I started this job in December, just as the Omicron variant of Covid was hitting, so decided not to do in-person programming for a while. In January I started putting together take-home STEAM kits that were a combination of STEM activities and arts & craft activities, generally designed for ages 5-10, but some may skew slightly older or younger, and adult assistance/supervision is recommended for some activities, particularly with kids at the younger end.
January's was a re-mix of the Snowflake Science & Icy Experiments I did last year as a hybrid program, but decided to drop the video portion as no one seems to be interested in virtual programs anymore. In February, I combined the foam heart collage activity inspired by Michael Hall's My Heart Is Like a Zoo that I included in a previous early literacy kit, and the "conversation heart chemistry" experiments from the last in-person STEM program I did before the pandemic hit.
I took the inspiration for the March kit from the old saying, "March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb". The change from winter to spring often brings blustery, windy weather as warm and cold fronts battle it out, so I decided to include activities related to wind and air flow.
Budget: $43 for 24 kits ($1.80/kit), with straws and pins leftover, could be done cheaper using regular paper, plain pencils, and plastic straws. I splurged a little since we haven't spent much of our programming budget.Included Materials:
- paper squares, size depends on stiffness of paper
- 2 map pins
- 2 pencils
- small bead (smaller than pony beads)
- cardstock circle
- cardstock arrow head & tail
- foam or balsa wood glider kits (I got the much cheaper foam)
- brochure with step-by-step instructions, photos, thought questions, links to more info, and where to find books on wind, weather, windmills, wind energy, and airplanes
- coloring sheet
- windy weather word search puzzle
- ruler or other straight edge
Q: How does the wind cause the pinwheel to turn? Would a 5- or 6- pointed pinwheel work as well as a 4-pointed one? Better? Try it and see! (Hint: start with a pentagon for 5 points, or a hexagon for 6).
2. Carefully cut slits about 1" long at each end of the straw, making sure they are lined up in the same plane. Apply a small amount of glue along each slit, then insert the arrow head in one end and the tail into the other. Let dry.
A: Glider have no engines, so rely on initial velocity provided by a person throwing them (toy gliders and paper airplanes), catapults to launch them, or being towed high in the sky by another plane. The lift provided by the wings from air moving under them as the glider moves through the air keeps the glider flying until drag and gravity gradually force it lower and lower until it reaches the ground. For more info, check out these articles and video:
- NASA Glider Article, lots of links to more detailed explanations
- Science "How Stuff Works: Gliders" article
- Joyplanes RC "How Can Gliders Fly Without Propulsion" video
I will try to continue offering these occasionally even after I start in person programming, if I can manage to find the time or gain the staff to assist in preparation, that is. It will be a good way to use up leftover materials after in-person programs.