¡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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DIY Bioplastics!


DIY Bioplastics - Educational Innovations Blog

by Sabrina Smoke

Making bioplastics is a fantastic experiment to try at home or in the classroom.  It’s a fun, hands-on way to learn about bioplastic alternatives that are environmentally safer for our planet than traditional plastics.  Creating a bioplastic keepsake is likely to inspire further investigations and, in some cases, even future careers for young scientists!  Plus, they’re gorgeous!

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Everything is Cake, errr. … Science!


Educational Innovations Blog

By Donna Giachetti

Have you seen the latest viral meme (as of this writing, anyway)?  “Everything is Cake” videos are all over the Internet these days.  In case you’re in the dark, here’s the story:  an award-winning “sugar artist” in Turkey named Tuba Geckil started the trend by posting a video of exquisitely decorated cakes that look exactly like common household items—a potted plant, a pizza, a frothy bar of soap, a stack of fluffy bath towels, and even a roll of toilet paper. 

Everything is Cake... Science - Educational Innovations Blog

It’s mesmerizing to watch as her knife slices through these creations, revealing the mouth-watering cake inside.  You can see for yourself by clicking the image above or visiting here:  https://twitter.com/tasty/status/1280966608933003264?s=20. Try Googling @redrosecake_tubageckil.  Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.  Her Instagram page even has a coronavirus-shaped cake!

Cake = Science?

So what does this have to do with science?  Well… plenty.  After all, baking is essentially a science experiment that (hopefully) brings forth a delicious result.  Think about the ingredients that form the batter… and how, through chemical changes, they are altered to become a solid, fluffy mass.  That’s science!  To learn more, check out this wonderful primer on baking-as-science written by 10-year-old Nandini here.  For a more advanced explanation, consult this FineCooking.com article.

Cake science (or more specifically dessert science) is definitely something I can get behind.  Yum.  Just think of all the questions you can pose:

What process causes granulated sugar to turn into crispy brown caramel filaments?  What’s the deal with beating egg whites into spiky meringues?  Why doesn’t parchment paper burn?  What makes things cook more quickly when my oven is set to convection?  How does a vinegar bath keep bananas from turning brown? 

Not all dessert science involves baking.  Let’s not forget MY favorite treat, ice cream!  Hats off to the genius who figured out that adding salt to ice reduces the temperature of the resulting solution.  I was thrilled when I found the Ice Cream Nation website, where they have a handy explanation of the science of ice cream.

Turn your kitchen into a science lab!

As of this writing, we don’t know how many schools will re-open, or what their teaching methods will look like.  We hear about blended… modified… hybrid learning.  What we also hear is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Which is true.

But cooking is something that we all do (probably more often than we’d like).  Why not turn it into an opportunity for learning?  Food science is a topic that many students can appreciate even if they’re not interested in the usual scientific fields.  It’s fascinating… and very often delicious!

Some kitchen questions to start you off

Here are some simple questions that you can easily broaden into at-home science experiments.  For each one, you’ll need to do some critical thinking to figure out how to discover the answer:

  • Does eating hot or spicy food change your body temperature?
  • Can chewing mint gum or using mouthwash really chill your mouth?
  • Are white teacups more efficient at preventing heat loss than teacups of other colors?
  • Will chilling an onion before cutting it keep you from crying?
  • Can you explain how the transfer of thermal energy causes popcorn kernels to pop?
  • Salt and sugar are two ingredients you’re sure to have on hand.  Which of them increases the conductivity of tap water best?  What happens if you change the concentration of the solution?
  • What happens when you place a metal spoon into a bowl of hot soup? (Hint:  heat energy transfer.)

Edible Science!

At Educational Innovations, we’re serious about finding unique ways to spread our love of science. And that includes science you can eat! If you haven’t tried our Astronaut Ice Cream and our assortment of edible bugs, you’re really missing out!

Then there’s our Rock Candy Crystal Growing Experiment Kit – a perfect project for at-home scientists (especially if they have a sweet tooth)!

Everything is Cake... Science - Educational Innovations Blog

If baking is your thing, consider our DoughLab. It’s packed with fun, tasty, and educational experiments with yeast, dough and bread. 

Everything is Cake... Science - Educational Innovations Blog

We have the perfect gift for the person who loves food… and science: Our Science You Can Eat bundle! Bug lollipops, chocolate covered insects, crunchy Crick-ettes and more!

Everything is Cake... Science - Educational Innovations Blog

We’d love to hear your ideas for at-home food science projects.  Share with us in the Comments section!

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Remembrance of Summers Past


Educational Innovations Blog

By Donna Giachetti

Whenever I think of my childhood summers, all my five senses are instantly engaged.  I can hear the tinkling melody of the ice cream truck, and feel the heat radiating off my head.  There’s that pungent smell of sidewalk chalk.  The taste of bright pink Bazooka gum.  And the sight of my kite, inevitably tangled up in the limbs of a tree.  (Anyone remember Charlie Brown’s kite?  Mine was surely a close relative.)

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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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