Review: Tied 2 Teaching STEM Activities


Our family is always on the lookout for fun, new activities we can add to our learning adventure. Even though our children aren’t as young as they used to be, hands-on activities and group involvement is something we treasure. With the help of Tied 2 Teaching and STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading we’re appreciating a change in our morning routine and exploring a world of fun.

Tied 2 Teaching is an online teaching resource with a multitude of printable bundles available for purchase. There you’ll find fun educational materials ranging from history and mathematics to holiday exploration. Just one of their many tools is STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading. STEM Activities comes with an entire year of opportunity, including over sixty-five challenges from twelve monthly bundles. Students are free to choose from either STEM Design Challenges or Building Block STEM Challenges; both include “Close Reading” which gives students a better understanding of real-life application and offer fun insight into the concept being learned.

For our adventure, our family was given a PDF download of the entire bundle. We chose to include two challenges per week into our routine, allowing one day between to gather materials and manage any printing needed. Mondays and Wednesdays were set aside for our activities; with approximately forty-five minutes given to fully explore the topic at hand. While I highly recommended all our children participate in each STEM challenge, I did not require them to do so. I wanted this to be a fun, optional learning adventure. Three of our kids gladly joined in the fun; our high school senior, junior, and my sixth grade son had a blast. Each morning designated, all materials were openly placed on the learning table for our children to explore. A few of the STEM activities we chose were “Design a House of Cards”, “Construct the Eiffel Tower”, “Design a Paper Airplane”, “Design a Balloon Tower”, and more!

We began with opening the day’s chosen bundle and clicking on the included “Close Reading” link. We were quickly taken to the Wonderopolis website where we could fully explore the topic and complete the day’s reading. We learned a great many fun new facts from each. We then tackled the challenge at hand. Some were a little more challenging than others. Who knew building a house of cards could be a tough job? Others were simple, but allowed for creative involvement. Each challenge included not only a physical activity, but printed sheets which helped us formulate a plan before moving forward with our physical activity and follow-up sheets which encouraged us to take a moment to review what we learned and might do differently next time.

There was so much we gained by using Tied 2 Teaching. We discovered we enjoy STEM activities which involve building projects. We appreciated that all links were provided and easy to access and that printable materials were available for us to use as needed. The challenges were fun, creative, simple to follow, and encouraged our family to work together.

Suggested for grades third through sixth, STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading fits the recommended category. However, we found our older students truly enjoyed the fun of each activity. We, too, learned a few new facts and always appreciate a good challenge. We also believe it to be well within the scope of slightly younger students who might appreciate a little educational push. Approached as family activity, it will help encourage working together and offer the ability to make some memories.

Always on the lookout for fun learning activities, we’re pleased to now be including STEM Activities into our regular Morning Table routine. With a multitude of activities to chose from, we still have many more to go. We can’t wait to see what we’re doing next!

If you’d like to learn more about STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading or Tied 2 Teaching, please visit them at their website and on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest. To read additional reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Tied 2 Teaching has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

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We’d like to know… How do you incorporate STEM activities into your learning routine?

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Review: “Intricacies of Snow” Unit Study by Creation Illustrated

review_creationillustrated_snowunitNature Study is an important part of our learning routine. Planning nature study, however, can take time. To aid us in our homeschooling adventure, Creation Illustrated kindly offered us an “Intricacies of Snow” Unit Study to review the benefits of having resources and activities already organized for us.

Creation Illustrated is dedicated to sharing Biblical truths and character building lessons through the story of creation. In publication since 1993, Creation Illustrated produces books and other related resources in addition to their quarterly magazine issues. One such resource is a collection of unit studies available for purchase. Creation Illustrated is for all ages, with unit studies specifically geared toward children grades 5-8. Our family was able to review the “Intricacies of Snow” Unit Study which corresponds to the Winter 2018 Issue.


We received a digital copy of the “Intricacies of Snow” Unit Study, along with a free digital copy of the Winter 2018 Creation Illustrated Magazine. Quickly perusing the unit study, we noticed many available areas of study included: Reading Resources, Educational Videos, Writing & Penmanship, Vocabulary & Spelling, Bible Study, and several more. Excited to get started, we made sure our learning materials were in order and our Winter 2018 Magazine issue was on hand.

