: Recycled Container Gardening With Kids – Upcycle various containers and household items to use in the garden.

iCreativeIdeas: 40+ Creative DIY Garden Containers and Planters from Recycled Materials – Almost anything can be used as a gardening container! Check out the suggestions on this site!

Note: Make sure all containers are clean before use and are food grade. Containers that are not food grade, or once used for chemicals, should never be reused.

Videos

Please visit my Gardening With Recycled Items playlist located on YouTube. 


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Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

Carton Creations

For this challenge you will need:

A clean milk or juice carton


Craft supplies: Construction paper, scissors, glue, scissors, markers, ruler, pencil, paint, paint brush, etc.


A craft knife and another other things you feel you need to make your creation.

Tips


This is an open-ended activity, so pretty much anything goes.

The carton can be cut or used in any way.

No one can get hurt by the creation.

Younger children may need supervision while doing this activity.

More than one carton can be used for this project.

Suggestions

If a little inspiration is needed, consider the following ideas:

A game, building/town, planter, animal, catapult, instrument, bird feeder, diorama, lantern, vehicle, desk organizer, alien or another creative creature, etc.




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Bottle Roll Bullseye


This open-ended game can be played indoors or out and encourages players to make up their own rules and scoring system.

You will need: An old sheet or an inexpensive white tablecloth (any shape), acrylic paint and a paint brush, recycled water bottles, water, and food coloring or paint
Optional: Chalk or sidewalk paint, paint markers, paper, pencil and a clipboard


Set-Up: Fill recycled water bottles halfway with water and food dye and decorate the outside with paint markers if you like.
Turn the old sheet or white tablecloth into a unique target by painting on it with acrylic paint and allow it to dry. The sheet can be cut into a circle, square or another shape.
Alternately, a target can be drawn on the sidewalk with chalk or sidewalk paint.

Make up a point system.

How to Play: Roll bottles onto the target, one at a time, and keep track of your points on paper.



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Halloween Activities

Halloween Related Activities on Funschooling & Recreational Learning

Covering the Basics


Create A Spooky Sound Story – Make up a spooky sound story or sentence and add sound effects to it!

Two-Sided Diorama – This activity features the poem, “The Five Little Pumpkins”.

Create A Scary Creature – Suggestions for creating a scary creature. Great for encouraging story telling!


Masquerade Masks – Learn about the history of masquerade masks and download printable masks.

Haunted Halloween Resource Page – Links to haunted places and information about the 13 Haunted Halloween Activities ebook. Free sample of ebook available.

Trick or Treating – Learn the history of trick or treating and make soul cakes.

Jack ‘O Lantern – Find out the origins of the Jack ‘O Lantern, play a game of Pumpkin Face and get inspired to carve your own.

Glow-in-the-Dark Fun Putty – Easy to make putty that glows…A fun way to play with science.

Glowing Halloween Lantern – Turn a recycled milk or juice carton into a creep-cool Halloween lantern…..Great math activity!

Scavenger Hunt & Memory Maker – Ideas for making your own Halloween scavenger hunt and suggested activities for what to do with your Halloween pictures.

Monster Mash – Find out the history of this song, listen to it and learn a dance for it.

Spooky Authors

Bram Stoker’s DraculaLearn about the man who wrote Dracula and read or listen to the book.

Edgar Allan Poe – Learn about the man who wrote classic short stories and poems such as, “The Raven”, “Tell Tale Heart”, and “The Gold Bug” and read or listen to these and other timeless tales.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – Find out how Frankenstein was inspired and a little about Shelley’s life. Read or listen to the book as well.

Washington Irving – Known for his classic stories, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle”, find out more about the man who wrote them and read or listen to his stories.


Fun Foods

Chocolate Activities
Chocolate Activities – A collections of fun things you can make and do with chocolate.

Halloween Themed PizzaFun ways to enjoy pizza for a variety of dietary needs.

