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:
'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."
'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!"
'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."
"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."
"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."
'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)."
"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!"
'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.)"
'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."
'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.)"
"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."
'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!
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!
You Might Also Enjoy these Previous Entries:
- Staff Picks: Top Project Ideas from 2011
- Staff Wish List
- Earth Day: Staff Picks!
- Gifts to Give the Grownups--That You can Put to Good "Scientific" Use!
- Scientist's Pick: Pinwheel Animation with Scratch and the PicoBoard
- Scientist's Pick: A Biotechnology Laboratory...on Your Kitchen Counter!
- Scientist's Pick: Minty-Fresh Chemistry
- Scientist's Pick: No Pain, Lots of Game