Science in the Rockies

A professional development workshop jam-packed with AHA Moments!

Science in the Rockies was a 3-day hands-on workshop held in Denver, hosted by Steve Spangler.  Steve Spangler is the science teacher you always hoped to get in school. He came from a family of magicians; Dad would cut Mom in to 3 pieces and also ate fire, so he learned early on about human behavior and what captivates a person. His driving force is his wife Renee, and his inspiration is his HS Chemistry teacher, Doug Hodous, who attended and presented during the workshop.  Steve is author, teacher, and toy designer, and “His weekly Spangler Science segments air live on KUSA-TV in Denver and earned Steve appearances on the Food Network, the History Channel, Discovery, and all the major networks.”  Please read more about Steve here

This event was attended by approximately 130 people who teach early childhood to HS teachers, and curriculum specialist.  Sarah, owner and blogger at moose Tracks & tater Stacks and I were invited to attend as guests and to share our experiences with you.  I have heard so much about this amazing event from Emily, who attended Science in the Rockies last year and blogged about how  Science in the Rockies Inspires Teachers, Parents, and Kids Alike and Karin Piper, who also attended last year and blogged about how Science in the Rockies offers thrills with learning.

Our first challenge, Windbag Wonders, was to guess how many breaths it would take to blow up an 8 foot long bag.  We tied a knot to one end of our bag and started blowing.  The trick was to hold the bag about 10 inches away from your mouth and then by using only one breath, blow as hard as you could and instantly you have an 8 foot bag filled with air.  The air from the atmosphere is drawn into the bag form the sides along with the air you are breathing in to the bag.  After our bags were filled with air we all worked together for a team building experience and made a creative structure with our bags.








Next was Floating Water.  We filled a test tube with water and covered it with a card. We turned the tube over making sure to hold the card in place and when you take your hand away from the card, it magically stays in place.  The scientific explanation is that the card remains in place because the air pressure pushing upward is greater than the pressure of the water pushing downward. 

Then we learned about adhesion and cohesion with Mysterious Water Suspension.  For this experiment, like all the others, Steve encourages teaching students to test and discover.  So what would happen if you used oil in this experiment or what about soda water?  Students are discovering the properties of air, air pressure, and surface tension while being amazed by science magic!

Bubbleology has been a family favorite of ours since our awesome and amazing, above and beyond elementary school  teacher, LaVonne Reiser, shared her love of bubbles and bubble experiments with us.  So when Steve announced that we were playing with bubbles next, I got REALLY excited!

We made bubbles, we blew bubbles, we bounced bubbles, Steve made a bubble in a bubble, and we changed the shape of bubbles.  It was Bubble Heaven!

















We also saw a video of how to put a kid in a bubble.  I’m sharing this link with you, because this is something I did with my kids when they were younger and they loved it.  So if you have kids, you have to try this Giant Bubble Experiment.  All you need is bubble solution, a Hula Hoop, and a children’s plastic swimming pool.

Doug Hodous, Steve’s HS Chemistry teacher, who Steve introduces as “The most amazing Chemistry teacher in the world”, demonstrated some hands-on science activities.

We saw Shrink Wrap Science and Angela with the Education Division of YouTube was a gracious volunteer to be shrink wrapped and vacuum sealed.









We played with Color Changing UV Beads, learned about polymers and why you should never add aslt to a baby diaper, and we had lots of fun playing with Awesome Dry Ice Experiments.

This is a Dry Ice Crystal Ball Bubble

We got totally slimy playing with Slime- The Real Recipe and had fun making things glow, things like Atomic Worms!









And what would Science in the Rockies be without a potato fight?  This hands-on fun was too entertaining to take video of others having fun, so I’ll share the Ellen DeGeneres Show where Steve and Ellen have fun launching potatoes. Move to the 5:09 minute.

I’ve been to many conferences and workshops, but never one as interactive and energetic as this one!  Here’s what the room looked like after Day 2.

Steve has a passion for creating those unforgettable hands-on learning experiences for students. He combines laughing and learning which ultimately makes the learning experience a fun and memorable one.  Steve teaches teachers to be Great teachers, not just good teachers, because there is a clear difference between the two.  “A great teacher is someone you want to be around and you don’t know why”, Steve said.  There are so many teachers out there who teach but don’t reach.

Teaching teachers how to be amazing will increase Steve’s reach to all students, because now Steve is not teaching a class of 30, but that teacher he taught how to be amazing is now teaching her class of 30 and so are the other teachers.  Workshops like this have a tremendous impact in helping teachers make science pop in their classroom.

It is evident that Steve wants to help teachers create those WOW moments for their students and he wants to help teachers see that we need to teach science the way kids want. He applies real-world application to experiments creating unforgettable learning moments for students.

Thank you to Steve Spangler and Susan Wells, Social Media Coordinator for Spangler Science for this very memorable 2-day experience of making science fun through wonder, discovery, and exploration.  And thanks to all of your wonderful Staff for being so available to answer questions and assist in experiments. I had a BLAST!

Don’t forget to sign up for The Experiment of the Week

“Like” Steve Spangler on Facebook

Follow on Twitter: @SpanglerScience and @SteveSpangler

Check out the Steve Spangler Blog

Check out The Spangler Effect on YouTube-It’s Sick Science!

Disclosure:  I was invited to attend Science in the Rockies in exchange for blog posts.  I received no monetary compensation, but I did receive some science experiment materials used in the workshop.

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  1. Lori – thank you again for attending Science in the Rockies last week with us. I’m so happy you came away with some new activities to share with your kids and your science teachers. I enjoyed laughing and learning with both you and Sarah and look forward to sharing your thoughts about non-traditional schools on our blog sometime in the near future.

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