Why Confidence Matters

Confidence

IMG_3214.JPG

I have been thinking quite a bit about this word lately because this feeling is so important in our lives.   It is such an interesting and thought provoking word.

We all want our kids to be confident and it is why we (as parents) constantly seek programs they will love – it might be music, soccer, gymnastics, dance, baseball, and science.  We want them to find their passion in life and to find it they have to be open to trying things that are hard, challenging, and sometimes scary. 

Confidence give us the courage to try something daunting, it gives us strength in moments of self doubt, it allows us to persevere when others (or our mind) tell us “you can’t”, and it allows us to find our passion. 

It turns out that there is data proving how critical and formative confidence can be in our lives.  What has been found is a concept called “relative deprivation” – basically how we feel about our abilities in relation to our peers. 

 
What matters, in determining the likelihood of getting a science degree, is not just how smart you are. It’s how smart you feel relative to the other people in your classroom.
— Malcolm Gladwell (Best Selling Author of Tipping Point, Blink)

Think about that quote for a second, the likelihood of graduating with a highly sought after degree, depends on how you feel about yourself.   How you feel about your abilities – your self-perception of your academic skills influences your willingness to tackle challenges, finish difficult tasks, and persevere.

And why does that matter? Well, we all want our kids to have a successful and meaningful career.  We cannot convince or motivate them to finish a STEM degree, but we can give them the tools to enjoy it and remain resilient in the face of the obstacles they will encounter.

 
More than half of all American students who start out in science, technology, and math programs (STEM) drop out after their first or second year of college. Even though a science degree is just about the most valuable asset a young person can have in the modern economy.

That is a major reason that there is a shortage of qualified educated scientists and engineers in the United States.
— Malcolm Gladwell (Best Selling Author or Tipping Point, Blink)

Which brings me full circle to Kids Science Labs.  As parents, it is very cool to see the amazing projects our kids create each week and to hear them speak about concepts like “viscosity” & “tension” that they really have a handle on.  What is harder to comprehend are the long term benefits of exposing kids to science and problem solving when they are young and their most creative.  And allowing them to tinker, innovate, make mistakes, and create their own designs.  

There is something about solving a problem that is deeply satisfying – from fixing a leak to understanding integrals.  This can happen during the little moments at home when we encourage our kids to keep trying to solve a problem or finding programs where our kids are both challenged and feel safe to make mistakes.  Confidence to solve problem matters and it can be one of the most valuable investments you make in your children.   

As my 5 yr old daughter said to me one Friday night when I asked her why she wanted to build an airplane, “because Daddy…..I am a builder and a scientist”.   That moment will always be with me as a Dad.

The Joy of Science

It has been such a great summer at KSL. Our first year with seven (yes seven) centers and over 425 kids a week! The summer is so rewarding to all of us, and it is so busy, we don’t often take a moment to say thank you. It is a joy to be able to work with your kids each and everyday - Thank You!

We see creations like jet packs, self designed computers (that really function), future home designs, flying airplanes, and spy alert devices to keep little brothers out. These not only amaze us, they keep us creative, and we are honored to see the talent our students have.

We are a bit sad to see summer coming to an end, but excited to begin our weekly classes in September for toddlers to 6th graders. Early access to science and problem solving matters, and helps kids retain their natural creativity. And the World needs more creators, problem solvers, and innovators.

Thank you for being part of KSL.

Keith

At Home Science Experiments your Kids will love - July 2019

Friday, we had a chance to hang out with the great team on WGN and do some hands-on science experiments. It was a great morning, where we got to explore polymers, make slime, talk about chemical reactions, and how strong everyday materials (cups and cardboard) can be .

Each and every day, we are looking to enable the next generation of creative thinkers and science is a tremendous vehicle for learning how things work, especially for children 2-14 yrs old.  Every class we teach starts with a question kids ask everyday, which we use to explore and focus on guiding them to find answers, instead of just telling kids something abstract in a science book.  Bringing science to life with context makes it accessible, fun, and interesting.  

We want to share some fun science experiments you can do at home. They are interactive, simple, fun, and hopefully we spark hours of fun.

Fluffy Slime (exploring viscosity and bonds)

We get it, slime is all the rage. What is very cool about slime is all the different combinations of materials that result in different viscous substances. Try different combinations of glue, shaving cream, baking soda, saline solution, food coloring and see what happens.

We will start you with an all-time favorite and let you and your kids take it from there. Create your own fully slime with the below:

  • Ingredients: 2/3 Cup Glue, 1/4 Cup Water, 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda, 2-3 cups Shaving Cream, 1.5 tablespoons saline solution (with boric acid)

  • Order of Mixing: (1) 2/3 Cup Glue, (2) Add Water and Baking Soda Solution, (3) Add Shaving Cream and mix thoroughly, (4) Add Food Coloring (5) Add Saline Solution and mix well.