As we started the “Intricacies of Snow” at the tail end of the winter season and our local mountains were being sprinkled with powder, we thought this would be a wonderful addition to our weekly nature studies. To begin our unit, I read-aloud the original article “Intricacies of Snow” from the Winter 2018 magazine. Then we began our two-week study. As we snow_modelswere using the unit as a nature study, we chose not to make use of all areas – such as math and penmanship – but did use a great deal of the unit. Videos, Bible Study, Spiritual Lessons on Snow, Snow Science and more were included in our lessons.

The unit study itself seemed to contain a great deal of writing, thus we chose to alter the until slightly and do a great deal of the work in verbal prompts and open snow_crystalconversation. This was especially helpful for my son who struggles with focusing during lessons. We found the Reading Resources and Educational Video selections quite enjoyable. However, we should note, not all video references were Biblically based and some had an evolutionist viewpoint. The kids found a misprint/misspelling while completing the Snow Word Search, but we worked it out and enjoyed the activity. Spiritual Lessons on Snow was fantastic and we gained much by our time spent on this selection. Hands-on Snow Science was fun; making snow crystals and paper snowflakes. We were even able to diagram various snow models, learning the multitude of shapes God has created and discovering more about the famous Mr. Snowflake Bentley.

fall_2017_creationillustratedIn addition to our original choice of “Intricacies of Snow”, Creation Illustrated was also kind enough to send us a complimentary copy of the “Pine Trees” Unit Study which corresponds to the Fall 2017 Issue of Creation Illustrated Magazine. While we have not yet had the opportunity to put this unit study to use, we did note “Pine Trees” seems to follow along the same lines of content and will more than likely be included in a future family nature study.


Coming Soon: Spring 2018!

Our time with the “Intricacies of Snow” Unit Study was well spent. Using this learning resource made planning nature study a smooth process. We had a lot of fun learning about Mr. Snowflake Bentley and working through hands-on Snow Science. Now, on to our next nature study. Perhaps “Pine Trees”? I think so.

If you’d like to learn more about the “Intricacies of Snow” Unit Study, the current Winter 2018 Issue, or Creation Illustrated, please visit them at their website and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Creation Illustrated has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

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Your Turn!: Mr. Snowflake Bentley spent a great deal of time taking photos of snowflakes. What is your favorite subject when taking photos?

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Review: The Electric Pickle

The_Electric_PickleI love reading other people’s blogs, don’t you? I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the loveliest people and being introduced to a world of possibility. On occasion, I also benefit from exposure to choice resources which change the course of our learning year. The Electric Pickle: 50 Experiments from the Periodic Table, from Aluminum to Zinc by Joey Green and Chicago Review Press is changing the face of our chemistry lessons, and we couldn’t be more pleased!

The Electric Pickle by Joey Green is a unique learning resource. With each fun experiment we are reminded science does not require a fancy lab or expensive equipment in order to accomplish serious learning. The Electric Pickle seeks to bring chemistry to life through amazing reactions and stimulating activities. This resourceful handbook is perfect for learners of all ages, organized so even younger students are able to participate and enjoy. Written by Joey Green, author of more than 50 books, The Electric Pickle is a fascinating guide to the world of periodic elements.

While perusing our online friends’ blogs and their incredible homeschooling adventures, we happened upon a review of this fantastic resource. Imagine our surprise when publisher, Chicago Review Press, kindly offered us our own copy for review! We were excited to add The Electric Pickle to our weekly chemistry lessons and put the handbook to the test. Twice a week we delved in our lessons; all four children present and excited to learn. We progressed through experiments on elements such as Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, and more. Each lesson included a quick safety reminder, a list of necessary materials, and instructions. Lessons were followed by a quick explanation of what is happening during the experiment, why the experiment works and a few wacky facts about the particular element being studied.

From the start, our experience with The Electric Pickle was fruitful. Unlike previous attempts with experiments, we found the included list of materials easy to locate. (Most could be found within our home, others purchased at a local hardware store.) Several of the periodic elements included more than one experiment, giving us more options and added fun. Each experiment included a full-color image of all materials needed which was especially helpful when making purchases, and the easy to understand instructions made experiments simple to work through. Each element was enjoyable to explore, with experiments which livened up our learning and engaged our students.

