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Science & Nature

The Science Challenge Series Part 2: You Vs. Science

In this on-going, semester class, students explore a new scientific concept each week by attempting a variety of interactive, hands-on STEM experiments, activities or games.
Michael Barr, M.Ed
273 total reviews for this teacher
13 reviews for this class
Completed by 79 learners
50 minutes
per class
Once per week
every week
year olds
learners per class
per learner - per class

How does an "Ongoing" course work?

Meets on a weekly schedule, join any week, no need to catch up on previous material
Live video chats, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Discussions via classroom forum and private messages with the teacher
Automatic payment every Sunday, cancel any time
Great for clubs and for practicing skills

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Class Experience

Students will improve their understanding of scientific concepts through interactive experiments and discussion, while focusing on the role each concept plays in our lives.
I used these challenges throughout my teaching career to teach a variety of scientific concepts. The students were excited to do the challenges and this helped them to retain these concepts.
There will be no homework assigned, however, I will encourage students to complete the "Bonus Challenges" that I will explain in each class. These extra challenges are an excellent opportunity to continue their hands-on exploration of the weekly topic. Students will be able to share any of their successes (or failures as these help with growth as a learner) at the beginning of class the next week or they can send me a message, pictures or video clips through our Outschool classroom portal.
You vs. Carnivals (Games of Chance): -3 feet (1 meter) of string -tape -9 cups -small ball (or balled up socks or large paper ball or small stuffed animal) -3 plastic bottles (heavier work better) or 3 cans -large mouth container (yogurt-type tub, empty plastic food container, large mouthed cup) that allows your ball to barely fit through the opening of the container You vs. Water (Surface Tension): -water -2 to 3 feet (1 meter) of string -eye dropper (or medicine dropper or small spoon) -a penny (or other similarly sized coin) -liquid measuring cup with a spout -a cup -a bowl -liquid dish soap You vs. Refraction: -a piece of clear plastic about 3 inches x 3 inches (6cm x 6cm) - (plastic wrap or plastic baggie (sandwich or snack size) or cut a square piece out of a disposable water bottle) -2 pieces of paper -pencil or pen or markers -clear cup (glass or plastic as long as it is transparent) -a non-transparent cup -a coin -water -a flashlight (a stronger light beam works best) -250ml of milk (whole milk or 2% works best) You vs. Quicksand (States of Matter): -cornstarch (1/2 cup or about 250 ml) -water -a cup (to gather the water needed in several challenges) -a spoon -3 to 4 ice cubes -one foot of string (30 cm) -1/4 cup of salt -a small bowl (to hold the ice and some water) -a dry erase marker (EXPO or other brand) -a glass container (or plate or beverage glass) -a 500 ml plastic bottle of clean water (for a bonus challenge not done in class) -2 cups (500ml) of cooking oil (bonus challenge) -food coloring (bonus challenge) -one Alka Seltzer (fizzy aspirin) - this is for a bonus challenge You vs. Adhesion and Cohesion: -2 to 3 snack or sandwich size "Ziploc" style bags -2 or more very sharpened pencils -7 clear cups or glasses -6 paper towel strips (cut a normal sized paper towel piece into 3 strips - the long way and then repeat for 6 strips) -red, yellow and blue food dye -water -white liquid glue (like Elmer's glue) -table salt (1/8 of a cup or about 50 ml) -Bonus Challenge materials (for after class): 2-3 coffee filters, water soluble markers (black and one/two other colors), bowl or cup, water You vs. Solubility: -about 10 pieces of a candy that has a candy coating (like M&M's, Skittles, Jelly Beans, Reese's Pieces, etc.) -1/4 cup or about 50 ml of cooking oil -water -2 clear cups or glasses -a plate that is deep enough to hold about 1/2 inch or 2 cm of water -We will make a mystery mixture from 5 substances and a partner (not the student) will be allowed to use anything they find (salt or sugar or water or oil or flour or ketchup or mustard or anything else). -Bonus Challenge materials (for after class): cotton candy, coffee filter, spoonful of salt/pepper You vs. Density: -half cup (250ml) of cooking oil -an ice cube or two -3 clear cups or glasses -food coloring -water (we'll need very cold and very warm water) -half cup (250 ml) of sugar -spoon or plastic medicine syringe -Bonus Challenges for after class: honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, whole milk, dish soap, water, vegetable oil, rubbing alcohol (ask your adult to help with the rubbing alcohol), diet soda and its regular soda partner (like Coke and Diet Coke) You vs. The Periodic Table: -apple (sliced into 6 to 8 slices) -a plate -3 chemicals from the kitchen (non-toxic)... student's choice (such as vinegar, baking soda, milk, soda, juice, lemon juice, ketchup, etc.) -a bowl -food coloring -dish soap (about 5 drops) -one cup (about 400ml) of milk (not skim) room temperature or warmed up (in a microwave) -one tablespoon (50ml) of vinegar -Bonus Challenge for after class: a highlighter, small needle nose pliers or something similar, clear cup/glass of water You vs. Chemical Reactions: -a raw egg -2 cups or glasses (clear is preferred but necessary) -a cup (250 ml) of vinegar -food coloring -a can of soda -1/4 cup of salt (75 ml) -1/2 cup of Hydrogen Peroxide (125 ml) -1/4 cup of dish soap (liquid) (75 ml) -1 tablespoon of yeast (15 ml) -goggles and rubber/latex gloves if available Bonus Challenge that can be done after class: one cup of sugar (250 ml), 6 tablespoons of butter (90 ml), 1/2 cup (125 ml) of cream or high fat milk, pinch of salt, pot, stove AND 2 cups (500 ml) of vinegar, 2 tablespoons of baking soda (30 ml), pot, stove You vs. Static Electricity: -a balloon (filled up with CO2 from your lungs) and tied (you can also substitute a piece of plastic like a ruler or PVC pipe instead of the balloon) -two pieces of paper -a plastic bag (a grocery bag or plastic wrap or sandwich bag) -scissors -tape -a piece of wool (or cotton towel) like a hat, scarf, etc. - we will try to use our hair to charge the balloon first, but the wool or cotton are good back-ups -Bonus Challenge that can be done after class: filled balloon, dish soap, plate, water, straw, empty soda can, aluminum foil, empty/dry disposable water bottle, couple of pinches of salt and pepper You vs. Magnetism: -magnets of any size - stronger ones will work better if you have them (you can also combine same-sized magnets to make them stronger) -2 paper clips (small will work better) -a piece of paper -scissors -2 grapes (you can substitute with 2 apples or 2 kiwis or other fruit types) -a stick that will connect the two grapes or fruit (a rigid straw, a toothpick, a double sharpened pencil or a shish kabob skewer, etc.) -thread or string (2 feet or 1/2 a meter) Bonus Challenge that can be done after class: -2 empty soda cans (or substitute 2 objects of similar height) -a ruler (or you can substitute a small pack of Post-it type notes or a small stack of index cards) -4 or more coins that are attracted to a magnet (many Canadian coins or some British coins are) - you can substitute large paper clips You vs. Engineering Challenges: -3 raw eggs -paper (printer style paper (5 to 10 sheets)) -various items to do some engineering (such as plastic bags, paper towel, wash cloths, foam padding, straws, legos, toothpicks, aluminum foil, etc.) - you will have time to gather these before the challenge, but you can have a supply ready ahead of time if you wish -larger Ziploc style bag (quart or gallon size, but sandwich size may work if that is all you have available) -disposable gloves (not necessary, but these will make one challenge less messy) -tape -small coins (pennies will work) - at least 20 to 30 Bonus Challenge that can be done after class: -A box of straws and stronger tape (painter tape will work)
50 minutes per week in class, and maybe some time outside of class.
Students will be using materials for our challenges such as scissors and items found in the kitchen such as salt, corn starch, baking soda and vinegar.


Michael Barr, M.Ed
Lives in the United States
273 total reviews
200 completed classes

About Me

Hello! My name is Michael Barr. I have taught at the elementary level in all core subject areas for over 20 years.

My Outschool classes focus on a variety of science concepts. For each class, my goal is for students to leave with a better grasp... 
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