[DIYbio] WANTED: bio-based STEM projects for kids

Hi everyone,
I am preparing to help homeschool a child (6 years old), specifically
concentrating on STEM. Since I am a project-based learner, I thought
structuring my lessons in this way would help me... but I think it
would also help the child too. Lately I have just been working with
the child for about 30-60 minutes per week, but this can increase and
relocate to my lab when the time comes. I have so far just been
gauging her level of numeric comprehension and ability to read and
write and interpret numeric symbols. Addition is easy (I can just
place two piles of singular items on the table and tell the child to
sum them), but for subtraction I am not thinking of a clean way to
demonstrate this. I want to change subtraction to addition of a
positive and a negative, but hand-in-glove (or square block in a
square hole) demonstrations don't really do it for me... if I was
adding a positive thing to a negative thing, I'd want to demonstrate
that they disappear... which is proving hard for me to come up with a
way, other than maybe some kind of computer visualization, which I
want to shy away from for now. The best analogies I have come up with
are (if you have a hen chicken that lays two eggs today, and three
eggs tomorrow, how many eggs will you have) and (if you have 5
chickens today, and a coyote eats 2 chickens tonight, how many
chickens will be alive in the morning). But the mother hen and coyote
are really not the best examples of pure addition and subtraction
(since they are additional actors, so to say, in the equation).

I guess we could do some plate culture, count the cells, perform Gram
staining, count the colored cells, then do subtraction of the colored
cells from the total to get totals for each cell population.

A wave tank could also work for addition and subtraction via wave
interference (constructive or destructive)... but I think I want to
hold off on using electrical/electronics (especially oscilloscope)
based examples for a while.


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