The Electric Pickle to be an incredibly fun and educational resource. All our learners have enjoyed exploring, from our oldest in high school to our youngest in fifth grade. While our favorite experiments include explosive reactions, even the more subtle adventures prove engaging. Experiments are easy to prep and simple to follow. All are fun. Thus far, The Electric Pickle has proven to be the best chemistry exploration we’ve experienced. The included experiments far exceed any we’ve attempted in any other resource, and “Wacky Facts” keep us actively digging deeper. The Electric Pickle has become one of our favorite resources for science exploration and one we anticipate recommending to all our friends.

We’ve always appreciated perusing other homeschooling and parenting blogs, but when our reading leads to the discovery of a fantastic resource for our family we’re overjoyed. The Electric Pickle: 50 Experiments from the Periodic Table, from Aluminum to Zinc has definitely changed the face of our chemistry lessons, and we’re excited to continue exploring the wonderful world of science.

If you’d like to learn more about The Electric Pickle: 50 Experiments from the Periodic Table, from Aluminum to Zinc or Chicago Review Press please visit them at their website, and on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

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Your Turn!: I feel foolish saying this, but until I was an adult I didn’t know Krypton was a genuine element. Did you?

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Review: Wicked Bugs by Amy Stewart (Young Readers Edition)

Wicked_Bugs_ReviewBetween all our nature walks and exploring of the great outdoors we come across some very interesting creatures. I wish I was better at identifying all of them, knowing details on their structure and tidbits of fun facts my children might enjoy. So when Algonquin Young Readers contacted us and offered a copy of their young readers edition of Wicked Bugs: The Meanest, Deadliest, Grossest Bugs on Earth we were overjoyed. Today, we’d love to share this incredibly fun and educational resource with you!

In the young readers edition of Wicked Bugs: The Meanest, Deadliest, Grossest Bugs on Earth, Amy Stewart’s information-packed, impeccably researched New York Times bestselling book for adults has been adapted for middle grade readers, bringing to life weird and dangerous creatures with full-color illustrations by the talented Briony Morrow-Cribbs. Organized into thematic categories (“Everyday Dangers”, “Unwelcome Invaders”, “Destructive Pests”, and “Terrible Threats”), Wicked Bugs entertains as much as it informs, delving into the extraordinary powers of many-legged creatures.

Algonquin Young Readers graciously sent us an early release copy of Wicked Bugs. When our book arrived, included in our package was an illustrated leaflet advertising the book’s release on August 8th of this year and an oddly adorable stuffed bookworm by Giant Microbes.

Before turning our attention to Wicked Bugs, we took a moment or two to giggle over our newest stuffed animal. I confess I have never actually seen a live bookworm, much less one which is stuffed. This was a special treat! We then took a moment to peruse the included leaflet to get a preview of what was to come in our new book. Wicked Bugs isGiantMicrobes_Bookworm
filled with chapter after chapter of intriguing creepy, crawly creatures. The book is incredibly thorough, giving fun details children of all ages will appreciate. The full-color illustrations are liberally peppered throughout the read, adding an up close look at our nature friends.

Wicked Bugs is an incredible resource. We very much enjoyed reading about each intriguing insect. One of our favorite chapters included “Zombies”, a truly chilling selection of insects which inhabit other creatures and force them to do harm on their behalf. The “Death Watch Beetle”, referred to by Edgar Allan Poe in his frightful story “The Tell-Tale Heart” was fun as well. Many such educational factoids may be found following the colorful descriptions of each bug.

While I shudder at the thought of running into any of these mean, deadly, gross bugs in real life, we truly enjoy this read. The illustrations are wonderful and add to the charm of the book. The book itself is a simple read. While intended for middle grade readers, we believe young readers would appreciate having selections read to them; removing the barrier of hard to pronounce scientific names.

Before setting Wicked Bugs on the bookshelf and adding it to our nature section for continual referral, we definitely wished to take a moment to visit the Wicked Bugs website. Who knew what exciting adventures, resources, and activities might be available? We were not disappointed. We found a downloadable lesson plan for Wicked Bugs, discovered where Wicked Bugs have been viewed as part of a national traveling exhibit, read a special Q&A session with Amy Stewart, and viewed the Wicked Bugs trailer. The trailer is definitely a highlight of the site!

