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yellow scope blog | stem summer activities

AVOID THE SUMMER SLIDE WITH STEM!

Summer, glorious summer! A time for relaxing, vacations, and unplugging... We’re several weeks into summer, and if your family is anything like ours, that last one might be a challenge. As an antidote to too much screen time, we’ve put together a list of STEM-based activities.

Not only will these activities help prevent the summer learning slide, they’ll also encourage kids to put down those screens for a bit. That’s what we call a win-win!

Some of the activities involve apps and online research. You can mix and match to strike a healthy balance between hands-on activities and educational online resources.

    1. DO SOME HANDS-ON EXPERIMENTS

      Yellow Scope | Summer STEM | Acids and Bases kit

      Does making elephant toothpaste, fizzy lemonade, or invisible ink sound fun? Check out these free resources for these and more exciting experiments:

      At home: Check our Yellow Scope’s 20 Minute Labs for a series of quick and fun hands-on experiments! Sign up for our email list and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for new labs every month.

      Send your kids to “camp”! Our Camp Yellow Scope  is a digital series of eight chemistry-based experiments, including printable instructions and worksheets to hypothesize, record, and analyze data.

      Online: There are some excellent online STEM resources to keep kids engaged. Check out Nova labs  from PBS. They cover topics ranging from cybersecurity to the sun.

      Science kits: If you are looking for convenience and real science equipment, consider everything-in-the-box science kits such as Yellow Scope’s Foundation Chemistry Kit or Acids, Bases & pH Kit. Your local library may also have science kits that can be checked out for free!

        2. GET OUT IN NATURE

          Yellow Scope | Summer STEM | Nature Walks

          Explore the natural world! Keep your eyes open and be curious.

          Identify plants: Learn the names of the plants in your own backyard or at your local park with the online projects like YardMap, or apps like PlantSnapp and Garden Answers.

          Take a hike: Hiking is not only good exercise, but can also stimulate your brain! Check out rock formations, birds’ nests, insects, and plants. Carry an inexpensive magnifying glass to get closer to nature. Bring along paper and markers to draw what you observe!

          Be a bird detective: Use this guidebook from Bird Sleuth to explore the world of birds in your neighborhood.

          Yellow Scope | Summer STEM | Stars, galaxies, meteor showerStars, galaxies, and more: Visit a local observatory to learn more about our universe. Keep a track of astronomical events that you can observe in your region even without a telescope.

          Mark your calendars for the Perseid meteor shower in August. Check out these other spectacular 2018 astronomical events. NASA is another great resource of online activities for kids.

          3. STEM BOOKS AND GAMES

           

          science books | Yellow Scope blogOnline: PBS and National Geographic are great resources for online STEM games for kids.

          Library: Check out STEM books or participate in STEM programs at your local library.

          STEM games: Check out these cool games that will keep your kiddos (and you!) busy for hours: Snap circuits junior, Lego Chain Reactions, Gravity Maze and Math for Love Prime Climb

          Subscribe to STEM magazines: Kids love getting mail! Consider a subscription to a STEM magazine. There are some great ones our there: SMORE, National Geographic, MUSE, or Strong Magazine.

            4. READ AND REVIEW REAL SCIENCE PAPERS

              Yellow Scope | Summer STEM activities | Frontiers for Young Minds- kids review science

              It’s true! There’s a science journal out there for kids. Real scientists submit papers there that are then reviewed by kids. If your kids are interested in learning more about scientific research and review process, sign them up for Frontiers for Young Minds. (for ages 8-15).

              5. MUSEUMS AND MOVIES

              Yellow Scope | Summer STEM | Science Museum

              Museums and science centers: Go visit your local science and technology museums. Explore the exhibits and participate in STEM activities there. 

              Movie night!: Grab the popcorn and queue up a science-themed Hollywood movie, such as Hidden Figures, Apollo 13, or The Martian. (Common Sense Media provides ratings and excellent descriptions of movies to help you determine if the subject matter is appropriate for your child.)

               

              SHARE WITH US!

              Let us know how your activities turned out! Did you identify a new plant or read any STEM book? Share your summer STEM photos and videos with us  on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. We love getting your messages!


              elephant toothpaste logo | Yellow Scope blog

               

              MAKE TOOTHPASTE FIT FOR AN ELEPHANT!

              Have you ever seen an elephant at the zoo or in the movies? Did you notice those big tusks? Those are actually two very large teeth.

              Imagine if elephants had to brush those teeth? They'd need a very large tube of toothpaste!

              In this month's 20 Minute Lab, we'll be using some household items to produce an exothermic chemical reaction. The result is a fun oozing foam - big enough to use as elephant's toothpaste!

              The main ingredient for this experiment is hydrogen peroxide - a common first aid supply. The hydrogen peroxide in your cabinet is probably a 3% solution, which will work just fine for the experiment. If you want a more powerful reaction, you can use 12% hydrogen peroxide, which you can find at beauty supply stores. If you decide to try the 12%, make sure you ask an adult to handle it. The adult should wear gloves, since 12% hydrogen peroxide can irritate the skin.

              WHAT YOU’LL NEED

              • tray, plastic tub, or washable mat (You can use the one from your Foundation Chemistry kit if you have one!)
              • bottle with narrow neck
              • measuring cup
              • measuring spoons
              • hydrogen peroxide (standard 3% works, but 12% works even better)
              • food coloring (optional, but fun!)
              • dish soap
              • package of dry yeast (we used the measuring spoons, as we had bulk yeast)
              • water

              LET'S GET STARTED

              1. First, if you want to make it really seem like an elephant's toothpaste, you can cut a piece of paper to fit around your bottle and decorate it with markers or crayons to make it look like a toothpaste bottle! This isn't required for the experiment though, it's just for fun.
              2. Place your bottle on the mat or whatever you're using to catch the excess foam.
              3. Pour 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide into the bottle. (If you're using 12% hydrogen peroxide, have an adult do the pouring, perhaps using a funnel.)
              4. Add 8 drops of your favorite color food coloring.
              5. Add a good squirt of dish soap. Swirl to mix.
              6. Rinse out your measuring cup. Add 1 tablespoon of yeast and 3 tablespoons of warm water. Stir gently for about 15 seconds.
              7. Pour the yeast mixture into the bottle.
              8. Observe what happens!

