Experimenting with Summer Science

Written by Karen Quadrio

On July 12, 2016

Our Mary Ford students are beating the heat this summer by staying engaged with academic enrichment and field trips! From a trip to the beach to a train ride to Kingstree, our students are not only learning about science this summer…they are experiencing it! We strive to implement science throughout the year in our schools with fieldtrips to Boeing, and the amazing Camp Blackbaud. Learning these 21st Century Skills is more important now than ever. To find out how to capture that S.T.E.A.M heat this summer in your own home, keep reading!

To say that Charleston gets hot in the summer would be a complete understatement! With temperatures hovering in the triple digits at times, it can be tempting to want to stay in and cool off in front of the TV. There are ways, however, to use the heat as a terrific learning tool. Weather is one of the baselines of science, and teaching your children about it can be a fun experience. Here are three free (and fun) ways to beat the science learning loss this summer!

  1. Ice Melting Experiment: Freeze a small object like a penny or figurine into an ice cube (make at least 3). Set one out in the sun, put one in the shade, and put one inside. Compare the differences in the times it takes for each one to melt. If you are feeling competitive, take the ice cubes and have a contest to see who can make their ice cube melt the fastest by rubbing it between their hands. Talk about how water can be a solid, liquid, or gas, and how and why it melts/freezes/evaporates. Science and a game? Everyone wins!
  2. Ice Paintings: Take an ice cube tray and fill it with water. Add food coloring to different trays, and place a popsicle stick in each cube. Put the tray in the freezer until completely frozen, then take the cubes out by the popsicle stick. On white paper, use the cubes just as you would a paintbrush. The food coloring in the ice will create a watercolor-like picture. This activity is great and fun for all ages! It incorporates sensory learning for the little ones, and kinesthetic science for the older children. You also have beautiful art to hang in your home, once the pictures dry!
  3. Pizza Box Solar Oven: S’mores are a summer staple, but in Charleston, it can be too hot to safely get a campfire burning. Turning a pizza box into a solar powered oven is a safe and fun way to make s’mores, bake an egg, or even bake some clay! Energy is tricky to teach since it can’t be harnessed in a tangible way, but allowing children to experience its power through sources such as this is a lasting (and delicious) way to teach those principals. Directions for this activity can be found here: https://www.perkinselearning.org/activity-bank/create-solar-powered-oven-out-pizza-box

There are plenty of opportunities to beat the heat and the science learning loss this summer. Science is not always stressed as being important to reinforce at home, but the more your child can be immersed in it, the more they will find it interesting to learn about. Creating these sparks early on can lead to careers in the science and technology fields, as well as better academic performance during the school year.

To find out how you can support our efforts to put even more STEAM and 21st Century Skills in all of our schools, join the Promise and click here.