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.
While this book is about beautiful cave crystals, it seems appropriate in January to think about lovely snow crystals instead. Make your own in this fun activity with a few simple supplies!
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.
Happy New Year! It’s January, and in the northern half of the world, it’s the coldest month of the year on average. Nature is quiet. Bears, rodents, ground squirrels, and many other animals sleep day and night in hibernation. Leap years exempted, January always begins on the same day as October. In leap years, January always begins on the same day as April and July. It’s also “National Soup Month” in the United States as we hunger for the warm, nourishing staple.
And it’s time for snow (at least in cooler weather, northern hemisphere locations). And snow leads to fun science activities. This month we make “snow” crystals, drawing from an activity in our book from the Fuddlebrook series, In Search of Hidden Treasure. We call it “Herman Tweed’s Crystals.” Check out the activity and video provided.
But before doing so, take a couple of minutes to brush up on your snow trivia.
*The probability that two snow crystals (a single ice crystal) or flakes (a snow crystal or multiple snow crystals stuck together) will be exactly alike in molecular structure and in appearance, is very minute. And to prove otherwise would not be easy. Each winter there are about 1 septillion (1, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 or a trillion trillion) snow crystals that drop from the sky!
*The beautiful six-sided structure of snowflakes comes from the hexagonal lattice structure of ice. When water freezes, the molecules connect together and always form hexagons. As more molecules are added, they form branches on each of the six sides.
*Snow is classified as a mineral.
*A man nicknamed Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley photographed 5,000 snowflakes before he died of pneumonia. He literally devoted his entire life to showing us the diversity and beauty of snowflakes (February 9, 1865 – December 23, 1931). He was the first man to capture snow crystals on film. He received international acclaim in the 19th century for his pioneering work in the field of photomicrography.
* 80% of all the freshwater on Earth is frozen as ice or snow. This accounts for twelve percent of the Earth's surface
*People who are afraid of snow have chionophobia.
*A snow storm becomes a blizzard when winds reach 35 miles per hour and visibility is less than a quarter of a mile. The storm must last at least three hours to be classified as a blizzard.
There you have it. Bundle up and run to the grocery store to grab a box of Borax (for the crystals you are going to make in this month’s activity), before the weather gets bad. Then heat up that pot of your favorite soup, and get ready to enjoy science fun by reading a Quirkles or Fuddlebrook story and doing all the fun science experiments with your kids.
Do you need some activities for home or the classroom (either virtual or in class) to keep the learning going these last few days of school or 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.
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 100 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!
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
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