Children’s Blog

Slimy Science

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Yesterday we had another installment of our STEAM Club series. This time, our theme was the science of slime!


We spent a little time learning about polymers. We talked about their molecular bonds, and we discussed the characteristics of different kinds of polymers. Then we got messy! We made three kinds of slime and discussed the characteristics of all three kinds.

Our first slime was the simplest, made with just water and cornstarch (and food coloring and glitter just for fun!). This one’s often called Oobleck after the famous Dr. Seuss substance.

 

Next we made slime with flour, dish soap, and water. We decided this one was the slimiest.

 

Finally, we made slime with marshmallows, corn starch, and coconut oil. This one was the firmest, the stretchiest, and even a little bouncy. This kids also figured out that it’s edible, so some of this experiment got eaten.


Keep an eye out for more STEAM Club programs! These programs are usually for kids in grades 2-5, and we always focus on a different STEAM topic. And don’t forget to visit our Facebook page for more photos of the ooey gooey action!

LEGO Mindstorms Ends with Epic Battle

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Yesterday we had our final session of our LEGO Mindstorms workshop! The kids did an amazing job learning about robotics and computer programming. In teams, they created two robots that they were able to complete and program.

 

After they completed and experimented with their robots the way they were designed in the LEGO instructions, both teams decided to make modifications to their robots.

 

The group who made the Tank Bot noticed that the robot was great at driving in routes that made shapes. They figured out how to attach a pencil to their bot and have it draw a shape on paper we taped on the floor!

 

In the end, the teams decided to set their bots against each other in a battle arena. Each team made a few modifications to their robots, and we battled in 3 rounds. If a any piece fell off of a robot, the robot lost that round.

 

Battle Round 1

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Full STEAM Ahead This April!

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We’ve got a whole calendar full of awesome programs this month, and tons of them focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math!

  • Saturday, April 8, 10:30am: STEAM Storytime for preschoolers all about the five senses! We’ll share some stories, then we’ll do a bunch of hands-on activities that are perfect for ages 3-5.
  • Wednesday, April 19, 5-7pm: Family Movie Night! Come check out a movie on our big screen! For families with kids of all ages.
  • Thursday, April 20, 4-5pm AND Saturday, April 29, 10:30-11:30am: Legopalooza! Open Lego construction for ages 5-12.
  • Friday, April 21, 10:30am-12pm: STEAM Crafts for ages 3 and up with a grown-up.
  • Saturday, April 22, 10:30am-12pm: #selfie Smart Art! Kids ages 5 and up can create self-portraits using different art and sculpture techniques at this hands-on STEAM program. *Registration is required for this program.
  • Wednesday, April 26, 3:30-4:30pm: Science of Slime! At this STEAM Club activity for grades 2-5 we’ll learn a little about polymers, and we’ll make a couple types of ooey…

LEGOS, LEGOS Everywhere!

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In the past two weeks we’ve been incredibly busy with our LEGO programs.

 

In our LEGO Mindstorms workshops - for kids in grades 4 and 5 - kids have been learning all about the intricacies of how computer programming works with various motors and sensors. We focused pretty intensely on how the computer programming aspects actually work, and we made a lot of progress using a very simple robot called the EXPLOR3R.

 

This week, we decided to move on from the EXPLOR3R and let the kids choose more complicated robots with designs provided with the LEGO software. Each team chose which robot they wanted to build and started working in it, and they’ll finish next week.

 

We just finished up our LEGO WeDo Robotics workshops for kids in grades 2 and 3. We learned about simple machines, gravity, friction, and other elements of physics. We also learned how to utilize the LEGO software to write simple computer programs to control our LEGO robots. The kids then worked in teams to create robots, and some teams created their very own machines!


For photos from the last two weeks, check out the LEGO Workshops album on our Facebook page!

Lego WeDo Robotics, Week 1

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This week was a busy one in the world of LEGO Robotics! On Thursday, we began a 3-week workshop using LEGO WeDo Robotics with second and third graders.

 

We began the day by discussion six types of simple machines. Then, after a brief introduction to how the LEGO software works, kids worked together to create and program robots with their LEGOs! They looked for simple machines within the designs of their robots, and they explored how to break instructions down for computer programming.


Check out some photos of the fun!

After discussing six types of simple machines and learning a little about the LEGO software, we began building robots!

 

These friends asked if they could work as a group of 3. Here they're starting to build an alligator robot.

 

This group's starting work on an airplane.

 

This group chose to work on a giant who gets pulled to a standing position with a crane mechanism.

 

Here we have legs that can be programmed to kick a soccer ball (or, in our case, a ball of aluminum foil).

 

Working together to build that alligator

 

Programming the motors to make the legs kick

We'll see you all next week as we continue building and programming!

Dancing Robots

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In last week's Mindstorms workshop we put together robots and ran a simple demo computer program to get them to move. This week, we learned about creating our own computer programs and got to practice some ideas.

 

The LEGO Mindstorms software uses block programming techniques (similar to Scratch, if you’ve ever tried that out). Kids drag and drop various programming “blocks,” then adjust the settings of each block to direct their robots’ actions.

 

We began by learning about “Move Steering” blocks. These blocks allow you to control a robot’s motors to drive at various speeds and in different directions. At this step, the kids also learned how to download and run programs on their EV3 computer brick.

 

After kids were comfortable with getting their robots to move, we learned about sound blocks and display blocks. This allowed their robots to make a wide variety of sounds, from saying words to playing musical notes. They were also able to program their robots to display images on the screen. The most popular display option with this group were eyes.

 

Next week we’ll learn about using and programming sensors. Look out!


And now, some photos and an awesome video!

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