Jeremy Babendure | Executive Director Arizona SciTech Festival

Even though school is out, it doesn’t mean closing up the books for summer. Your family can continue to learn about STEM and have fun too!

The Arizona SciTech Festival is a state-wide celebration of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as well as the arts (STEAM). We work with over 700 collaborators to help bring STEM/STEAM education to our schools, organizations and events.

During our 2016 festival, we will have over 350 events. Until then, for parents looking for summer camps we have close to 40 options available for your children.

Here are fun activities provided by some of our partners to help build your child’s interest in STEM and continue learning during the summer!

Acidic or Basic?

With the blistering heat coming our way, who doesn’t love a cold glass of lemonade?

Melissa Rose, founder and President of Biz in a Boxx, has a fun activity that helps kids learn about the acidic and basic properties of their yellow glass of sunshine.

Acids and bases play an important role in quenching ones’ thirst. Sour drinks, such as lemon juice and water help produce saliva when you are dehydrated and are the most thirst-quenching drinks. Sweet drinks, are food items where you can taste sugar, and are the least refreshing.

To find out if a liquid is acidic or basic, it will give off a certain color. Acids (lemon juice) will turn a reddish hue because they contain more Hydrogen Ions (H+). Bases (baking soda) turn blue due to larger amounts of Hydroxide Ions (OH-). As for water, it contains both Hydrogen and Hydroxide Ions and is considered neutral.

Time to test the acidity and basic properties of some household foods!

2 cups chopped red cabbage
Ingredients to test – soda, vinegar, juice, baking soda, sugar, etc.
Cup or bowl

1. Place the red cabbage in a pot with about 6 cups of tap water.
2. Bring to a boil and cook another 2-3 minutes. Let cool.
3. This blue liquid is your indicator solution.
4. Pour roughly ¼ cup into the cup or bowl.
5. Next, add small amounts of the ingredients in which you wish to test the acidic or basic properties. Use the spoon to stir the solution.
6. If your solution turns pinkish, the ingredient is an acid. If it’s bluish, it’s a base.

Empty the cup or bowl and repeat the process testing different ingredients.
Want more of a challenge? Start by mixing a strong acid such as lemon juice into your solution so that it’s pink. What ingredients can you add to it to turn it a basic blue?

Read about how your young entrepreneur can build a STEM-based business at

Genetics – Find Your Inner Monster

Maybe your child has asked you, why she has brown eyes and brown hair and her brother has blue eyes and brown hair? Teaching kids about genetics can be a fun way to explore these differences.

The ASU School of Life Sciences offer a free online interactive activity that helps kids learn about DNA by building Monsters.

Using a special code or Monster genome, kids begin to decode a pattern of color dots that relates to certain characteristics on their Monster (color, spots, etc). From there, they can create their monster by adding traits to their monster. Once complete, they can name their monster and print it out! Completely refrigerator worthy!

A Monster manual is also available for parents to help teach their kids about genomes.

Start building your monster here.

For more biology activities check out their Body Depot website.

Be a maker – Microscope for $1

DaNel Hogan, Director STEMAZing project, Office of Pima County has a fun project that will turn ones’ smartphone into a low powered microscope.

If you have a canine or feline laser pointer hanging around your house that isn’t getting much use, it might be time to transform it into a cool macro lens for your smartphone and start exploring the tiny parts of the world.

1 keychain laser pointer
Hole punch
Business card or index card
Needle nose pliers (optional but recommended)
1.Unscrew the tip of the laser pointer.
2. Unscrew the black plug. You may need pliers to unscrew this part. Note: Be careful as the parts below the black plug are spring-loaded and may go flying if you aren’t paying attention!
3. Remove the clear, plastic lens from the laser pointer. Note: It may be stuck, in which case you simply need to poke at it with a pen to center it. Again, be careful that it might go flying!
4. Place a roll of tape near one corner of a business card or index card.
5. Flatten the tape roll down (or you could just use double stick tape if you have it) and punch a hole through the tape and business card.
6. Place the plastic lens over the punched hole. The lens should be just bigger than the hole so the tape will hold it in place.

Now it’s time to put the lens on your smartphone or tablet and create a game!

For more information visit,