While I certainly hope we never run into any of these “Wicked Bugs” while on our nature walks or outdoor explorations, it has been tons of fun learning about God’s creatures and adding tidbits of knowledge to our homeschool adventure. We’re very pleased to add Wicked Bugs to our growing nature studies resource shelf!

In addition to Wicked Bugs, Amy Stewart has written several other fascinating reads including The Drunken Botanist, Wicked Plants, and Flower Confidential. To learn more about Amy Stewart, Algonquin Young Readers, and Wicked Bugs, please visit their websites or follow on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, and more!

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Your Turn!: What’s the “meanest” bug you’ve discovered in your learning adventure?

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Review: Fascinating Chemistry


A new school year equals a new study in the field of science. This year we’re focusing our attention on chemistry and we can’t think of a better time to review Fascinating Chemistry by Fascinating Education.

Fascinating Education is an audio-visual approach to teaching science. Fascinating Education offers courses in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Medicine, and Atoms & Molecules. Fascinating Education is presented by Dr. Sheldon Margulies, The Fascinator, a retired neurologist who uses his life experience and expertise to help students learn. Fascinating_Chemistry_1

Fascinating Chemistry is a series of nineteen lessons which include a video, a script of the lesson and a lesson test. Each video is approximately 45 minutes in length. Videos are complete with menu and glossary, allowing the student to better follow the outline of each lesson. Students are also able to use the helpful menu feature to revisit areas which need strengthening without the hassle of scrubbing through an entire session. Lesson Scripts are an exact wording of the video lessons, including images. Several lessons contain links to lab activities for students to enjoy. Tests are given as multiple choice slide-presentations, with question helps for those who need them. After taking tests, students are able to review their test, print their test, and/or retake their test if needed. PDF versions of tests Fascinating_Chemistry_2are available. Test scores are not kept online, thus should be printed if so desired. Lesson topics include The Structure of the Atom, The Ionic Bond, The Covalent Bond, and more.

Fascinating Chemistry includes nineteen lessons total. Our family found it beneficial to break down these lessons into smaller sections, working through each lesson at a slower pace for greater understanding, rather than viewing an entire lesson in one sitting. We found the videos simple to follow and our narrator, The Fascinator, easy to understand. The lessons were clear and well laid out. The occasional labs are fun and appealing to kids.

It is our opinion Fascinating Chemistry may be used in a homeschooling setting with highFascinating_Chemistry_4 school, junior high, and/or upper level elementary students. The lessons are easy to follow and understand. Labs are equally simple. As the entire curriculum consists of only nineteen lessons, we would highly recommend breaking down the given lessons into smaller, half lessons to stretch the curriculum to fill an entire school year.

Chemistry is the name of the game for the year. We’ve just begun our adventure and are enjoying the hands-on application of all we’re learning. With the help of Fascinating Chemistry this will be a lovely journey. Now if I could only explain to my children chemistry experiments do not all need to consist of blowing things up or overflowing crucibles of foaming chemicals.

If you’d like to learn more about Fascinating Chemistry, as well as Fascinating Education, please visit them at their website. To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into the Fascinating Chemistry please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

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Your Turn!: Which area of science are you studying this year?

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Curriculum 101: Science

Curriculum101One of the biggest struggles homeschooling families battle is which curriculum is best for their children. We become overwhelmed by the amount of curriculum available, struggle to find the right fit for each of our children, proceed to doubt each choice made for at least the first several weeks, and continue to search for new ways of teaching well after we’ve already begun our year.

To this end, we thought we’d spend the month of September launching discussions on all things curriculum.


Today, I asked my husband to share his thoughts on whether science and faith can co-exist:


I was asked to write about why science and religion are not in opposition and, consequently, why both can be taught side by side. However, this subject is so large that we can only begin to scratch the surface in the short space of a blog post. In fact, it might be simpler merely to ask why anyone finds the two in opposition and assess those concerns.

