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.
Recently we came across a quote that really struck a chord. “Expecting a kid to learn only from a textbook is like asking to look at a travel brochure and calling it a vacation.” (venspired.com) We can totally relate this to science. Kids often hate reading about science in dull books. They do, however, love seeing how it applies and doing science. But it takes too long, it’s messy, and expensive is the argument some use to avoid hands-on activities in the classroom or at home. It doesn’t have to be. This month we show that it doesn’t take much to drive home science process skills, have fun, and teach several science concepts at the same time.
A clear plastic bottle, some vegetable oil, water, food coloring, and an antacid can teach about density, light, color mixing, carbon dioxide, and immiscibility. It only takes a few minutes too. Watch our video to learn more. We tie this to our Density Dan and Colorful Caroline books. You can also tie in some pop culture history too.
If you remember the 1960’s (or at least watched shows on TV) you probably remember the “groovy” lava lamp. Maybe you even had one in your childhood bedroom or college dorm. There really is something mesmerizing about this 50-plus year old cultural icon as you watch the blobs of color move around inside its rocket-like container.
Like many other products that come and go, tastes changed and the lava lamp craze cooled by the late 1970s. But amid the Austin Powers-fueled nostalgia, the public again warmed to the lamps. Now millions are sold each year to retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart.
Here’s another fun “electrifying” idea that takes little time but teaches concepts related to electricity. (We would use this as an extension to our Ellie Electricity story and activities.) Learn about closed circuits and what conducts electricity. The human body conducts electricity. What about water? An apple? A banana? What’s the common denominator with all of these? Let children experiment with all sorts of materials as they close their circuit and try to come to a conclusion.
One energy stick costs only a few dollars but can be used in a variety of ways. (It’s also a great way to illustrate the power of teamwork.) It really doesn’t take much…time, mess, or money. Invest some time in important, educational, and fun science. http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/4-pack-of-steve-spangler-s-energy-stick.html
An elderly man was bothered every afternoon by a group of kids on their way home from school. They’d ring his doorbell and run, taunt him while he was working in his garden, or throw things at his house. He shouted at them, and thought about calling the police or talking to their parents. But then he had a better idea.
On a Monday afternoon, when the unruly students ran by at the usual time, he called them together. “I’m an old man, and I don’t get much company,” he told them. “I want to show you my appreciation for paying some attention to me, so every time you kids come by, I’ll give each of you a dollar.” That sounded good to them, and they each collected a dollar bill from the man. Happy, they ran off and left him alone.
On Wednesday, the man told them, “I’m a little short today, so instead of a dollar, I can only give you a quarter.” That was still better than nothing, so the children took their quarters and ran home.
The following Monday the man came out of his house and told the kids, “I’m afraid I don’t have much money left, so all I can give each of you for visiting me is a penny.”
“Forget it!” they shouted, and left, never to come back to bother the old man again.
How’s that for creativity in solving a problem?
January is International Creativity Month, so capitalize on your creative powers by devoting the month to exploring new ideas and strategies to make you, and the children in your life, more creative.
So how do we do this—particularly during the cold dreary days of January? New evidence suggests that you can boost your imagination by bundling up and getting outside to spend some time in nature. Researchers from the University of Kansas describe the findings this way: “Nature is a place where our mind can rest, relax, and let down those threat responses. Therefore, we have resources left over – to be creative, to be imaginative, to problem solve.”
Similarly, some of us feel more creative wearing our favorite green T-shirt. Research suggests that the colors around us actually do influence how well we do certain tasks.
But sometimes we can't take a hike or sit in a soothing colored room. Then what? When you are in one of those "dry" spots, try some of these other tips for generating fresh concepts:
Gather information. Research whatever you’re trying to develop ideas for. Don’t think about solutions initially; just immerse yourself in the subject. You may uncover a single fact that can spark a dozen ideas.
Mix everything together. Take a bird’s-eye view of what you’ve collected. Look for underlying assumptions, common concepts and roads not taken.
Let it simmer. Concentrate on something else for a while. Listen to music, take a walk, sleep on it. Let your subconscious take over and sort through what you’ve learned.
Brainstorm. Invest some time in generating more ideas from the information you’ve processed. Quantity often breeds quality. Your third or fourth attempt may prove more useful than your first and most obvious idea or solution.
Share your idea. Run it past someone you trust for feedback. An outside perspective can often be very useful!
Accept mistakes. Give yourself permission to try things even if you’re not sure they’ll succeed. Often you’ll stumble across a different strategy or a better path along the way.
Copy other ideas. Don’t directly steal anyone else’s work, but look at what’s been done with an eye toward doing it differently. Even the most familiar landscape can come to life in interesting ways depending on the colors you use to paint it, or the point of view from which you show it.
Hmmm...Sounds a lot like science process skills, doesn’t it? So get in, get your hands dirty, and try new things. This month we offer a creative take on something you and your children are definitely familiar with—blowing bubbles. Did you know you can make some really cool bubbles using a sock and plastic bottle? This is one of our most viewed videos from the past. Enjoy Rainbow Snake Bubbles!
So as a new calendar year and school semester begins, look for ways to foster your creativity. It will serve you well at work, school, and in your personal life.
A clear plastic bottle, some vegetable oil, food coloring, and an antacid tablet can teach about density, light, coloring mixing, carbon dioxide, and immiscibility. It only takes a few minutes, too!
While Bubbly Burt didn’t make the final 26 Quirkles cut, he’s still near and dear to our heart. After all, there’s a lot to be learned from bubbles! While this activity is not in any of our books, it’s a great one. Also use your bubble mixture to try Lindy Light’s Color Spectrum or Ellie Electricity’s Static Balloon Investigation. Both of these activities are found in the More Quirkles Experiment book.
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