Now that we are in the heart of winter, why not practice some engineering skills at home? These crafts and science projects are a great way to experience engineering with kids in the winter time. Whether you have to make your own snow in Florida or catch frozen snowflakes in the north, there is so many great STEM related experiments to do in the winter.
Make an ice magnifying glass! For this project, all you’ll need is an ice mold, purified water and objects to magnify. Fill the mold with water and freeze overnight. Remove the ice from the mold and hand-shape it to make the top flatter and the edges softer. This makes the sphere look more like a camera lens, which improves the magnification. You are all set to use your ice magnifying glass-until it melts! Ice is able to magnify objects through the process of angular magnification and refraction. The light bounces off the object and travels through the magnifying glass, which bends the rays and create a virtual image on your eyes. Your eyes try to straighten the light rays which makes the object appear larger than it actually is.
Here in Florida, we don’t see much snow. So why not try making your own? All you need is 1 cup of baking soda, 1 cup of shaving cream and a little water. Mix the baking soda and shaving cream with a fork. Add a few drops of water until the mixture takes on a snow-like appearance. You may need to add a little more water or baking soda depending on the humidity of your room. Homemade snow! This snow is even cold due to evaporation, the water leaving the snow makes it feel cool to the touch.
For those of you in states where it does snow, you can try your hand at catching snowflakes without melting them. Grab some black construction paper and freeze it for at least two hours. Head outside in the snow and simply place the paper out in front of you and see what you can catch. See how many snowflakes (or snow crystals) you can catch and even find individual ones. Place the paper back int he freezer to see what happens when the snowflakes are re-frozen. While you’re at it, why not check out the snowflakes under the ice magnifying glass you just made? You’ll see the unique designs of each snowflake. As snowflakes tumble through the air, swirling and spiraling, they each take a different path to the ground. Each snowflake falls and floats through clouds with different temperatures and moisture levels, which shapes each snowflake in a unique way. That is why every snowflake is different.
Have some winter fun and get learning about the STEM fields. Here at ORB, we think Engineering is just as fun as building a snowman or an igloo and want everyone to get in on the action. Have a happy, safe winter!
More to come soon.