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Archive / July, 2014

12 Ways to Recycle a Groovy Box

What do you do with your Groovy Lab in a Box once your STEMists have completed the monthly themed activity?  Teach your STEMists about the importance of recycling and reusing materials by finding new ways to use the Groovy box.

12 Ways to Recycle a Groovy Box

Below are 12 fun and groovy ways to repurpose your cool retro-style Groovy Lab in a Box

1. Make a Diorama.  Use your box as a creative STEMist summer project by making a diorama using the theme, “My Summer Vacation.” Or, save your box for an upcoming school diorama project.

2. Use as a Shoebox.  Our Groovy Lab in a Box packaging is an excellent way to keep your STEMists’ shoes in tip-top shape and an awesome way to organize your closet!

3. Make Wall Shelves. Paint or decorate our packaging to create unique and inexpensive wall shelving that you can use to store light weight knick knacks such as a small picture frame or flower vase.

4. Create a Memory Box.  Cover the box with decorative scrapbooking paper, wrapping paper, or masking tape.  Then, when your STEMists experience something cool or unusual, ask them to write that event on a piece of paper.  The STEMist should then fold the paper and place it in the box.  At the end of the month, at the end of the year, or anytime your STEMists are in need of cheering up, recommend they pull out their memory box to read some of their favorite memories.

5. Make a Sailboat. Cut off the front flap of your groovy box, and then cut into thirds.  Take one of the third pieces and fold into the shape of a number 2. Tape the bottom edges of the 2 shape together, and then crinkle to make a C shape. Place a piece of tape down the back to hold. Place your groovy sailboat and let the wind blow.  Groovy Sailboat VIDEO: Groovy Sail Boat.  

12 Ways to Recycle a Groovy Box

 6. Gift Box.   Our boxes are great for packaging a gift.  Just place your gift in the box, and wrap it with wrapping paper or make it more fun and colorful with the Sunday comic strip section.

7. Covered Map Box.  Use an old map to cover the Groovy box to use as storage for your folded maps, or to store office supplies and other items.  This project is great for an office and a fun way to display a practical-use storage box.

8. Charging Station.  Cut several holes large enough to pull a charger cord through to connect with your mobile devices. Wrap the box with decorative paper or fabric for a more sophisticated look.

9. Photo Storage.  Decorate to your liking and use the box for storing and organizing your photo prints. Remember to label the box for easy identification!

10. Ribbon Dispenser.  Similar to the charging station (above), a ribbon dispenser is ideal for crafters or holiday gift wrapping.  Cut one or two holes, depending on the size of ribbon spools you have, on each short side of the box.  Starting outside of the box, insert the wooden skewers through the ribbon spools inside the box.  Then, cut holes and use grommets for decoration; thread your ribbons through the grommets for easy ribbon measuring and cutting.  Again, decorate the box to fit your room decor.

11. Sock Drawer Organizer. Use a straight-edge blade to cut the top off the Groovy box.  Then cut pieces to use as dividers inside the remaining box piece.  Insert the dividers and place pairs of socks in the box for easy access!  Save one divider space to add a favorite sachet or dryer sheet to keep your clothing freshly scented.

12. Store your Groovy Lab Notebook. Finally, for prosperity— keep one Groovy box to store all of your Groovy Lab in a Box custom designed lab notebooks that has all your STEMists’ engineering design challenges!

To encourage your STEMists’ engineering minds, become a Groovy Lab in a Box subscriber and receive your Groovy box that you can use to complete all the DIY projects mentioned above!

Groovy and Simple Water Experiments for STEMists

Do your STEMists realize that water isn’t just for drinking, bathing, or swimming in? Water has a multitude of uses and your STEMists can have fun learning about water with these educational experiments designed with fun in mind!

Groovy and Simple Water Experiments for STEMists

Make a Rain Gauge

Afternoon rain showers are common during the summer months in many regions.  Your STEMists can have fun learning about rain accumulation by making their own rain gauge to measure how much rain has fallen during one rain shower or over a period of time.

Supplies you will need:

  • 1 plastic 2 liter water bottle
  • 1 pair of scissors or razor (parents or teachers should do this part)
  • A few stones, pebbles or sand
  • 1 Permanent Marker
  • A ruler
  • Tape

First, uncap your water bottle then cut the top off where the wall of the bottle is straight.  Place sand/stones in the bottom to cover the ‘legs’ of the bottle.  Next, turn the top bottle piece upside down and place it into the bottle which will act as a funnel; it’s best to tape the funnel to the outside lip of the bottle. Then, tape a ruler on the side of the bottle for measuring – the zero measurement should meet the sand/stone level. Pour water into the bottle and fill to the zero measurement level. Your STEMists’ rain gauge is now ready to collect and measure rain water.

Ask your STEMists to provide your family a daily weather or storm report. And, for more fun, STEMists can line the funnel with a coffee filter and use a microscope to observe what the rain water leaves behind!

Give a Hoot. Don’t Pollute!

STEMists learn the challenge of cleaning polluted water in this experiment. First, pour 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in a bucket of clean water. The oil acts as a toxic oil spill.  Next, ask your STEMists to dump some household trash into the bucket.  Used food wrappers, old chip bags, food scraps, banana peel, newspaper, old coffee grounds, etc. will provide you with a good pollution base.  Leave your water stand still for at least an hour.  Once you are satisfied with your polluted water, ask your STEMists to use tongs to remove the trash from the water.   A strainer also is a good tool for scooping out trash.  Your STEMists will learn a significant lesson when they realize that not all the pollution could be removed from the water.  You can discuss how land and water animals are affected by the pollutants in lakes, ponds, rivers, and oceans.

These STEMist activities are sure to keep curious young minds busy.  Check out our water-themed “Keep On Turning” box for tons of groovy STEM Fun!

