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.
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.
Don’t know what to do for your classroom holiday party this year? Or do you need something to keep the kiddos occupied over the winter break? With a little imagination, a story with a holiday twist, and a science activity, you’re sure to have the makings for a fun, memorable, and educational event.
Here are some ideas from our two series, the Quirkles® and Fuddlebrook School® Science series to help you become the hit of the holidays. First, from the Quirkles Pressure Pete, try Pressure Pete’s Vacuum, or a variation we show on our video, the egg in a bottle. Explain that Santa’s gained a little weight this year (maybe too much Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie???) and you’re going to have to figure out a way to help him down the chimney.
Finally, an inexpensive container of FLARP!® Noise Putty makes for a fun relay game (and tons of laughs) plus a lesson on polymers that ties to Zany Science Zeke. See how much fun this can be as we demonstrate on this month’s video.
But that’s not all. In the Fuddlebrook series, use Herman’s Rocket Launch (from The Case of the Vanishing Moon) and pretend you’re watching the reindeer fly across the sky pulling Santa’s sleigh. Or, watch the “elves” on our video catapult ornaments on to the Christmas tree (Freddie’s Marshmallow Launch from Freddie’s Dance Lesson). If you need more help visualizing how to make your catapult, check out our blog post that explains it in more detail.
These are just a few ways to turn everyday science into holiday science. You’re really only limited by your own imagination. Tell a story and have fun! On a serious note, however, make sure to take time to explain the science behind these activities. Don’t overlook a teachable moment!
Want more ideas? Check out all our videos on YouTube for more than 90 activities and variations of many of our experiments. And from all of us to you, we wish you the brightest and best of the holiday season!
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.
Help! Santa’s eaten too much Thanksgiving dinner and now needs help to get down the chimney. Pressure Pete to the rescue!
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