               

              The red toothpaste was made using the standard 3% hydrogen peroxide.

              The blue toothpaste was made using 12% hydrogen peroxide! If you decide to use 12%, make sure to have an adult help and use gloves! (Note: We propped up the bottle a bit so the "toothpaste" squirted out to one side!)

              CONCLUSION

              What's going on?

              formulas | Yellow ScopeDid you make an oozing foam? Why did this happen?

              The chemical formula for hydrogen peroxide is H2O2. This means it is made up of two hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms. Can you see how similar hydrogen peroxide, H2O2, is to water, H2O?

              If you left a bottle of hydrogen peroxide open to the air, over time it would slowly break down into water (H2O) and oxygen (O2). The oxygen would be released as tiny bubbles of gas that would dissolve into the air.  Eventually you would just be left with a bottle of water - but this would take a long time!

              Adding yeast dramatically speeds up this process.bread | Yellow Scope blog This is because a package of yeast contains "catalase". Catalase is an enzyme that speeds up the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen.

              Note: When something speeds up a reaction it's called a catalyst. There are lots of different types of catalysts, but this one's easy to remember: catalase the catalyst!

              soap bubbles | Yellow Scope blogIn our experiment, the dish soap traps the oxygen gas (O2), which creates lots and lots of bubbles! All this bubbling makes the substance quickly expand and shoot out of the bottle.

              You might notice that your bottle is now a bit warm! That's because this chemical reaction produces heat. This type of reaction is called an exothermic reaction ('exo' means outside or external and 'therm' means heat).

              At this point what's left in your bottle in just soap, water and oxygen, so you can pour the remains of your experiment safely down the sink!

              SHARE WITH US!

               

              Let us know what you did. Share your photos and results with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or send us an email to info@yellow-scope.com. We love getting your messages!

              For more exciting experiments, check out our Yellow Scope Science Kits on the Shop tab of our website!

               


              20 minute lab lemon logo | Yellow Scope blog

               

              USING LEMONS FOR INVISIBLE INK!

              Ever wanted to make a super secret message to a friend, like you were a spy in the movies?

              top secret | yellow scope blogIn this month's 20 Minute Lab, we'll be writing a message using the "ink" of a common fruit!

              Planning to set up a lemonade stand this summer with your friends or family? In between customers, you can use the lemonade to write secret messages to each other!

              If you don't have a lemon or lemonade, you can use bottled lemon juice, an orange, lime, other citrus fruit, or even vinegar!

              WHAT YOU’LL NEED

              egg supplies | Yellow Scope blog
              • half a lemon
              • small bowl
              • spoon and water
              • Q-tip
              • sheet of paper
              • a strong light bulb (100 watts), or an iron

              LET'S GET STARTED

              1. Squeeze about a tablespoon of lemon juice into the bowl.
              2. Add a teaspoon of water and mix with a spoon.
              3. Dip one end of the Q-tip into the lemon juice.
              4. lemon setup | Yellow Scope blogUsing the Q-tip like a pencil, write your message on the paper! (Note: Don't use too much lemon juice when writing each letter to avoid getting the paper too wet and warping it!)
              5. Depending on how long your message is, you may have to re-wet your Q-tip with lemon juice several times.
              6. Wait a few minutes for the paper to dry.
              7. light bulb | Yellow Scope blogNow hold your paper over the light bulb. (Note: incandescent bulbs work the best!) To use an iron, turn the steam setting to "off" and place a piece of fabric between the iron and paper. Have an adult help with this step!

               

               

               

               

              Troubleshooting

              If you could see your message after the paper dried - without applying any heat - you may have used too much lemon juice when writing. Try it again - this time letting the Q-tip rest on the edge of the bowl before writing to let some of the liquid drip off.

              If your message does not appear after applying heat, the heat from the light bulb may not be hot enough. Try using a hotter light bulb or try the iron method.

              CONCLUSION

              What's going on?

              Did your secret message magically appear? Did it turn dark brown? Why did this happen?

              Lemon juice is made up of carbon-based compounds, which you applied to the paper with the Q-tip. As you saw, it doesn't have any color at room temperature.

              However, heat breaks carbon bonds and sets some of those carbons free from the paper. When that free carbon contacts the oxygen in the air, it turns a brownish color. This process is called oxidation.

              lemon ink message | Yellow scope blog

              Sometimes substances will oxidize without any added heat. Have you ever had apple slices turn brown when they sit out for a while? That's because the carbon-based compounds in the apple oxidized without the need for the extra heat.

              apples | Yellow Scope BlogFun trick: to prevent your apples from turning brown, add some lemon juice to them! Lemon is a natural antioxidant which prevents the oxidation process from happening. 

              SHARE WITH US!

               

              Let us know what you did. Share your photos and results with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or send us an email to info@yellow-scope.com. We love getting your messages!

              For more exciting experiments, check out our Yellow Scope Science Kits on the Shop tab of our website!

               


              20 minute lab egg logo | Yellow Scope blog

               

              SHIP IN A BOTTLE vs EGG IN A BOTTLE

              Got any leftover boiled eggs from Easter? How about using them for an experiment!

              ship in a bottle | Yellow Scope blogHave you ever seen a ship in a bottle? You may have asked, "How did they do that?" It may seem like magic, but really this trick is more painstaking work than a magician's slip of the hand.

              Most people just build the base of the ship outside the bottle with foldable masts. Then they slide it through and raise the masts inside the bottle with attached strings.

              What if you could suck the whole boat in at once? That would be pretty neat. Well, you can't do it with a boat, but you can with an egg! How? By manipulating the relationship between temperature and pressure. It's like magic but better - it's science!

