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Archive for the ‘General Science’ Category

New Boogie Boards & Play n Trace

Boogie Boards are a fun item where you draw on a flat surface, then press a button that erased the screen. We sold lots of them and while they were aweseom there were a few minor shortcomings: They were a bit thick, not as bright as they could be, and to stand them up you had to lean them on something, it was also very hard to replace the battery if you needed to, but since they would last around 20,000-50,000 erasings this didn’t really come up much.

Now Kent Displays has come up with an improved model – along with a new version for younger kids. First the new model : Meet the Boogie Board Jot 8.5″:

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Sky Runner – The Quadracopter Toy

So we’ve carried little indoor helicopter toys, such as this Mini-Flyer Soccer Ball. They are great fun at a low price. But now the same company that makes the Mini-Flyers has added the new Sky Runner, an indoor/outdoor quadracopter.

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New Product Time: More Goldie Blox, Deluxe Spirograph, and Kaleidoscope Bulb

Just a quick entry to show off some of the new products we have in stock on the web and in the store. Let’s start with Goldie Blox’s latest entry into their market: Goldie Blox and the Dunk Tank.

???????????????????????Like other entries in the Goldie Blox series, this engineering kit teaches basic principles for children aged 4-9 while also telling a story that girls can follow and learn.

Goldie needs to get her dog Nacho clean. Trouble is nacho hates water and loves being a dirty dog. After many tries to get Nacho clean, Goldie finally comes up with the perfect contraption. As kids read along, they help Goldie build a dunk tank (and learn about hinges and levers) to get Nacho clean. All parts with tis set work with piece from the other parts of the Goldie Blox series.  In this entry students learn about hinges and levers!

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Artec Science Kits part 2

We continue with more of the great, low-cost products from Artec. First up is the Make your own Litmus Paper

5082With this kit, kids will use the colorful reactions of acids and bases on litmus paper to learn about the pH scale. You can even draw with the colorful reactive litmus papers you make. 5082a Its a great intro in the world of chemistry and fun for kids as yougn as 6 years old.

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Goldie Blox and the Spinning Machine

We’ve had our strong disagreements with efforts to get more girls interested in science. While some feel the effort should not be made to appeal to girls at all (not out of chauvanism, but out of the idea that there should be no consideration for gender learning & play processes) our main issue has often been with the very poor execution of said efforts: from the utterly disastrous European Commision’s ‘Science, Its a girl Thing’  video  to several science toy companies very poor efforts to appeal to girls by presenting them with inferior versions of boy’s science toys.

The key problem in the past has been a lack of innovation. Slapping a pink label on a science kit, putting a pretty, pretty princess on the box, disguising the kit as something else besides science GoldieBloxcharacterare all things that have been tried before and hardly even qualified as ‘innovation’.  But now at least some efforts are being made to address the issue.

Goldie Blox is a case of  innovation that would not exist without the internet. The company is a start-up, not  a major toy company, and was funded via kickstarter, the famous home of armchair venture angel investors. The company was conceived by Debbie Starling, a Stanford engineer who has made it her life’s work to tackle the gender gap in science & engineering.

Starling’s idea was simple: do some actual research on how girls play & learn and then design a product that would be educational and fun. The research found that girls tend to ‘play with purpose’. In other words, they want an end to their means. While boys may take a construction toy and start slapping pieces together, girls prefer to have some reason to do so. (Note: we are grossly, grossly overstating the research here).

To that end the character of Goldie Blox was invented. Unlike the blonde princess of Be Amazing’s girl toy line or a Barbie Doll, Goldie has overalls and a tool belt.

For a toy with purpose, a story was made for the toy to be demonstrated: Goldie has a pet dog named Nacho (along with a lot of other friends as we shall see). Nacho wants to chase his tail, and Goldie wants to help out. To that end Goldie develops the Spinning Machine.

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The story of the Spinning Machine is told with a book included with the Spinning Machine. As children read they also build various parts and extensions to the Spinning Machine. The story does not just begin and end with a tail-chasing dog named Nacho, soon everyone is in on the act and the Spinning Machine gets quite complicated:

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While children work with the Spinning Machine they learn a lot of basic concepts about a system known as a belt drive, which is used in all sorts of machinery.

As indicated from the title, this is expected to be part of a whole series of science/engineering toys not merely aimed at girls, but designed for girls. Time will tell if it is a success but so far the pre-launch hype has definitely garner attention.

Do you want to buy Goldie Blox and the Spinning Machine?

www.spectrum-scientifics.com

 

 

 

 

 

Spectrum Scientifics July Newsletter

Our July email newsletter was sent this morning! Loads of new products, Science in Action, and Tools for Teachers.

The newsletter can be viewed online at this link.

You can also subscribe to our Newsletter at this link

One Million Things book series

An underrated good seller in our store is the ‘One Million Things’ series of books.

One Million Things

This book series is full of pages and pages of multiple topics from states of matter to fish to flags  to genetic.  Every page is a wealth of info on a topic with lots of gorgeous photography that DK Publications is known for! They describe is as a museum, a search engine, and a garage sale of information all rolled into one. They aren’t wrong!

Two specialty versions of this book are carried by Spectrum Scientifics. The First is One Million Things Planet Earth

One Million Things Planet Earth

Still full of lots of random information, but this time with a focus on our planet topics like Transportation and Deposition, the Water Cycle and different kinds of rocks all make up the excellent pages of this book.

Of course, we could not resist a version of One Million Things with the title of ‘One Million Things – Science

One Million Things Science

From evolution to states of matter to motion there are pages with a wealth of information and incredible photography that really conveys the idea behind the science concepts.

The Million Things series has been a finalist in many book awards. They are great for visual learners or for people who just love excellent layouts, information, and photography!

www.spectrum-scientifics.com