After completing her eLearning assignments, Jaida de la Fuente Viveros chooses to keep her mind active.
The Margaret R. Brown Elementary School fourth-grader is joined by her younger sisters, Selena, a kindergartner, and Elisa, 3, in doing science experiments on video from the comfort of home.
On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, they gather the items needed and record the directions on camera. Jaida then posts the videos on her class’ account on Seesaw, a closed educational sharing platform.
"I just thought we would be able to do it because we like trying out new things," Jaida said.
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The first experiment involved putting an egg in a glass of vinegar and letting it sit overnight. The vinegar eats the eggshell and makes the egg look transparent and feel squishy.
"They thought that one was really neat," the girls’ mother, Dana de la Fuente Viveros, said.
"I was just wondering how it was possible to do that," Jaida said.
For the second experiment, the siblings made moon dough, which their mother said is like a mix of Play-Doh and slime. It’s made by combining conditioner and corn starch.
Jaida said that’s her favorite one so far.
"It’s soft and smelled good," she said.
Another experiment involved putting milk and food coloring in a plate and adding a cotton ball dipped in dish soap to make a tie-dye design.
"It’s fun to do," Jaida said of the experiments. "I just think up a lot of ideas."
With her two eldest daughters out of school because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dana said the experiments have been good educational activities.
"With them being out of school, it has been really kind of hard on them, and I wanted their minds to keep going, to keep learning stuff," she said. "Workbooks really weren’t doing it for them because it’s more sitting down."
The science experiments really caught their attention, Dana said.
"Now, they want to do two or three a day. Sometimes, we’ve done two," she said. "It’s different than just sitting in front of the computer. It’s a lot different than just sitting and reading about it. I’m doing this to try to keep them interested in learning and keep their little minds going. They are like sponges."
It’s also fun for Dana to watch.
"I like doing things with them, but I’m always working and I couldn’t. Now that I’m home due to COVID-19, I’ve got more interaction with them," she said. "I like doing it, too, seeing what works and what doesn’t. They have really good reactions, and they love to see what happens."
Jaida’s teacher, Jennifer Regruth, said all of the Seymour Community School Corp. students had to jump right into eLearning in March. It took everyone a bit to figure out, but they battled through to see what was possible and what worked for their home situations.
"In Jaida’s case, she easily took to online assignments and found she had some time to spare," Regruth said. "That’s when she and her mom started gathering supplies for science experiments."
When she looked at the class’ Seesaw account, Regruth saw Jaida’s experiment about the egg and vinegar with directions.
"I left a comment about the other kids who would learn from it, and I encouraged her to do another science video from ‘The Happy Scientist,’" Regruth said. "I nicknamed her that because she always smiles, especially when she is doing science. Her mom is smiling right along with her."
The video also included great commentary from Jaida’s classmates, Regruth said.
"Other students have enjoyed the videos, hitting the ‘like’ button and leaving comments like, ‘Cool, Jaida. I am going to see if my mom and I can do that’ and ‘Where did you get that experiment?’" Regruth said. "I hope she is inspiring more kids to get into science."
One of the classmates, Clever Lopez, commented she liked the egg experiment because it looked really easy to do.
"I don’t need to go to the store and buy vinegar or eggs. I have all the ingredients in my house," Lopez wrote. "The thing I found most interesting about this experiment is that the egg gets bouncy and clear. I did not know eggs could do that."
Regruth looks forward to watching future experiments.
"I can’t wait to see what is next for The Happy Scientist," she said.
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Check out at-home science experiments done by Jaida de la Fuente Viveros and her siblings, Selena and Elisa: