My 13 year old son loves STEM and finds videos on YouTube to watch. Sometimes he asks to do the experiments and I’ve learned to jump on it. This can be tricky, though, if the experiment requires materials that we don’t have on hand or a complicated set up.
I’m starting to stockpile videos of experiments that I know he will like, saving the materials ahead of time and then pouncing when he’s bored. If I don’t have the experiment ready to go, we watch these kinds of videos. They also make for great bedtime wind down when he’s not in the mood to read.
My son introduced me to this first one, with ex-NASA engineer, Mark Rober, turned YouTuber with over 3 million subscribers. (Another thing my son and I like to do is look at YouTubers he likes and wonder how much money they make based on their number of subscribers.) Mark’s videos are not really for DIYers, but he mixes the science behind his projects into the videos in a sneaky and fun way.
What I especially like about Mark Rober is that he makes STEM fun, showing how creative engineering can be to problem solve. He also is a great model for persistence, as some of his projects have taken years to get right.
We all probably will not attempt this liquid sand hot tub in which Mark Rober shows how sand can be blasted through tubes with holes to the point where the sand has the fluidity of water!
My next video wowed me with an entirely different approach to multiplication. I read further that this technique is widely taught in Japan. It’s not taught in the United States though, at least in my kids’ elementary school.
What I like about this video is that it shows patterns of math that are pretty cool and somewhat mysterious. This is especially great for those who like visual puzzles to explain math concepts. The trickiest part is figuring out how to draw the arcs in this way of creating patterns to solve any multiplication problem.
This Hot and Cold Water science experiment is one example of experiments that I would, in a perfect world, whip out to do with my son. It requires a small of amount of materials but it’s enough to stymie me from executing this.
Still, I’ll save this video to watch with my son. If he shows interest, we can collect the materials and try this out. In my parenting fantasy, this is what we would do in the summer!
My kids all like fire … who doesn’t? For pyromaniacs, this is looks like a fun science experiment. For those of us who live in cold climates, it’s best done outdoors.
This is another project on my list to do during the summer with my son. It’s like a more advanced version of a magnifying glass and the sun to burn objects. In this case, you make your own “magnifying glass” using the sandwich bag filled with water. It’s simple but surprisingly effective.