Fun-At-Home Extra Activities

Check out all the past activities we have collected just for you! Or you can go here to see today’s activity!

Quick Jump!

May 26, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Cookie Mining

No need to find a mine for today’s activity; just a cookie!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Today you were a miner. Mining is an important step to making the finished products used every day. Depending on the material mined, it can be very useful in our lives, and there are some things we could not go without. Check out more about these minerals

Mining is likely just one step in the process. These minerals go through many processes to make them useful. For example, let’s take ore. With this cool process, we are able to make the mineral ore into steel

This is not a new thing that humans just figured out. However, engineers and other manufacturing professionals are continuing to improve the process. The history of iron and steel can be traced back to 3500 BC. Take a glance at the history of these two materials

Today’s Couch Time!

From the mines to the couch, consider diving in to the mining life with October Sky (1999) or exploring a movie about a robot made out of iron with Iron Giant (1999). What about a fun one that considers scarce resources, like Rango (2011).

And if you are looking to learn even more, check out some episodes of How It’s Made. Most of the things in our homes started as just basic materials.

Today’s Boredom Buster!

With extra time today, think about what goes into items around you. Can you find some items made out of steel? What resources do you use that might be hard to get, or may someday be a scarce resource.

And while we may have missed National Chocolate Chip Day, we can still celebrate before going to bed> Check out this Bedtime Math: National Chocolate Chip Day

May 22, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Check out X-STEM All Access – Life Beyond our World (starting 4 minutes in)

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Both speakers for today, Christina Koch and Bobak Ferdows, are engineers dedicated to exploring the world beyond the Earth. Engineers explore problems everywhere, even in outer space! They work together to solve problems and create a better future for humankind.

Most of us have spent our whole lives on Earth. One day we might be able to live in space on the moon or a different planet. Working together engineers, scientists, and other experts continue to develop ways to travel into space and experiment to help us learn more about space and explore beyond our world. Check out this cool history of space travel.

What do you think it is like to live in space? Let’s hear from an astronaut what they have learned about living in space.

Today’s Couch Time!

While we can’t go into space today, we can watch a movie about it. Today consider watching Wall-e (2008), Home (2015), or Edge of the Universe (2008). What do you think we would need to consider for space travel? What would you take with you if you were heading into space? What else do you think we need to learn about space to allow for more people to have this experience?

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Look around your house. Let’s really consider the question: What would you need to take with you? Maybe some LEGO or a certain blanket? Make a list of the things that you would want to take with you if you were going to travel into space. If there were life on other planets, what would you want to take to show them or give them as a gift of friendship? Remember that you don’t have much space. Be creative with your choices.

And maybe that list includes a donut? Take your math to the next level with this Bedtime Math: Donut in Outer Space

May 21, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Check out X-STEM All Access – Science that Saves (starting 5 minutes in)

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Science is awesome! Doctors, Nurses, Researchers, and other medical staff work every day to better understand the human body. So let’s be scientists and learn more about human body!

Take a look at the Exciting Experiments and Medical Mysteries

There are so many cool facts about the body, so keep learning with these 15 fascinating facts

One body part that we still have a lot to learn about is the brain. Let’s fill our brains with more knowledge to see what we can explore by checking out

Today’s Couch Time!

It’s fun to think about what it would be like to be inside someone’s head, check out Inside Out (2015) or Magic School Bus: Human Body. You can also check out some funny ones like Innerspace (1987) or Osmosis Jones (2001).

And for those lifelong learners, hear more about the human body with What the Health and The Mind: Explained.

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Try to draw a picture of your­self and write down some cool things you learned. What do we still have to learn about the bodies? Do you know the names of any bones or body parts?

Don’t forget that Your Body Rocks with this Bedtime Math!

Today’s Thing to Do! – ISEK LEGO Free Build Challenge

This Weeks Challenge: Build your own secret hideout!

Once you have completed your model, with adult permission, snap a picture or two, tell us a little bit about it and yourself in an email to us at isek@iastate.edu, or again with adult permission, submit it to our Facebook or Instagram.

May 19, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

For today’s activity, check out X-STEM All Access – Conservation and the Climate (starting 7 minutes in)

Today’s Deeper Dive!

After watching the video, consider doing this worksheet and reflection questions

Conservation is about protecting resources like water, soil, minerals, wildlife, and forests so that we have access to them in the future. If we use all the resources today, we will not have enough resources for tomorrow. If we practice conservation today, we are able to better prepare for the future when we will need those resources. Let’s learn more from the Traveling Teacher

Not only do we need to make sure we have enough resources, we also need to ensure that Earth is livable in the future. You may have heard the term Climate Change. This is all about the idea that the climate (the environment) we live in is changing. There can be lots of reasons as to why these changes are happening, but it is a problem that we need to solve as we think about a healthy future. Let’s take a look to see what NASA has to say about climate change

Today’s Couch Time!

Conservation of resources and nature comes in many forms and can work hand and hand. Today take a moment to appreciate Earth. Take a walk and think about the ground you are stepping on. How long has it been there? What else walked in that exact spot before you?

And when you get back and want some couch time, consider checking on Mission Blue (2014) (if you haven’t already seen it), America Wild: National Park Adventures (2016), Pocahontas (1995), or any other nature themed movie or television show you can think of.

Today’s Boredom Buster!

What can you do to help protect Earth so we can live on it for a long time? Make a list of ideas that you can do to save resources or limit climate change. Then commit to trying one tomorrow!

And a small (but tall) order before going to bed, check out this cool Bedtime Math: A Baby that Towers over You

May 18, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

For today’s activity, check out X-STEM All Access – Shattering STEM Stereotypes

Today’s Deeper Dive!

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) encompasses lots of different concepts, processes, mindsets, ideas, as well as careers. Together they shape the world as we know it and see it today. However, there are many stereotypes out there about these fields.

