Butterfly Student Kit Review


The Butterfly Student Kit from Heath Scientific comes with a butterfly habitat, guide, dropper, and coupon for live caterpillars. The caterpillars and their food are mailed directly to you, any time of year. The product comes with a guarantee that at least 3 of the 5 caterpillars will turn into butterflies.

The Science

Watching the metamorphosis process is fascinating as butterflies go through four distinct stages of life. Learn the butterfly’s life cycle by observing it firsthand.

Reviews

This product tends to get high and enthusiastic reviews.

One reviewer described how her children would rush to see the progress of the caterpillars every morning and would call “Hey, Mom, come look at this!” Soon, she found herself rushing to the caterpillars and calling, “Kids, come look!” also.

A 5th grade teacher reviewing this kit said it helps her students really remember the metamorphosis stages to see it firsthand.

Easiest pet ever

Simple care.

No messes to clean up.

No feeding: caterpillars come with enough food.

If the butterflies emerge when it’s above 55 degrees outside, you can let them go in the wild. If not, they live for 2-4 weeks and eat sugar water.

For All Ages

Children of all ages–and even adults!–enjoy this butterfly kit. It’s a favorite gift for elementary-aged children, particularly the 5-7 year-old age range, but children as young as 2 thoroughly enjoy the butterfly kit. (Of course, always be careful with young children. Small parts can pose a choking hazard.)

Adults reviewing the product frequently mention how they themselves were, surprisingly, captivated by watching the metamorphosis.

 

Steps to a Successful Science Fair Project

Science fair project

8 steps to a successful science fair project. Photo by terren.

  • Did the student learn something from the project?
  • Did the student follow the scientific method to complete the experiment?

If the answer to each these questions is yes, then the student was successful. Let me give you 8 steps to a Successful Science Fair Project.

  1. The first and most important step is the Selection of a Topic. The topic should be of interest to the student and selected prior to designing the science fair project. Example topics could include oceanography, basketball, ballet, sharks, micro-organisms, magnets, etc.
  2. The second step involves some creativity. At this point, you must ask a question about your topic that can be answered in an experiment. For example, if the topic was micro-organisms, the question might be, “What surface in my house contains the most bacteria?”
  3. Next, you must research the topic and discover background information that will be useful for your experiment. In order to answer the question above, you would need to know how to grow bacteria, how to take samples, optimum growth temperature, safety procedures, where do bacteria grow, etc.
  4. Then, you need to take the question from step 2 and reword it, so that, a purpose statement is created. From the question we created in step 2, our purpose statement could be, “The purpose of my experiment is to determine which surface in my home contains the most bacteria.”
  5. Now take the purpose of your experiment and develop a hypothesis. The hypothesis is an educated guess as to the outcome of your experiment. Your hypothesis could be, “My hypothesis is that the toilet seat has the most bacteria.” Don’t ever change your hypothesis. Your hypothesis is based on your research and knowledge. If the experiment disproves your hypothesis, that is OK. An incorrect hypothesis does not make an unsuccessful project.
  6. Design the experiment. This is where most people start. Never start with the experiment, because many times the outcome is know. Learning and using the scientific method is the most important part. During this step, you will determine the materials needed, explain the procedure, collect data and record results.
  7. Draw a conclusion. The conclusion is simply, “Was my hypothesis correct or incorrect?” Your conclusion might be, “In conclusion, my hypothesis was incorrect, the kitchen sink was actually the area that contained the most bacteria.”
  8. The final step is to make an attractive science fair display. You should have label headings, such as, Purpose, Hypothesis, Materials, Procedure, Data/Results, Conclusion. Display part of your experiment. If parts of the experiment are not able to be displayed, use photos that explain your procedure and results.

Teaching the Carbon Cycle

The carbon cycle is the process by which carbon enters and exits the earth’s atmosphere. Carbon, in the form of carbon dioxide, and along with other gases, acts as a warming layer for Earth. Without this layer of gases, the Earth would be too cold to sustain life. There are many carbon cycle models and carbon cycle demonstration kits available to assist in the explanation of this process. Below is a basic explanation of the carbon cycle.

The Carbon Cycle

Carbon is released into the environment in many ways. Animals and plants respire, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Animals release solid waste products into the soil and water. Also, leaves, roots, wood and dead animals decay. Finally, the burning of fossil fuels and wood release stored carbon into the atmosphere.

The carbon that is released into the environment, is used by many plants and animals. This is the part of the carbon cycle that removes carbon from the atmosphere. Plants and algae take in carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. Many sea creatures take in carbon when making shells and bones. When these animals die and sink to the ocean floor, this carbon is stored for some time.

The Ocean’s Role

The majority of photosynthesis occurs in the oceans by algae and phytoplankton. Also, due to the large surface area of the oceans , carbon dioxide diffuses in and out in an attempt to equalize.

Solar Panels (Photovoltaic Cells)

Why are Photovoltaic Cells Black?

The dark color reduces the amount of photons reflected. Photons that are not absorbed by the panel cannot be used to produce electricity.

 

 

Solar Science Kit

Solar Science Kit

 

What are Photovoltaic Cells Made From?

Silicon is the major material in the cells. Pure silicon crystals are poor conductors of electricity. Other elements are added to the silicon, such as, phosphorus and boron. When the energy from the sun hits the cell, the electrons in the elements begin to move around. The sun causes the panel to have a positive and negative side. This electrical difference causes electrons to flow through a diode.

What Factors Affect the Production of a Solar Cell?

The factors that most affect the production of a solar cells are the angle of the panel in relation to the sun, the peak wattage, the light intensity and the hours of sun exposure.

How is Wattage (or Power) Calculated?

The formula for power is Power=Current X Voltage. Power is measured in watts, current in amperes and voltage in volts.

The Solar Science Kit has a small motor, photovoltaic cell and disc that works well in demonstrating this in a classroom or home setting.

Energy Conservation, Conversion, and Windmills

What is a Generator?

When a magnet moves toward a metal object, the electrons in the metal move. As a result, when a magnet moves near a copper wire, electrons in the copper move. Generators use this principle to convert mechanical energy (the rotation of a wire coil,or rotor around a magnet) into an electrical current (electrons flowing through the wire). A motor performs the opposite function by converting electrical energy into mechanical energy. For the most part, all generators work the same. The item that separates them is, “What turns the rotor?”

Windmill Generator Kit

Windmill Generator Kit

Energy Conversion in a Windmill

Obviously, in a windmill, the wind is rotating the wire coil around the magnet. This generator is taking the kinetic energy from the wind and converting it to electrical energy.

Windmills are rated based on output power (watts), working voltage (volts), start up windspeed (mph), survival wind speed (mph), rated rotation of the blades (rpm) and the diameter of the blades (also called the rotor). In general, the larger the rotor diameter the more wind that is intercepted and the more electricity produced. There are do-it-yourself plans available for building your own windmill. No waste or pollution is produced during this process.

When discussing this in the classroom or entertaining your children on the weekend, there are some small demonstration kits available. The Windmill Generator from 4M Kidz Labz TM is an excellent activity.