For the love of popcorn: The science behind the pop

Posted by Patty Cooke on March 14, 2019

I love popcorn. Microwave, stove-top, movie theater, street- and store-bought popcorn. I love it all. And I’m not keen on sharing my popcorn with others either. I’ll buy – or pop – you your own bowl, bag, or bucket, but I want my popcorn all to myself. I’m a generous person, but hey, this is popcorn we’re talking about! So, when I heard there was a Popcorn Lover’s Day, I happily volunteered to research and write about this awesome snack food.

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Topics: IDEAS & INSPIRATION, Science, STEM, Resources, Physics

Dipping into the science of tortilla chips

Posted by Jessica Born on February 22, 2019

We’ve all been there. The basket of chips and that little bowl of salsa arrives on the table, and before you know it, it’s devoured, and your table is asking for a refill (maybe before you’ve even ordered your entrées). In fact, there’s a meme about how self-control is abandoned when chips and salsa are served. This hasn’t been formally researched by us, but I think we can confirm the meme’s validity based on repeated informal experiments (i.e. personal experience).

So, how’d we get here? What’s the science behind tortilla chips and their popularity?

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Topics: IDEAS & INSPIRATION, Culture, Science, STEM, Trends, Activities

Bubble Wrap – addictive and educational!

Posted by Tommy Ly on January 28, 2019

Did you know that four out of five teachers prefer the sound of popping Bubble Wrap bubbles to smacking gum? We didn’t get a response from the fifth one because he was mid-bubble. And in a recent double-blind study, one square foot of Bubble Wrap will keep an average teenager entertained for 30 percent longer than a fidget spinner. OK, I made that one up. But nearly everyone has had an experience with Bubble Wrap, either when receiving packages or when preparing packages to be sent. We all know the popping sound of Bubble Wrap like we know the syllables of our name.

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Topics: IDEAS & INSPIRATION, Science, Resources, Activities, Hands-on Learning, Art

Hands-on learning at the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum proves STEM has no limits

Posted by Cody White on January 14, 2019

STEM is well known as an outside-the-box approach to classroom learning. But increasingly it’s becoming an outside-the-classroom phenomenon as well. The old adage that it takes a village has never been more true, and businesses, universities, libraries, and other organizations have been standing up to provide high-quality STEM education alongside schools.

Museums are another type of organization keenly suited to bringing educational value to a community in this way. A quick virtual tour of the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum in Midland, Texas, shows exactly why this is so.

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Topics: BEYOND THE CLASSROOM, IDEAS & INSPIRATION, Makerspace, Culture, Science, STEM, Future Ready, Hands-on Learning

The science behind Hollywood’s spooky special effects

Posted by Jessica Born on October 29, 2018

Spooky. Scary. Silly. Ghoulish. Gross. Halloween has many forms. And nobody makes it seem simpler or more real than in the movies, but how do they create the scary?
Magic? Well . . .
Science? Absolutely.

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Topics: IDEAS & INSPIRATION, Homeschool, Science, Technology, STEM, Activities