A stereotype is a common held belief about something that is more often than not, false. Like thinking someone is really good at basketball because they are tall, or something like mom’s must love to cook, or even that kids are too young to be problem solvers. One common stereotype about people who like STEM is that they are brains and maybe no fun. You may have also heard words like “nerd” or “geek” about people who like STEM. Well, truth is that you don’t have to be a “nerd” to be in one of these fields. And if you are, that’s fine, too! Plus, we really think geeking out on something is cool, because geekdom is the road to mastery.

We also know that you will continue to use math into your adult life. Math can be seen and found all around you. From the springtime flowers to picking out what size of an area rug to put in your home to handling money to pay for things – all things lead back to math.

You do not need to love math and science to be a future engineer. Sure, engineers know and use math and science, but they are passionate about solving the world’s (and sometimes even larger) problems.

Arts and creativity can also be seen in these fields. These professionals are innovative and resourceful. There are lots of creative applications for people that like to be artistic and expressive.

What other STEM stereotypes can you think of? Consider making a list, so we can break down these stereotypes together.

Today’s Couch Time!

The fields of STEM touch almost everything we see. Find a movie of television show that you see science, technology, engineering, or math. There are many. Maybe it has to do with medicine, physics, chemistry, animals, robots, computers, coding, buildings, vehicles, manufacturing, creating, problem solving, or calculating. It could be a sports movie, television show about forensics, a Disney movie or a documentary. If you haven’t seen an episode of NOVA on PBS, or movies like Hidden Figures, Dream Big, or Big Hero 6, consider watching one.

What do you think is related to STEM in the movie or show that you chose? What do you think is a STEM skill or mindset that you admired in a person or character?

Today’s Boredom Buster!

If you have extra time, consider drawing what you think different STEM professionals look like. Remember STEM is more than the stereotypes we hear and see. Think of as many different STEM professions as you can.

We said math is everywhere, so check out this fun Bedtime Math about becoming a math whiz

May 15, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Exploring Our Oceans Webinar!

There is an awesome webinar at 12pm central time today all about exploring our planet with oceanographer Dr. David Gallo and underwater cave explorer Jill Heinerth. Check it out live or the recording later

Today’s Deeper Dive!

What do you know about the ocean? Share what you know and then check out this video with 101 Facts about the Ocean

While we have a beautiful ocean, lots of plastic also ends up in the ocean, too. How much do you think ends up in the ocean? Why do you think it matters? Let’s learn more about the plastic in the ocean

Today’s Couch Time!

Watch something about the ocean. Do you like Nemo or Little Mermaid? Both are so amazing and all about the underwater adventures.

If you want to dive deep into the ocean with an oceanographer, check out Mission Blue. Available on Netflix.

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Let’s think about sea creatures. It is estimated 50-80% of all life on Earth is found under the ocean, and less than 10% of the ocean has been explored. What type of sea creatures do you think we still have yet to find? Take a piece of paper and draw it out or describe it to a family member.

And before jumping into bed, let’s check out the ocean one more time: Bedtime Math: That’s One Heavy Ocean and if you still can’t fall asleep, start singing the ‘Baby Shark’ song and that should do the trick!

May 14, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Coffee Filter Chromatography

Today’s Deeper Dive!

There are so many cool things about light and spectrums. Here’s some cool things to know with a good explanation about how light works

Why does light have such a large spectrum? What else can we do with light that we can’t see?

Here are some examples of how scientists at Iowa State are using light

If you think physics is fascinating and want to explore how to become a physicist

Today’s Couch Time!

If you want to watch a fun movie that uses waves and light, explore Abominable (2019) available on Hulu. How do they use waves and light in this movie? (even if it is seen as magic)

And if you just want to see the beauty in how light reflects off of amazing places around the world, check out the National Geographic website for so, so many videos of the amazing sights of our world.

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Before bed, try to think of what else physics can explain. What else have you always wondered about but couldn’t explain? Gravity? Driving? Try to make a list and save them for a later time to learn about and explore.

Before turning off the lights tonight, check out this Bedtime Math about using light and heat: Bedtime Math: The Flashlight that Fries Eggs

Today’s Thing to Do! – ISEK LEGO Free Build Challenge

This Weeks Challenge: Re-create an everyday household item.

Once you have completed your model, with adult permission, snap a picture or two, tell us a little bit about it and yourself in an email to us at isek@iastate.edu, or again with adult permission, submit it to our Facebook or Instagram.

May 12, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Discovering New Crystals

Today’s Deeper Dive!

While you are waiting for your crystals to form, let’s learn more. Did you know that crystals form in different shapes? Why do you think that is? The different shapes depend on the material’s made up on the atomic level. Everything you see is made out of atoms (the smallest form of matter). Crystals take on the shape of their atom structure they are made of.

Today’s Couch Time!

Keep rocking and rolling! Let’s find a movie with rocks and crystals in it. Maybe you could watch Moana (2016), a movie with pyramids in it or mountains. You can also check out Frozen (2013). What do you notice about the rocks you see? Are they all the same? And for older kids, with adult permission you might check out Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) or Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).
Or check out this video from TED-Ed

Today’s Boredom Buster!

If you have time today, consider going outside and seeing what rocks or crystals (if you are lucky) you can find! What do they feel like? Are they large? Are they small?

There have been some large crystals found. Let’s check in out in our Bedtime Math: Cave of Crazy Crystals

May 11, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Innovation at it’s Finest

Take a look at how people innovate and push the world forward.

Today’s Deeper Dive!

How have inventions and innovations made your life better? What are some problems that you can think of that need inventions or innovations?

What are some inventions or innovations that surprised you? What do you think will top the lists for the next 30 years of your lifetime?

Today’s Couch Time!

After your activity, wind down with a couple of fun movies about invention and innovation! You can watch Meet the Robinsons (2007) or Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009).

If you want more to watch, Mr. Peabody and Sherman (2014) is also a fun choice.

Do they use inventions or innovations? Do they use both? What inventions or innovations do they come up with? How do they solve their problems?

