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Polystyrene Test tubes can be pushed into blocks of styrofoam insulation to create inexpensive test tube holders.   I snap 1.5" styrofoam insulation into small blocks and push four test tubes into it for nifty test tube holders.
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Resources for Science Clubs
Tips for K-8 Science Club Leaders
  • Rule # 1, where a lab coat.  It gives you instant status.
  • Rule # 2.  Make your clubs "Hands On."  A few exciting demos are good, but kids should do more than watch 
  • Always prototype and practice your projects and demos beforehand.  Many (perhaps most) projects and demos from books and the web sound cool, but DON'T WORK.  Many take only a few seconds to do and don't hold kids interest. 
  • Use materials that are light and try to get a first floor location for club. (Once I did a session on earthquake science.  I hauled all sorts of bricks and bags of wet sand to our second floor location only to find the demo didn't work.)
  • The kids like projects that do not have exacting procedures to follow.  Although not always possible with all cool projects, try to find some projects that allow freedom to mix up different potions, pour stuff willy nilly and observe the results.  (They will learn the exacting procedure and precise measurment stuff later in high school, right now, they need to explore, observe and try different techniques.)  
  • Don't waste much time (or paper) creating detailed handouts or worksheets.  99% of kids will leave them sitting on the table or toss them in the trash when they go home. 
My Favorite Science Club Materials:
  • Masking tape.  Cheap and easy for kids to tear.   Much better than duct tape and electric tape (overkill for Science Club purposes).
  • Styrofoam sheet  insulation.  , or .  Purchased from home centers in 2' by 8' sheets.   Thicknesses from one half inch to 4 inches.  It can be scored with a razor knife and snapped quickly into pieces.  Use it for project bases, spacers, blocks, test tube holders, etc.  Cheap, easy to work and light as a feather.
  •  Polystyrene Test Tubes.  Cost less than 10 cents a piece.  I purchase Urine Specimen kits from Archie McPhee () in Seattle for $8.00.  The kits are made by Whale Scientific (Denver 1-800-525-1875) and include 100 clear test tubes and caps, 100 labels and 100 little 3 Oz. cups.  is a source for plastic test tubes (I have not purchased from this outfit).  Polystyrene test tubes are AWESOME for all sorts of chemistry fun.  I snap 1.5" styrofoam insulation into small blocks and push four test tubes into it for a nifty test tube holder.  The white foam board is easiest to work with for this application
  • Plastic film cannisters.  You can get a trash bag full of them from anyplace that develops film; ask them to save them for you.  Use them for Alka-Selzer rockets, test tubes,  containers for Polymer Slime, and as containers for .
  • Christmas tree twinkle lights.  Cut the strand into single lights.  Single lights can be lit with a AA battery.  Kids can make flashlights or light up a little house made out a milk carton.  The bulbs are almost free and the AA batteries are inexpensive when purchased in quantity at places like Costco.  Lights from long strands are brighter than those from short strands (if I recall correctly).
  • You might also be able to get AA batteries free from places that develop film.  Disposable cameras have AA batteries in them and they are disposed of when the camera is developed.  You might have to ask them to save them for you; try another shop if one refuses. 
  • Vinegar and baking soda and dry ice.  The old standbys.  I try to incorporate each of these at least once year.  They never cease to delight.  
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