August 1, 2017 by WittyLibrarian
Program Title: Fun Family Science, Third Edition!
Target Age Range: All Ages, Families
Program Length: 90 Minutes
Measuring cups and tablespoons
White Strips of paper
Black strips of paper
Medium size Balls, like wiffle balls
Instruction handouts (see below)
To create the white strips of paper, use 12 x 18 white construction paper and cut it into 4 long strips, each 3 inches wide, and 18 inches long.
To create the black strips of paper , use 12 x 18 black construction paper and cut it into 3 strips of paper, each 4 inches wide, and 18 inches long. Optional: cut out a picket-fence design along the long side of the black strip of paper, with each of the picket-fence teeth being about 1/2 inch away from each other, and 1 inch long and about 3/4 of an inch deep.
As with the other Fun Family Science programs we’ve ran, this was designed as a DIY event. All families were greeted at the door to the program room, and handed an instruction package (see below for all instructions) for 4 different experiments. Families could chose the order in which they did the experiments, as well as the length of time they spent at each experiment.
Supplies for each experiment were laid out in stations throughout the room. Two experiments, Tin Foil Boats and Fluffy Slime, were designed to be done at the station. The other two experiments were designed to be taken to a separate table to work on.
The six experiment stations were:
- Tin Foil Boats
- Fluffy Slime
- Straw Structure and Ball Challenge
- Tin Foil Boats
This experiment was the only experiment we revisited from previous Fun Family Science programs. It remains a crowd favorite, and given that the program was done in the height of summer, it was a cool and refreshing experiment to try, too. We filled two long, shallow plastic bins (basically, under the bed storage bins) with water, and families crafted boats made out of tin foil and saw if they could float. Once it was determined if the boat could float, pennies were added to see how many the boat could hold before the boat sank. Participants were encouraged to try multiple designs, and to see if a new design could hold more pennies than a previous one.
- Fluffy Slime
Our Fluffy Slime recipe was modified from the following two sources, Thiryhandmadedays.com’s Fluffy Slime Recipe and Littlebinsforlittlehands.com’s How to Make Saline Solution Fluffy Slime. As both of our inspiration posts made rather large batches of Fluffy slime, we experimented until we came up with a recipe that created small, individual size portions of Fluffy Slime. The end product was large enough to fill a disposable plastic glass, which we provided plastic wrap to cover, so the slime was portable. All the supplies for the slime were laid out along a counter top, and families measured and mixed their own ingredients. We were able to use a counter to lay out our supplies, but if you are laying the supplies out on a table, it might be advisable to put a plastic tarp on the floor. Families were able to easily reproduce the fluffy slime, but occasionally, if they were too enthusiastic with the shaving cream, more baking soda would need to be added, and if too much baking soda was added, more contact solution was needed. Baby oil helped significantly cut down on the stickiness of the slime.
The Zoetrope was a surprising hit of the event. While the name sounds daunting, the actual product is fun and simple to put together. We modified the design presented on Shareitscience.com’s DIY Zoetrope Animation STEAM Project, by substituting paper plates for pie tins, and it worked beautifully! It also helped that we pre-cut black stripes of paper with the picket-fence design, as well as stripes of white paper, which made things go faster for the families. It also was extremely helpful to have a sample on display, so families could see what the end result was.
Inspired by the images found on Mayoscience.ie’s Straw Structure Design Samples page, we had participants build straw structures with the intent of supporting a wiffle ball above the ground. Families had fun and were extremely creative in their designs; no two structures were alike.
What we would do differently:
The previous Fun Family Science programs both ran exceedingly well, and this one was no exception. The experiments ran well, and the families enjoyed the variety of projects on hand. These family science programs remain a patron- and librarian!- favorite.
Adaption for older/younger audience:
We have used variation of straw structures in programming for all age levels, from 1-3 grade, 4-6, even into the tweens and teens age groups. The open nature of the project, combined with the additional challenge aspect of supporting a ball, makes it appealing for such a wide age range.
Tin foil boats is an always successful program that would work well as a stand alone project in any program talking about water, floatation, or boats. It would most likely be best for children in 1-3rd grade, and in family programs for younger children.
The Zoetropes were fun to make, and would probably work best in a standalone program with kids in grades 4-6, as well as teens. The teens could probably make more elaborate animations with their Zoetropes.
Fluffy Slime is incredible fun, and as many of us have seen, incredibly popular. A slime program featuring fluffy slime would be fun for kids in grades 1-3, 4-6, and even teens and tweens. Everyone loves slime!