              WHAT YOU’LL NEED

              egg supplies | Yellow Scope blog
              • glass or hard plastic bottle
                (the mouth should be about a
                1/2 inch narrower than the egg)
              • 1 egg
              • small pot of water
              • folded strip of paper
              • match or lighter (with adult assistance)

              LET'S GET STARTED

              1. With an adult to help, place the egg into a small pot of water and bring it to a boil.
              2. Boil for 2 minutes, then let the pot sit for about 10 minutes. You now have a hard boiled egg!
              3. egg peel and position | Yellow Scope blogRinse the egg in cold water and peel off the shell.
              4. Place your egg, small side down, over the mouth of the bottle.
              5. Fold your paper so that it will easily fit through the mouth of the bottle.
              6. Have an adult light the  paper on fire.
              7. Quickly remove the egg, drop the paper into the bottle, and replace the egg over the mouth of the bottle. Watch what happens!


              CONCLUSION

              What's going on?

              Wow! Was the egg pulled into the bottle? How did that happen? The key has to do with air pressure. Before the experiment, when the egg was sitting on top of the bottle, the air pressure inside the bottle was the same as it was outside the bottle. So nothing happens.

              pressure | Yellow Scope blogWhen you drop the burning paper into the bottle, the air quickly heats up and expands. Some of this expanding air pushes around the egg to escape. This is why you saw the egg vibrate and wiggle as the air whooshed past.

              When the flame goes out (once there was no more oxygen left inside the bottle to burn), the air inside the bottle begins to cool. Cool air contracts, which takes up less space and exerts less pressure.

              Because the egg acts as a seal, this sets up a difference in pressure - the pressure inside the bottle is less than the pressure outside the bottle. Air wants to move from high to low pressure. The higher air pressure outside pushes on the squishy, flexible egg until it is eventually pushed into the bottle.

              Physics is cool, right?

              Troubleshooting

              thin bottle | Yellow Scope blogIf the bottle caved in instead and the egg wasn't sucked in, your bottle may be made of too thin a material. Try using a harder plastic or glass.

              If the egg breaks into pieces on the way in, it may have been too big for the bottle's mouth. Try a smaller egg or a larger-mouthed bottle.

              If nothing happened to the egg (it wasn't sucked into the bottle), the fire may have gone out as you dropped it into the bottle. Make sure the paper is fully lit and continues to burn when placed into the bottle.

              To get the egg back out again:

              1. Hold the bottle upside down, and move the egg around until the small end is resting in the mouth.
              2. Cover the bottle's opening with your mouth and blow, slowly but firmly, into the bottle. Then quickly point the bottle away from you.
              3. The egg should pop right out!

              egg blowout | Yellow Scope blog

              How does this work? By blowing into it, you increased the pressure inside the bottle. This increase in air pressure pushes the egg back out!

              boiled egg | Yellow scope blogGo ahead and eat your egg as a snack!

              SHARE WITH US!

               

              Let us know what you did. Share your photos and results with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or send us an email to info@yellow-scope.com. We love getting your messages!

              For more exciting experiments, check out our Yellow Scope Science Kits on the Shop tab of our website!


              20 minute lab logo | Yellow Scope blog

              Happy St. Patrick's Day!

              St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner - a time for Irish music, dancing, festivals and a lot of green. How about celebrating in your own home with some decorations made using science?!

              We can use household materials to make crystal shamrocks. Shamrocks are the leaf of a clover plant, and a symbol for the country of Ireland, where the real St. Patrick lived and is celebrated across the world today.

              NOTE: Though doing the lab will only take about 20 minutes, once you're done you'll have to wait overnight to see the full results.

              WHAT YOU’LL NEED

              • green pipe cleanerShamrock lab materials | Yellow Scope blog
              • a large wide-mouthed glass jar
              • borax (powder found in the laundry aisle), about 1 cup
              • string
              • pencil (or pen, stick, straw)
              • boiling water

              NOTE: It is not safe to breath in or eat borax, so be careful. Don't worry, we've included some tips and steps that help you to stay safe!

              LET'S GET STARTED

              shamrock pipe cleaner | Yellow Scope blog
              1. Shape your pipe cleaner into a shamrock! Make sure it will fit into the jar's opening and that there's about a 1/2 inch of space on the sides. (You'll need space because the shamrock is going to get bigger.)
              2. Tie the piece of string around the stem of your shamrock.
              3. Hang your shamrock in the empty jar, suspending it right in the middle. Tie the other end of the string to the middle of your pencil. Remove the shamrock from the jar. jar and shamrock | Yellow Scope blog
              4. Then add water to the jar cup by cup. Count how many cups it takes to fill the jar.
              5. Now pour the water from the jar into a pot and have your parent bring it to a boil on the stove.
              6. Remove the pot from the heat and turn on the fan above your stovetop if you have one. If not, open a window or two for ventilation. 
              7. Wait until the water is calm and no longer bubbling. (You don't want to add borax while the water is still bubbling.) 
              8. Now add 3 tablespoons of borax for each cup of water. (For example, our jar held 6 cups of water, so we used 18 tablespoons of (3x6=18). NOTE: If you want to use cups to measure, there are 16 tablespoons in one cup.
              9. Mix the borax with a wooden spoon until it's completely dissolved. Be careful not to breathe in the steam.borax pour and stir | Yellow Scope blog
              10. Pour the water-borax solution back into the jar.
              11. Gently lower your shamrock into the jar so it's suspended right in the middle. Make sure it does not touch the sides or bottom of the jar, or it might get stuck there!
              12. Put the jar in an out-of-the-way place with good ventilation.
              13. Come back the next day to see what happened!

              shamrock crystal | Yellow Scope blog

              CONCLUSION

              What's going on?

              You just made a shamrock crystal! A crystal is a special type of solid mineral in which the molecules fit together in an organized, repeating pattern. The process of crystallization is when molecules transition from chaos to uniformity!

              There are many different types of crystals found in nature, but crystals are generally formed in three ways.

              1. Some crystals, such as diamonds and emeralds, are formed when liquid rock (magma) slowly cools and hardens.
              2. Other crystals, such as snowflakes and frost, are formed when water evaporates (dries up) and the crystal is left behind.
              3. Still other crystals form when a supersaturated liquid that has a dissolved mineral in it, cools. The crystals in this experiment were formed in this way.




