Now Shipping Around the Globe!

Tag Archives: homeschooling

Homeschooling is Groovier with Groovy Lab in a Box


Homeschooling has its challenges from developing curriculum to finding educational activities that will keep your students engaged. 
Monthly themed Groovy Lab in a Box is the ideal complement to your curricula, traditional textbooks and supplementary workbooks. Collaboration is key to learning and each groovy box can fit the needs of up to five STEMists – STEM Team titles are outlined in the extended learning portal Beyond…in a Box!

Homeschooling is Groovier with Groovy Lab in a Box

Groovy Lab in a Box will quickly turn your homeschoolers into true STEMists through hands-on experiments that teach science, technology, engineering, and math.

What is a STEMist?

STEM•ist /stĕmʹĭst/ n. Expert in applying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Explorer, creator, inventor…STEMist!

Groovy Lab in a Box lab notebook

Groovy Lab in a Box fosters imaginative innovation and encourages problem solving through project-based learning. Each month’s box has a theme, such as Lunar Launch, Fly with Me, What’s the Matter, and Greenhouses.

Our Groovy Lab Notebook

Your homeschoolers will be delighted when they open their Groovy Lab in a Box to find all the supplies necessary to complete the investigations and engineering design challenge outlined in a retro-style custom, subject-specific lab notebook.  Full Steam Ahead homeschool educator Kristi Smith wrote in her blog titled, What I Learned About my Son,

While he was opening it, my son was beaming, exclaiming, ‘This is better than Christmas!’ (Note to self: Return dirt bike!) He wanted SO badly to just start tinkering, and I wanted SO badly for him to listen as I read through the included Lab Notebook, absorbing all the information on electricity, neutrons, circuits, etc.”

The custom Lab Notebook is where your STEMists will find easy-to-follow directions for each investigation, take notes, draw each project’s design plans and record their findings. “The lab notebook was set up to make it easy to record what we thought would happen, our actual results and what we thought of them.  My oldest loves building and doing experiments, but usually hates the writing/data portion. The question prompts and simple charts to record info made it more fun,” said Cheryl, the creator of Sew Can Do, and a self-taught crafter, designer and homeschooling mom of 3.

Cheryl recently tried our “Here Comes The Sun” solar energy-themed box. “It gave us everything we needed for 4 experiments AND a bonus item (solar paper) to use as we wished. I sometimes found projects like this kind of confusing back when I was a kid, but the lab notebook gave really clear, step-by-step instructions,” says Cheryl. “It was also nice to see the notebook reminding kids that failed results aren’t something negative, but rather an opportunity to learn more and redesign an even better solution.”

The Engineering Design Process for Project-Based Learning

Groovy Lab in a Box presents an engineering design challenge that takes great effort and requires STEMists to first identify the problem through investigative questioning, deduction and reasoning.  Unlike the investigations, the Lab Notebook does not have instructions on how to complete the Engineering Design Challenge, making it the most challenging to perform It’s true project-based learning where your homeschoolers will have to:

Engineering Design Process

  • Ask a question
  • Investigate to solve the problem
  • Brainstorm a possible solution
  • Plan and then build their solution
  • Experiment and run tests to see if the solution works
  • Redesign to improve the original solution (because almost no one designs it perfectly the first time!)

Even more benefits for homeschoolers

STEMists also have special access to our online learning portal, “Beyond…in a Box”.  Interactive activities, videos and other information are available on the portal to help homeschoolers learn about that month’s topic in addition to providing help to complete the engineering design challenge.

Cheryl says, “What I thought was most fantastic was that one box could be used just as easily with a single child or as a team – we tried it both ways.  Having several kids, at different levels, is sometimes a challenge for us in homeschooling, but Groovy Lab in a Box made it a lot easier.”

So, whether you are homeschooling one child or ten, Groovy Lab in a Box has you covered with our monthly subscription or our single box orders.  Visit Groovy Lab in a Box today to bring unique STEM-related, project-based learning to your homeschoolers.

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.

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.

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 © 2019 Academics in a Box Inc. All Rights Reserved.