  • Mixing: you will need to mix for 5-10 minutes (knead) after adding the Saline Solution. The slime will be sticky at first and will slowly become less and less sticky.

  • We recommend an adult mix the materials or be present when your child is mixing

 


Mentos and Coke

This one is pretty spectacular and we recommend Diet Coke (no sticky sugar) and a nice place outside. A 2 liter of Diet Coke will do the trick. You can purchase a mentos dropper for the top of the bottle (or honestly dropping 3 mentos in quickly works just as well) and then move back fast :). You will create a 10ft+ fountain of greatness.


Make your own roller coaster

This is a very fun challenge at home. A couple 6 ft pieces of foam insulation, easily purchased at Home Depot, some duck tape and a marble is all you need. This can be hours of fun creating and recreating tracks. We would recommend at least three 6 ft pieces of foam tubing.

Here are a couple of keys things to remember

  • Cut the foam tubing as straight as possible

  • Try to keep duck tape out of the track

  • Do not make the slope from the wall to the floor too steep

  • Don’t be afraid to leverage duck tape or boxes to keep the track stable

Here are some ideas for rollercoaster challenges (1) can you get a loop to work (2) how about jumps (3) angle the track sideways (4) how about adding hills (5) what is the greatest distance you can get the marble to travel.


How about a Chemical Reaction

This one everyone can do at home. We all have baking soda and vinegar in the cabinets. Place the vinegar in one cup and the baking soda in the other. When you combine them, you are forming a chemical reaction. If you want to try to make it even better add some dish soap to the vinegar, mix, and then add it to a new cup of baking soda.

Ingredients Needed

  • Two small cups
    Baking Soda
    Vinegar
    Dishsoap (optional)

We recognize that having fun is important, and while music, sports, other activities are indeed fantastic, children as young as 2 yrs old can experiment with science everyday from a popsicle that melts and why viscosity is cool. That's science. That's KSL. 

At Home Science Experiments Everyone Can Do

At Home Science on a Cold Day

It sure is cold in Chicago with -20 degree temperatures outside. Since we are all trapped inside, we thought it would be helpful to share three at home science ideas which will keep your kids off the screens, interested, and learning.



Fort Building - Project #1

A fort can be a special place to read a book, play games, share stories with friends, or keep us warm in this cold weather.  The cool thing is this project is filled with hidden science (stability, measurement, design trade offs, cross bracing) and most importantly fun.

Build a fort, you can do it! Take some of your blankets, old amazon boxes, nearby furniture, and a cool lantern to create a space that is warm cozy and insulated from the freezing weather outside. It is also a magical place for imagination, creativity, and a place your kids can call their own.

This is a great way to challenge your kids with questions and encourage them to create. Can you make an entrance into your fort without all of the cold seeping in? How can you use your imagination to think about house design - do you want a secret storage area, skylight, retractable roof, windows, different rooms, a living room with a couch and book holder.

P.S. - if you want full instructions on how to create a fort, check out our Nov 2017 blog past

Melt Snow.PNG

Melt the Cold Snow - Project #2

Have you ever wondered what was in the back of the big snowplows that drive down the snow covered streets?   The trucks are full of salt and sand to not only help give grip to the road so cars don’t slip and slide, but also to help melt the snow (by lowering the freezing temperature of water).  Test it out at home by scooping up some of the cold snow outside in a cup or bowl.  Add small pinches of salt at a time to see what happens to the snow?  Does it stay cold and solid? Does it melt?   What other kitchen items can you melt the snow with?  Should we put ketchup on our streets?

Snowballs are cool, so is playdoh - Project #3

How about designing your own playdoh? This is a great hands on experiment that won’t mess up the house too much.

If I bring snow in from outside, it would be too cold to play with and melt.  There is something we all can create which is fun to play with that is kind of like snow. Try making a simple dough batter out of Flour, Salt, water and a little oil.  Experiment with the different ratios of flour and water to find the perfect dough.  Can you make a snowman that doesn’t melt?







Kids Science Labs rocks WGN Around Town

An amazing morning of science with Ana Belaval & WGN

Today we had a chance to hang out with one of our favorite people, Ana Belaval from WGN and do some hands-on science.  It was a great morning, where we got to explore polymers, water filters, the properties of dry ice, and how strong everyday materials  (cups and cardboard) can be to build a real chair.  

Each and every day, we are looking to enable the next generation of creative thinkers and science is a tremendous vehicle for learning how things work, especially for children 2-14 yrs old.  Every class we teach starts with a question to explore and focus on guiding kids to find answers, instead of just telling them something abstract in a science book.  Bringing science to life with context makes it accessible, fun, and interesting.  

We recognize that having fun is important, and while music, sports, other activities are indeed fantastic, children as young as 2 yrs old can experiment with a popsicle that melts and why viscosity is cool. That's science. That's KSL. 

Check out the video here  via.wgntv.com/hKDYi