¡La Ciencia en Español! (Science in Spanish!)


Educational Innovations Blog

By Donna Giachetti

I studied Spanish from kindergarten through college.  Used to be, I could speak and write fairly fluently.  These days I’m a bit rusty but—like the old saying about getting back on a bicycle—the skill does come back with a bit of practice.

Our First Spanish Kits!

Which is why I was excited when Educational Innovations decided to translate some of our most popular science kits for K-8th graders into Spanish.  ¡Que bueno!  It’s not every day that I get to deal with science AND Spanish at the same time.

Our First Spanish Translator!

We were lucky to find Claudia Jaramillo, a translator who (1) is a native Spanish-speaker, (2) has a degree in a scientific field, and (3) shares our keen appreciation for expanding science learning.  I had a chance to interview Claudia about this project.  Here’s what she told me.

What was your favorite part about translating the Home Science Lab kits? 

“I had a lot of fun doing the translations because the material was not only educational, but also quite entertaining,” she said.  When she accepted the job, she hadn’t expected our workbooks to be filled with jokes as well as science.  “Whoever wrote them had a very clever sense of humor!”

Science in Spanish - Educational Innovations Blog

How about the Surprising Science for Kids kits?  What struck you most about those?  

“Those kits were a delight to translate.  I have two teenage kids.  While I was working on the translations, I remember thinking that these kits would have been amazing to have when my kids were little.  I know for sure that kids doing these experiments will be inspired to enjoy and love science.”

More about Claudia

Can you tell me a bit about your background in science? 

“I grew up in Colombia. Spanish is my native language.  I learned science in Spanish.  However, while I was in college, we used the English versions of the textbooks because they were typically the newest and most frequently updated.  My background is in engineering; I majored in electrical engineering, specifically.”

Was this a typical translation job for you?

“No, it was different from others I’ve done because the workbooks were targeted towards children.  Translations geared for an older audience typically go straight to the point, while these kits have more stories and jokes to make them more interesting.  Translating the jokes so they made sense in Spanish was sometimes challenging, but it was also a great satisfaction.”

Do you have a favorite experiment from the workbooks?

“I have several!  In particular, I enjoyed the Surprising Science for Kids: Electricity! kit because it reminded me of many concepts I studied in college, such as motors.  I really enjoyed being able to go back and revisit some of those topics.”

“The Home Science Lab workbooks included a bunch of experiments that made me want to try them myself.  Had I not read the explanations beforehand, I would have expected a different result.  For example, in Bernoulli’s Flight Basics, the experiment demonstrating Bernoulli’s Law using a funnel and a ping pong ball sounds really cool!”

Science in Spanish - Educational Innovations Blog

We are enormously proud of our new Spanish-language versions of these unique kits.  Take a look!  Or I guess I should say, ¡Dar un vistazo!

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Using the ZigZag Density Tumbler In (and Out) of the Classroom


by Linda Dunnavant

The ZigZag Density Tumbler is an elegant desk “toy” and much more.  Turn the tumbler over and watch two different colors of droplets float down in a relaxing zigzag pattern.  I like to keep mine on my desk.  I often pick it up and watch it while I clear my head.  Not only is the tumbler a soothing, relaxing activity for busy adults, but it also provides so many possibilities for calming, inspiring, and teaching students. Read the rest of this entry »


Demystifying the Poly Density Bottle


Dr. Kenneth Lyle, Duke University Department of Chemistryby Dr. Kenneth Lyle

The demonstration

The Poly Density Bottle is a fascinating demonstration primarily due to the phenomena being counterintuitive to what one would expect.  The bottle containing white and blue beads suspended in a clear and colorless liquid is shaken vigorously, distributing the beads randomly throughout (bottle A).  Upon standing, the beads separate from one another (bottle B) with the white rising to the surface while the blue sink to the bottom (bottle C).  Then, the two sets of beads move towards one another (bottle D) meeting near the middle (bottle E).  This demonstration can be easily repeated again and again.  And, once prepared, it can be stored for subsequent use year after year.  No additional preparation is required. Read the rest of this entry »


The “Magic” of the Soother Ooze Tube


KenByrneBy Ken Byrne

Someone once told me that all magic is science, and all science is magic.  To me, a magic show is a series of puzzles for me to solve, trying to figure out just how they pulled off an illusion.  My favorite science demonstrations are much the same.  I love those demonstrations that make me scratch my head and ask, “Why?”

Here is one of my favorites that is easy and inexpensive.  It feels like a magic trick, but it is all science.  It simply involves rolling a cylinder down an inclined plane.  Sometimes the cylinder will roll down quickly.  Other times it will crawl down slowly. Read the rest of this entry »


Density in the News


Educational Innovations Newsletter - In the News

Density has been in the news since… well, since Archimedes shouted Eureka.  We have collected a sampling of news stories about density that you may want to use in your classroom as you open a discussion about this fascinating subject.

If you find a news article about density that you’d like to share, please let us know in the comments section.  Happy reading!

Read the rest of this entry »