TechLab STEAM Camp

Make your own seed balls - presented at the Round Rock Summer Enrichment Fair

2/24/2017


Although we do not live in a rainforest, it is still important to care for our native plants, insects and animals.  Two species that we are working hard to help are our local bees and butterflies.   One way to make help bees and butterflies, collectively called pollinators, is to plant local nectar wildflowers. 


A great way of spreading these seeds is to create seed balls.   There are a number of great recipes to make seed balls, but this is the simple recipe that we use when we are presenting at STEM Fairs. 


Making Seed Balls

     Materials

  •        Red Pottery Clay (I got mine from Armadillo Clay in Austin and then collected some local clay from the ranch we will be planting the seeds).
  •        Potting Soil or Worm Bin Soil.  (If your potting soil has much mulch or larger pieces, you may want shake it through a sifter).
  •        Water
  •        Local Seeds (There are great seed mixes from Native American Seed or Wildseed Farms. )
  •        Mixing bowls
  •        1/2 teaspoon    
  •       1 cup measuring cup, 1/2 cup measuring cup


     Instructions

  1.   In a mixing bowl, add 1 cup of shifted potting soil, 1 cup of red pottery clay dust and 1/2 cups of water. 
  2.  Mix until you can roll into ball.
  3.  Get 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture and make a flat circle about the size of a quarter.
  4.  Add 3-6 seeds to the middle and roll into ball. 
  5.  Set the seed ball out to dry at room temperature until dry (about 24 hours; putting them in front of a fan helps dry them)
  6. This mix will make about 100 seed balls.
  7.  Your seed balls are ready to spread after about 2 days.  They can also last for weeks or a year.
  8.  Either go out and spread your seed ball, or present them as gifts to your favorite gardener.


We will update with photos after the fair.


Week 1 Day 3 of Camp


We have decided to keep a blog this year.  Hope it is useful.


Notes for parents - as emailed, please remember to plan to spend about 1-1.5 hours on Friday to walk through the classrooms and see all the great things your youth have been doing at Techlab.    We hope to see you all on Friday for our Show and Tell.


Notes from the Teachers - this week's youth are amazing!   Several of our teachers were surprised at how advanced the youth were and decided to change up some lessons to provide a bit more challenge, especially in our 4th and 5th grade classes.   ESTEAM headed out for hikes and insect collecting on our new nature trail, while robotics learned about sensors and started on their challenge.  Photography is learning to edit photos right now and Toy Design learned to create 3D items in Tinker Cad.    In the 6-9th grade classes, programming classes are moving on to trying Python, Robotics finally got their controllers to start talking to their builds, Engineering and Model Design are moving from their 3D plans in Solid Works to  creating the physical prototypes, in photography youth are starting their photograph art projects and Electronics will start soldering tomorrow. 


Note from Directors: Why do we hand out flash drives?


At Techlab, we are a technology based camp, and one of the most important take home are the files of all the things that your youth created.  This can be photo files, CAD design files, or robotic programming files.  In programming, they may even have a full app to bring home and add to their tablet or phone.   Even if your youth does not get to print their photo or print their 3D model, as long as you have the files saved on the flash drive, you can have them printed.   So remind your youth to remember to save their work during camp and check out their pictures, creations and programs when they bring their flash drives home on Friday.  And if you want to have something printed or 3D printed, please feel free to contact the camp for suggestions on ways to get that done.