              Growing crystals from hot water:

              By heating the water, you were able to dissolve more borax than you could at room temperature because hot water molecules are farther apart so they have more space to hold borax. This is called a supersaturated solution.

              As the solution cooled, the water molecules moved closer together, so borax came out of solution (out of being mixed), and borax crystals started to form on the tiny bristles of the pipe cleaner.

              The size and shape of the crystals depends on how fast the solution cools. When solutions cool fast, smaller crystals are formed because they have less time to organize. Slow-cooling solutions tend to form larger crystals.

              Design Your Own Experiments

              !

              • Try using food coloring in your water (maybe with a white pipe cleaner?)

              • What happens if you put the jar in the fridge instead of leaving it out?

              SHARE WITH US!

              borax team | Yellow Scope blog

              Let us know what you did. Share your photos and results with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or send us an email to info@yellow-scope.com. We love getting your messages!

              For more exciting experiments, check out our Yellow Scope Science Kits on the Shop tab of our website!



              yellow scope science fair feature imageIt's science fair season! Want to help your child learn the scientific method with a fun project (and then show it off to others?) We've got a list of great resources.

              Why participate in a science fair?

              • Kids are natural scientists – they want to know how things work!
              • Participating in the science fair at elementary school will help prepare kids for middle school science fairs, which are often mandatory.
              • It's a fun family activity!

              1. Choose A Project

              Ask your child “What interests you?” Here's a list of three branches of science and possible questions they might want to know the answer to.

              Life Science/Biology

              girls experiment | Yellow ScopePlants – What type of soil do plants grow best in?
              Animals – What type of food do compost worms prefer?
              Human Body/Health – How does smell affect the sense of taste?
              Microorganisms – How can you reduce odor in sneakers?
              Environment – How does acid rain affect plants?

              Earth Science

              Weather – How does weather affect mood?
              Geology – What are the best conditions for making sand castles?
              Space – How do fins on a rocket affect flight?

              girls experimentingPhysical Science

              Chemistry
              – How does the amount of baking soda affect cookies?
              Energy – What is the best shock absorber for protecting eggs?
              Matter – Which paper towel absorbs the best?

              Remember:
              Experiments should be designed to be a fair test of the scientific question.

              'Variables' are factors that we change during the experiment. Change only one variable at a time and keep everything else about your experiment the same.

              2. Book Resources:

              Janice VanCleave's A+ Science Fair Projects

              Look for books at your school or local library. Some of our favorites:
              • Janice VanCleave's A+ Science Fair Projects - A simple guide to the science fair process. 35 complete starter projects on various topics including:
                * The angular distance between celestial bodies
                * The breathing rate of goldfish
                * Interactions in an ecosystem
                * Nutrient differences in soils
                * Heat transfer in the atmosphere
                * Magnetism from electricity

              • everything kids book | Yellow ScopeThe Everything Kids' Science Experiments Book - Experiments using household materials that answer questions like:
                *Is it possible to blow up a balloon without actually blowing into it?
                *What is inside coins?
                *Can a magnet ever be "turned off"?
                *Do toilets always flush in the same direction?
                *Can a swimming pool be cleaned with just the breath of one person?
              • kitchen science book  | Yellow ScopeKitchen Science Lab for Kids - 52 science activities for kids that encourage experimentation in biology, chemistry and physics in the family kitchen or backyard. Many example experiments are great for toddlers, or exciting enough for tweens.
                Also check out the Gardening Lab and Outdoor Science Lab books from the same series for more ideas!

              3._Online Resources

              • Science Fair Central -  An updated site with easy to use tabs that help students choose a project based on their interests.
              • Science buddies website logo | Yellow ScopeScience Buddies - This site includes a Topic Selection Wizard that leads the student through a series of questions, including grade level, area of science and amount of time until the project is due to help them select just the right experiment!
              • babble dabble do logo | Yellow ScopeBabble Dabble Do - Over 20 fresh and creative science projects, including more tips and book resources. Divides projects into grade groups, including kindergarten - 1st, 2nd - 4th, and 5th grade and up!
              • camp yellow scope logoCamp Yellow Scope - Our summer series of eight fun-filled and colorful science experiments, easily translatable to a science fair experiment! Learn about surface tension; density, mass and volume; chemical reactions; pigments and 'unmixing colors'; capillary action; isolating DNA from strawberries; molecular interactions by painting on milk, and more!

               

               

              Yellow Scope Chemistry kit

              4._Science Kit Resources

              Short on time? Or want the convenience of everything together in one place? Consider a science kit – but be careful to chose a high quality kit with experiments that test a specific question.

              Yellow Scope science kits offer suggestions for experimental extensions that could be developed into a unique science fair project!

              TYellow Scope Acids kithe Foundation Chemistry Kit explores key concepts like chemical reactions, molecular motion, and the effect of temperature.

              The Acids, Bases and pH Kit explores the mysteries of household acids and bases, and the "Be A Maker" chapter shows girls how to make their own acid-base indicator and pH paper at home.

              5. Follow the Scientific Method!

              Follow the steps of the scientific method and you can’t go wrong! Here's a handy flowchart for kids to refer to when designing and presenting a project. (They can even cut out the titles for each step and “fill in the blanks”). Click on the image for a printable PDF:

              Scientific method | Yellow Scope

               

              Tips for Success

              • Choose a topic that is interesting/relevant to your child.
              • Follow the steps of the Scientific Method and you can’t go wrong!
              • Approach the project over several sessions so it is not overwhelming.
              • Personalize the presentation with artwork, graphics and perhaps a hands-on demo!
              • Don't do the work your child should be doing - you're just the guide!

              SHARE WITH US!

              Let us know what you did. Share your photos from home or the fair with us on Facebook, Twitter, or send us an email to info@yellow-scope.com. We love getting your messages!


              2017 Gift Guide 12 Days of Girl Power | Yellow Scope Science Kits for Girls
              We pulled together 12 of our favorite girl power gifts for the season. From science kits to books to posters to t-shirts, these gifts will empower the young girls on your list to know they can be anything they can dream of.
               