Today’s Boredom Buster!

If you have some more time, try to come up with some more inventions or innovations! Grab a piece of paper and pencil and write down anything that you can think of. What are some of the things that you came up with? How do these improve your life? I’d like to be able to 3D print hamburgers and fries when I’m hungry, and even chat with friends by holograph. What cool things would you like to think may be used as part of the future?

And before getting cozy in your bed, let’s do some Bedtime Math: The Craziest Invention

May 8, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Puplic Speaking

Today’s Deeper Dive!

with adult permission, you could go out and visit the TedX website and think of something you would like to know more about. Watch the speakers for how they use their body language, voice, sense of humor and other things to really tell you all about something in a short period of time. Consider watching some of the kids who have presented at TedX.

What did you learn from them and how might it help you if you were trying to share information that was important to you with others? Would you be willing to think about something you could talk to a group about? Maybe you really want to see more trees planted in the park, so you have the courage to reach out to someone in city government who you could share your ideas with? That would be really cool of you.

Today’s Couch Time!

All that speaking make you kind of tired, maybe wanting to just take a little rest on the voice? Why not watch some movies where kids have developed their own voice and been courageous enough to speak up and use what makes them unique to teach others. How about watching Wonder (2017), Mulan (1998), The Iron Giant (1999), or Brave (2012) – this is a great way to find some courage for future speaking.

Today’s Boredom Buster!

So many people to talk with, so little time (for today)! Consider all the different ways people communicate. We talked today about verbal (or voice) communication, but have you ever considered that a lot of what you say you don’t actually say out of your mouth? There is a lot in how you hold your body, the expressions on your face and just the way you make eye contact. Check out these rocks that may not be able to tell you something, but they sure get their emotions across.

May 7, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Flowcharts

Show us how you think!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

You are all bright! Share your thinking with the world, and it doesn’t always have to be serious!

Let this flow chart that explains how to play Pictionary

Or maybe you identify with this one:

And Mother’s Day is around the corner:

And if you want to dive deeper into flow charts check out

Today’s Couch Time!

If you’re winding down after your activity, find a movie that you can watch together by making a decision flow chart. Does the family feel like it should be funny, more serious, a family favorite, or maybe today, you will decide to watch Home or the LEGO Movie! If you need more help figuring it out, check out this amazing family movie flowchart.

What decisions did you make?

Today’s Boredom Buster!

If you have time, make some more fun flowcharts! Take your favorite book or movie, and create a flow chart of the decisions that they had to make. If the main character would have gone left instead of right, would they have still accomplished that they needed to? It’s up to you to decide! Be creative and add to the story as you want! Would you have changed the story through a different decision?

While you have been thinking about your decision making, it is time for bed (and some Bedtime Math)! Today’s Bedtime Math is One Way or the Otter.

Today’s Thing to Do! – ISEK LEGO Free Build Challenge

This Weeks Challenge: Create a hero from your everyday life

Once you have completed your model, with adult permission, snap a picture or two, tell us a little bit about it and yourself in an email to us at isek@iastate.edu, or again with adult permission, submit it to our Facebook or Instagram.

May 5, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Kicking It!

Enjoy Kicking It as we learn about the force of momentum.

Today’s Deeper Dive!

What we know about forces and momentum apply to almost everything in the universe. There are a few people that defy rules of momentum and gravity with their superpowers

Today’s Couch Time!

Today well you take a load off, watch your favorite superhero movie. Can you find a place in the movie that they defy gravity or momentum

Today’s Boredom Buster!

If you have some free time, come up with your own superhero! What would they look like? Would they follow the rules of physics? What would their superpower be?

And don’t forget math time before bedtime! Bedtime Math: One Eye on The Prize

May 4, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Sustainability

Green Team

Today’s Deeper Dive!

What other ecosystems can you think of? What can affect an ecosystem and disturb it? What else can we do to become more sustainable in our daily living? What is happening on a large scale to affect our world’s ecosystem?

Today’s Couch Time!

Once you’re winding down from your walk, why not watch the Lorax (2012) or even Moana (2016). There are also great documentaries about our world’s ecosystems like the Greatest Places (1998) made for IMAX.

What do they do to affect their ecosystems? How do they fix them? How do they become sustainable? Or how are they sustainable?

Today’s Boredom Buster!

We could count ecosystems and probably fall asleep faster than counting sheep, but think of all of the possible ecosystems you interact with no matter how small. Try to make a list of all the ecosystems you can think of and consider what lives in them and what makes them special.

And don’t forget math time before bedtime! Bedtime Math: Why Koalas Hug Trees

May 1, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Made in Iowa

Check out all the great products that were made in Iowa!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

There are loads of things that are made in Iowa. Check out this website and see if something is made in a town near you

And watch this video about Iowa’s manufacturing history

You may never want to throw another pencil away when you watch how much work goes into manufacturing them

And if you really want to learn more about the future of manufacturing

Today’s Couch Time!

Watch this hilarious scene from a classic show, I Love Lucy, where an assembly line gets a bit out of hand, literally. These ladies could sure use the help of modern automation!

You can also check out some fun with the movie, STORKS (PG).

Today’s Boredom Buster!

If you could make something and be a manufacturer of a product, what would it be? Sometimes it might be fun to be able to make a certain candy through food manufacturing, or what about a certain toy? Video game? A product that helps people stay well? Whatever it is, consider starting a notebook or journal with all your amazing ideas.

And if that doesn’t make you a little sleepy, learn about another person in Iowa who has quite a production of products of her own at this Bedtime Math

April 30, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Creating Skills Through Chain Reactions

Let’s take a second to develop the core… your personal core values that is! Let’s dive in to Creating Skills through Chain Reactions.

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Check out how LEGO® got started with this short movie and the core values that the inventor of LEGO had to get the company up and running

When things don’t go as planned,what inspires you to keep going?

