Groovy Lab in a Box - STEM?

What Exactly is STEM?


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People often reference “STEM” a lot. However, you may be wondering: “What is STEM, exactly?” Groovy Lab in a Box takes a look at what STEM is and why it is so important to the United States.

STEM is an acronym for “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.” It’s an acronym to describe a type of curriculum in school – from kindergarten through college. The idea behind STEM is to make the United States more competitive in technology development by bringing up generations of students who can excel in high-tech jobs (Groovy Lab in a Box calls this generation, “STEMists”.) Without these STEMists, the U.S. could face a workplace development crisis.


For example, right now, only 16% of children graduating from American high schools are proficient in math and interested in a STEM career. However, jobs such as systems software developers, medical scientists and biomedical engineers will have the most career opportunities by 2020.


As you can see, emphasizing STEM is critical in our schools, and it has not gone unnoticed by our federal government. In May 2013, the National Science and Technology Council issued a five-year strategic plan to respond to the lack of STEM education in our country’s schools. Other organizations, such as the STEM Education Coalition, are working hard to tell policymakers about STEM and how preparing our students is critical to the future of the U.S.



Groovy Lab in a Box is doing their part, too. Each month, their subscription service focuses on delivering STEM education to your doorstep and computer. At Groovy Lab in a Box, they believe that children are natural STEMists with an innate sense of curiosity and inquiry that can flourish under the right conditions.



They also believe that learning can be fun. The makers at Groovy Lab in a Box created their "Groovy Labs" to encourage children to channel their natural STEMists. Whether they are building rockets or creating an electrical circuit, children are enjoying the learning process, and applying analytical skills that will transfer to the classroom, and later, their careers.


 

So, there you have it: STEM in a nutshell. As you can see, STEM is a vital part of our children’s education – and the future competitiveness of the U.S. Here are some resources where you can learn more about STEM:

STEM Education Coalition
U.S. Department of Education
Successful STEM Education

This month's groovy box is Lunar Launch - A Lesson in Rocket Science and is a Parents’ Choice® Award Winner! Be sure to start a Groovy Lab in a Box subscription today before this box ships on February 28th with FREE SHIPPING!



What do you think about STEM?


Clever Uses for Kitchen Sponges

12 Clever Ways to Use Sponges in the Kitchen and Beyond


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Clever Uses for Kitchen Sponges

Sponges are most commonly used in the kitchen for cleaning dishes or spills. Surprisingly, there are additional clever uses for these sponges that extend inside the kitchen, as well as in other areas throughout your home.

1. Keep your vegetables crunchy. Place a few new kitchen sponges in your crisper drawer and squeeze them out after they've absorbed excess moisture. This will keep your veggies crisp. 

2. Keep refrigerator odor free. Sprinkle a damp sponge with baking soda and place it in your fridge. It will absorb odors, and you’ll able to stretch a box of baking soda over a longer period of time.

3. Protect surfaces from scratches. Before you place a vase on your coffee table glue a few pieces of a sponge to the bottom to prevent any marks.

4. Seal a drafty window. If your window air-conditioning unit doesn't fit snug, press a sponge into any openings to keep the chilly air inside.

5. Clean narrow vases or containers. Place some tape or rubber band a sponge to the end of a chopstick to clean and dry narrow vases and containers.

6. Nail polish remover pad. Pour some nail polish remover over a sponge instead of disposable cotton balls. Store in a container when not in use and save money by reusing the sponge.

Julep

7. Perfect your pedicure. To avoid smudged polish after an at-home pedicure, cut a sponge in wedges and place between the toes to separate.

8. Protect your hands when shoveling or raking by wrapping a sponge or two around the handle. Secure the sponges with a couple of rubber bands.

9. Simple ice pack. Soak a sponge in water, place it in a sealed plastic sandwich bag and freeze until solid. As the sponge thaws, the water will stay sealed up in the bag without getting all over.Nail polish remover pad. Pour some nail polish remover over a sponge instead of disposable cotton balls. Store in a container when not in use and save money by reusing the sponge.

10. Save your soap. Soap can make such a mess in the bottom of the bathroom dish after several uses. Instead rest your soap on a sponge to wick away moisture and keep your soap clean and ready to use.

11. Remove Lint. Give your clothes and upholstery a quick wipe down with a dampened, wrung out sponge to easily remove lint and pet fur. You can reuse the sponge again simply by running your fingers over its surface and remove the lint.

12. Paint stamps. Make stamps by cutting the sponge into desired shapes. Give the stamps along with some paint to your children and watch them have fun painting with shapes.

Clever Uses for Kitchen Sponges

Can you think of more clever uses for kitchen sponges?

Creamy Hot Chocolate Recipe

3 Ingredient Homemade Creamy Hot Chocolate 


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Creamy Hot Chocolate Recipe

Hot chocolate is a popular drink among both young and old generations. It is enjoyed best during the cold season and forms many cherished memories in childhood. Playing outside in the snow, skating, or sliding prior to having this delicious hot beverage just makes one appreciate more the simpler things in life. It is a satisfying and soothing beverage that can quickly warm chilled hands.

There are many ways to top up a cup of hot chocolate. Some classic favorites include whipped cream, marshmallows, caramels, cinnamon, marshmallows, sprinkles or jimmies. To make it more fun set up a toppings bar and let everyone choose what they want to place on top of their drinks. 

There are a few ways to whip up a delicious cup of hot chocolate. You can pick up one from a cafe shop, a box or tin from the store, or you can make your own at home. The first two may seem like the easiest ways to get your drink. However with just a few ingredients and a little time you can prepare your own the way you like it. 

The Prepared Pantry

When putting together this recipe the ingredients can be customized to individual taste. Use any milk you prefer whether it be cow, soy, almond, or half and half. Feel free to replace white sugar with any sweetener such as honey, maple syrup, or sweet and low. The following is a basic version that is very simple and quick to put together.

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 - 4 tablespoons sugar (adjust to your desired sweetness)
2 cup milk (full fat/homogenized)

Method: 

1. Whisk together the cocoa, sugar, and about 2 tablespoons of milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until cocoa and sugar are dissolved. 

2. Whisk in the rest of the milk and heat it over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it is hot.

3. Pour in cups and serve. 

Tips:

If serving to small children fill their cups half full with the hot chocolate and then add a little cold milk.

When travelling outside in cold weather fill a thermos with hot chocolate and take it with you.


Creamy Hot Chocolate Recipe

Enjoy your creamy hot chocolate!