              1. YELLOW SCOPE CHEMISTRY KITS
               yellow scope foundation kit
              yellow scope acids bases ph
              Award-winning Yellow Scope science kits are chock full of real science. The fun, colorful, hands-on chemistry experiments take girls seriously. No perfume or bubble gum here.
              Ages 8-12. From $24.99. yellow-scope.com
               
              2. GIRLS WHO CODE BOOK
              girls who code book
               
              Part how-to, part girl-empowerment, this new book from Girls Who Code founder, Reshma Saujani, is filled with great illustrations and easy-to-follow instructions. A perfect introduction to the wonderful world of coding.
              Ages 10+. $17.99. girlswhocode.com
               
              3. LOTTIE DOLLS
              lottie doll 
              We love these award-winning dolls, designed with bodies based on an average nine-year-old girl. With inspiring background stories, the dolls empower girls to be anything they can dream of – from a wildlife photographer, to a paleontologist, to an astronomer.
              Ages 3+. From $19.95. lottie.com
              4. WILD FEMINIST T-SHIRT
               
              wild feminist t shirt 
               
              For the little feminist in your life, check out the Wild Feminist t-shirt line from our friends (and Portland neighbors) at Wildfang. Also available in baby onesies and adult sizes. Because any age is the right age for feminism.
              Kids S, M, L. $28.00 wildfang.com
               
              5. SMORE MAGAZINE
              smore magazine cover
               
               Ignite her brilliance all year long with a subscription to SMORE, a science magazine that encourages kids to know more and be more.
              Ages 7+. From $30/year. smoremagazine.com
               
              6. STRONG, SMART, BOLD NECKLACE
              GIRLS INC + LITTLE LUX "STRONG SMART BOLD" NECKLACE
              We love this necklace created by the father-daughter duo at Little Lux to benefit Girls Inc. Put one in your basket for the strong, smart and bold girl in your life - and give back at the same time.
              Ages 3+. $24.95. gunnerandlux.com
               
              7. FEMINIST HOUSEHOLD POSTER
               feminist household mike reynolds
              We love these beautiful posters from Mike Reynolds – feminist, dad, blogger, and activist extraordinaire.
              All ages. From $11. everdaygirldad.myshopify.com
               
              8. WOMEN WHO DARED BLOCKS
              women who dared blocks
               
               Mix up your wooden block collection with this inspiring 32-block set from Uncle Goose, featuring women who overcame obstacles and persevered.
              Ages 2+. $64.00. unclegoose.com
               
              9. FEMINIST ICON PRINTS
              the film artist feminist icon prints
               
               
              We all need these feminist icon prints. Pick one or several as a colorful tribute to outstanding women and their incredible accomplishments!
              All ages. From $12.00. etsy.com/shop/TheFilmArtist
               
              10. SHE PERSISTED BY CHELSEA CLINTON
              she persisted by chelsea clinton 
              Written by Chelsea Clinton, this beautifully illustrated book tells the stories of 13 American women who persisted and changed history.
              Ages 4-8. $13.50 at your local bookstore
               
              11. WONDER WOMAN POSTER
              wonder woman watercolor 
               
              Inspire your little superhero with these magical watercolor printable posters.
              All ages. $3.00. etsy.com/shop/ArtQuality
              (Wonder Woman print: here)
               
              12. THINK LIKE A GIRL T-SHIRTS
              yellow scope tshirt blue yellow scope tshirt black
              Girls are bombarded with messages that maybe it’s not OK to think like a girl. Balderdash.  Let her know that her brain is amazing!
              Girls’ and Women's sizes $19.95. yellow-scope.com

              famous females logo | Yellow Scope blog

              REARRANGING GENES!

              VARIATION IN OUR DNA

              barbara mcclintock | Yellow Scope blog

              You probably know that half of your genes come from mom, and half of your genes come from dad. But this isn't the only way we get our differences.

              But why be different? Well, living things benefit from being different because it helps their species survive over time.

              Maybe a bird species needs to have a differently shaped beak to get at certain seeds, or maybe a scorpion species needs to be able to withstand higher temperatures to live in a desert.

              Imagine you and your friends are making toy block towers on a table, then someone comes and shakes table you're working on, like an earthquake!

              blocks | Yellow Scope blog Some of the towers would fall, but the more stable ones stay would standing.

              Had you made them all the same, the quake could have wiped out all the towers. Like these toys, species need to be different so that some will survive natural disasters and other changes to their environment.

              Today's famous female is geneticist Barbara McClintock. She helped us to understand just how genes make us so different before we even knew the structure of DNA.

              BARBARA McCLINTOCK (1902 - 1992)

              barbara mcclintock | Yellow Scope blogBarbara McClintock was born at the turn of the 20th century in Hartford, Connecticut. She was originally named 'Eleanor', but her no-nonsense, independent nature convinced her parents that it was too feminine a name, and renamed her Barbara.

               

               

               

              Her father was a doctor and her mother raised the kids and enjoyed art and poetry. Barbara and her mother had some uneasy relations however, which would show itself as Barbara grew. 

              cornell balch hall | Yellow Scope blogIn high school, her teachers praised her intelligence and saw her becoming a college professor - an idea that horrified her mother who felt that professors were an odd bunch that would make her daughter unattractive to potential suitors.

              Her mom forbid Barbara from going to college, but at the last minute her dad came to the rescue. Barbara enrolled and graduated from Cornell University in New York.

              She took the only course in genetics available to undergrads, and afterwards got a call from the professor inviting her to his graduate level class. She reflected, "Obviously, this telephone call cast the die for my future. I remained with genetics thereafter."

              A BETTER WAY TO 'SEE' GENES

              Now, genes are very, very small - you have to have a microscope to see them. And even then, you have to dye them with a stain so that you can see their structures.

              meiosis | Yellow Scope blogWell, McClintock developed a staining technique that was better than any before.

              With it, she proved that genes are physically located on little threads called chromosomes

              She also proved a previously suggested idea that sex cells (like sperm and eggs) actually swap genetic material when making new cells. It's called chromosome crossover.

              This is when the chromosomes actually swap bits of themselves with each other, so that there's a whole new combination of genes on each one! Sort of like if teams swapped a few players before a new game - the game would have the same people overall, but each team would have a slightly different makeup.

