For a complete introduction and to get to know each Fuddlebrook story/concept, work your way across the main menu bar above. Have fun exploring, and please contact us with any questions you may have!

But that's not all. Check out the introductory video that explains why we created the Fuddlebrook School Science Series.

Resources

It's  January and that means cold and flu season. What can you do to avoid the dreaded snot, sniffles, and sneezes?   

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Try this variation of Freddie’s Marshmallow Launch and figure out the fastest way for Santa’s elves to decorate the Christmas tree. Get in the holiday spirit and learn about the science concepts of force and motion, too.

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Recent News

As you read this, about five percent of us have a cold. Up to a billion colds a year occur in the U.S. alone, causing about 60 million lost days of school and 50 million lost days of work—adding up to $25 billion in lost productivity. To make up for it, Americans spend around $5 billion on over-the-counter remedies. Here are some cold stats:

  • Colds are the leading cause of visits to the doctor: Antibiotics are prescribed for more than 60 percent of common colds, despite the fact that bacteria are involved in only two percent.
  • A single cold virus can have 16 million offspring within 24 hours.
  • The velocity of a sneeze is about as fast as a professional baseball pitcher can throw a fastball – about 100 miles (150 km) per hour.
  • The longest sneezing bout ever recorded is that of 12-year-old UK schoolgirl Donna Griffiths, who started sneezing on January 13, 1981, and sneezed for 978 days.

You’ve also probably believed some of these myths about the common cold. They aren’t true so let’s put them to bed!

  1. Being cold causes a cold. Perhaps the most widespread cold myth suggests that exposure to cold temperatures causes people to catch colds. This is probably because colds are much more common in the winter, and cold air often causes a runny nose.
  2. Make the most of it. Some people believe that treating cold symptoms is bad for you because they help you recover. But research has shown that about a quarter of people who catch a cold don’t have any symptoms, and beat the virus just as easily. Furthermore, sneezing and runny noses do not eliminate the virus completely, as it is still reproducing in the cells of the nasal lining. In addition, the more you treat your symptoms, the less likely you are to spread your cold.
  3. Feed a cold and starve a fever (or vice versa). The origins of this saying are unclear. In any case, it probably is not a good idea. Eating well supports your immune system, and you need more fluids than usual when you have a cold if you want to avoid dehydration.
  4. Antibiotics cure the common cold. As noted above, antibiotics usually do not help a cold. Antibiotics work against bacteria, while most colds are viral. The overprescription of unwarranted antibiotics has caused our bodies to develop antibiotic-resistant bacteria. They may actually make colds worse by killing the ‘friendly’ bacteria and creating an environment more hospitable to the virus.

There is, however, one cold myth that contains a grain of truth: Eat chicken soup. A recent study concluded that chicken soup helps the body clear mucus from the bronchial tubes faster and more effectively than other liquids. It does so because inhaling its warm vapors raises the temperature of the nose and loosens thickened secretions. According to the researchers, the active ingredients in traditional recipes also includes celery, onions, carrots, parsley, mushrooms, parsnips, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. These are known for their medicinal and antioxidant properties.

Want to know more? Read our Fuddlebrook story, Snot, Sniffles, and Sneezes. Than watch our short video which conveys how quickly germs can spread and why handwashing is so important!

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Don’t know what to do for your classroom holiday party this year? Or do you need some activities for home to keep the kiddos occupied over the winter break? With a little imagination, a story with a holiday twist, and a science activity, you’re sure to have the makings for a fun, memorable, and educational event.

Here are some ideas from our two series, the Quirkles® and Fuddlebrook School® Science series to help you become the hit of the holidays. In the Fuddlebrook series, use Herman’s Rocket Launch (from The Case of the Vanishing Moon) and pretend you’re watching the reindeer fly across the sky pulling Santa’s sleigh. Or, watch the “elves” on our video catapult ornaments on to the Christmas tree (Freddie’s Marshmallow Launch from Freddie’s Dance Lesson). If you need more help visualizing how to make your catapult, check out our blog post that explains it in more detail.

But that’s not all. From the Quirkles Pressure Pete, try Santa Down the Chimney aka Pressure Pete’s Vacuum, or a variation we show on our video, the egg in a bottle. Explain that Santa’s gained a little weight this year (maybe too much Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie???) and you’re going to have to figure out a way to help him down the chimney.

Want another idea? Try a variation of Andy Acid’s Amazing Color Changing Paper from More Quirkles Experiments to create a Naughty or Nice test. Watch as Ms. Terri and Hailey take the test.

Finally, an inexpensive container of FLARP!® Noise Putty makes for a fun relay game (and tons of laughs) plus a lesson on polymers that ties to Zany Science Zeke. See how much fun this can be as we demonstrate on this month’s video.

These are just a few ways to turn everyday science into holiday science. You’re really only limited by your own imagination. Tell a story and have fun! On a serious note, however, make sure to take time to explain the science behind these activities. Don’t overlook a teachable moment!

Want more ideas? Check out all our videos on YouTube for more than 90 activities and variations of many of our experiments. And from all of us to you, we wish you the brightest and best of the holiday season!

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What people are saying

This new series marvelously succeeds in introducing young students to inquiry-based, experiential learning of scientific concepts that are age-appropriate. Moreover, students have the opportunity to explore story-based scientific concepts further through hands-on investigations.

--Teresa, Biology Ph.D; former elementary teacher, Springfield, MO

What people are saying

The thing I love most about the Fuddlebrook series is the connection aspect. Not only have the creators connected literacy and science, they have also provided opportunity for exploration of all areas of life. The dispositions and traits of the characters are consistent throughout the books and lead to discussions about friendship, bullying, loyalty, honesty, and humility. Fuddlebrook is "teaching the whole child by connecting to life."

--Carolyn, First Grade Teacher, Ozark, MO