Teachable Moments with the Static Snowstorm


by Priscilla Robinson

What can a teacher do when the season’s cold, wet, or snowy weather makes curious and rambunctious children go stir crazy?  This was exactly the predicament I found myself in with my five-year-old grandson last year.  After sledding and playing in the snow, Henry and I looked for something else to do.  I reached deep into my Nana brain and unlocked my inner teacher.  “What’s your teachable moment today, Nana?” I murmured.

Teachable Moments with the Static Snowstorm - Educational Innovations BlogAll weekend long, we had been experiencing the crackle and pop of static electricity as a result of the house’s warm, dry air.  Henry himself had been zapped a half dozen times.  Petting the family dog, he marveled as her hair stood on end.  He was curious:  what was this invisible power?

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Classroom Fun with the Static Electricity Electroscope


Educational Innovations Blogby Nancy Foote

The latest addition to my classroom’s Curiosity Table is a Static Electricity Electroscope.  The fact that it looks a bit odd made it even more intriguing to my students.  Once they began to play with the electroscope, they couldn’t stop. Read the rest of this entry »


Introducing the Home Science Lab!


donna_giachettiby:  Donna Giachetti

Albert Einstein famously said,

The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Curiosity has its own reason for existing.

At Educational Innovations, we agree wholeheartedly.  Our company was founded by a master teacher in 1994.  Today it’s still run by a dedicated crew of teachers who share a passion for science… and for fostering curiosity in kids.

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At Halloween, Science Is Cooler than Ever


donna_giachettiby: Donna Giachetti

In the spring
a young man’s fancy
lightly turns to thoughts of love.”

 —Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Alfred may have a point, but these days our thoughts turn to darker, spookier things—zombies, ghouls, witches, monsters and ghosts (more about them later, scroll down to the end of the blog).

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Why is autumn one of our favorite times of year?

Let us count the ways:

  •     A new school year…
  •    Cooler temperatures…
  •    Warm, cozy sweaters and boots…
  •    A procession of colorful fall foliage…

But best of all, there’s the anticipation of HALLOWEEN! What a wonderful time to be a mad scientist! Read the rest of this entry »


Film Canister Capacitors


6769_100121036671012_100000193470961_521_4265928_nby: Norm Barstow

This is a guide on how to make a Leyden Jar that makes awesome sparks with materials you may even find in your house. It’s inexpensive, basically harmless and fun.

Here is the list of materials you will need:

  • An empty film canister with lid.  These are available at Educational Innovations.
  • Multistrand insulated wire; eg. type HPN Heater Cord
  • Single conductor/solid un-insulated wire, about 1.5 mm in diameter (16 gauge copper wire).
  • Some aluminum or copper foil. (NOTE: Any conductive foil will work. Copper foil is thicker and easier to work with than aluminum foil, but aluminum foil works. Heavy duty aluminum foil works best.
  • A bolt (10/24) with a round head that is shorter than the film canister’s height. Two nuts that fit the screw.  Washer is optional.
  • Scotch tape.

Film canister Capacitors

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