              COLOR IN CORN

              indian corn | Yellow Scope blog
              But this wasn't McClintock's big discovery. Before we tell you what that was, we should introduce an interesting plant - Indian corn!

              Now, the kind of corn you're used to eating in the summer has some pretty uniform colors. Usually yellow or white. In Indian corn, kernels are different colors!

              McClintock was studying one species whose kernels were sometimes white, sometimes purple, or sometimes mottled with purple streaks or spots. She wondered how this happened. 

              corn kernels | Yellow Scope blogNow, corn is a great organism to use in breeding experiments because each kernel is an individual embryo produced from an individual fertilization.

              That's great for scientists because they get a lot of genetic results from just one ear of corn. Instead of getting just one set of genes from one ear, you actually get about 800!

              JUMPING GENES

              Now, keep in mind that in the late 1940s, when McClintock was studying purple corn kernels at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, it was thought that genes didn't change much. They just stayed on their chromosomes and didn't move, right?
               

              microscope and corn | Yellow Scope blogMcClintock though, using her staining techniques, was able to see that the chromosomes of a purple kernel were similar to the spotted kernel, with just a little difference. It looked as though someone had taken a bit of one chromosome and stuck it somewhere else.

              Turns out, that's exactly what is happening. McClintock discovered that some genes are actually moving around, as if scissors had come to a strand of DNA, cut some out, and then glued it back in the middle of a different set of DNA.

              When this happens in corn, this extra bit can land in the middle of the genes for color, which ends up affecting what color the kernel will be.

              We call these moving elements transposons, or transposing elements, or  'jumping genes'.

              Turns out this isn't just the case in corn. It happens in animals too, which of course, includes us.  This was revolutionary! McClintock said,

              "You can see why I have not dared publish an account of this story. There is so much that is completely new and the implications are so suggestive of an altered concept of gene mutation that I have not wanted to make any statements until the evidence was conclusive."

              OTHER SCIENTISTS DON'T UNDERSTAND

              barbara mcclintock | Yellow Scope blogMcClintock knew this was a big discovery - her most important yet. However, when she first presented it to other scientists in 1951, they didn't understand, and some even got a little hostile.

              Disappointed, after a few years she stopped publishing papers on the subject altogether. She kept working though, she loved her job. She said, "I never thought of stopping."

              It would take 20 more years before transposition was seen by some biologists in bacteria and viruses, and McClintock's work would be back in the limelight. Today we know that transposable elements make up over half of the human genome, and about 90% of the maize (corn) genome!

              Acknowledged at last, Barbara McClintock won a Nobel Prize in 1983 for Physiology or Medicine. It just goes to show, if you know something and you have the evidence to back you up, don't give up! Everyone might just be too mind blown to see your genius and hard work just yet!

               


               

               

               

               

               

               

               

              Science Outreach Activity, Naukuchiatal, India | Yellow Scope blog

              Acid or Base? (Aml or Kshar?):
              An Outreach Activity in Naukuchiatal, India

              by Yellow Scope Science Education Consultant, Meghna Pant

              Working with Yellow Scope and volunteering as a science educator at Oregon National Primate Research Center has nurtured my passion for promoting science education. I have also come to realize that organizing hands-on activities to stimulate learning does not always require fancy lab equipment.

              Living so far away from India, the home I grew up in, I also aspire to give back when I can. Thus, armed with scientific knowledge and few basic supplies, I decided to initiate some sort of outreach activity during my vacation in India this year.

              When Kelly and Marcie heard about my plans, they generously donated a Yellow Scope Acids, Bases and pH kit along with extra supplies to support my cause. What unfurled was an enriching, as well as a humbling experience, for me. Read on to learn more about my outreach story.

              Naukuchiatal, India | Yellow Scope blog

               

              Science Where Science is Needed

              Nestled in the mountains of the Kumaun region of Uttarakhand, India is a small village called Naukuchiatal. Its namesake lake is a prominent tourist attraction. Clean mountain air, lush green surroundings and pleasant summers make this a coveted place to escape to in an otherwise hot and humid Indian summer.


              I am thankful for the day my parents decided to settle down in this village after retirement! Understandably, the factors that contribute to the beauty of this place – its isolation - also limit the educational and employment opportunities.

              If families have the money, there are plenty of excellent residential and day schools scattered throughout the region. However, most families cannot afford these private schools. They rely on the affordable government schools, which are doing their best to educate the students, but would do even better with extra funding or other resources.

              The educator in me decided to explore running a pilot science program at one of these government schools – Rajkiya Inter College, Naukuchiatal, for grades six to twelve.

              Naukuchiatal | Yellow Scope blog

               

              Support and Language Barriers

              I knew I needed the support of the teachers if I wanted my small outreach activity and future projects to materialize. My father, a retired professor of electrical engineering, arranged for me to meet with the school principal and teachers.

              I floated my idea of incorporating hands-on science activities in the classroom and proposed a set of acid-base chemistry experiments. They were very interested and we decided that the middle school students would benefit the most from this activity. The date and time were fixed and I came away from the meeting feeling encouraged and happy!

              The preparation and execution of this outreach activity was more challenging than I initially thought – even with my PhD experience and writing curriculum for Yellow Scope. The language of instruction in this school was Hindi, which is  the official language of India. Even though I grew up in North India and speak Hindi at home, I have never studied science in Hindi.

              In school, I studied science in English, and while this helped me easily transition to grad school in USA, it’s a little embarrassing when I view it from a cultural perspective. I had to look up what Acids and Bases are called in Hindi. Acid = “Aml (um-la)” and Base = “Kshar. These two words have now possibly become two of my favorite words in Hindi.

              Questions and Excitement

              Around 50 unsuspecting children waited for me in the practical lab. They had no idea why they had been called away from their normal classes, but I am sure they were happy about it. There were almost equal numbers of boys and girls in the class. While the teachers explained to the students why I was there, I prepared the samples to test for aml and kshar.

              Science Outreach Activity, India |Yellow Scope blog

              Before starting the experiment, I did a quick background knowledge check. “Do you know what Aml is?” Few answered, “It taste sour”! “What about kshar?” “It tastes bitter!” “But, how can you tell them apart without tasting?” No answer. “Well, I will show you how you can tell them apart using color changes!”

              Science Outreach Activity, India | Yellow Scope blogInterest, amusement and curiosity - I saw it all on their faces. These students had never before done any hands-on science experiments!

              I demonstrated how lemon juice turns pinkish-red when you add red cabbage powder solution to it. They were amazed to see that the white laundry detergent turned greenish-blue on reaction with red cabbage solution.

              However, I think the thing that piqued their curiosity the most was the red cabbage itself! They took my word for it that cabbages in the United States can be red in color; in India they are only green!

              I had foreseen this problem (not being able to buy red cabbages in India for future experiments) and prepared another pH indicator from a kind of black bean, locally known as “bhatt”. This indicator turned pinkish red when mixed with acids and brownish-green when mixed with bases.

              The Kids' First Science Experiment

              We divided the students in groups of five and set them up with a 6-well plate and a dropper pipette. The wells of the plate contained vinegar, lemon juice, laundry detergent and window cleaner. I went around with the pH indicators (red cabbage juice and bhatt juice) and asked every student to add indicator to one of the wells using the dropper pipette. Then I asked them to tell me what they had aml or kshar -  acid or base?

              Black Bean pH indicator | Yellow Scope blog

              By the end of the activity, the whole room was filled with the words aml and kshar. Even when the students cleaned their plates and left, the words stayed with me. I hope the students will think of them too whenever they see laundry detergent or eat bhatt.

              Overall, this outreach activity was a great learning experience for everyone - students, teachers and me. I now have a better understanding of the scientific background of these students and the resources available to them. I have also been meeting with higher education professionals to discuss steps that can be taken to further promote science education in this region. I am excited about the future!

              I am grateful that I was able to share my first outreach experience in India with you all. Who knows if this was the first of many?!

              Acknowledgements

              I am grateful to the principal and teachers of Rajkiya Inter College, Naukuchiatal, for allowing me to conduct this activity with their students. I would also like to thank my parents who helped me put my outreach plans into action. And a big shout out to Kelly and Marcie at Yellow Scope for donating supplies that made this activity possible!

               Meghna Pant, PhD
              Yellow Scope Science Education Consultant


              News  

              glitter slime featured image | Yellow Scope slime recipe

              Let's Make Slime!

              Slime never ceases to fascinate kids, and it seems it’s all the rage again! Which is great news, because you can make slime right at home, and maybe even learn a little science while you’re at it!

              slime had | Yellow Scope slime recipeTurns out you can make slime with any number of household items. A big component of most recipes is glue. Good old Elmer’s Washable works just fine.

              All of these recipes are for one 'serving' of slime (not edible!) for one child. We find that 1/4 cup of glue makes a perfectly generous handful of slime (many websites call for a whole cup, but then your glue stock disappears!)

              Tips:

              Check all ingredients for anything that might be an allergen for your kids.
              Supervise to make sure your kids don't eat the slime (especially any containing borax).
              Wash your hands before and after making slime! Clean hands makes clean slime, and washing up after makes a clean you!

              Click on the icons to skip to the recipe of your choice:

              Crystal Clear Slime

              Glitter Slime

              Stretchy Slime

              Poofy Slime

              Floam (Crunchy) Slime

              Ooblek (Cornstarch) Slime

              1. Crystal Clear Slime

              clear slime product | Yellow Scope slime recipes

              Want the purest, clearest, snottiest slime there is? Try this recipe out for a glass-like finish to your new slime!

              What You'll Need:

              clear slime ingredients | Yellow Scope slime recipes

              • Clear Glue
              • Water
              • Borax Powder (in the laundry aisle)
              • Measuring Cup (1/4 cup)
              • Bowl
              • Spoon
              • Teaspoon

              A Note On Borax: Borax is a boron mineral and salt that comes right from the ground. It's often used as a laundry detergent enhancer or cleaner, but it is toxic if ingested in large amounts.

              Just handling it while playing with slime from this recipe won't cause any harm, but you might consider supervision to prevent ingestion. This is the only recipe that uses it.

              If you're still nervous, liquid starch works just as well - see Glitter Slime (makes for slightly stretchier slime too). Read about borax in slime from Parents.com for more information.

              Let's Get Started!

              clear slime bowl | Yellow Scope slime recipe

               

              1. Pour 1/4 cup of clear glue into a bowl.
              2. Add 1/4 cup of water and stir. Set the bowl aside for a bit.
              3. To the measuring cup, add 1/4 cup of hot tap water.
              4. Add 1/4 teaspoon of borax powder to the hot water in the measuring cup. Stir until you can't see any little particles at the bottom.
              5. Add the borax and water solution to your bowl of glue and water. Slimetastic!
              6. Knead your slime to get a great texture.

              Note: if some of the liquid won't stir in, that's okay, just pull out your slime and dispose of the extra liquid.

              clear slime product | Yellow Scope slime recipe

              What's going on?

              Try experimenting with the slime a bit - move it around, poke it gently, poke it quickly... How does it behave? More like a liquid or more like a solid? If you think the slime seems like both a solid and a liquid, you're right! Some types of slime (and other mixtures like ooblek - see Recipe #6 below) can have qualities of both a solid and a liquid. Substances that can behave like a solid and a liquid at the same time are called non-Newtonian fluids. (Big word, right?!)

              How does it work?

              Glue is made of long molecules called polymers. Polymers are long chains of repeating units. These polymers can slide over each other, so glue flows like a thick liquid. When borax is added to glue, a chemical reaction occurs that causes cross-links, or bridges, to form between the glue molecules.

              This cross-linking of glue molecules is what creates slime. You may have noticed that if you leave the slime alone, it acts like a liquid and will mold to the shape of its container. This happens because the long slime molecules coil up and slide over each other.

              But when you apply pressure, this causes the molecular coils to unwind and get tangled up. This makes it harder for the slime to flow, so it feels more like a solid. Pretty cool, right? Now you know what a non-Newtonian fluids is! To learn more about these interesting materials check out this cool video from Crash Course Kids!

