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Solar S’mores for the Solar Eclipse

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Get ready for the Great American Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017! The total solar eclipse will be visible across the entire contiguous United States, making this a wonderful opportunity to teach kids about our solar system and our sun’s energy.

You can harness solar energy with a DIY oven project from NASA. Reward yourself after your hard work with a batch of delicious Solar S’mores. No campfire required!

Check out these fun, decorated versions from blogger Desert Chica!

You will need:

  • Cardboard box with attached lid. Lid should have flaps so that the box can be closed tightly. Box should be at least 3 inches deep and big enough to set a pie tin inside. (Hint: A pizza box works great!)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Clear plastic wrap
  • Glue stick
  • Markers (so you can decorate your oven!)
  • Tape (transparent tape, duct tape, masking tape, or whatever you have)
  • Stick (about 1 foot long) to prop open reflector flap. (Use a skewer, knitting needle, ruler, or whatever you have.)
  • Ruler or straight-edge
  • Box cutter or Xacto knife (with adult help, please!)

How to make solar oven:

  • Decorate your cardboard box with fun colors and patterns to make the oven a work of art!
  • Using the straight edge as a guide, cut a three-sided flap out of the top of the box, leaving at least a 1-inch border around the three sides.
  • Cover the bottom (inside) of the flap with aluminum foil, spreading a coat of glue from the glue stick onto the cardboard first and making the foil as smooth as possible. Line the inside of the box with aluminum foil, again gluing it down and making it as smooth as possible.
  • Tape two layers of plastic wrap across the opening you cut in the lid—one layer on the top and one layer on the bottom side of the lid.
  • Test the stick you will use to prop the lid up. You may have to use tape or figure another way to make the stick stay put.

Put the oven to work:

  • Set the oven in the direct sun, with the flap propped to reflect the light into the box. You will probably have to tape the prop in place.
  • Preheat the oven for at least 30 minutes.

To make S’mores, you will need:

  • Graham crackers
  • Large marshmallows
  • Plain chocolate bars (thin)
  • Aluminum pie pan
  • Napkins!

Get cookin’!

IMPORTANT! Note that unlike most recipes, our s’mores have the marshmallow UNDER the chocolate. That’s because, in the solar oven, it takes the marshmallow longer to melt than the chocolate.

  • Break graham crackers in half to make squares. Place four squares in the pie pan. Place a marshmallow on each.
  • Place the pan in the preheated solar oven.
  • Close the oven lid (the part with the plastic wrap on it) tightly, and prop up the flap to reflect the sunlight into the box.
  • Depending on how hot the day is, and how directly the sunlight shines on the oven, the marshmallows will take 30 to 60 minutes to get squishy when you poke them.
  • Then, open the oven lid and place a piece of chocolate (about half the size of the graham cracker square) on top of each marshmallow. Place another graham cracker square on top of the chocolate and press down gently to squash the marshmallow.
  • Close the lid of the solar oven and let the Sun heat it up for a few minutes more, just to melt the chocolate a bit.

Enjoy!

For step-by-step diagrams, head over to NASA’s Climate Kids website. You can find plenty of other activities and games by becoming a Climate Kid.

Don’t forget to tune into the Great American Solar Eclipse on August 21!

Build a 4th of July Rocket!

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Whether you need a 4th of July activity with your kids or just want ideas for summer fun, building a rocket is a Challenge Island approved activity that you can do yourself.

You will need:

An empty water bottle

Thin straw

Wide straw

Clay

Make the launcher:

Hold the thin straw about an inch down into the mouth of the bottle.

Wrap a ball of clay about the size of a quarter around the bottle opening, sealing it tightly.

Squeeze the bottle to make sure no air escapes.

Make the rocket:

Seal up one end of a wide straw with a small ball of clay.

Place the open end of the straw over the thinner straw on the launcher.

Blast off!

Wrap both hands around the bottle and squeeze sharply in the middle.

Your rocket should fly through the air!

Challenge Island Summer Camps
This DIY rocket and tons of other kid friendly activities are a part of Challenge Island’s STEAMtastic summer camps and afterschool enrichment programs. It’s not too late to sign up! Some Challenge Island locations are still offering sign-ups for camp, and back-to-school is around the corner.

More Than Smores

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A great article about summer camps and Challenge Island!

“Kids’ fascination with emoji may mystify their parents, but STEM education company Challenge Islandembraces the ubiquitous cutesy faces. Challenge Island builds an entire weeklong summer camp around emoji, asking kids to solve engineering and science-based challenges. Additional sessions focus on other kid obsessions, like American Girl dolls and superheroes. Allyson Steele, director of extended programs/summer camps at St. Michael’s, where some Challenge Island camps take place, remembers walking into a session last summer and watching kids construct an igloo from PVC pipe, fabric and other materials: “I’ve never seen a group of kids so mesmerized by what they were doing,” she says.”

Momtrepreneur Turns Challenge Island® S.T.E.A.M. Education Program into Red Hot Educational Franchise

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Fourteen years ago, second-grade teacher and mother of four Sharon Duke Estroff was at the height of what she calls her Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde phase.  By day, she was an award-winning teacher with a classroom full of happy students; but by night, she was a stressed-out mom who could barely muster the energy to help her kids with their homework. Estroff knew it was time for a career change, but as an educator born into a family of educators, she couldn’t imagine straying too far from the schoolyard.  So she took Challenge Island® – a S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) education program she’d created for her elementary students – and began offering it as an afterschool enrichment class in nearby schools.  Challenge Island® was a hometown hit and before long, Estroff had created a profitable home-based business that she could run around her family’s busy schedule.

With the rise of S.T.E.M. and S.T.E.A.M in the educational marketplace, Estroff had a hunch that there would be a demand for Challenge Island® in other markets too.  Her hunch was right. Today, Challenge Island is one of the fastest growing educational franchises in the world, with S.T.E.A.M. power fueling its impressive trajectory across the United States and beyond.

As C.E.O., Estroff has grown her Atlanta-based company to 60 franchise units with locations in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia – and international locations in Egypt and the Philippines.   At least six new Challenge Island units are expected to open this summer, and growth is predicted to continue at this strong and healthy pace in the coming months and years.  Perhaps not surprisingly, many Challenge Island franchisees are busy moms looking for flexible businesses themselves.

And as for our Momtrepeneur and her busy family, Mrs. Hyde still makes an occasional appearance in the Estroff home, but the sightings are far fewer and farther between.

For more information about Challenge Island please visit www.challenge-island.com
Contact info@challenge-island.com

For information about Challenge Island franchising please visit
http://franchise.challenge-island.com/
Contact: franchising@challenge-island.com

Sharon Duke Estroff
Challenge Island Founder and C.E.O.
(404) 692-3103
sharonestroff@challenge-island.com

You can find the original source of this article here.