STEM Learning on the 4th of July
Thursday is Independence Day in the US. That means the entire country is gearing up for yummy barbeques, firework shows, picnics, vacations, and quality time with family and friends.
Have you considered how you can use this holiday as a STEM learning opportunity for your kids? It may not seem like a time for learning, but it is! The 4th of July is filled with real world learning oppotunities!
Here are a few of our favorite:
Studying Measurement and Viscosity with BBQ Sauce
A good BBQ sauce is the key ingredient in messy and delicious ribs, chicken and steak. If you're making your own sauce for this summer's cookout, you might want to use it as a STEM real world learning opportunity with your kids. Let CK-12 help! When cooking, exact measurement of ingredients is important to get the right flavor.
Depending on the region you live in or the type of sauce your family likes, your BBQ sauce may be really really thick or it maybe be thinner like a glaze. Ask your kids to find a spot around the stove and experiment with viscosity. Click the link to see the concept on the CK-12 website.
Adding cornstarch, flour or another thickening agent to your sauce will make it thicker (have a greater viscosity). Adding water or another liquid will make the sauce thinner (have a lower viscosity). Talk about what the perfect viscosity is for your BBQ sauce!
Learning about Chemistry, Earth Science and Algebra with Fireworks
The 4th of July wouldn't be the same without a good firework show. While you're waiting for the
firework show to start, contemplate STEM concepts like chemistry, earth science and algebra with your loved ones. Click on any of the links to see the concept on CK-12.
When setting off fireworks, it's important to know at what point the firework will blow up in order to tell spectators where to stand for both satefy and to get the best view of the show. That exact point can be calculated with algebra!
You can also discuss how fireworks affect our environment with this fun real world STEM earth science concept.
For your older kids, this real world learning chemistry lesson on the chemical composition of fireworks goes over the proper elements and amount of each element needed to create the best firework colors and sounds. Now that's what we call a fun application of STEM concepts in the real world!
Learning Geometry While Camping
If you're going camping this 4th of July, you have the opportunity for studying geometry in the real world. If you're sneaky enough, your kids won't even realize they're learning!
As you and the kids are setting up the tent, pay close attention to the angles the poles make. What happens when you change an angle to make it larger or smaller? Which angles create the most stable tent?
What other STEM real world learning opportunities can you think of for the 4th of July?