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
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!
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!
Try this fun way to learn about friction! A spoon and your nose is all it takes.
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