              2. Glitter Slime

              Let's get our glitter on! This is a very popular recipe.

              glitter slime yellow scope slime recipe

              What You'll Need:

              glitter slime ingredients | Yellow Scope slime recipes

              • Clear Glue
              • Liquid Starch (Purex Sta-Flo)
              • Glitter (or confetti!)
              • Water
              • Bowl
              • Measuring Cup (1/4 cup)
              • Spoon

              Let's Get Started!

              1. Add 1/4 cup of glue to your bowl.
              2. Add 1/4 cup of water and mix.
              3. Add glitter (don't be shy, add a lot!) and stir.
              4. Add 1/4 cup of liquid starch and watch the reaction before your eyes!
              5. Stir with the spoon until that becomes difficult, then use your hands.

              glitter slime product | Yellow Scope slime recipe

              Note: You can also add food coloring along with the glitter if you want some more color! Try other materials, like confetti, stars, or combinations!

              3. Stretchy Slime

              In it for the stretch? This is a very satisfying slime that takes a little more patience, but is well worth the wait.

              What You'll Need:

              • Glue
              • Eye Drops (we used Visine, but any brand should work)
              • Baking Soda
              • Food Coloring (optional)
              • Glass Measuring Cup
              • Spoon

              Let's Get Started!

              stretchy slime bowl | Yellow Scope slime recipe

              1. Add 1/2 cup of glue to the measuring cup.
              2. Add food coloring if you want to add color. Stir.
              3. Add 2 teaspoons baking soda and stir
              4. Add the eye drops 10 drops at a time, stirring after every set of 10, for a total of 50 drops. 
              5. Wet your fingers a bit with the eye drops and pick up your slime. It should still be a little sticky.
              6. Knead your slime by stretching and pulling.

              stretchy slime product | Yellow Scope slime recipe

              4. Poofy Slime

               

              This entertaining slime is made of shaving cream - and who hasn't wanted to play with shaving cream? The very act of spraying it into the bowl is a thrill for most kids.

              What You'll Need:

               poofy slime ingredients | Yellow Scope slime recipes

              • Glue
              • Foaming Shaving Cream (Barbasol works fine)
              • Baking Soda
              • Food Coloring (optional)
              • Saline Solution (contains both sodium borate and boric acid}
              • Measuring Cup (1/4 cup)
              • Bowl
              • Spoon
              • Tablespoon

              Let's Get Started!

              poofy slime bowl | Yellow Scope slime recipes

              1. Add about 2 cups of shaving cream into your bowl.
              2. Add food coloring if you want! (We used blue and yellow to make green)
              3. Add 1/4 cup of glue. Stir well.
              4. Add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.
              5. Add 1/2 Tablespoon of the saline solution. Mix like you're whipping cream (vigorously!)
              6. Remove and knead with your hands.

              At first the slime will stick to your hands quite a bit, but just keep kneading (for about one minute). Eventually  the poofy slime will come together and form a ball (and come off your hands)!

              poofy slime product | Yellow Scope slime recipes

              5. Floam (Crunchy) Slime

              Call them dragon eggs, frog eggs, or just spongy goodness, this is an easy experiment - it's basically the same recipe as glitter slime except with polystyrene beads. True confession: we didn't make this one ourselves, but our friends at Little Bins for Little Hands did - take a look at the fun they had!

              What You'll Need:

              floam slime ingredients | Yellow Scope slime recipes

              • Glue
              • Water
              • Liquid Starch
              • Polystyrene foam beads
              • Food Coloring (optional)
              • Measuring Cup (1/4 cup)
              • Bowl
              • Spoon

              Let's Get Started!

               

              1. Start by adding 1/4 cup of glue to your bowl.
              2. Add 1/4 cup of water and mix.
              3. Add food coloring (if you want!) and stir.
              4. Add the styrofoam beads - anywhere from 1/2 to a full cup - and stir.
              5. Add 1/4 cup of liquid starch and stir.
              6. Knead and stretch, it should be ready (not sticky) in about a minute!

              floam slime product | Yellow Scope slime recipes

              6. Ooblek (Cornstarch) Slime

              ooblek | Yellow Scope Slime RecipesHave you heard of ooblek? It’s that crazy material that you can make with just cornstarch and water. We mentioned ooblek in Recipe #1 above - it's another example of a non-Newtonian fluid. To learn more about these interesting materials check out this cool video from Crash Course Kids!

              If your child has never experienced ooblek, start by first making and experimenting with that:

              Ooblek: Mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 5 tablespoons water and blow their mind.

              You could call ooblek a type of slime, but it doesn't quite make the cut; you can't really hold it in your hand without it dripping all over.

              As fun as it is, you might have to go the extra mile and follow the glue recipe below to make it more traditionally slime-like. Let’s try it:

              What You’ll Need:

              ooblek ingredients | Yellow Scope Slime Recipes

              • Glue
              • Cornstarch
              • Food Coloring (optional)
              • Glass Measuring Cup
              • Tablespoon
              • Spoon
              • Surface Covering (like a plate, newspaper, etc, as this tends to get messy!)

              Let’s Get Started!

              As cornstarch tends to get everywhere, and this recipe tends to be finicky, we've outlined a fairly small sample size. Increase as desired!
              1. Measure out 1 tablespoon of glue and pour it into the container.
              2. Want to make it colorful? Add food coloring now!
              3. Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch slowly, mixing as you add it. Watch it thicken!
              4. If you can pick up your slime and it’s not sticky or gooey, go to step 5. If not, add a little more corn starch.
              5. Pick up your blob of slime and knead it for a few minutes. You're done - have fun playing!
              Note: If the slime feels too dry, add just a tiny bit of glue. The consistency should be a bit like Play-Doh.

              ooblek product | Yellow Scope Slime Recipes

              SHARE WITH US!

              Let us know what you did. Share your photos and results with us on Facebook, Twitter, or send us an email to info@yellow-scope.com. We love getting your messages!

              For more exciting experiments, check out our Science Kits on the Shop tab of our website!