We are currently doing monthly Quaran-Steam Kits featuring a children's STEAM activity, to be picked up through curbside service or drive thru and done at home. In addition to the necessary supplies for the activity, each bag also contains Instructions, Explanation, Questions, Library Book Recommendations catering to the science behind that particular activity, and a QR code to browse kids' science ebooks available through the library.
The first one we did was Balloon-Powered Boats, which was a purchased kits from S&S Worldwide. However, there are many variations of this STEAM activity that can be recreated using household materials, Pinterest ideas abound.
We use the Balloon Powered Boat activity to talk about friction. Here's the explanation we included: Friction is the force that resists motion between two objects or surfaces. When you put your boat in the water, friction prevents it from moving very much. After blowing up the balloon, attaching it to the boat, and releasing it, the air in the balloon travels through the top of the boat and comes out the open end in the back. This pushes the board forward, overcoming the friction of the water that is pushing back against it. The boat moves forward because the force of the released air pushing the boat is greater than the force of the friction that is resisting its movement.
The S&S kits are great because they come with everything you need--it really makes things easier. We used the instructions that came with the kits for the boats. And they even include enough paint and paintbrushes for each boat. We purchased some paint pod strips from Amazon to divide the paints included into separate take-home bags.
Questions included were: What happens when you cover the “tailpipe” piece at the back of the boat when the balloon is trying to move it? Why? Measure the distance the boat traveled. What could you change to make the boat move faster or father? Why can the boat only move on water? How could it be modified?
We packaged the Quaran-STEAM kits in brown paper lunch bags. I made the logo on Canva, and used the image of the boats from S&S on the labels, which were then printed, cut, and taped onto the bags. The individual bags were quick and easy to prep.
For another month, we also did High Bounce Balls, purchased from S&S Worldwide. Coming in packs of twenty-four, these kits included a plastic mold and individually wrapped bags of crystals that we were able to easily include in every bag.
We used these kits to talk about polymers and elastomers. We highlighted library books about science "toys" and fun experiments.
Pinterest has a slew of STEAM activity ideas, and there's a wealth of blogs to explore. And if you've got the budget to buy kits, here's more S&S Kits appropriate for using as STEAM activities: