STEM

STEM your boredom during social distancing!

As the world prepares for isolation during the Coronavirus outbreak, many of us are turning to online sources of support to keep us occupied. Whether you’re a parent homeschooling your child/children, a student studying through online resources, or someone looking for some educational boredom busters, then we have some fun STEM challenges for you! This is a great time to keep ourselves distracted, learn new skills and educate ourselves while we wait for a vaccine.

Here are EqualEngineers’ top 5 STEM activities!

Super soap

This one is great for teaching ourselves and our children about how soap keeps those pesky germs away.

What you need:

  • 1 large plate
  • 1 bowl
  • Water
  • Pepper (aka: virus/dirt)
  • Soap

Method:

  1. Add a generous amount of soap and water to a bowl
  2. Pour a shallow layer of water onto a plate and add a generous pinch of pepper
  3. Dip your finger in the plate with the pepper and note how your finger attracts the pepper flakes
  4. Submerge your finger in the bowl with soapy water before immediately putting it back on the peppery plate
  5. Watch as your soapy finger repels the pepper
  6. (Now wash your hands!)
Jar rainbows

This experiment is brilliant for understanding density and visualising how different liquids have different weights depending on how many molecules they have. (It’s also very pretty!)

What you need:

  • 1 clean and see-through container (jar or bottle)
  • Honey
  • Golden syrup
  • Olive oil
  • Soap
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Various drops of food colouring colours
  • Pipet or dropper

Method:

  1. Pour the honey into the jar first
  2. Add some food colouring to the golden syrup and slowly pour that in next
  3. Add the dish soap
  4. Add another food colouring to some water and pour that in next
  5. Add in a generous amount of olive oil
  6. Add a different food colouring colour to the rubbing alcohol but don’t pour it in. Instead, use a dropper and slowly squeeze it out against the sides of the container. This stops the rainbow being ruined by accidental mixing. (A thick layer of olive oil will also help this process)
  7. Leave for 5 minutes before shining a light on your jar rainbow

Note: Be sure to avoid any of the substances in steps 1-5 touching the sides when pouring them into the jar.

Sand volcanoes

An old classic and one sure to get some giggles, volcanoes are a great way to learn about chemical reactions.

What you need:

  • Sand
  • A tall bucket or long cup
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Food colouring

Method:

  1. Place your bucket or glass in the sand the right way up
  2. Build your volcano shape around the tall bucket or glass, leaving the glass ‘core’ empty for now
  3. When you’ve reached the desired shape, pour some sand into the bucket or glass halfway up
  4. Add 1-2 cups of baking soda into the glass
  5. Pour some food colouring into the vinegar and mix well
  6. Pour into the glass on top of the baking soda and stand back while the volcano erupts!
Gold growing

This is a great science experiment that can double up as a creative project for anyone who wants to plunder their cupboards and grow their own riches!

What you need:

  • Toothpick or thin stick
  • Baking string
  • Small plastic pot
  • Gold sanding sugar
  • Borax
  • Water

Method:

  1. Tie a knot at the end of approx. 3 inches of baking string
  2. Tie the other end around the middle of a toothpick or thin stick
  3. Pour half the gold sanding sugar into 2 cups of boiling water and stir until it’s dissolved
  4. Add 1 cup of borax to the solution and stir until it’s dissolved
  5. Pour the mixture into the small plastic pot (top tip: decorate it to look like a cauldron)
  6. Place the string into the centre of the mixture, using the toothpick to keep it suspended across the rim
  7. Leave in for a minimum of 24 hours before pulling it out to admire your ‘gold!’
Simple catapult

Who doesn’t like launching objects across a room? Use this simple method for hours of fun.

What you need:

  • 7 craft sticks
  • Rubber bands
  • 1 plastic bottle cap
  • Objects to launch (we take no responsibility for what you choose!)

Method:

  1. Paint the sticks whatever colour/s you like
  2. Take 5 of the sticks and stack them on top of each other, securing them at both ends with rubber bands
  3. Take the remaining 2 sticks and secure them with a rubber band at one end
  4. Prise the 2 sticks apart and place the stack of 5 sticks between them, forming a cross.
  5. Secure the whole structure with another rubber band
  6. Put the structure on a flat surface and glue the plastic bottle cap on the end of the stick that’s now facing the ceiling
  7. Once dry, place an object on the milk bottle cap (we suggest cotton wool or rolled up sweet wrappers!)
  8. Press down on the milk bottle cap and release to catapult the object!

Note: For an extra boredom buster, the whole family can make their own catapults to compete against each other. Just add some goals either side of a table and ‘score’ your launching efforts!

For more content like this, head over to the EqualEngineers blog page where you can keep up with the latest industry advice. Source link: https://equalengineers.com/blog/

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