For a complete introduction and to get to know each Quirkle, work your way across the main menu bar above. Have fun exploring, and please contact us with any questions you may have!
But that's not all. Check out the introductory video that explains why we created the Quirkles, or take a look at the sample book Gilbert Gas below.
You’ve heard the term about someone who creates friction. Usually this has a bad connotation and is someone who creates tension. But have you ever stopped to really think about the science of friction and how important it really is?
In our part of the world it’s cold right now! Not only do we have to bundle up, we have to pull out the winter boots to brave a bit of ice and snow. Anyone who has taken a tumble on ice in winter can appreciate the importance of friction.
From matches to machines, friction is one of the most significant phenomena in the physical world. Friction is a force. The two basic types of friction are static and kinetic. Static friction keeps a stationary object at rest. Once the force of static friction is overcome, the force of kinetic friction is what slows down a moving object!
Liquid smooths out a surface, creating less friction. For example, it’s harder for a car to stop on a wet (or ice covered) road than a dry one because the water creates a barrier between the car and the road. The tires don’t have as much contact with the road. Oil in a car engine lubricates the parts so they experience less friction. Friction causes heat, which can damage a car engine. That same heat is good when you rub your hands together to create friction to warm them up.
Scientists are slightly baffled at the real cause of friction. It is assumed that it is caused due to the rough edges of one object touching the rough edges of another. The actual ‘edges’ could probably only be seen in a microscope or some other highly technological tool, but it is believed that the process actually breaks off part of the rough edges of one or both objects.
This month we feature the Quirkles Friction Fred and how he solves his football team’s problem of falling on the slippery field. Our video demonstrates a very easy example of creating friction using only two things—a spoon and a nose!
So take a moment to appreciate friction. Imagine if we were constantly slipping—off our chairs, down the stairs, or on ice and snow. Life would be treacherous for sure! Thanks to friction, this does not happen. Stay warm this month!
Bright, twinkling lights and holiday festivities make this month seem magical—almost electrifying. It only seems appropriate to feature the Quirkles’ Ellie Electricity and the concept of electricity and how it plays into the season.
If you celebrate Christmas, you know the beautifully lit Christmas tree in a big part of the holiday tradition. But do you know how electrical tree lights came to be? It might not be surprising that Thomas Edison, one of the most prolific inventors/scientists in recent history, had something to do with it. He created the very first strand of electric lights and during the Christmas season of 1880; these strands were strung around the outside of his Menlo Park Laboratory. Railroad passengers traveling by the laboratory got their first look at an electrical light display. But it would take almost forty years for electric Christmas lights to become the tradition that we are familiar with.
It was Edison’s right-hand man and business partner, Edward H. Johnson, who played an even bigger role. Before electric Christmas lights, families would use candles to light up their Christmas trees. This practice was often dangerous and led to many home fires and even deaths. Johnson put the very first string of electric Christmas tree lights together in 1882. He hand-wired 80 red, white, and blue light bulbs and wound them around his Christmas tree. Not only was the tree illuminated with electricity, it also revolved. It spun in a circle six times a minute on a little pine box as its lights flashed in “a continuous twinkling of dancing colors,” reported a newspaper. An electric current drawn from Edison’s main office powered the lights and the crank that rotated the tree. “I need not tell you that the scintillating evergreen was a pretty sight,” gushed a reporter. “One can hardly imagine anything prettier.”
However, the world was not quite ready for electrical illumination. There was a great mistrust of electricity and it would take many more years for the masses to decorate Christmas trees and homes with electric lights. Some credit President Grover Cleveland with spurring the acceptance of indoor electric Christmas lights. In 1895, President Cleveland requested that the White House family Christmas tree be illuminated by hundreds of multi-colored electric light bulbs.
Until 1903, when General Electric began to offer pre-assembled kits of Christmas lights, stringed lights were reserved for the wealthy and electrically savvy. The wiring of electric lights was very expensive and required the hiring of a wireman, a modern-day electrician. According to some, to light an average Christmas tree with electric lights before 1903 would have cost $2000 in today’s dollars!
By the 1940s, when electrification had become standard in rural America, electric lights had replaced wax candles on most Christmas trees, and the danger of trees bursting into flames had been replaced by the frustration of untangling Christmas light strands.
So as you sit in front of your beautifully lit Christmas tree, drink hot cocoa, and snuggle up with a good book like Ellie Electricity, remember how electricity plays a key role this holiday. Also, watch our video that uses an electric energy stick to illustrate making connections with those around you this season.
Whatever holiday you celebrate this month, we wish you great joy as you connect with those most special to you. Happy holidays from the Quirkles and Fuddlebrook team to you!
Try this fun way to learn about friction! A spoon and your nose is all it takes.
The holidays are time to make connections. See how the energy stick illustrates this concept.
I really appreciate your ideas and support!!! I am amazed at the Quirkles series that you have created and know you all must be FABULOUS teachers!!!
Cindy, Lower School Science Coordinator, Suffolk, VA
It is very hard to put into words exactly how much I love the Quirkles. They totally changed my attitude about teaching science to kindergarten and first graders as an enrichment class in my school.
Lynn, Gifted Teacher, Springdale, AR