Order Now and Print a Gift Announcement

Archive / June, 2014

5 STEM-Related Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July

2014June27-4thofJuly

Fourth of July is one of the best holidays for STEMists to get engaged in celebration preparation and super groovy activities.  From yummy recipes and STEM-related activities, to watching the night sky light up with fireworks, the STEMist in you and your children is bound to show up for America’s big celebration!  Here are 5 ideas to get you started:

Layered Patriotic Drinks

It’s all about the density of sugar in this celebratory drink.  The trick to the layering is to remember that the more sugar content, the heavier the liquid. First, pour Hawaiian Punch, Fruit Juicy Red flavor to fill your glass ¼ full.  Then, carefully add ice cubes to just below the rim.  Now add a white beverage to your drink, pouring slowly over one of the ice cubes, or tip the glass and pour along the inside wall of the glass—SoBe Piña Colada flavor works well for this task.  Gatorades’ G2 Blueberry-Pomegranate flavor is the perfect topper to complete your patriotic-layered drink.  Add a red, white, and blue straw or favor, and your guests will be thrilled to sip this festive beverage.

Pop-Rock Sprinkle-frosted Cupcakes

Everyone loves a cupcake.  Add an explosion of taste and texture to any cupcake with this Pop-Rock sprinkle frosting. Homemade or store-bought, frost your cupcakes, and add colorful red, white and blue sprinkles, then top it off with a dash of red or blue Pop-Rock candies. Your cakes are sure to add zing to your celebration!  While making these delicious cupcakes, explain to your STEMists the science behind their favorite candy.  Pop-Rocks is hard candy that has been gasified with carbon dioxide under super-atmospheric pressure.  When these gasified sugar granules come in contact with moisture, in someone’s mouth or in a drink, the candy dissolves, and the gas retained inside the carbon dioxide bubbles is released, causing the characteristic crackling and fizzing sounds.

Rocket Launch

Most STEMists are anxious to launch their own fireworks during Fourth of July celebrations.  Groovy Lab in a Box recommends a safer way to launch objects into the sky—launching rockets!  Decorate and launch your own rocket by using the Parents’ Choice® award-winning Lunar Launch Groovy Lab in a Box. Your STEMists can add red, white and blue streamers, or glitter to their rocket to commemorate the Fourth of July.  Or, inflate a white balloon, and use a red and blue Sharpie to decorate it. Then, tie the balloon to your rocket with double thread, fishing line, or light-weight string, and launch it high in the sky. Note the difference in speed with the added weight of a balloon.

Patriotic Getaway

Capture the patriotic pride that comes from being American with a visit to our Nation’s Capitol during the Fourth of July holiday.  This is one of the best times to visit Washington D.C. , and your STEMists will learn all about the great leaders in history who helped shape our country.  Don’t miss the Independence Day Parade along Constitution Avenue and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Plus, listen to a Capitol Fourth Concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building.  End your visit with a viewing of the fabulous fireworks display at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, illuminating the sky behind the Washington Monument!

Whether you host your own small gathering or hit the road for a patriotic family weekend getaway, Groovy Lab in a Box hopes you have a chance to celebrate Independence Day in a big STEMist way!

Pride in Our Box

Every month subscribing STEMists (kids ages 8+) receive our groovy, retro style Groovy Lab in a Box that contains hours of exciting STEM fun and engineering design challenges.   Each box is carefully put together and filled with theme-specific objects that make up our Groovy Lab in a Box. Many STEMists don’t realize that there is more to the friendly, retro Groovy Lab in a Box packaging than meets the eye. So, who puts our Groovy boxes together?  Employees of the non-profit Versability Resources of Virginia get the job done.

Pride in Our Box

“Groovy Lab in a Box is proud to partner with VersAbility Resources to ensure our subscribers receive their completed box delivered right to their STEMists’ door,” said Elaine Hansen, co-founder of Groovy Lab in a Box.

