Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More Challenging Science Fun

My science pick for this week is the Kids Science Challenge. We are so glad it is back for it's second year! It's a fun and inspiring contest to get kids in grades 2-6 thinking about science. It breaks down into a few chosen areas of science where kids can submit an idea or experiment to real scientists in that field, and possibly meet the scientists and win cool prizes. This years chosen areas are sports on mars, bio inspired design and detective science. The website has games and projects to get you in the mood; but be warned, there is a loud and rather overstimulating musical lizard intro that comes blaring at you on the home page. You might want to reduce the volume there, but once you get past that, there is lots more to enjoy.

Last year, both of my kids enjoyed brainstorming ideas and experimenting with outcomes. My son entered an idea in skateboard technology, and my daughter submitted her idea on water quality and conservation. She was a finalist and won a really cool digital microscope, along with some science kits and activity books. The microscope has given us hours of marveling at the beauty of ordinary objects magnified. We've been looking at just about everything under this thing- bugs, leaves, flowers, rocks, our skin (warning- magnifying wrinkles is not good for parental self esteem) and there's a constant "wow" or "eeeeew" going with it. We had read that butterflies have spiral tube tongues, but to see one in real life was just amazing. In many cases though, magnification leaves us repelling in disgust- a scab on a child's knee for example is really gross at 40 times it's normal size. Either way, we are continually fascinated by the natural world.

Of course winning fabulous prizes is always a bonus, but we enjoyed this fun contest in and of itself. We'll definitely be spending some time on it again this year. Enjoy!