With summer now officially underway, we have entered the season of superheroes. With all the different abilities that superheroes have, many lend themselves to STEAM projects you can do with children and teens.
Here are a few ideas to get started with:
Big Hero 6
Big Hero 6 has several ways for you to incorporate STEAM ideas in a program. The blog My Crazy Good Life has several printable science experiments related to the movie; experiments include balloon rockets, chemistry (Go Honey Lemon!), and invisible ink (http://mycrazygoodlife.com/big-hero-6-printable-science-experiments/).
Since most of the main characters are working on various projects in their lab, this would be a great time to try an open makerspace, where participants are able to develop ideas using available materials.
Is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s some Superman-related science! Try making your own Krypton. Utilizing the DIY geode recipes and with simple ingredients like borax and glow-in-the-dark paint, participants can make Krypton to take home. Great DIY geodes instructions can be found on the blog Growing a Jeweled Rose (http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/03/space-activities-homemade-geodes.html).
Make your own anemometer, which measures the wind speed. Any flying superhero needs to take into account the wind speed, so why not make a device that can help. At The Activity Mom, they have an anemometer that you can make from low cost materials (http://activity-mom.com/2014/05/12/science-experiments-at-home/).
So, my favorite X-Men character has always been Rogue, but her powers are difficult to turn into a science experiment (if you can think of one, let me know!). However, my second-favorite character is Storm, and since she can manipulate the weather, there are plenty of science experiments you can use. Try doing to oldie-but-a-goodie tornado in a bottle experiment. Or, make your own convection currents, and discuss thunderstorms. A simple convection currents experiment can be found on Learn~Play~Imagine (http://www.learnplayimagine.com/2013/08/making-convection-currents-weather-for.html). There are also plenty of experiments you can do with rain or the water cycle, including making a colorful rain cloud (from LearnCreateLove at this link: http://learncreatelove.com/cloudrain-experiment/) and making a mini water cycle with a rotisserie chicken container (from Corkboard Connections at this link: http://corkboardconnections.blogspot.com/2011/10/mini-water-cycle-fun.html).
If you’d like to include villains, then Magneto would be another character from X-Men to draw inspiration. Making magnetic slime is always fun, and Growing a Jeweled Rose has an easy-to-follow recipe (http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/04/magnetic-silly-putty.html). Also, have participants make an electromagnet using a battery, a nail, and copper wire, using instructions from Deceptively Educational’s link http://deceptivelyeducational.blogspot.com/2014/09/how-to-make-electromagnet.html).
These are just a few ideas to get started. Let us know what other superhero science experiments you’ll be using in your programs this summer.