Making science magical


Steve Spangler and Ellen DeGeneres make giant smoke rings as part of a demonstration he did during an appearance on her show. (from Steve Spangler)

Steve Spangler has seen how math and science seem like magic ever since he was a kid. It helped that his dad, who was a scientist and a magician, would show how both magic and science worked together at home. Now that Spangler is an adult, it’s his turn to help kids understand the magic in science.

“We’re trying to get kids to think, to wonder, discover, to explore and to ask questions,” said Spangler, 45.

Spangler began as a science teacher in Colorado and is now a science celebrity making regular TV appearances to show off some of his coolest experiments, some of which include:

●Making “quicksand” using cornstarch and water.

●Using Alka-Seltzer tablets (they’re a fizzy medicine for aches in your stomach and head) to launch rockets.

●Changing the color of water by adding vinegar.

Spangler’s experiments are easy and exciting, which he says helps make the sometimes scary subjects of math and science seem more understandable.

“There’s something magical when your friends like what it is that you do and then they ask for more,” Spangler said about sharing science with others.

Spangler has won awards for the work he does promoting science education. He has appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’s show several times to conduct experiments, including blowing enormous smoke rings, filling her studio with flying potatoes and demonstrating an exploding pumpkin trick. He has also developed his own show that you can watch on YouTube called “The Spangler Effect” to show other unique experiments you can try at home. (Always ask a parent or other adult before going online.)

Spangler believes that kids can learn the principles of doing sound science, including making accurate measurements and repeating experiments to make sure your results are correct, while still having a lot of fun. This kind of active learning is what Spangler discovered with his father when he was a kid. Back then, he just thought it was magic.

His goal in bringing science to kids is to help make them love science for a lifetime. “It’s more than an activity,” Spangler said. “It creates an unforgettable learning experience.”

Angela Lewis

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