K-12 Science Links.
[No guarantees, but a good start for ideas and activities.]

Laurel F. Appel, Wesleyan University


K-12 Links.

http://www.hhmi.org/coolscience/ "Cool Science for Curious Kids"

http://www.exploratorium.edu/science_explorer/sunclock.html make a sundial, among other things

http://www.cln.org/themes/recycle.html Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Theme Page, with links to activities and lesson plans

http://www.smm.org/sln/tf/nav/tfatoz.html The Thinking Fountain - lots of activities from Science Museum of Minnesota

http://www.un.org/Pubs/CyberSchoolBus/ (See Pook in the World: http://www.un.org/Pubs/CyberSchoolBus/pook/index.html)

http://www.eskimo.com/~billb/amasci.html a huge compendium of amateur science sites

http://www.cut-the-knot.com/content.html Interactive Mathematics Miscellany and Puzzles

http://www.lhs.berkeley.edu/ChemMystery/

http://stanley.chem.lsu.edu/Outreach-stanley.htm Chemistry Demos and experiments from LSU - well written

http://www.astrosociety.org/education/activities/astroacts.html Astronomy Activities on the World Wide Web

http://vector.cshl.org/dnaftb/ DNA from the Beginning: an animated primer on DNA, genes, and heredity

http://faculty.vassar.edu/~lowry/VassarStats.html for older teens and adults -- good site on using statistics

http://newscenter.cancer.gov/sciencebehind/uc/ucframe.htm for older teens and adults -- good explanation of the science (and genes) behind cancer

NEW http://campy.org/article.asp?id=11 Math Games, challenges, and help from CAMPY: Connecticut Association for Mathematically Precocious Youth.

Three quick bits of fun with what's already in the kitchen:

1. The power of carbon dioxide. You've probably done the basic experiment of pouring vinegar on baking soda to see it fizz as carbon dioxide is released. (Adding a drop of food coloring makes this more impressive for young kids.) Now, get a balloon, a bit of paper towel, and a plastic drink bottle. Wrap up some baking soda in a bit of paper towel so that it's like a long hard candy, with twisted ends. The package has to be narrow enough to fit through the neck of the bottle. After the package of baking soda is inside, gently pour vinegar into the bottle over it, and quickly attach the balloon to the neck of the bottle. Now, swirl to mix the vinegar and let the package open, and watch the balloon expand as carbon dioxide is released in the confined space. (Note that it gets cold, due to thermodynamics of gas expansion.) For a related but longer experiment, put a regular chicken's egg in a jar, and pour vinegar over it. For the next two days, you'll see bubbles around the shell, as the vinegar dissolves the calcium carbonate of the shell and releases the carbon dioxide. At the end of 2 or 3 days, take out the de-shelled egg, and feel how tough but flexible the membrane inside is.

2. Mobile rainbows. Four Ingredients: a cup or two of whole milk, food coloring, a pan or tray, dish detergent (the kind you wash dishes by hand with). Pour the milk into the bowl or tray, to make a shallow layer. Let the kids each drop a drop or two of different food colorings on different parts of the puddle. Now, drop ONE drop of dish detergent somewhere on the puddle. You can watch for several minutes as the colors move around in ripples like marbled paper. When it slows down, another drop of dish detergent may restart it. WHY? Whole milk is homogenized, so the hydrophobic milkfat is suspended in tiny droplets in the otherwise hydrophilic milk. Detergent molecules dissolve grease in dishwater by having one hydrophobic end (which interacts well with the fat) and one hydrophilic end (which interacts well with the dishwater or aqueous part of the milk). In this case, you are watching the detergent undo the homogenization, by breaking up the droplets.

3. Red Cabbage pH indicator. You can make a pH color indicator dye from Red Cabbage. Just cut up about a quarter of a cabbage, cover with water, and boil for a few minutes. (I find microwaving easiest.) Strain, cool, and the purple juice is the indicator. Pour into clear or white bowls or cups, and add samples of acids (vinegar, lemon juice) and bases (most detergents, ammonia, Tums, baking soda, onion) and assorted other kitchen samples you want to test. The beautiful pinks and greens are the most memorable part.

Where to get good science toys and supplies:

As you can tell from the experiments above, I get a lot of them from the supermarket or hardware store. For mores specialized purposes, I find Amato's Toy and Hobby on Main Street the best place for science toys in Middletown CT (ask at the back desk for chemistry set supplies), and Edmund Scientifics is my favorite science toys catalog -- their on-line version is at http://www.scientificsonline.com/. DISCLAIMER -- I don't represent these vendors, or get money from them, just am a satisfied customer.


For concerned parents, teachers, and other childcare providers: why I think antibacterial soap and getting anti-Anthrax drugs "just in case" are bad ideas: Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics and May 2001 Scientific American article

NOTE: More genetics, genomics, bioethics, and biomedical sites suitable for more advanced students are compiled on my Genomics Links page (see link below).

Other Useful Links:

Genomics Links

Wesleyan University Homepage

Dr. Appel's Homepage

PIMMS Math & Science Links

For further information or to suggest other sites,e-mail lappel@wesleyan.edu
Copyright 2001-02, Laurel F. Appel. Last updated, 15 October 2002, LFA.