And check out how optimism and seeing the good in things can go a long ways to helping our attitudes and behaviors in being true professionals.

Today’s Couch Time!

Today’s relaxing movie time can be almost any movie. Just like people, characters have to have core values. See if you can identify the characters’ ethics and core values. Which character has a positive attitude? If you need some movie ideas, check out Brave, Coco, or Queen of Katwe.

Today’s Boredom Buster!

The University of Maryland did a research study that calculated that the average person has about 12,000-60,000 thoughts per day with a majority of them being negative, and 95% of them being the same as the day before. As you think of ending this day, what are good thoughts that you hope you will have tomorrow? Take a minute to jot them down and look at them again tomorrow.

The toucan doesn’t let having a big beak get in the way of a flying good time. Check out this bird with big positive attitude in tonight’s Bedtime Math

April 29, 2020

Today’s Thing to Do! – ISEK LEGO Free Build Challenge

This Weeks Challenge: Build Your Favorite Outdoor Activity or Thing You Enjoy in Nature

Once you have completed your model, with adult permission, snap a picture or two, tell us a little bit about it and yourself in an email to us at isek@iastate.edu, or again with adult permission, submit it to our Facebook or Instagram.

Today’s Deeper Dive!

It’s the time of year when the bees start to reappear. Maybe they’re even talking to you as they fly by, so go ahead and check out their awesome building skills and strong work habits
Want to see some amazing LEGO® sculptures inspired by nature, check out Sean Kenney’s Nature Connects exhibit that got its start at Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University

Today’s Couch Time!

And in case you didn’t catch what the buzz was all about, enjoy the Bee Movie (2007) and show me the honey! Or there are so many amazing nature movies you can watch created for IMAX, or consider a great throwback like Fly Away Home (1996) or if you want some laughs about a family exploring nature, check out RV (2006).

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Maybe you love getting out in nature to be active and enjoy some movement and exercise. In that case, make yourself a to-do list to find the sidewalk chalk and check out this Bedtime Math.

April 28, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Paper Airplanes

Today’s Deeper Dive!

To learn about the physics of how planes fly watch this video from We the Curious

A lot goes into the design of airplanes. Think of everything that might be needed to be considered on airplanes. Today we talked a lot about the wings of the plane. Aerospace engineers help design airplane wings like you did! Learn more about what these engineers do with some ISU Engineering Students

Today’s Couch Time!

For those wanting to see more flying action look no further than How to Train Your Dragon (2010). Older kids can watch Tom Hanks fly an airplane in Sully (2016) or older kids might also enjoy watching some of the Star Wars movies and thinking about the aircraft of the future. For younger audiences, check out Disney Planes (2013) or if you like to ‘move it, move it’ watch some Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) as the animals have some high flying fun.

Today’s Boredom Buster!

If you could design your own airplane, what would it look like? What would it be made of? Grab a piece of scratch paper and design. Skies the limit to your imagination!

Fly off to bed with this Bedtime Math: Gargantuan Paper Airplane

April 27, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Biomimicry Challenge

(Bio)mimicry is the best form of flattery

Today’s Deeper Dive!

What else can we do with biomimicry? Nature is so diverse, and we can learn so much from it. How else has biomimicry been used? How can we get involved and become more sustainable in our designs and processes?

Check out what Iowa State is doing with biomimicry and trees

Here you can find more about what people are doing with biomimicry

You can learn more about the real 2020 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge here

Today’s Couch Time!

For an educational video about biomimicry, watch Biomimcry (2015) which can be accessed via the link below.

Or you can watch the Nature of Things: Biomimicry (2003)

For a more fun movie, you can watch FernGully (1992) or another nature-related movie.

What examples of biomimicry did the films provide? What do you think we can learn from nature?

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Instead of thinking about how we can use nature, try to think about what animals use to adapt to their environments. What unique feature does each animal you think of have?

How do they use this feature to sustain their life in the wild? Try to make a list of everything you can think of.

Take a second to look into this cool Bedtime Math: Putting the Jelly in Jellyfish

April 24, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Stargazing

Things are beginning to look up.

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Are we able to live on other planets? Or can we just live on Earth? What is necessary to sustain life? If you want to think some more, try to think of what can happen to people while they are in space.

While you’re at it, check out the research happening at Iowa State about what happens to people in space

Or check out what living on another planet would be like

If you’re interested in space and planets, look at what you need to do to become an astronomer!

And maybe one day, you will want to do some space travel of your own as a astronaut! You could explore plants, stars, or maybe (just maybe) you could explore a galaxy. Check out more about what it takes to be an astronaut here

Today’s Couch Time!

Before your activity check out some of what NASA is doing with telescopes and our solar system.

Here you can explore the solar system

Here you can explore the Hubble Space Telescope and control center, or even find what image the Hubble space telescope took on your birthday!

Movie time and chill? Yeah, we’ve got you covered for that, too. There are TONS of cool movies about space, the stars and more, but consider checking out the Astronaut Farmer (2006) for some inspiration.

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Think about what makes up the galaxy. What else is a part of our galaxy besides moons and planets? Think even bigger and think about what makes up our universe. Is there more than one universe? How big is space exactly? Try to make a list of what you think is beyond what our eye (or telescopes) can see and jot some comparisons and notes for each question.

Before dreaming of stars tonight, make sure to get some Bedtime Math in with Bedtime Math: Counting Stars with the Cows

April 23, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Water Cycle

Continue your celebration of Earth Day with this fun activity about Water Cycles and Clouds!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Water is such a strange chemical. It doesn’t act how many other chemicals act. Check out this video for more about its cool, weird behavior

Did you know that water affects many aspects of our life? Like our environment, atmosphere, and climate which make up the way we live. That’s why it is important to study and monitor the water cycle. It requires a big team of hydrologists, engineers, and scientists to make sure that our water cycle in all areas is functioning correctly, is clean and stays healthy. Many things can also affect our water cycle, like crops and temperature. Check out what NASA is doing to monitor the water cycle and the ocean

Want to become an environmental engineer or an agricultural engineer, you can check out what Iowa State is doing for water quality

If you are interested in becoming a hydrologist, here is how to become one

Today’s Couch Time!

