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Science doesn’t have to scary or intimidating. The goal at Kristin Moon Science is to provide tools, tips, articles, and resources to help you understand and teach science. In my blog posts and online courses, I seek to not only explain the science behind everyday phenomena, but to provide experiments that help make learning stick. At Kristin Moon Science, we are all about hands-on learning. That’s why I’m sharing some some of our favorite products for cool science at home!
Fast Weigh MS-600 Digital Pocket Scale
If I had my way, every science student would have easy access to a quality digital scale. Especially for students studying chemistry, a digital scale that can measure masses in 0.1 gram increments is important. This is the scale that I own, and I love it. With it, my students have been able to accurately calculate the density of different substances, demonstrate the Law of Mass Conservation, calculate how many molecules of chalk it takes to write their names, and much more. It’s honestly one of my favorite tools for science at home.
More information about this scale can be found here.
Hydrion pH Paper
Most of us know that you can create your own pH indicator at home from red cabbage. When added to an acidic solution, red cabbage juice will turn from purple to pink and if added to a basic solution, the indicator will turn green. If you want to take the study of pH a step further, pH paper is the way to go. This pH paper comes as a pack of 100 strips, each able to accurately determine the pH of substances from highly acidic ( pH 1) to highly basic (pH 12). With these strips, you’ll never have to wonder what the pH of a substance is. Just pull out a strip, touch it to the substance you’d like to test, and then compare the color of the strip to the key on the side of the package vial. Easy and no mess.
Eldon Home Blood-testing Kit
Do you know your blood type? Did you know that with 8 different blood types possible, a child can inherit a blood type that is unlike like either of his or her parents?
In my online course Genetics and Heredity, students learn about the fascinating genetics of human blood types, which follows a pattern of inheritance called codominance. Students learn what antigens are expressed on the red blood cells of individuals with each of the 8 different blood types and about blood type compatibility. They complete many Punnett Squares activities to investigate the possible outcomes of crosses between parents with different blood types.
Did you know that you can determine your blood type at home? The Eldon Home Blood-typing Kit makes it easy. Step-by-step instructions guide you through the process of testing your blood for the presence of the ABO and the Rh antigens. There’s no need to send off the results; you will be able to read your own results at home in minutes. I have used Eldon Home Blood-typing Kits both at home (to determine my son’s blood type) and in the classroom during a unit on heredity.
PTC Paper from Precision Laboratories
For years, educators have used PTC* paper when they teach about genetics and heredity. Why? On average, 75% of people can taste PTC, while 25% cannot. The majority of the people who can taste PTC (nicknamed “tasters”) report that to them, PTC tastes extremely bitter while other tasters report only a mild bitter taste. The other 25% of the population (“non-tasters”) can not taste PTC at all.
When students in my class were asked to taste PTC paper by touching it to their tongue, the majority of them knew they were tasters right away. They didn’t have to tell me either; I could tell by the look on their faces! Other students, curious to know what all the fuss was about, insisted that to them, the PTC paper tasted just like paper. Even within my own family of 4, some of us are tasters while others are non-tasters. With that knowledge, it was easy to use our phenotypes (our observable traits) to figure out our genotypes (which genes we have). (The difference between genotypes and phenotypes are taught in Genetics and Heredity).
Despite its taste (to some, that is), PTC is a harmless chemical. This vial contains 100 pieces of PTC paper—enough to perform many tests.
Amazing Bacteria Science Kit
One of my favorite topics to teach is microbiology. Students of all ages are AMAZED at the abundance of microscopic life all around them: in the air, in the water, and on surfaces everywhere.
Students love experimenting with agar petri dishes. I love this complete set of 10 ready-to-use, pre-poured agar petri dishes, 10 sterile swabs, 2 plastic droppers, a bottle of water-based hand sanitizer, and a free science experiment project guide. It’s got everything your student needs to start investigating microorganisms.
There’s almost no end to what the scientists in your family can explore with these petri dishes. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Which surface of your home is host to the most bacteria?
- How well do you wash your hands?
- Which cleaner is most effective at disinfecting household surfaces?
- Is a dog’s mouth really cleaner than a human mouth?
- Is the “5 second rule” really a good rule to follow?
Benail 10 Pack Plastic Cylinders and Beakers Set
A nice set of labware is a must for science at home. Students feel more “scientific” using beakers and graduated cylinders than they do using mom’s measuring cups. Included in this set are 5 plastic graduated cylinders (10, 25, 50, 100, and 250 milliliter volumes) and 5 plastic beakers (50, 100, 250, 500, and 1000 milliliter capacities). This glassware can be used by scientists of all ages. Younger students can use the set to examine which items sink or float in water, create a density tower, or learn to read a meniscus. Older students can use the labware to conduct experiments which require precision measurements such as those included in many chemistry curricula.
Learning occurs so much better for students of all ages and stages when they are given opportunities to explore topics with their own hands. With these products, your budding scientists will be well-equipped to explore the world around them.
*PTC stands for phenylthiocarbamide, also known as phenylthiourea
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