Popcorn Project – Activities you can do with popcorn and some yummy ways to enjoy it.

Trick or Treating – Learn the history of trick or treating and make soul cakes.


Ghostly Activities


Ghost Pops

Ghost Pops – Turn a lollipop into a ghost pop!

Super Easy Ghost – Make a really easy ghost from a paper lunch bag.

Paper Bag Ghost – Make a boy and girl ghost out of a paper lunch bag.

Ghost in the Graveyard Game – Play a game of Ghost in the Graveyard…great for all ages.

Balloon Ghost – Make a ghost out of a balloon and a garbage bag.

Recycled Ghost – Make a ghost you can hang in a tree from recycled items.

Tissue Ghost – Turn a couple of tissues into a fun ghost.

Crafts


Easy Gravestone – Make a gravestone from a cereal box. A rounded gravestone can be made with these instructions.

Haunted House

Haunted House – Make a haunted house out of a recycled milk or juice carton.

Halloween Windsocks – Decorate your trees in a Halloween way.

Fall Cut-Outs – Decorate your window or wall with a fall themed cut out.

Trick or Treat Bag – Turn recycled paper bags into a sturdy trick or treat bag.

Pumpkin Luminary – Turn a plastic milk jug into a pumpkin luminary.

Symbols of Fall Twist Balloons – Make Halloween icons from twist balloons.

Animals


Owls –  Learn about owls, dissect a virtual owl pellet, find links to other owl-related resources and get a few activity suggestions.

Bats – There are two different bat posts here on Fran’s World of Discovery: 
Bat Resource page.
Bats has 2 sound game suggestions in addition to a few extra links and a research question and the Bat Resource page has over 30 links that relate to bats on it.

Black Cats – Find out why black cats have a bad rep…and a good one!

Frog Research Project – Frog facts, research questions, lots of links to informative sites, activity ideas and videos.

Lizards – Resource page. Lots of links to information and activities for lizards.

Spiders – Spider resource page includes links to: An article about types of spiders and facts, information, identification chart home remedies, printables, and craft projects. Videos have also been included.

Halloween Resources


Halloween Resource Page – Links to the history of Halloween, candy, crafts, and more. NEW!


Happy Halloween!
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Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

Glowing Halloween Lantern

Glowing Halloween Lantern by Fran W & Becka V.
Turn a milk or juice carton into a lantern with a creepy-cool theme!
To make one you will need…
A clean milk carton, construction paper, craft knife, scissor, tissue paper, black construction paper, glue, 1 chenille stem, small nail, pencil, ruler, glow stick, yarn, and a small bottle cap
Optional: Serrated knife, craft foam, Halloween stickers, acrylic paint and a paint brush, push pin, craft supplies, battery-powered candle
What to do…
Cut the carton down to desired size, glue construction paper to each panel, then *plot and cut out 1 circle or square on two sides of the carton. Once covered and cut, turn the carton up-side-down and pop two small holes on either side of it for the handle, and one in the center of the top with a small nail.
*Note: If you decide to paint the carton, cut the openings first.

For the middle of each opening, make a silhouette out of construction paper and glue it to the tissue paper. Glue the piece of tissue paper to the inside of the carton so that your silhouette comes through when a glow stick or battery-powered candle is placed inside. Decorate the lantern with stickers, foam or construction paper cut-outs and other craft supplies. Something can be painted on as well.
Note: You can glue the silhouette on after the tissue paper is put on, but be careful not to tear the tissue paper.