Since 1953, VersAbility Resources has been helping individuals with disabilities gain independence through work and living experience to help them lead fuller, richer lives. VersAbility creates opportunities for individuals to make the most of their abilities, contribute to society, and enjoy the satisfaction of working and earning their own living. “There is much excitement when the new boxes are being built,” said Laurie Williams, Senior Operations Manager.  “A job filled with a colorful variety of elements like Groovy Lab in a Box work is fascinating.”

VersAbility Resources

The VersAbility business services team carefully assembles all the Groovy Lab in a Box parts, including every electronic, Groovy lab notebook, pipette, battery and other materials that make up the themed Groovy Lab in a Box. VersAbility now serve over 1,400 people with disabilities and their families each year in employment, community living, day support, and early childhood programs explained Williams.

“There is planning discussion in the weeks leading up to the fulfillment with Groovy Lab in a Box creators to collaborate and design the best product while keeping in mind any special needs of the business services staff. The process to assemble the boxes is collaborative with some people building smaller elements that make up the box.  Other individuals may make the box itself, while someone else is putting the final touches on placing all the products in the box,” said Williams.  “The work between VersAbility Resources and a customer is a true collaboration that can enhance a great product through the fulfillment and delivery.  We have an excellent relationship with Groovy Lab in a Box, which makes for an amazing product and an enjoyable work relationship.”

VersAbility’s goal is to help people obtain meaningful work opportunities and participate fully in their communities.  The business services aspect is only one of several services available through the non-profit.  Other services that provide VersAbility participants the opportunity to earn a living and lead an independent life include bulk mailings, publishing, linen and food services, community service, summer camp counseling and more.

Monica Canavan, co-founder of Groovy Lab in a Box said, “Groovy Lab in a Box places great value on VersAbility’s vision that helps to improve the quality of life at work, home, and in play for persons with disabilities at all levels.”

So, the next time you find your STEMists’ Groovy Lab in a Box on your doorstep or in your mailbox, know that the assembly of all its parts was carefully and proudly packaged by individuals who may have a disability, but have an enormous heart and display great pride in their work.

Subscribe to Groovy Lab in a Box or check out a Single Box today to help your STEMists continue to stimulate their science, technology, engineering, and mathematic abilities.

STEM for Girls Making Headlines

The movement to engage more girls in STEM is in full force and has the backing of the White House.  In fact, at its annual science fair in May, girls made up more than half of the participating students!  The 2014 White House Science Fair theme focused on girls in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The science fair is what the White House calls a “day-long showcase of innovative projects, patent-worthy inventions, and potentially life-saving discoveries made by America’s brightest young minds.”  Among student exhibitors included a young researcher working to develop an anti-flu vaccine and a group of girl coders who built an app to help their visually impaired classmate.

girlsinstem

President Obama explained the focus was to inspire girls and young women who are excelling in science.  Plus, he noted that “fewer than 3 in 10 workers in science and engineering are women … we’ve got to change those numbers.”

The Science Fair also was a great place to kick off what will be a series of role model roundtables between the young girls and female White House STEM leaders.  Young female participants met in the Roosevelt Room to discuss STEM with various Administrative Leaders. Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, and Girls Executive Director Tina Tchen, will lead the charge on the roundtable discussions in the coming year.

Since the beginning of his Administration, the President has been committed to getting more underrepresented groups, including women and girls, excited to excel at STEM subjects. According to its Website, the Administration continues to engage in the Equal Futures Partnership—an international collaboration to promote women’s economic and political participation, citing opening doors to women and girls in STEM fields as a major priority area for the U.S. domestic commitments.

The White House initiative isn’t the only one making headlines recently.  Even the Girl Scouts are researching and talking about bridging the gap in STEM for girls in the Girl Scout Research Institute’s report, Generation STEM: What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  Disturbing is the fact that young girls don’t know a lot about STEM careers and the opportunities afforded by STEM fields—60 percent of STEM-interested girls acknowledged that they know more about other careers than they do about STEM careers.  The report also found that girls were drawn to the creative and hands-on aspects of STEM, which is no surprise. Girls enjoy the hands-on exploration and discovery. Plus, they recognize the benefits of a challenge: 89 percent of all girls agree that “obstacles make me stronger.”

The Discovery Channel and Discovery Education recently announced they will increase their focus on engaging and increasing the number of women and girls in STEM. Plans are underway to air public service announcements focused on the need to recruit STEM mentors to help encourage younger students to get involved in STEM, particularly girls.  The host of Discovery Channel’s MythBusters, Kari Byron, began filming at the White House Science Fair talking with girls participating in the fair.  A virtual field trip to the White House Science Fair also was filmed for the webinar series, Of the People: Live from the White House.

Lastly, the American Association of University of Women (AAUW) expanded their Tech Trek Summer Camps.  Originally developed to engage and support girls in STEM, the first camp was held at Stanford University in California fifteen years ago.  The camps expanded to 10 throughout the state, and in 2013,  Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Washington offered Tech Trek Summer Camps. Three additional states, New Mexico, Oregon, and Alabama, will host their first Tech Trek Summer Camps this year. The weeklong camp immerses girls in an environment where they feel empowered and are encouraged to think of themselves as future scientists, engineers, mathematicians and computer specialists.   One camper from Washington said, “I had always been worried about going into a male-dominated field. Tech Trek has made me feel more confident about my abilities in STEM and has made me want to follow my dreams of becoming a medical engineer.”

So many public and private organizations are finding the need to engage girls in STEM a top priority for our future.  Parents and teachers also can inspire girls at a young age through STEM-related events and educational projects like Groovy Lab in a Box.  Get your STEMists excited about STEM by ordering your Groovy Lab in a Box subscription today!

Groovy Solar-Powered Gadgets for Summertime Fun

U.S. landfills are littered with 2.4 billion batteries every year, leaving toxins in our groundwater supply. Ditching battery-operated gadgets is one way you can make a conscious environmental statement. There are many gadgets that use the sun’s solar power instead of batteries as the main source to fuel energy. Check out these groovy solar-powered gadgets that you and your STEMists can use in your efforts to go green.

groovy_solar_gadgets_blog

Solar-Powered Lawn Mower

Economical, clean, low-maintenance solar-powered lawn mowers are at the forefront of the fast-growing green, renewable energy movement. A solar-powered lawn mower harnesses the sun’s energy to produce the electrical current required to run the mower.

SOFT Rockers

The solar powered lounge chair recharges you and your gadgets.  Designed by a team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the SOFT Rockers are disguised as outdoor rocking furniture in MIT’s Killian Court.  The unconventional futuristic charging stations use the human power of balance to create an interactive 1.5 axis 35 watt solar tracking system. Users put their body weight in play with a real-time energy harvesting feedback loop that senses how you orient the soft wood rocker to the sun.  Any USB device can be charged using a solar powered SOFT Rocker charging station.

Solar Chargers

Are you tired of hearing the cries of your STEMists when they can’t use their tablet or portable gaming system because it is charging? Solar chargers give you portability and flexibility by providing you charging on the run.  There are many solar charger products available.  Check out Amazon’s listing for many useful solar powered gadgets. We also think these two products are groovy:

The Electree: The Electree, by French designer Vivian Muller is shaped like a bonsai tree, and contains 27 leaves or solar panels that can charge a 13,500mAh battery. Rotatable branches allow users to customize the look of the Electree, just like pruning a real bonsai!

Solar-Powered Gadget Charging Beach Bag: Whether you are at a picnic in the park or building sand castles at the beach, this solar-powered beach bag is the ideal solution for charging your gadgets.  This unique beach bag generates 6.3 watts of power with its flexible solar panel and will keep your cell phone, MP3 player, digital camera, or any other small electronic device charged and ready to use.

Young STEMists are learning from unique solar powered toys and gadgets used in everyday living.  These groovy solar powered gadgets will inspire imagination and may encourage how they work out the experiments and engineering design challenge in the solar-themed Groovy Lab in a Box.  Order your solar-themed box today!

Copyright © 2018 Academics in a Box Inc. All Rights Reserved.