March is craft month – a month that we love! The purpose of craft month is to rediscover a love of crafting, find a hobby you can do with your kids or share a hobby that you love. Or if you don’t think you’re crafty (which is nonsense, everyone is artistic in some way or another) then share a craft business that you love to support!
March happens to also be International Ideas Month. I couldn’t think of a more fitting combination. Ideas month is to remind people about the importance of new ideas. As homeschooling moms, Laura and I love STEAM activities because they teach children critical thinking, which leads to new ideas.
This week we’re sharing our favorite science activity!
The Benefits of Teaching STEAM
In recent years there has been a big push to include STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) in education. In a world that is changing so fast, we need to prepare our children for careers that don’t exist yet. But how do we do this? We teach them critical thinking!
The benefits of STEAM are already manifesting themselves and are pretty great (in my opinion).
It exposes children to the creative process and is learning to see a project through from conceptualization to finished product.
Children learn to collaborate and engage in meaningful, and constructive discussions.
STEAM teaches critical thinking as children learn to problem-solve.
It is hands-on! Children aren’t allowed to get stuck in often enough these days. Learning takes place through doing and STEAM facilitates this.
Girls are encouraged to explore STEM careers. Sadly, we live in a world where girls are still underrepresented in these fields.
Children are taught to appreciate the arts in a different way. Art isn’t necessarily painted on canvas, it can also be the way a robot moves, or many other things.
The Best Science Activity For Craft Month
We’re kicking off craft month with a science activity. Lexi and I learned how to isolate the casein in milk and create “plastic”.
In the early 20th-century casein plastic was used for small items such as buttons, beads, buckles, combs, fountain pens, umbrella handles, cutlery handles, and knitting needles.
Milk contains many molecules of a protein called casein. Each casein molecule is a monomer and a chain of casein monomers is a polymer. The polymer can be scooped up and molded, which is why plastic made from milk is called casein plastic.
Adding an acid (such as vinegar) to the milk changes the pH (acidity) of the milk and makes the casein molecules unfold and reorganize. You can then scoop up the casein and mold it.
How To Make Plastic From Milk
Plastic From Milk
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ cup vinegar
- cookie cutter in desired shape
- paint and other craft supplies for decorating
- Heat the milk on the stove but do not allow it to boil.
- When milk is almost at boiling point add vinegar and stir in to separate the milk.
- Remove from the stove and pour through a fine-mesh sieve.
- Remove the chunky bits of casein from the sieve and place onto a cloth. Squeeze as much liquid out as possible. The more liquid you remove the harder your plastic will dry.
- Scrape the remaining casein from the cloth and mold into your desired shape using a cookie cutter.
- Allow the casein plastic shape to dry overnight.
- Once dry paint and decorate.
Looking for more fun craft ideas? Visit the craft section here at Mom’s Artelier for loads more simple, fun ideas!