When you are ready, add the chenille stem handle and tie a length of yarn or string to a battery-powered tea light candle or a glow stick, push the other end up through the hole in the top, tie it off, and cut excess yarn/string. Glue on a bottle cap to hide the knot on top and hang.
Tips and suggestions…
  • Cutting the milk carton down to size with a serrated knife can help to make a cleaner and more even cut. (Adult supervision suggested.)
  • To make a round opening in the side of the carton, trace around a lid or cup that fits in the middle. We used a frozen juice can lid.
  • Measure the circle or square from the bottom to make sure the openings are the same height and measure around the sides to make sure they’re equal.
  • Avoid cutting the edges when making your opening.
  • After tracing out your opening for the silhouette, a push pin can be used to make tiny, close holes around the trace mark for easier cutting with a craft knife.
  • To neaten up cut marks, consider making a border.
  • Double tissue paper if needed.
  • Consider making four openings instead of two.
This lantern can be made so that it is open on the top as well. The following links have pictures and instructions for that version…


For other Halloween Activities on Fran’s World of Discovery…


This and many other activities can be found in….

13 Haunted Halloween Activities available for $2.00 in my ebook store.

A FREE 34 page sample of this publication can be found here.

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Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!


Bottle Cap Memory

Depending on what you make, this game can be used to help identify: letters, numbers, shapes, colors and objects in addition to boosting memory skills. 

Set-up:  Save 24+ juice caps of the same color and put 24 stickers on the under-side of each bottle cap. You will need two of each sticker in order to make matches. If you do not have that many caps, use business or index cards that are blank on both sides or a blank deck of cards. (Check *Amazon or a magic shop for blank cards.)


Play: Place caps/cards, sticker side down, on the table in even rows. Take turns turning two over at a time; try to make a match. If no match is made, turn them back over and let the next player take a turn. If a match is made, the player takes the matching caps or cards and gets another turn. Count the matches made by each player. The player with the most matches wins. Start with 3-6 matches if 12 matching pairs are too many and add as many matching sets as desired.

Benefits: This fun game helps to boost memory skills and letter, number, shape, color and object identification skills depending on what stickers are used, good sportsmanship skills are also being built.

Tips and Suggestions… 

  • This game can be played alone or with two or more players.
  • Get or make upper and lower case letters to match.
  • Use a letter on one cap/card and a word that begins with that letter for the match. A letter and a picture can also be used.
  • Put the number on one cap/card and the number value on the other (5/*****)
  • If you don’t have stickers, use pictures from a magazine or a word that fits.
  • Foam stickers stick to bottle caps very well.
* I am NOT participating in any affiliate programs with Amazon or any other company.
If you search Amazon you will find other blank decks available, some larger, some with different colored backs.

This post is part of the Building Writing Skills series on Fran’s World of Discovery. If you are interested in reading more from this series, please use the following links:

Building Writing Skills Naturally – Offers links to activity suggestions that have many built in benefits. 

Building Math Skills Naturally – Offers links to activities that build math skills in exploratory ways. (Coming Soon!)

No More Tears! – Introduction page.


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Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

An Eggcellent Game

Plastic Egg Game

Before you throw away that egg carton or your plastic eggs from an egg hunt, grab a timer so you can play the following fun game.

There are a few ways to play but you will only need the following items:

Recycled egg carton that carried 12 or 18 eggs
12-18 Plastic eggs that fit in the egg carton – both halves
A timer
Pencil and paper

Set-up

Open the egg carton and take your plastic eggs apart. 

Object

The object of this game is to put all the plastic eggs together and then back in the carton as quickly as possible.

How to play

  • Set the timer to zero.
  • When the player is ready, start the time.
  • Once the timer starts, the player will put the halves of the plastic eggs together in any order, as quickly as possible, and put them in the carton.
  • Once the carton is full, stop the timer and record the time.
Tip:  Having another player work the timer is a big help.

Variations:

Once players get good at the game, it’s time to add some challenges to keep it interesting.
  • Players can match the colors instead of mixing them up before putting them in the carton.
  • Players can beat their best recorded time.
  • Put a time on the clock and get all the eggs in the carton before the time runs out. Try it by matching colors too.
  • Put all the halves together in the carton, then take them apart as quickly as possible while the timer is running. Record the time.
  • If you are using a carton with 12 openings, use one with 18 or more.
Have fun!
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Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!