Once you are done with your activity, you can sit down to watch “Bill Nye The Science Guy Water Cycle.

Or if you want to watch something more serious about climate change, you can watch Arctic Tale (2007) with parent permission.

What did you learn about the water cycle? What parts of the water cycle are there? How does the water cycle continuously function?

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Many functions on Earth function like the water cycle. Think about all of the other cycles on Earth. What can you think of besides the water cycle? Try to make a list of them. Try to think of the cycle you encounter every day and some that you do not see often. Here is an introduction to biogeochemical cycles

And before drifting off to sleep, don’t forget to check out this Bedtime Math: Yes, You’re made of water

April 22, 2020

Today’s Thing to Do! – ISEK LEGO Free Build Challenge

This Weeks Challenge: Build Your Favorite Holiday!

Once you have completed your model, with adult permission, snap a picture or two, tell us a little bit about it and yourself in an email to us at isek@iastate.edu, or again with adult permission, submit it to our Facebook or Instagram.

April 21, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Black Hole Activity

Learn about the formation of a black hole and make one yourself!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Did you know that over 200 scientists worked together in order to capture a picture of the first black hole? That’s right! From computer scientists to physicists to astronomers, this team of people took years of planning and implementing new methods to create an image of the black hole. Check out 10 things they learned along the way that will change how we see stars and black holes in the future

These scientists build their knowledge upon scientists before them. Watch this video to learn more about how we have come to understand a little about black holes before we even laid eyes on one.

Do you ever wonder what new discoveries will be next? Read these articles about NASA’s future plans and the exciting advancements of 2020!

Today’s Couch Time!

Take a break and check out the movie Space Chimps! It’s a fantastic story about Ham III, the great-grandson of the famous Ham, who was the first chimp to travel to space.

If chimpanzees don’t interest you, maybe puppies will! Watch Space Buddies and see what happens to these dogs while they embark on an unexpected journey to the moon!

And finally, if animals don’t interest you, watch the incredible film Wall-E. This movie is packed with technology, tears, and lessons that you and your family won’t want to miss!

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Even experts still have a lot to learn about black holes and many more to discover. Check out this fun article about 9 Ideas About Black Holes That Will Blow Your Mind. What do YOU think other black holes look like? Draw it out or think out loud! And don’t forget to share it with people close to you or virtually!

Check out these Bedtime Math activities to round out the evening and all that you have learned today.

April 20, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Leap Years

Leap in and learn more about the math of Leap Year!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

We talked about Leap Years, but did you know that we have Leap Seconds? While the leap years have a very strict schedule, leap seconds are a little more complicated. Check out these cool videos for more behind this interesting new trivia you can share with friends!

The Leap Second Explained | Space Time | PBS Digital Studios

Why Time will Stop for a Leap Second

The extra day of Leap Year may be just an extra day to us, but what about clocks? With digital clocks, they are able to calculate if the given February has 28 or 29 days. However, mechanical clocks aren’t so lucky. Check out this video about what happens in a watch to figure out the date correctly.

Today’s Couch Time!

For some relaxing time today, find a movie or show about Math like Cyberchase, SciGirls or Matilda.

If you are looking for something more Math-inspiring, check out shows like The Code (2011), Predictions by the Number, The Story of One, or The Story of Math.

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Math is all about understanding and exploring the world around us to better predict it. It goes hand and hand with physics. Pick your favorite number. Can you find that number around your house? For example, if your favorite number is 10, do you have exactly ten fingers? Are there exactly 10 steps from your bed to the bathroom? See how many you can find with your favorite number.

And before counting sheep, check out this Bedtime Math: Leap Day!

April 17, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Saving Energy A-Z

Make a list of all the ways you and your family can save energy in your home this week and have a little friendly competition to see who can be the BEST energy saver in your home!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

The challenge for FIRST LEGO League this year was all about making communities better and improving them for all types of people. Read more about smart cities and the advancements that environmental engineers are a part of in making this world a better place.

Are you wondering more about what you as a student can do to live more sustainably? Check out this video for some ideas!

People everywhere are trying to make their lives more sustainable. Read about the projects Iowa State students in the Engineers for a Sustainable World Club are working on in order to help make Iowa State be more environmentally friendly!

Today’s Couch Time!

Unwind for a little while and watch The Lorax! Think about all the ways that the Lorax is trying to “save the trees” and the impacts that normal human life has on the initiative to save the environment. See how working together as a community can change the atmosphere, literally. Take some relaxing time to think about other ways that you and your family can live more sustainably, whether that be recycling more, using less plastic products, having less food waste and more. The options are endless. See what you can do like the Lorax to make this world a better place!

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Okay, now don’t forget to shut out your light before you fall asleep. And as you get sleepy, let’s think about what you learned today from the activity, the movie, or the deeper dive. Don’t let the things you learned today stop now, think of the ways you can start tomorrow to work to save a little more energy each and every day! Check out these Bedtime Math activities:

April 16, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Throwing Machines

Learn the difference between a catapult and a trebuchet and build your own throwing machine!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Check out the design and features of the Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier. If you want to learn more about how aircraft carriers work, check out this video by the Art of Engineering.

Let’s take a step back to understand the mathematics behind levers and learn what it would take to lift the Earth!

What other factors do you think we need to take into account if we wanted to lift the Earth? To learn more about the physics behind this famous problem, check it out

Today’s Couch Time!

Watch this classic and think of which of your friends remember the kids in the Sandlot (1993), or check out Tangled (2010), or even the Night of the Museum (2006) to see great examples of catapults in action. Older kids can watch Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) to see catapults being used in medieval times. Can you find the catapults? Do they look anything like what you made?

