Home Education Home with STEM: thrills, spills and skills

Home with STEM: thrills, spills and skills

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Home with STEM: thrills, spills and skills

For the crystal growing experiment, Samuel Eyo forced his daughter to conduct her own video interpreter, which gave her a greater sense of purpose to accomplish the task. Photo: copyright.

For Samuel Eyo, DIY science kits not only taught his daughter scientific concepts, but also created video, communication, confidence, and the brilliant value of patience. In this article, a professor at the Science Center dives into his recent adventures of a father and daughter in growing crystals.


Samuel Eyo

Life with an 8-year-old can be challenging, especially on the weekends. It’s a constant desire to do something fun that seems scary.

Some parents can get around this “problem” by planning a strict weekend program that includes enrichment and recreation. But for parents like me who prefer to leave things unplanned and not worry, there are plenty of self-study training kits and non-formal education programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). to make your young learner interested and want more.

Although I am a “professional” in the field of STEM and have the opportunity to get acquainted with many interesting educational products STEM, I am, in principle, like any parent who wants to engage meaningfully with their child and keep him away from excessive screen.

Dad, can you deliver this to me …?

After visiting the local museum we saw in the gift shop a set for growing crystals. I was looking for an excuse and managed to avoid an impulsive purchase. But for some reason the idea of ​​creating these shiny designs, similar to precious stones, at home seemed too hard to get rid of.

One morning (about six months later) on the way to school my child asked, “Dad, if I do well with the next test, you can buy me what The crystal set we saw at the gift shop? ”

A quick product search on my regular online shopping platform and it ended up in my cart. I patted myself on the back for getting it during the “sale” period.

It seemed like a motivational prize for teaching my child with only one problem: a parenting experiment is needed for a crystal growing experiment! Images of chemical solutions that moved endlessly over gas burners came to mind. I felt very tense thinking about it.

So you do you want to be a young chemist?

One day my child came home from school with exciting news. Some classmates subscribed to a scientific journal. Instead, we decided to sign up for the Young Chemist self-study program, also known as the Young Scientist Badge Program. Perhaps an “impulse purchase” (for five dollars)? At the time, she didn’t even start science lessons at school!


“I decided to be with me as a videographer and assistant to“ run ”my own video channel on growing crystals. So I was hoping she would take over more “ownership” of the project ”.


My next question is: what do we do now?

I looked through the to-do list on her Young Chemist card, ticking my head. I tried to figure out which items would bring 15 stars with minimal effort, creating the least clutter in the house.

The final task was an “open” project that cost three stars. Here it is, I thought, a place to experiment with growing crystals. I decided to be with me as a videographer and assistant to “lead” my own video channel for growing crystals. So I was hoping she would take over more “ownership” of the project.

During my “briefing” I stressed the importance of safety when conducting an experiment and performing procedural steps. Thus, in addition to reading each step aloud (before and during the experiment), he also tested his understanding of both science and English. Knowing that it was being removed, my child became more focused on each task and taking all precautions. And, of course, the opportunity to present and talk about your feelings in front of the camera.

The kit included quite a few safety materials and even a memo for parents in case of accidental spills, splashes or burns. The set for growing crystals included a seed crystal, a chemical compound and a wooden stirrer. All that was additionally required was very hot water and a clean jar with a wide neck. My baby stirred for the prescribed time to make sure all the solute dissolved. As a precaution, I insisted on wearing an apron and goggles.

Did we do it right?

There is a lot of discussion about mind habits in science education. One of the deep values ​​in studying STEM is the belief in deferred reward. As for the classic cultivation of crystals, the result is that the “new” crystals are not initially visible at all, despite all the steps.

In an hour, two, three hours … nothing special anyway. Only a thick solution of dark color.

It takes patience and faith in your science. The crystals are colorless and are formed on the seed crystal. Using a strong flashlight, we begin to see sharp, geometric crystals that form in a solution of dark color. It’s all a slow but extremely beautiful process.

It took two weeks to properly observe the growth of the crystals. After collecting the main crystal (attached to the seed crystal) we leave the jar with the remaining solution near the windowsill until all the liquid has completely evaporated, and then we have a kind of pink-red crystal garden – almost three weeks later!

Just as a slow process is required to form crystals, STEM learning gems require patient effort. Fun, if any, is short-lived, fleeting; we can only hope that these valuable STEM lessons will crystallize and remain in the minds of every child for a long time.


What values ​​can students learn while studying science? Ms. Yang Wenting from Juin High School knows this curiosity, motivation and the use of science to reach each student.

Parents can discover scientific concepts in everyday life together with their children. Even children can pick up scientific conceptssays Er Ya Qin of Singapore Science Center.

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