It’s Steve Spangler Time!
Are you looking for ways to inspire curiosity, excitement, and bring out the FUN in learning? Do you want to introduce new experiments and demonstrations to illustrate standard science concepts? Are you looking to have fun with your kids as you explore the sciences of the world, while discovering how it all works? If you want to inspire active learning, while giving your kids a chance to take charge of their own discoveries, then I have something to share with you!
For the last two weeks, Kat and I have been watching Steve Spangler’s virtual teaching workshops, and oh man, we’ve been having a blast! At any time during the day, all I have to do is mention Steve Spangler and Kat will come running through the house to do more! We had my niece over and decided to include her in our watching and learning process. She had so much fun, it was all she talked about for weeks!
It all started with an email and a package. I had been contacted by Steve Spangler’s public outreach team, and was asked if I would review his new online teaching workshops. Considering how much I had loved his Sick Science videos and his Experiment of the Week emails, I immediately said yes.
Within a couple of days, I had received an awesome package in the mail. It was filled to the brim with all kinds of equipment, activities, and instructions for teaching awesome science to kids! Kat and I ripped open that package as if it were Christmas in October! We immediately set to work “oohing” and “ahhing” over the treasures within, as we set up our living room lab. With these tools, Kat and I were about to embark on a 6-hour journey of learning, teaching, and exploring with science through Steve Spangler’s online teaching workshops.
Now, I want to give a quick word about Steve before I get into his workshops. This guy LOVES teaching. It truly is his passion, and it is a wonderful thing to see! This is a guy who truly loves to see a child’s eyes light up with wonder. He wants everyone to know what it’s like to wonder, to inquire, to remember what it’s like to be at a loss at the hands of instructions, and to learn with their hands, with a purpose. His goal is to show everyone that science isn’t intimidating, science is FUN! Science is happening all around us, and these kids that we’re teaching, they’re the explorers!
So we start the workshops, and we’re immediately thrown into magic! We’ve got light, we’ve got density, we’ve got chemical reactions, and we’ve got colors! One of our favorite demonstrations of the workshop was when we used these amazing fizzy color tabs to explore the mixing of true primary colors, and then examined these colors through light. The great thing about these demonstrations, is that he gives so many cool ideas with how we can teach these! There are fantastic children’s books available, as well as common science curricula that we can use to demonstrate these concepts. This guy is a walking library of accessible science knowledge.
Another favorite activity involved air pressure, surface tension, and movement. I got to be Kat’s guinea pig during these activities, which she LOVED. Not only did we get to create vortexes and learn how they work, but we also got to try various tricks involving water dumping (or NOT dumping) on our heads as we blended the concepts of science and magic with some very real lessons! There were so many activities and experiments involving these concepts, including absorption, changing states of matter, and we had SO many fun props and supplies to work with!
One of the most interesting demonstrations we worked on was one that I had been wanting to try for quite some time. Our supplies included a box of cereal, a plastic bag, and a magnet. Using these materials, we were able to retrieve some very real metals out of our food! That’s right, when we have ingredients such as Iron and Zinc in our cereal (or bread, or any other food), it isn’t somehow different from the Iron that you would see in a metal shop. It’s just a smaller amount! It was incredible to go through the process of separating the metal from the food and seeing it on our magnets!
These are just three of the awesome activities we’ve been able to participate in this week. I don’t want to give too much away, because his workshops really are incredible, and you should definitely check them out! They’re jam-packed with content, and you get a ton of activities, experiments, and supplies to work with even after these are all said and done!
It has truly been a pleasure to watch and learn from such a passionate teacher. This is a guy who lives and breathes teaching and makes it fun for kids of all ages. Now he’s spending his time focusing on teachers, bringing out the kids in us, so we can take the fun back to our classrooms (or living rooms).
Now, if you’re looking for a science curriculum that goes from beginning to end, this is not going to fit that expectation. However, if you’re looking for a way to bring science into the classroom (or living room!) and into your lives in a very real and very fun way, then this is definitely for you! Science is fun, learning is a life-long experience, and this is a guy who can bring some of the very best in science education to you and your kids. With 6 hour long workshops packed with 3-5 lessons each, there is a TON of content for you to work with, learn from, and take back to your kids!
Now we’re off to watch the bonus Halloween science workshops. I can’t wait to see what sort of delightful trickery we can come up with, while learning the science behind the magic at the same time!