Alleged Criteria of Science – 

Many attempt to define what counts as science, but the fact is that there is no universal agreement as to what counts as a science. While there have been criteria offered by many as to what counts as “science”, many objects of science fail to meet such criteria. The following constitutes some criteria which has been offered for what counts as science:

  1. 1. Whatever is scientific must be empirical (i.e., observable)
  2. 2. Whatever is scientific must be testable.
  3. 3. Whatever is scientific must be falsifiable.
  4. 4. Whatever is scientific must be repeatable.
  5. 5. Whatever is scientific must be natural.
  6. 6. Scientific theories must be held tentatively.
  7. 7. Scientific theories should not be dogmatic.
  8. 8. Scientific theories must make verified predictions.
  9. 9. A scientific theory must be simple.
  10. 10. A scientific theory should have explanatory scope.
  11. 11. A scientific theory must be logically consistent.

Epistemology (theory of knowledge) – 

One misunderstanding which leads to the belief that science and religion conflict is the presumption of scientism, which is the belief that only science confers knowledge or that something must be scientific in order to be true. However, any valid theory of knowledge must satisfy its own conditions for truth. What this means is that if science is our only gateway to knowledge and truth, scientism itself must satisfy its own conditions for what counts as science. But notice that there is nothing which one can observe to verify scientism. If scientism cannot even meet the first criteria for what counts as science, then clearly scientism is false and knowledge is not limited to what science can provide.

Some may suggest that, while scientism itself is not observable, the objects of science are themselves empirical in nature, whereas, religious claims are not subject to observation. Unfortunately, that’s a false perception as well. Many claims of science are either pure speculation or are interpretations predicated on former philosophical commitments. The fact is, no one has observed the big bang, a black hole, the spontaneous generation of life, a vertical transitional path from the goo through the zoo to you, the formation of many geologic phenomena, or subatomic particles. All such entities are either theoretical in nature and/or must be inferred from other data or phenomena. Furthermore, such interpretations must be informed by the scientist’s prior philosophical commitments.

However, if something which can be merely inferred from data can count as “scientific”, then can’t science include religious interpretations of the data? To this, the skeptic will protest that supernatural inferences are not allowed (see criteria #5 above), which brings us to another apparent conflict between science and religion, i.e., science deals only with natural phenomena while religion deals with the supernatural, the latter being inaccessible by the scientist.

Naturalism – 

Many assume science must either presuppose philosophical naturalism (i.e., the proposition that only nature exists) or at the very least employ methodological naturalism (i.e., explain all phenomena via natural causes while disallowing any inferences to the supernatural). Philosophical naturalism, however, is not itself a scientific position. It is a metaphysical (i.e., philosophical) position imposed on scientific interpretations. While we may normally seek natural causes to the phenomena we encounter, there is nothing that logically precludes us from inferring supernatural answers when there are reasons to do so. So why do scientists assume naturalism? It’s usually because they either have a prior philosophical commitment to it or, as has already been mentioned, they believe they do not have access to supernatural causes, by which they mean such causes are not empirically verifiable. But as has already been observed, many natural phenomena are also inaccessible by observation, and yet the methodological naturalist seems to have no trouble inferring such entities. Such hypocrisy is driven by an anti-supernatural bias and is not rooted in science or reason.

Because naturalism is a metaphysical position, it is itself a pseudo-religious view insofar as it constitutes an ultimate view of reality. And while some natural objects might be open to our observation, philosophical naturalism itself is an ideology which is not itself open to such observation. Therefore, if we disallow religious or supernatural explanations because they are not open to observation, then we should also disallow naturalism and the many theoretical entities and phenomena which are also not open to observation (i.e., things like black holes, abiogenesis, the big bang, et al.).

Origins –

Perhaps the biggest conflict which people believe exists between science and religion is the conflicting views of biological origins. However, given that Darwinism fails to meet criteria of science (macro-evolution is not observable, not testable, not repeatable, not falsifiable, is not useful, is not held tentatively but propounded dogmatically, is not parsimonious, is contradicted by known phenomena, etc.), the conflicting views of origins is not really between science and religion but between two religio-philosophical views. In fact, there are many areas of science that, in principle, can never really conflict with religion because they are merely speculative in nature. One need not be concerned with such things as super-strings, multiverses, or other speculative ideas because such entities are not truly scientific, even if they find their birth in the imagination of those who wear lab coats.


