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STEM Activity Spotlight: Valentine’s Day

Updated: Feb 5

By Clare Schinzel


Love is in the air–-and for anyone wanting to express their adoration for STEM, there are a plethora of options that use the opportunity of pink hearts and chocolate to explore your scientific side!



Activity Number One: Flying Cupid Balloon Launcher

photo/ Little Bins for Little Hands

Materials:

  • Tape

  • Ballon

  • String

  • Straws

  • Scissors

  • A Cupid Printout


Procedure

  1. Establish 2 moderate-distance anchor points across from each other in a room.

  2. Cut out a piece of string that spans the distance.

  3. Tie the string to each anchor point.

  4. Push the thread through the straw before tying off both points (make sure the string is nice and tight!).

  5. Cut out or draw a cupid to put on the side of the balloon.

  6. Blow up your balloon and hold the end so it doesn’t deflate. 

  7. Tape your cupid to the balloon.

  8. Tape the balloon to one end of the straw.

  9. Release the balloon and watch the Cupid fly!


This activity is a fun way for active kids to see an “explosive” reaction with safe materials. It effectively demonstrates Newton’s third law of motion: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Blowing up the balloon was the first reaction, allowing for the launch of the “cupid.” This activity could entertain a group of children or just one child at a time and could be repeated endlessly––a wonderful option for energetic kids!


Activity Number Two: Valentine's Day Magic Milk Experiment

photo/ Little Bins for Little Hands

Materials

  • Full Fat Milk

  • Blue Food Coloring

  • Dish Soap

  • Cotton Swabs

  • Heart Cookie Cutter


Procedure

  1. Pour your milk into a dish/flat bottom surface.

  2. Set a cookie cutter in the milk, clearly separating it into sections.

  3. Use the food coloring to color different sections of the milk.

  4. Swab at the different milk sections, observe the color and milk interactions, and record observations.


This activity is great for artistic minds wanting to blend their talent with chemistry! The main lesson from this activity is emulsion. The soap and fat in the milk create an emulsion, or in other words, a blend of liquids where neither component is soluble with the other. The tie dye-esque look gives this experiment an “artistic touch,” perfect for any child interested in both the S and A in STEAM. 



Activity Number 3: Valentine’s Day Sink the Boat Challenge

photo/ Little Bins for Little Hands

Materials

  • Candy Conversation hearts

  • tin foil 

  • A bowl of water


Procedure

  1. Fill up a bowl of water.

  2. Cut aluminum foil and shape it into a boat––turn on your engineering brains to think about what makes a successful model!

  3. Place the boat on the water.

  4. Add conversation hearts one at a time and count how many it takes to sink.

  5. Reflection: ask what components of the boat helped it float, and what could be done to make it float longer.

  6. Optional: redesign and retest another boat to compare results. 


This activity is less micromanaged, meaning that students will have to figure out the best way to manufacture the boat on their own. It encourages them to seek a solution rather than follow predestined rules, which is an accurate representation of how STEM works in the real world. For any child who likes Legos or building blocks, this and other engineering tasks could really capture their attention. 


Works Cited

McClelland, Sarah. “Awesome Physics Valentine Activities.” Little Bins for Little Hands, 9

Jan. 2022, littlebinsforlittlehands.com/valentines-day-physics-activities-

experiments/.

McClelland, Sarah. “Sink the Boat Valentines Challenge.” Little Bins for Little Hands, 16 Jan.

McClelland, Sarah. “Valentines Day Magic Milk Experiment.” Little Bins for Little Hands, 21

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