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Staff Picks: Science Buddies Kits

The Science Buddies staff shares their wish lists from the Science Buddies store. See what science and engineering kits they would most like to open up and give a hands-on try!


Each year, I poll the Science Buddies staff about something related to science, engineering, or technology that might be on their wish lists. The team at Science Buddies that supports our more than 15,000 pages of free, scientist-authored, K-12 science and engineering Project Ideas and resources is small, but the collective answers each year underscore what an interesting and diverse group we are!

This year, with the advent of the Science Buddies Store offering new convenience and ease of access to the right materials to use with one of our science or engineering Project Ideas, I asked the staff which kit they would most like to explore, individually or as a science exploration with their families. With over 50 kits available, their selections highlight only a few of our science project kits! Here are some of the ones our staff chose:

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Kenneth Hess, Founder and President:
'Build Your Own Crystal Radio'

"I built one as a kid and would like to do it again, this time actually understanding why it works. Also, it would be very cool to use a multimeter to calculate how much power it receives."
 
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Beth Rabuczewski, Director of eCommerce:
'Grasping with Straws: Make a Robot Hand'

"With just a few simple items, you can build a very good facsimile of the human hand. I confess to having a number of partially built soda straw hands around my house!"
 
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Hugo Paz, Chief Software Architect:
'The Strength of an Electromagnet'

"I remember doing something like this with my classmates when I was a kid. Back then I didn't understand the physics behind it, but I thought it was really cool that you can make magnets with electricity."
 
 
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Sandra Slutz, Lead Staff Scientist:
'Rainbow Fire'

"I adore fireworks, and the materials in this kit allow you to have your own mini colored-fire show. I can imagine using it on our next camping trip! Really young children, like mine, will grasp that different chemicals cause different flame colors, while older children and adults can grasp sequentially more complex explanations of the physics involved."
 
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Teisha Rowland, Staff Scientist:
"Solar-Powered Water Desalination"

"It gets people thinking about how to solve a serious, real-world problem—getting clean water to people around the globe. It's interesting (and useful!) to explore how to make the desalination process more efficient by using completely free, renewable energy from the sun."
 
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Courtney Corda, Vice President:
'Build a Gauss Rifle!'

"It is the hands-on engineering project most likely to be successful in drawing my son away from his current bad habit: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 (which I regret buying for him). It might also draw him away from Minecraft (a video game that cuts down on his use of COD MW3 but still pales in comparison to the experience of building something, anything in real life)."
 
 
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Claire Hubbard, Product Design Engineer
'Burning Calories'

"I'm an athlete, and I've always wondered how calories are stored in food, transferred to the body, and then burned through exercise. This kit would help to introduce me to some of the science behind working out and proper athletic nutrition!"
 
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Jayme Burke, Vice President of Development:
'Ultimate Bridge Builder's Kit'

"I live in the Bay Area, and I cross bridges all the time, but I really have no idea about how bridges are engineered. (Also Bridge Over the River Kwai is one of my favorite movies.)"
 
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Sherry Smith, Grants Manager:
'How Does Soil Affect the pH of Water?'

"It contains all the materials I need for the #1 project recommended when I took the Topic Selection Wizard survey. I like the idea of traveling to three different soil sites, making notes about plants, and analyzing the soil samples."
 
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Sabine Dukes, Controller:
'Make Your Own Soap'

"It is a science project I could use to make holiday gifts! I would love to take it further and experiment with different oils and fragrances. I could add some lavender from my yard to make it special. (Maybe I also like it because it reminds me of Fight Club.)"
 
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Kaarin Graham, Project Manager:
'Electrolyte Challenge'

"I drink sports drinks during my tennis matches, and I would like to determine if sports drinks really work or if there are better alternatives that I should try."
 
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Yvette Leung, Email Support:
'Potions and Lotions: Lessons in Cosmetic Chemistry'

"I always read the ingredient labels on all of the products that I buy, and this project would be a fun way to experiment and to create new and innovative products of my own. Who knows, I might even discover a secret formula for an amazing new cosmetic product!
 
 
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Ben Finio, Staff Scientist:
'Robot Picasso'

"While I already have a LEGO® Mindstorms® kit, I've never used a VEX kit—and you can never have too many robot kits! Plus, I could always disassemble my Picasso robot and use the kit to build something completely new. As a kid I always preferred toys like LEGO and K'Nex that could be reconfigured into entirely new things when I got bored, so robot kits are a great fit for me."
 Sabine De Brabandere, Staff Scientist:
'Robot Picasso'

"I have been intrigued by robotics but never took the time to explore it. This project would definitively pull me and my family in. I love how consecutive projects naturally lead you into the world of robotics. Once there—your imagination is the limit! Fun for years to come!"



Which one stands out for you? Browse the science project kits in the Science Buddies Store, and let us know which kit you would most want to have—and why!

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Your Science!
What will you explore for your science project this year? What is your favorite classroom science activity? Email us a short (one to three sentences) summary of your science project or teaching tip. You might end up featured in an upcoming Science Buddies newsletter!



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