¡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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Air Surfing with the Tumblewing


Tami O'ConnorBy Tami G. O’Connor

So, there I was, minding my own business, looking through posts on Twitter with the scienceisfun hashtag, when I was immediately sucked down the rabbit hole of the Tumblewing!!!  How is it possible that I had never seen this before?  As a former corporate jet pilot and science teacher, this would have been right down my alley. And yet, it was totally new to me!

I’m writing to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you, too!  This awesome activity teaches so much authentic science and is a fun activity for almost any age. 

Presenting the Tumblewing

The Tumblewing—also called the Tumbling Wing, or Tumble Wing—is easy to make, and relatively easy to fly.  It works when the operator creates a wave of air using a simple piece of cardboard.  By moving the cardboard forward, air in front of it is displaced and is pushed out of the way.  Some of that displaced air flows over the top edge of the cardboard, and that’s what we’re going to use to fly our Tumblewing.  The easiest way to think about this is that the Tumblewing is “surfing” in the airflow.

The pattern we’re using was taken from SciencetoyMaker.  They have other awesome ideas on their website including a nifty glider, but right now, we’re just going to discuss the Tumblewing.

Building Your Tumblewing

Click here or on the image below for the pattern you’ll need.

Air Surfing with the Tumblewing - Educational Innovations Blog
Click on image for printable, full-size PDF.

The idea is to use very light paper.  They initially call for phone book paper, but who has a phone book these days?  We used newspaper and it worked great, but you can also use tissue paper, which works quite nicely, too.

Using the largest pattern to start, tape the short ends to a piece of newspaper.  Cut along the solid lines, but do not cut where the tape is yet.  Using a ball point pen, trace along the dashed lines of the pattern, pressing down as you go.  This will help to score the newspaper once it comes time to fold.

Next, fold the small ends up 90 degrees to create winglets.  Then fold along the long lines.  One edge folds downward and the other folds upward creating a type of Z in the paper.  Notice that the folds taper outward at the ends.  It’s important not to fold straight across to the end.  Once your pattern has been cut, scored and folded, you can cut the ends where the tape holds the pattern to the newspaper, and you will have your Tumblewing. 

File:AatumblewingFin.gif

 © Slater Harrison 2007

Time to Fly!

Now it’s time to fly!  Find an area indoors that is not particularly drafty.  Moving air will disrupt your flight.  Hold your Tumblewing with the edge that is pointed upward closest to you and release it with a slight downward push on that edge.  The Tumblewing will begin to spin in a rolling motion.  The wing is actually generating lift by alternatingly flying and stalling as the angle of incidence changes with the spinning motion.

Air Surfing with the Tumblewing - Educational Innovations Blog

Depending upon the level of your students, this would be a great discussion of Magnus effect.  So much great physics, so little time to write it all!

It takes a bit of practice, but once you have it, your Tumblewing will remain flying as long as you continue walking! 

Tumblewing Tips:

  • The larger the cardboard, the easier it is to control. 
  • Keep the cardboard at a steep angle.  It’s a common mistake to flatten out the cardboard. But when you do, you are reducing the amount of airflow.
  • As your Tumblewing starts to fall, simply walk faster to increase airflow and raise it back up.
  • Keep the Tumblewing near the top edge of the cardboard, but don’t let it flow over the top.
  • After you get the hang of it, try using one of the smaller patterns.  Like a sports car, the smaller the Tumblewing, the more nimble and maneuverable it is.

 

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The Think Tube


Tami O'Connor

By Tami O’Connor

Many years ago while attending a summer ChemEd conference, I had occasion to sit in on an amazing presentation.  I have to admit that as a seventh grade teacher, much of the information presented at this conference would have been a bit over my students’ heads, but I still enjoyed the chance to learn new teaching ideas. One presenter, Jeff Hepburn, came out with a prop called the Think Tube.  I’m not honestly sure whether that was his name for it or if that’s how I eventually christened it, but suffice to say, I knew immediately that I had to build one for my students.

Back to School with the Think Tube

The first week of school was always my favorite because that was the time I worked especially hard to truly “hook” my kids on science.  I tended to bring in the most awesome and thought-provoking activities to share in class.  My students typically left my room busting with excitement and looking forward to what the rest of the year would hold. 

On day two, I brought in my homemade Think Tube.  Over the summer, my husband built it out of PVC pipe, string, and wooden cubes.  Initially, the students were unimpressed… that is, until the unexpected happened.

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Have Dogs, Will Science!


by Donna Giachetti

If you’ve read our CEO’s blog, “Why I LOVE Working at EI,” you already know that Educational Innovations is a VERY friendly workplace for dogs.  We started with Brody, our official “EI Lab dog.”  Next came Hunny, then Griffin, and last—but NEVER least—our frisky young Molly.  These puppies are doted upon by all EI employees.  There are always fresh carrots in the fridge and various sized Milk Bones on hand for our furry tribe.

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Hey Now, You’re a Rock Star, Get Your Neuroscience On!


by Donna Giachetti

Want to bring neuroscience, cyborgs, and mind control to your classroom? Watch our Backyard Brains webinar, Wire Me Up!  Neuroscience in the K-12 Classroom.

 

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