So can science and religious faith co-exist? We saw that scientism and empiricism are self-refuting and therefore false. We find that naturalism is not itself scientific, but a metaphysic that need not inform good science. And we find that alleged areas of conflict are not really between science and religion but between speculative philosophies and religion.

Therefore, Christian theists need not reject good science nor fear speculative philosophies issued by scientists. The Christian parent should teach his children good science while also teaching his children why speculative theories are philosophical in nature and do not constitute true “science” (i.e., knowledge).

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The Mad Scientist: Crocodile Hunter

It is I, the mad scientist! Join me and my minions as we study some of God’s amazing creatures; learning tons of fun facts along the way.


Mad_ScientistUnless you believe the urban legend of alligators dwelling in our sewers, there are very few places to see these remarkable creatures in Southern California. Excepting a trip to the zoo, one has never been spotted in our neck of the woods. Once, we did have an animal expert bring a baby alligator to a library event; that was fun!

Given these conditions, and the fact that owning one is simply out of the question, the next best option is to hit the internet to learn more! Our venue of choice: YouTube!

Using YouTube, let’s watch a few episodes of Crocodile Hunter! (While this man might have been a little unwise in his personal choices, he was certainly brilliant when it came to his knowledge of alligators and crocodiles.)

To add a little creativity to the day, we can also do this fun craft. Using basic materials most of us already have on hand, making these fun animals should be fairly simple.

Toilet Tube Animals

Click on the image above to be taken to the original ‘pin’.

Thus ends our ‘Mad Scientist’ lessons for the summer. We’ve learned about some amazing creatures and added a fun new pet to our household. We hope you’ve had as much fun as we have! Join us next year for more summer fun activities!


The Mad Scientist: What a Croc!

It is I, the mad scientist! Join me and my minions as we study some of God’s amazing creatures; learning tons of fun facts along the way.


Mad_ScientistWe are in mourning. (sigh) Close friends of ours recently moved to Florida and we are missing them terribly! In their honor, we thought we would end our summer science lessons by learning a little more about creatures which invade their neighborhood: crocodiles!

Because I believe in consistency, let us begin once again with life cycles. Exactly how do these amazing creatures start their lives and grow into such magnificent animals?


Click on the image above to be taken to the original website.

Now for the fun part… what do these things look like on the inside?

internal anatomy of crocodile


Have you ever wondered what the difference between an alligator and a crocodile is? Discover the answer to that age-old question and more, at DocStoc! Download the handy-dandy Alligators vs. Crocodiles booklet and have some fun! There are so many activities, both printable and online, for you to explore.

Usually, we like to end our science lessons with a coordinating snack. However, we’ve tried crocodile and… let’s just say they were not meant for meat. (laughing) At least, not the one we tried. I suppose we could always have some jambalaya, in honor of The Princess and the Frog’s crocodile, Louis! Some andouille sure does sound good.

Time to Chime In: Crocodile tail: To have or have not? (As a meal.) Thoughts…

The Mad Scientist: Spectacular Science Projects

I am by no means the ‘end all, be all’ of scientists; I don’t even come remotely close! I truly appreciate people who have a passion for any given area of learning and are more than willing to share their resources, time, and energies with the rest of us. 

A little while back, another WordPress homeschool mom shared some of her thoughts with me on spectacular science projects to do with our kids over the summer holiday. (Not that these are limited to summer mind you, they would be splendid for any time of year.) We thought we’d share her ideas, so that you too can join in the summer fun!


5 Spectacular Science Projects to Make the Holidays More Interesting

Holiday activities for kids usually revolve around the T.V., the computer or the smart phone. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could engage your child in something that’s fun, educational and maybe even something your family can do together? Yes you can – try these holiday-themed DIY science projects for kids of all ages. Those yawns will turn into gapes when your little genius makes a volcano out of household items or bends water with a plastic comb.

