Jun 04 2014

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Demystifying STEM at home – 1/1

Summer break is here and children have 24 hours to use (apply) the concepts learned or loose (forget) it.  Adults at home, daycare, summer camps have a great opportunity of prompting students to think and apply concepts in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  As students apply the concepts allow them to use their Language Arts- writing skills, Reading, research and Arts.

Example, talk about food:


Ask a question: (Give students opportunity to think, write a sentence or two and draw).

1. What happens when you eat food?

From their answers you can come up with more questions:

2. What is the role of water and acids in the stomach?

3. What do you take when you have upset stomach or acidity?

Perform a simple experiment using what you have (materials like water,  lemon juice (for acid), bowls, and kitchen timer) to investigate the reaction of Antacid with water  (normal condition) and with acid (when you have acidity).

Sample experiment and lab reports at home completed by two girls, 10 and 8 year old.

Digestion materials 6-3-14

Lab 1: (Prompted by student’s comment)

During the lab preparation the 8 year old suggested that food shrink when you drink water.

This prompted a side lab where they measured the length, width and height of a piece of bread then placed in a ziploc bag, poured 15ml of water on it and took measurements again after 3 minutes.

Before=4 x 2.5 x 0.5

After= 5 x 3 x 0.75

After the lab the child had the Aha! moment that food expand.

It was also an opportunity for discussing the surface area.



Lab 2: Which solution react faster with antacid?




Insert an antacid in each of the solution (water, lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide-10 year old suggestion)

Use a kitchen or cell phone timer to measure how long it will take for the antacid tablet to dissolve in each solution.

Give students opportunity to discuss their observation and write it down.  Students are also encouraged to write a conclusion based on their observation.
















Teachable moment:

Use simple terms to explain the role of water and acid in digestion.

What is digestion?

Digestion is the process of breaking down the food you consume into molecules that can be absorbed into or pass through the body. The body uses these broken-down molecules to make new cells and provide energy. Several parts make up the digestive system, including the teeth and stomach, but stomach acid — or gastric juice — does the bulk of the work.

Acid and digestion

Hydrochloric acid is the primary digestive acid and has several roles in digestion. The acid prevents harmful bacteria from entering your system by sterilizing it. Another function of hydrochloric acid is to trigger the release of pepsin. You need hydrochloric acid to absorb minerals like magnesium, sodium and iron. Gastric acid is so strong that it could digest the stomach if not for a mucus lining protecting the organ.


Water Aids in Digestion

Digestion starts with saliva, the basis of which is water. Digestion relies on enzymes that are found in saliva to help break down food and liquid and to dissolve minerals and other nutrients. Proper digestion makes minerals and nutrients more accessible to the body. Water is also necessary to help you digest soluble fiber. With the help of water, this fiber dissolves easily and benefits your bowel health by making well-formed, soft stools that are easy to pass.


(Teachable concepts depending on the age: digestion, solution, measurement, material, acid, neutral, time, expansion/enlarge, contraction/shrink

 STEM concept are applicable where you are and with what you have.

For more activities at school, center, summer camp, check out “Demystifying STEM: Using what you already have.”

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