The Magic of Spring, Seeds, and Science!


by Priscilla Robinson

Spring in the Pacific Northwest comes with a fanfare of germinating seeds, blossoming flowers, and budding trees.  As a science educator, I like to jump on Mother Nature’s bandwagon to bring this burst of plant life into my classroom.  What your students see every day can bloom into teachable moments.  These learning ideas will help you make the most out of the magic and science of spring.

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The Sun Is Pretty Hot Stuff!


Ted Beyer, Educational Innovations, Inc.by Ted Beyer

The sun is, on average, about 93,000,000 miles (149,668,992 kilometers) away from us.  That’s pretty darn far.  In fact, if the sun went out right now, we would not know about it for about eight minutes.  Not to worry, that’s not going to be a thing to fret about for quite a while—a couple of billion years last time I checked.

That huge (try 109 times as big as Earth) ball of fusion reactor up in our sky is arguably responsible for all of the energy we use on Earth.  Not just solar power, but all of it.  Fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) were created from ancient plant and animal matter—which all lived because of the sun.

The Sun Is Pretty Hot Stuff! Educational Innovations Blog

  Image source: Stanford Solar Center

Hydropower is only possible because of the water cycle (best look that one up on your own, they won’t let me make these posts too long).  Wind power relies on, well, wind—and that is a byproduct of the warming and cooling of the atmosphere—and that’s the sun doing that warming too.  Atomic power uses heavy elements like Uranium, which was created in the hearts of suns.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.

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Hydrophilic Polymers TV


EI TV - Educational Innovations BlogIf a picture is worth 1,000 words, a video is surely worth a few million.  Especially when it comes to scientific explanations, a video is a wonderful tool for conveying information to your students in a visual, easy-to-follow manner.

The videos below offer you and your students a glimpse into the world of hydrophilic polymers—where they are today, what new discoveries we’ve made, and where we are headed in the future.

Enjoy!  If you find a video on hydrophilic polymers that you’d like to share with us, please leave a comment!

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Hydrophilic Polymers in the News


In the News - Educational Innovations Blog

Superabsorbent hydrophilic polymers are everywhere—often, in places we’d never suspect.  Researchers continue to discover new uses for these handy materials:  in concrete, in stainless steel coatings, medical devices, and many other industrial applications.   Truly, they are one of the most fascinating areas of chemical research today.

We have collected below a sampling of news articles about recent developments in the field of SAPs in the hopes that these will inspire conversations with your students about the practical uses of hydrophilic substances.  If you come across an article of interest, please share it with us in the Comments section below.

Happy reading!

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Hydrophilic Polymers Discussion Starters


Discussion Starters - Educational Innovations BlogYour students may already be aware of some ways that hydrophilic polymers are used in our daily lives.  For instance, Sodium Polyacrylate is an essential component of disposable diapers, and Growing Spheres are often used by florists as a soil-free way to store water and keep cut flowers fresh for a long time.

But what else can hydrophilic polymers do?  The answer is, plenty!

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