Volcano in my House


Image –
Photo courtesy – Ryan Dickey

You will need:

  • Flour
  • Cooking oil
  • Vinegar
  • Food coloring
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Warm water
  • Pan
  • Plastic soda bottle


  • Mix 6 cups of water, 4 tbsp. cooking oil, 2 cups of salt and 2 cups of water into smooth dough. Add more water if required.
  • Place the soda bottle upright in the pan and carefully mold the dough around it. Leave the mouth of the bottle open and make sure you don’t drop the dough inside.
  • Pour warm water into the bottle until it is almost full.
  • Add a few drops of red food coloring, 6 drops of detergent and 2 tbsp. baking soda into the bottle.
  • Slowly pour the vinegar and brace yourself for the explosion!

Water Bending Feat

You will need:

  • Tap
  • Plastic comb


  • Produce a small stream of water, about 1.5 mm in diameter, from the tap.
  • Run the comb several times through your own or a friend’s hair.
  • Bring the teeth of the comb towards of the water. Make sure it is about 8-10 cm below the tap and an inch away from the stream.
  • The water should now bend towards the comb.


Unbreakable Eggs

Unbreakable Eggs

Image –
Photo courtesy – Alan Levine

You will need:

  • Large plastic box
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Egg


  • Place the egg inside the box and fill it completely with water.
  • Add a handful of salt to the water.
  • Make sure the box is well sealed.
  • Drop the box.
  • Did the egg break?


Invisible Ink Messages

You will need:

  • Lemon juice
  • Iron
  • Plain paper
  • Water
  • Cotton buds
  • Bowl


  • Mix a few drops of water and some lemon juice in the bowl.
  • Dip the cotton buds into it and write your message on the paper.
  • After the message dries completely, heat the paper with the iron.
  • All will be revealed!


Why Didn’t the Balloon Pop?

Balloon Pop

Image –
Photo courtesy – San Jose Library

You will need:

  • Latex balloon
  • Pin
  • Clear tape


  • Blow up the balloon.
  • Cut out 2 two-inch pieces of clear tape and stick them in X on the balloon.
  • Aim the pin at the center of the cross and stab. What happens?
  • You will feel air leaking through the hole but the balloon won’t pop for quite some time.
  • To make the balloon pop, you can try squeezing it until the hole reaches widens until the end of the tape.

Simple activities like these will help you instil a love for science in your little ones and keep them productively engaged during the holidays. Get started immediately!


Corinne Jacobs is a writer, a content developer, a mother, and a self-proclaimed geek.

She loves all things that scream out unschooling, alternative education and holistic learning. She often scours the internet looking for education trends and unique ways to teach and learn. She believes that learning should be an enjoyable experience and in her quest to do so, she has created a platform where she can share her thoughts, things she finds interesting on the internet, and ramblings on various topics.

The Mad Scientist: Fish Are Friends

It is I, the mad scientist! Join me and my minions as we study some of God’s amazing creatures; learning tons of fun facts along the way.


Mad_ScientistDid I mention our fish, Gubbles, is getting lonely? My youngest girl, ‘Mouse’, is the resident veterinarian in training and she is adamant that our newest pet needs some friends. The problem? Gubbles will kill off pretty much any other fish you try to pair her with.

Last week, we spent a little time learning about crustaceans. This week, we are going to do some learning ‘in the field’ at our local PetSmart! Let’s see what they can teach us about fun friends Gubbles will enjoy and not tear to bits.

What tank mates would be best for Gubbles? There are several it seems:

  • Loaches
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Zebra Snails
  • Bristlenose Pleckos
  • Neon Tetras
  • and African Dwarf Frogs

Based on some preliminary research we did beforehand, I think we are looking at a few ghost shrimp. We don’t have an exceptionally large tank, so we don’t want to overcrowd our creatures. For now, this will work.

We had thought about getting a crab to spice things up, but that appears to be a bad idea. From everything we’ve read, crabs are a great deal of work and could cause potential problems with our betta. Wanting to keep things simple and peaceful, we’ll go with the shrimp for now.

Ghost Shrimp

The concern with new friends will be whether or not they will survive. Gubbles has been on her own entirely, so we’ll see how she takes to new inmates. If she does well with these new creatures, we might upgrade next year to a slightly larger tank and invest in a few more friends for her to enjoy.

For now… this concludes our lesson on both fish and crustaceans. Altogether a fun learning experience for all of us!

Time to Chime In: Have you ever owned a Betta fish? Which tank mates did you choose?