Monday, June 15, 2015

Encouraging Kids in STEM #TransformingInnovation

As I write this, there are 9 school days left in this year. NINE. Part of me really can't wait for June 26 to arrive. I am so DONE with the morning fights and struggles. And so done with stressing about what to put in his lunch that he might actually eat. But then again, come summer he'll be under my feet a lot more, and I have to prepare my bag of tricks for keeping him entertained while I work. (Needless to say, Boo sees nothing but positives about the end of school and can't stop asking "how many days now????")

There'll be lots of backyard fun with his friend from next door I am sure. There's a good stock of water guns, balls, outdoor games and such waiting to come out. But there will be days when the weather is too wet or too hot to want to play outdoors, and I don't want all of those to become video game marathons. A surefire way to keep Boo entertained indoors is to set him up with a science kit, or one of his experiment books. He is fascinated by how things work and keeps waffling about whether he'll be a scientist or an artist when he grows up. One will be far more lucrative than the other I am sure, but I think that creative streak will do him well if he pursues any scientific field.

This weekend we spent some time exploring electricity with materials sent to us by Energizer. Other than the wires, these experiments used items we all have lying around the house already. Science projects don't need to be difficult or expensive - use what you have on hand. If you don't have a book of ideas, good old Google will be more than happy to help you out. Try a search like "easy kids science experiments" and see what comes up!

You may not have insulated copper wire in your junk drawer, but maybe in the tool box. But paper clips, thumbtacks, clothespins and batteries are pretty basic. We used part of this kit to build a power pack to power our other experiments. Two D batteries, electrical tape to hold them together and hold the wires on, and a paper clip to complete the circuit.
boy reading instructions for experiment
Carefully reading the instructions on creating a small electromagnet with a nail, copper wire, and the power pack. He was very into this activity.

electromagnet with paper clip
It works!!! I couldn't get a clear pic of the paper clip, but you can see it as a kind of shadow (it kept moving)

A couple of months ago I told you about Energizer's Join Our Journey program. They've recently developed their new EcoAdvanced AA batteries, a high performance battery made with 4% recycled materials. This is a world first, and they are naturally proud. The goal is to enhance the technology to allow them to reach 40% recycled by 2025. Join Our Journey celebrates this innovation by encouraging and inspiring the next generation of thinkers and innovators to begin a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) journey of their own. Let's get the kids interested so they'll be ready to come up with the innovations of the future! 

How are they inspiring them? By holding a contest - they asked kids to design their own dream creature and submit their idea for a chance to win $10,000 towards their education, plus the chance to see their dream creature brought to life as a battery-operated toy. Pretty cool stuff. 

Energizer received so may wonderful entries in their Join Our Journey contest. The ideas were reviewed, and the finalists have now been chosen. Boo wasn't one of the finalists (he's pretty bummed actually - poor kid), but please go and check out the five kids who did make it! You can view their videos and vote for your favourite dream creature at Voting is on Facebook, and you can enter one vote every 24 hours until June 26 at midnight. Energizer is counting on our help to pick the big winner, and I think you and your kids will be inspired by what these entrants have come up with.

A Giveaway

Energizer and Raising My Boys want to encourage you to get active in STEM with the kids in your life. We have a prize pack for one lucky reader, including National Geographic's Elements of Science Kit and Energizer EcoAdvanced batteries. Prize is valued at approximately $100. Entries are via the widget below and will be accepted until 12:00 midnight EDT, July 4. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec. Best of luck!

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Energizer EcoAdvanced. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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