Groovy Water Wheels

Groovy Water Wheels

Water wheels come in all shapes and sizes. Prevalent through the industrial revolution in America where they were used for navigation, raising waters and milling, water wheels were originally created for irrigation by the Greco-Romans. Water wheels often bring on a postcard sense of nostalgia, but for the young STEMist, they invoke curiosity.  And, though they may seem a part of the past, water wheels are still used in some areas today. Check out these groovy water wheel destinations you and your STEMists will enjoy:

 Old Spanish Sugar Mill, DeLeon Springs, Florida

The coolest part of the water wheel at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill is its location.  Found inside DeLeon Springs State Park, the 30 foot undershot water wheel powers the Old Spanish Sugar Mill and is a backdrop for activities including swimming, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, tubing and dining.

According to legend, DeLeon Springs is home of the ‘fountain of youth’ discovered by the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León in the early 1500s. A $6 entrance fee gains you access to the fowl and fauna-filled state park by the carload. Locals find the park and its constant 72 degree waters a refreshing retreat while area tourists discover an outdoor playground unlike the numerous amusement parks about an hour south, in Orlando.

Your trip to DeLeon Springs is not complete without a visit to the Old Spanish Sugar Mill restaurant where you and your STEMists can cook your own pancakes on the hot griddle set in the center of your dining table.  Guests choose between a stone ground mix of five grains, or unbleached white flour— both ready-to-pour batters are delivered right to your table. To top it off, fresh blueberries, bananas, pecans, and other pancake toppings like chocolate chips and syrup are at hand.  Other breakfast items plus salads and sandwiches also are available at the reasonably priced restaurant.

Old Mill at Berry College, Mt. Berry, Georgia

Though it only runs one day each year – for a Mountain Day fall festival – the overshot water wheel stands 42 feet and powers the Old Mill at Berry College in Mt. Berry, Georgia.  The once necessary mill is an impressive picturesque site with a great history. Open to visitors all year, be sure to stop at the Berry College Gatehouse near the entrance for a map to easily direct you. Be sure to check out how the water wheel is fitted with a hub that was provided by Henry Ford during the Old Mill’s construction.

Rittenhouse Paper Mill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A national historic landmark and considered the birthplace of paper in the United States, the Rittenhouse paper mill was built in 1690 by the Rittenhouse family.  Eight generations of the Rittenhouse family and their workers ran the paper mill for 150 years.  The water wheel located along the Paper Mill Run and the Wissahickon Creek worked with a series of gears that created a forced energy to help pound the linen that was turned into paper pulp.   The Mill was the central livelihood of the industrial community, known as RittenTown and ran through the 18th century.  A visit to this historical site will provide a great education on the production of paper that was used for maps, books and legal documents.

If you and your STEMists can’t fit in a field trip to see one of these water wheels this summer, don’t fret.  The water wheel-themed Groovy Lab in a Box excites and challenges your STEMists to learn all about the design and process behind a working water wheel.  Order your box today!

3 STEM Activities To Light Up Your Summer Nights

Dark and eerie nights can be turned into cool summertime memories for your STEMists with glow-in-the-dark activities.  To add an educational spark and light up their summer nights, check out these 3 glow-in-the-dark activities that you and your STEMists can create at home:

STEM_activities_light_up_summer_nights

Blazing Bubbles

Bubbles are fun for everyone, especially when they glow in the dark!

Materials you will need:

  • Bubble solution (store-bought, or make your own solution by mixing ½ cup dishwashing liquid, with 4 ½ cups of water and two tablespoons of glycerin).
  • Washable glow paint (can be found at any craft store)

To make your glow-in-the-dark bubbles, mix the bubble solution with the glow solution.  Start with a 50/50 mix; you may have to adjust this measure depending on the strength of your solutions to obtain the glow you desire.  Also note the glow-in-the-dark solution requires exposure to bright light before your bubbles will glow.  Groovy Lab in a Box recommends planning as an outdoor activity for easy clean-up.  STEMists will have fun chasing and dancing amongst the luminescent bubbles under a dark summer star-studded night sky.

Fun with Duct Tape

STEMists can experience triboluminescence, which is light triggered by mechanical energy or a mechanical action, such as friction with duct tape. This luminating experiment is perfect for a summertime sleepover. Press two pieces of duct tape, sticky sides together, and then turn out the lights. Wait until your eyes have adjusted to the darkness of the room before you quickly pull apart the two pieces of tape.  What will your STEMists witness?  They should see a streak of blue when the tapes separate.  Transparent Scotch™ tape works as well.  Results may vary with different brands and types of tape used.

At-home Cosmic Bowling

STEMists compete to see who can knock down the most pins in this nighttime cosmic-colored activity.  You can make the bowling pins yourself with water bottles and glow-sticks.

Materials you will need:

  • 10 glow sticks
  • 10 water bottles
  • 1 small-sized basketball

Your STEMists might have as much fun creating the game as they do playing it!  First, peel the labels from the water bottles and then remove enough water to leave approximately one inch of space from the top.  Next, open the glow-stick packaging and crack your glow-sticks (follow packaging instructions for cracking).  Then, add one glowing stick (the thicker the diameter, the better) to each water bottle and recap.  Set-up your glow-in-the-dark bowling game in a clear indoor hallway, or on a patio, driveway or clear patch of low-cut grass.  Cosmic bowling also works well at a nighttime beach or pool party. Don’t forget the pencil and paper to keep score (although, the true winner of this game is you for providing a unique night-to-remember idea for your STEMists)!

If you are looking for more ways to keep your STEMists entertained this summer, check out Groovy Lab in a Box There is no better way to educate your STEMist than to keep their minds working to create, design and solve, through the engineering design process and STEM-related activities.

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