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STEM Activities You can do at Home

April 27, 2021

STEM activities are a fun way for your students to explore their interest in the sciences! Here are some fun STEM activities you can do with some household products! 

Make Ice Cream 

Supplies 

Measuring Spoons

Measuring Cups

2 tbsp Sugar

1 cup Half-and-half

1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

1 cup Salt

Ice cubes (8 Cups)

2 Small Ziploc bags

2 Gallon- sized Ziploc bags

Oven mitts

Timer 

Instructions

Note: You will be preparing two bags. These two bags will allow students to compare how ingredients interact. 

·      In each small Ziploc bag, place the following ingredient:

·      1 tbsp Sugar

·      1/2 cup of half-and-half

·      1/4 tsp of vanilla

·      Seal the smalls bag well 

1. In one of the gallon Ziploc bags, add four cups of ice and 1/2 cup of salt. 

2. Place one of the small bags into the gallon bag with the ice cubes. Make sure both are sealed! (You should have a small bag that is sealed, contained in a gallon Ziploc that is also sealed.) 

3. Put on your oven mitts and shake the bag for five minutes. Make sure to feel the smaller bag every couple of minutes while you are shaking it. 

4. Take the second gallon Ziploc bag, and add four cups of ice. (This bag will NOT have any salt.)  

5. Take the second small bag you prepared earlier and place it into the second gallon Ziploc bag. Make sure that both bags are sealed. 

6. Put on your oven mitts and shake the second bag for five minutes. Again, feel the smaller bag every couple of minutes while you are shaking it.  

7. If you have successfully made some ice cream (It should be in the first bag.), you can now enjoy it! 

Closing Questions:

What role do you think salt has in making ice cream?

What were your observations before shaking your bag and after shaking your bag?

Compare the two ice cube bags, was one colder than the other? 

If your student enjoyed this activity, they might be interested in a career as a Food Scientist/Technologist, Food Science Technician, Chemist, or a Chemical Technician.   

Change Milk into Plastic 

Supplies 

·      1 cup Milk

·      4 tsp White Vinegar

·      Measuring Cup

·      A heat-resistant cup that can hold at least 1 cup of milk

·      Paper towels

·      Spoon

·      Stovetop and pan 

Instructions

1. Heat 1 cup of milk in a pan until the milk is steaming. The temperature of the milk should be the same as making a cup of hot chocolate. 

2. Add 4 tsp of white vinegar to your heat-resistant cup. 

3. Add the hot milk to the heat-resistant cup. (You should see the milk start to clump and form curds) 

4. Take your spoon and mix the items in the heat-resistant cup slowly for a few seconds. 

5. Stack at least four layers of paper towels on a hard surface that is safe to get wet. 

6. After your mixture has cooled, use your spoon to take out the curds. Make sure not to include the excess liquid and try to get as many cards as possible. Place the curds on top of the paper towels. 

7. Fold over the paper towels' edges over the curds and press down to squeeze out the excess liquid.  

8. Knead all the curds together in a ball. 

9. After kneading, you will have a small malleable plastic ball. You can shape it, color is or mold it. Once you are done shaping and coloring, you must leave it to dry for at least 48 hours. Once dried, the plastic will be hard. 

Closing Questions:

Make an observation, why do you think the milk and vinegar did not combine?

What do you think the curds are made of?

Compare how the unkneaded curd feels and looks different than the kneaded curds? 

If your student enjoyed this activity, they might be interested in a career as a Chemical Engineer or a Materials Scientist and Engineer.  

Lava Lamp 

Supplies 

·      2 Tall identical clear jars or bottles

·      Knife

·      Cutting board

·      Timer

·      Ice

·      Water

·      Hot water

·      Food coloring

·      Vegetable oil (enough to fill both bottles)

·      Alka-Seltzer tablet

·      2 large bowls 

Instructions

1. In each bottle, fill each with 1-2 inches of water. Add five drops of food coloring. Any color your student would like! 

2. Fill each bottle with at least 3/4 full with vegetable oil. Make sure the tops of the bottles are tightly closed. 

3. Put the hot water in one of the large bowls. Put ice in the other large bowl. 

4. Place one bottle in hot water and the other bottle in the bowl with ice. Set them aside. 

5. While the bottles adjust to their desired temperature, cut an Alka-Seltzer tablet into four pieces. You will be only using two of the pieces. 

6. Get your timer!  

7. First, get your hot bottle. Take one piece of the Alka-Seltzer and drop it into the hot bottle. Start the timer as soon as the Alka-Seltzer reaches the water. 

8. Now, get your cold bottle. Take a second piece of Alka-Seltzer and drop it in the cold bottle. Start the timer as soon as the Alka-Seltzer reaches the water.  

9. Congratulations! You created your lava lamps! 

Closing Questions:

How long did it take the tablet to disappear in the hot bottle versus the cold bottle?

Did one bottle make more bubbles than the other? 

If your student enjoyed this activity, they might be interested in a career as a Biochemist, Biochemical Engineer, Chemist, or Chemical Engineer. 

The above are just some of the STEM activities that can be done at home! These activities are a fun and engaging way to get the whole family involved in STEM!

Tagged: After School Program in Placentia, After School Program in Yorba Linda, After School Program in Brea

Optimus Learning School is a tutoring center in Brea serving Fullerton, Placentia, and Yorba Linda. Since 2008, we have been helping students from kindergarten through high school achieve their academic goals through our various programs such as our home school, after school program, homework help, and private tutoring. We also offer seasonal programs, such as our popular summer camp and virtual summer camp, as well as many enrichment classes year-round, such as coding, STEM, piano, violin, art, Chinese, and Korean which will help shape creative and well-rounded students. Are you ready to kickstart your child’s education? Send an inquiry form or contact us today!