Today’s Boredom Buster!

How could catapults or trebuchets help you in everyday life? Think about how you could make your life easier or more fun using one of these throwing machines. Draw it out or share it with someone.

Fruitcake isn’t everyone’s favorite treat to eat but it has become a classic pastime in Colorado. Learn more about National Fruitcake Toss Day. Well, that’s one way of getting rid of it! What other foods don’t you like that would be fun to give a big toss? Before going to bed dreaming of cupcakes and ice cream, check out this Bedtime Math

April 15, 2020

Today’s Thing to Do! – ISEK LEGO Free Build Challenge

This Weeks Challenge: Build Your Favorite Carnival or Amusement Park Ride

Once you have completed your model, with adult permission, snap a picture or two, tell us a little bit about it and yourself in an email to us at isek@iastate.edu, or again with adult permission, submit it to our Facebook or Instagram.

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Check out this amazing LEGO roller coaster model and its creator

Today’s Couch Time!

Check out the movie Wonder Park, or if want to say, “Howdy, Woody”, check out Toy Story 4. You can also go on a virtual roller coaster ride and never get their <a href="https://youtu.be/GSDxhF6GIUUcatchy song out of your head

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Check out some Bedtime Math with this roller coaster that goes right through the kitchen!

April 14, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Computer Components

While you may or may not be able to crack open a computer at home, we have you covered. Today we are learning about computers and their parts with Computer Components!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Think about the computers you use or see every day. How are they different from each other? What do they do? How do they each function unique to each other? Computers all have wide and unique purposes in our lives. Each day, computer engineers come up with new uses for computers that could be useful for hospitals, schools, and even renewable energy. Just think of all the possibilities available for computers.

While you’re at it, check out the history of computers at Iowa State!

Have you ever heard of the Atanasoff-Berry computer (ABC)? A former Iowa State University professor and graduate student built the first electronic digital computer! Read more about how things they created around 1940 are still used today.

Recently, a bridge was built in Ames and dedicated to John Vincent Atanasoff’s invention of the first computer. If you look closely at this bridge, there is a coded message that reads “John Vincent Atanasoff invented the first computer at Iowa State College in 1939”.

Iowa State’s innovation can also be seen in David Carlson’s invention of the infant respiratory augmentor

Today’s Couch Time!

Once you are done with your activity, settle down with some movies! You can watch a couple of fun movies such as Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase (2001) or Big Hero 6 (2014).

If you are looking for something more serious, you can watch the Imitation Game (2014) with parent permission.

Where do computers show up in these movies? How are they used?

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Think about all of the uses of computers. How are computers used every day? What are some weird uses for computers? Write a quick list of uses of computers that range from everyday use to uses that you would never think of. How do computers improve our everyday lives? Do you think that we could do everything we do today without them?

Here’s someone else who took it upon themselves to make their own device – check out this homemade video game

April 13, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Marble Roller Coasters

Can you engineer a roller coaster? Let’s try with today’s activity: Marble Roller Coaster!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Think about the people that design these roller coasters. What do they have to do to become experts on the safety and design of these rides?

What else do you think goes into the design of roller coasters? How high would you build your roller coaster?

Today’s Couch Time!

Take a look and virtually ride a couple of the rides at Virtual Disney World!

What do you notice about these rides compared to your roller coaster? Would you ride these amusement rides?

If you are in the mood for a movie, check out Wonder Park or (the classic) Scooby Doo movie. There is also an episode of Phineas and Ferb (season 1 ep. 1) where they build a roller coaster!

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Think about what you would add to any amusement park that you would like to visit. It can be any ride or activity. What would it be made of? What would it do? Would you base it off of your favorite hobby or show?

And before racing off to bed, check out tonight’s Bedtime Math: Roller Coaster Pro

April 10, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Forensic Clues

turning your space into a forensic science lab!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

What is a day of being a forensic scientist like? How do they get their start in this career? What do they enjoy?

Check out this interview with Michael Howard who has 29 years of experience in the field and uses forensic biology every day

Or you can check out the day in the life of forensic scientist George Schiro

The science behind fingerprints is fascinating and always improving! It is the reason we can identify a person from their fingerprints or even find out how old a fingerprint is.

Take a look at what Iowa State is doing with fingerprints

Today’s Couch Time!

Let’s investigate together! Check out the world of discovery and investigating with these two classic movies: The Goonies or the Great Mouse Detective.

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Think about other forms of evidence. What else could be used as evidence at a crime scene? A shoe? A piece of hair?

Try to think about 5 more different pieces of evidence that could solve a crime. Do you think these things are as reliable as DNA evidence?

From what you learned today, do you think you could solve crimes like a forensic scientist? Think about a day in their life and try to walk in their shoes.

And before drifting off to sleep, make sure to investigate your Bedtime Math of the day! Bedtime Math: Winning by a Finger

April 9, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Monster Genetics

Learn about Genetic Engineering in this fun activity!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Think about how different you are from the people around you, but in what ways are you the same? Think of your friends and what things you have in common. Twins are really cool, because if they’re identical twins then they share the same DNA with only slight variations between the twins. You may have seen twins before that look almost like the same person, just doubled. If twins are fraternal, they don’t look as similar.

Do you think that genes may affect the way we act as well? How would that affect twins? Even if we don’t always want to admit it, do you have brothers or sisters that act a lot like you or look like you? Maybe you look a lot like your mom – Mirror, mirror on the wall – am I my mother after all?!

Learn more on how twins can have their own personalities while sharing the same characteristics

And better yet, check out more on how to become a genetic engineer

Today’s Couch Time!

After you are done with your activity, check out this interesting documentary about genetic engineering, Human Nature Documentary (2019). Or if you want a good laugh and your adult says it is okay, check out a movie from way back, Twins (1988), or let’s get together, yeah, yeah, yeah and check out an even older movie that’s sure to give you some silly ideas, The Parent Trap (1961).

