Steam Camp – Water Beads #4

Today was our last camp experimenting with water beads. We evaluated the beads that were dehydrated and the dehydrated diaper stuffing. Then we tasted some edible beads – tapioca. They pretty much don’t have a taste but they sure are sticky.

Dehydrated stuff from inside of a (clean) diaper
Completely dehydrated plain water (small beads down to original size) and salt water beads

Eatable water beads (Tapioca)
Some of us liked them and some didn’t


For our last experiment, we looked at beads that were frozen at different times today. There wasn’t any discernible difference between the ones put in the freezer at 9:30 am or 12 :30 pm. The ones that were put in at 3:30 pm were frozen hard on the outside but not all the way through. These beads thawed really quickly. All the beads were damaged by freezing. They cracked and were broken.

Beads frozen for 1 hour
Beads frozen at 12:30 pm


Finally we got to take beads home as nightlights. The beads were put in water bottles with glow sticks. We tried to make it dark enough in the library to see them. They will probably look better at night.

Bottle lit up with a glow stick and water beads inside – can’t really get the library much darker during the daytime.

STEAM Camp – Water Beads #3

Thurday, Feb 23, we experimented with the material inside of a diaper. It acts very similar to the water beads but the beads are much smaller.

Diaper filling hydrated
Powder from inside the diaper on the left of the diaper. Hydrated powder on the right.

Looking at how the beads from different solutions are dehydrating, it looks like the beads in the Coke are dissolving and getting smaller. The Coke is not evaporating like the other liquids even though it was poured off just like the others. It also is growing mold and smells “yeasty”. The beads that were in the tonic water are sticky while the beads from the salt water are crusty with salt covering the outside.

The dehydrating experiment – clockwise from the left – broken large beads, plain water, tonic water, salt water, and Coke.


Then we experimented with the beads is shaving cream. This was a lot of fun! Smashing them resulted in what looked like different colors of jello in whip cream – BUT we didn’t eat it! That will be next week (eatable beads)!




Steam Camp – Water Beads #2

Today at STEAM Camp we compared the hydration of the beads in different solutions; water, salt water, tonic water and Coke. We looked to see if our grass seed was growing – it looked like there were some tiny roots developing but it was hard to see with the green water. We will try this again with wheat seed. We worked together to sort the beads counting the different colors. The beads look really neat separated into their colors – we especially liked the different shades of blue.
Results: Large beads – water 2 inches, 2.7 oz; tonic water 1 inch, .7 oz; salt water 1/2 inch, .2 oz. Small beads (too light to weigh) – water 1 cm, tonic water 3/4 cm, salt water 1/2 cm, Coke 7/8 cm (just smaller than water).


Salt Water
Plain water
Complete stress balls – just need to tie the knots.
Grass experiment – only the seeds that are on top of the water beads are growing now.
Reading Rainbow Fish
Making a Rainbow Fish
Sorting the water beads
Sorting activity
Weighing the beads from the different solutions


STEAM Camp- Water Beads #1

Thursday was our first STEAM Camp here at the library. The kids walked over from the elementary school and then the fun began!

This month we are doing experiments and activities with water beads.

First we evaluated whether there were differences in size depending on when water was added to the beads and whether that water was hot or cold. And yes there definitely was difference in size in respect to time but there wasn’t a difference whether the water was cold or warm.

Next we put water bead in balloons and filled them with water. These will make exercise or stress balls when the water beads are hydrated. We discovered that 1/4 tsp. is way too many beads to add – 1/8 tsp. is optimal.

Then we put grass seed in the water with the water beads. Sadly, the grass was dyed so the water color was changed to green! This could make it difficult to see the roots grown. So we will redo this experiment with wheat seed.

Finally, we were free to experience the water beads on our own. They bounce really well, are a lot of fun to smash and are really neat to look at with a flashlight beam shining through! Some of the water beads are jumbo sized!

The Dropbox

It is great having a drop box for patrons to use at any hour on any day! EXCEPT….

Except … when it is used when we are open…. and we have already checked the box … IF we hear it drop, then we MAY check it again… and again…. and again…   Or a patron complains about fines because they know they returned it on time … and maybe we didn’t check the box (for the thousandth time) …

Except … when patrons include fine money with their books…and the money or envelope ends up separated from whatever item had the fine… and there is no way to tell to whose account it belongs…. or it slips into the bin never to be seen again….

Except …. when patrons have discovered that they didn’t include the dvd with the cover and drop it in the box .. sometimes using a ziplock…

Except … when kids use it as a trash bin…


Our new Christmas treetop star

Tonight I used the 3D printer to make a star for the Christmas tree.

First, I used a preprogramed star shape and placed a cone into the base. Then changed the settings to make the cone a hole so that it could be placed easily on the treetop.

The first print moved around on the base to much…..

Added some supports to widen the base.

And now our tree has a star for its top!

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