How do the professionals in this movie use genetic engineering? Do you think it is good or bad? Why?

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Learn about some simple punnet squares! You can do this quick activity to find a hereditary pattern in your family and about dominant and recessive genes. Make a 4×4 square and label the tops of each square with a characteristic of your parents but make sure they are the same characteristic like eyes or hair color. “Multiply” each characteristic in each square. Now your punnet square is filled and you can see a pattern of characteristics in your family.

Learn more here

And check out this Bedtime Math for what happens when twins have twins, oh, my!

April 8, 2020

ISEK LEGO Free Build Challenge

This Weeks Challenge: Build something that represents your favorite movie!

Once you have completed your model, with adult permission, snap a picture or two, tell us a little bit about it and yourself in an email to us at isek@iastate.edu, or again with adult permission, submit it to our Facebook or Instagram.

April 7, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Programming Cartoons

From a young age, we have been inspired by stories and today it is your turn to Program a Cartoon story. Go ahead and be creative!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Computer programming can be connected to many areas, from sports to friends to solving problems around food, computer science can help make the world a better place.

Engineers and computer scientists don’t always get it all right the first time. When a program has a problem, it’s a “computer bug”.

And here is why it’s called that!

And if you want to understand more about the history of software, check out this video.

And don’t forget about the first electronic digital computer made right here at Iowa State University: If you ever get a chance to visit Ames, check out the new road named after these innovators.

Computer science and software engineering are amazing and impact the world and how we see it. If you were a software engineer, what would you want to program or create? What problem would you want to solve? Go ahead and start on it today! You don’t have to wait.

Today’s Couch Time!

Today consider watching your favorite cartoon. How do they program the show? Maybe you can get some creative ideas from the show! And check back Wednesday for our LEGO® Design Challenge that should be right up your alley!

You also might enjoy seeing Hidden Figures, Apollo 11 or another movie about how code got us to the moon. What kind of code might get us to Mars?

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Sequencing matters! Try using food to make a code in order. Check this out! http://bedtimemath.org/fruit-kebabs/
And before you head to bed, make sure to check out this Bedtime Math: Walking on the Moon!

April 6, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Rube Goldberg

Get creative as you design a Rube Goldberg machine with items around your home and learn about simple machines along the way!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

It’s fun looking at different kinds of machines and what they can do. Rube Goldberg systems can get pretty complex and amazing – check out these videos and notice how each of the simple machines work together to create a really awesome tool. If you are looking to know more about the famous cartoonist himself and how Goldberg came to fame, check out the third link and read his biography.

To keep your brain moving (it’s definitely complex) and having fun, check out these games you can play relating to simple machines and their functions!

People everywhere have made fascinating Rube Goldberg contraptions that look super cool to create! Iowa State students in the Rube Goldberg Club went to a national competition for their design just a few years ago – check it out!

Today’s Couch Time!

Take the idea of machines and robots a step further! Check out the movie Robots and try to identify one example of each simple machine. Draw them, write what scene you saw them in, and look around your house and see how many of each simple machine you can find!

Also, watch the classic movie Beauty and the Beast and take note of the Rube Goldberg machine that Belle’s dad, Maurice, uses to chop wood! Who knew you could learn so much sitting on the couch!

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Machines are everywhere! You probably have some around the room where you sleep. Can you think of 5 different kinds of machines and what they make? Now, what about crayons – ever considered how they’re made by a machine? How often do you use crayons at home? Did you use any today when you were creating the design for your machine? Check out this Bedtime Math:

April 3, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Let’s Go Fly a Kite…up to the highest heights.

Extra points to whomever knows what movie those words are from. But really, folks, the weather is getting nicer, and it can get windy in the spring. We may have the time, but may not have a kite. How about we build our own with some easy materials?

Today’s Deeper Dive!

What else you can do with your extra pieces of paper or want to think about a World Record in flight with paper? Need a new toy to play by yourself? Check out these amazing designs and the boomerang you can do inside or out

Do you remember learning something about a Ben Franklin’s experiment with a kite? We highly recommend that you watch the video and do not try this experiment at home

And for a very inspirational story of a kite, read this story of a young boy using a kite to help build a bridge or Kite History

Today’s Couch Time!

Let’s find a movie about going up, up and away! There is so many possibilities: Up, Peter Pan, or even a movie about your favorite flying superhero.

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Kites can be made with different shapes, colors, and materials. There are millions of different ways to put together a kit. Can you design and draw a wacky or silly kite? What would you use to make it? What shape would it be? Would it involve your favorite bedtime story character?

And before drifting off to sleep, don’t forget to talk about your last kite activity of the day! Bedtime Math: High as a Kite

April 2, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Animal Habitats

these engineers create their own homes all over the planet!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Think about how zoos and sanctuaries use animal habitats to make animals comfortable in their facilities. Did you know that there are people who use their observations from animal habitats to create habitats in zoos? They’re called habitat specialists. A habitat specialist is a type of zoologist that specifically works in zoos, animal parks, and other tourist exhibits where animals are the main focus.
Learn some more from the Kratt Brothers who are both zoologists and experts on animal habitats
Here is how to become a habitat specialist

Think of your favorite animal? What would you do as a habitat specialist or a structural engineer working on building these designed habitats?

Today’s Couch Time!

After you are done making your own animal habitat, watch some of the animals at the Edinburgh Zoo live!

What do you notice about their habitats? What do they include in the habitats for each animal? Make a comparison between the habitat you made and the habitat they made. What might you do next time?

And if you are in the mood to learn more about birds, check out Animal Homes (PBS) or Bird Brain (TV-G on Netflix).

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Try to think of your own habitat! How is your home like other animals? Do you think you could use twigs and paper to put together the walls? Based on just habitat, what animal would you want to be and why?

And before you get cozy in your nest, don’t forget about Bedtime Math!

April 1, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Building a Moon Mission Base!

Get creative and make you very own Moon Base!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

The moon might be over 200,000 miles from the Earth, but we have experts in Iowa!

People like Peggy and Tomas actively are working to help people and equipment get to where they need to be (like the International Space Station) for research. Astronauts don’t just hang out in space; they study and learn about all the cool things up there. They compare it to what we see on Earth. We still have so much to learn about the Earth and Moon! Check out this list of things we learned about the Earth because of the Moon.And taking it a step further, take a look at this bizarre video

Today’s Couch Time!

Find a movie about the moon! There are lots out there like Space Jam (PG) and Fly Me to the Moon (G).
And for those older kids looking for a fun movie: Apollo 11!

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Did you know that astronauts are only allowed to bring a few personal things to space? Their rockets are full of equipment, food, supplies, air, and other essentials. These space travelers are only allowed to bring a small box of personal items. What would you put in your box? A picture of your family? A blanket? Everything you choose has to fit in a small box.

And some math before closing your eyes. Today’s Bedtime Math are all about the Moon! Check out Bedtime Math: Circular Logic and Bedtime Math: Stairway to the Moon.

March 31, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Float a Boat

put your skills to the test to see how much your boat can hold!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Today you took on the problem of loading a boat full of things (or better known as cargo) and hoped it would float. You are not the only one to take this problem on head-first. Learn about how Archimedes’ created a “floating castle”

What if you had to use a really heavy material like concrete? Students at Iowa State and other schools use concrete to create a boat just like you. Check out their website to find some cool pictures of their boat.

We have learned a lot about how boats float under normal circumstances. What if we add weather to the equation?

Consider what other factors you might need to take into account for your boat to survive. What if you changed the liquid your boat floated on? Do you think your boat would still float?

Today’s Couch Time!

You will want to dive on the couch for one of these shows! Explore under the water with The Magic School Bus S02E13 Ups And Downs (Floating And Sinking) or see the amazing view of the Deepsea Challenge movie (available on Tubi).

Today’s Boredom Buster!

What do you think: can LEGO boats float? All these LEGO boats are going to be put to the test in this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2XhsH8K10c . And before you head off to bed, it’s time for Bedtime Math: Whatever Floats Your Boat and Ahoy, Matey!
Click here for the printable version.

March 30, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Spider Web

Including a mysterious fluid that makes up Kevlar and the physics behind spider webs breaking!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Take a moment to look outside. Can you see a tree? Did you know that inventors and innovators (like you) use nature as inspiration for solutions to problems around the world? It’s called Biomimicry. Biomimicry is modeling designs, products, structures, and systems bases on nature or biologic systems. For examples, scientists and engineers are looking at birds to design trains– like really! By modeling their train design after a bird’s beak, they can make a train go faster and be quieter.

Remember how spider webs and Kevlar are very similar? Can you think of other examples that are similar?

And if you are like us and geeking out, check out Biomimicry in Action

Today’s Couch Time!

Let’s take it a step further and watch Flight of the Butterfly (available free on Tubi).

What surprised you about butterflies? Are there any ideas that you can model off butterflies or other animals?
Or if you want to watch a different movie, try finding any nature or biology movie that you have or can get access to.

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Instead of counting sheep tonight, count forces! That’s right, try to come up with all the “pushes and pulls” that you can think of. And for some math-inspired butterfly knowledge, check out this Bedtime Math: From Bug Soup to Butterfly

March 27, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Math Dash – Get Active!

Math Dash is an activity perfect for all age ranges and take about 30 minutes to complete. Learn about Accuracy, Tolerance, and even create you very own unit of measurment!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Are you good at adding in your head? Some people really know their math facts. Check out this mathemagician (yeah, you read that right) who seems to amazingly figure out calculations with ease

Today’s Couch Time!

Consider checking out this movie from before you were likely born, Little Man Tate (1991), or really go old school and check out Donald Duck – Mathmagic Land

For parents and older children: The Martian (rated PG-13)

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Which do you think is faster: you figuring out the length of your bed by estimation in your head or measuring it for accuracy? Why would it be important to be accurate?

Speaking of fast, check this out at Bedtime Math

March 26, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Create a Straw Bridge! (using whatever materials you can find around your house) Be creative!

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Iowa has over 24,000 bridges throughout the state! These structures are vital to many aspects like travel, food transportation and much more.

Check out a new bridge in Iowa! I-74 is getting a brand new bridge to replace the existing one!

It is very important to monitor the safety of bridges across the state. Check out what Iowa State Universitydoes to ensure our saftey.

What other factors can you think of that can help make sure our bridges are well taken care of and safely stand strong for years to come?

Today’s Couch Time!

Structures and LEGO go hand and hand! Check out the LEGO Masters TV show like the episode about Super-bridges or the LEGO Movies where “Everything is Awesome!”

And for some big time inspiration, look for Dream Big: Engineering Out World. This highly recommended film offers lots of engineering examples for all ages.

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Put your artistic mind to work. Sketch out how you would design your very own bridge. Will it have a theme? Be a certain color or shape? It’s all up to you!

Still awake? No problem, check out this Bedtime Math or some more inspiration!

March 25, 2020

Today’s Thing To Do!

Protect the Pringle (or cracker or potato chip…or whatever you have)

Today’s Deeper Dive!

Car seats, astroid deflection, personal protective equipment for medical staff; lots of time and thought goes into keeping us safe. Can you name some other products that help keep you, your friends and family safe? Here are some links to learn more about these products.

Today’s Couch Time!

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the perfect movie to get your creative juices going – how can you use every day things to innovate the future? Protect something?

Already seen that movie like, well, 100 times? Allergic to meatballs? Okay, then. Check out Flubber for some old school fun.

Today’s Boredom Buster!

Try to come up with as many things you can think of that you could do with a bed sheet. What number did you get to? What would you use it for?

And as long as we’re stuck at home, dealing with toilet paper shortages, you can also check out this Bedtime Math

Click here to see Today’s activities!