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Give the Gift of Science this Holiday Season

by Ann Zhang

There are so many things to give this holiday season yet few can match up to the gift of learning, so why not get a science related gift to friends, family, or yourself in honor of the curious and adventurous spirit. Don’t worry, we won’t attempt to persuade you to sift through millions and millions of options, spending long hours scouring the world wide web for that perfect present. Instead, we have curated a list for you ranging from a variety of price points. Feel free to explore and branch out.

1. What if by Randall Monroe

Price: $15.81 at Target

Image from Target.com

As can be inferred by the italics, What If is indeed a book. And yes, I do understand that the E in STEM does not stand for English. So why is this in the STEM section of mYeBEAT as part of an article about science related gifts? Simple, it’s because it’s a book that visualizes crazy hypothetical situations on the basis of math and science. What would happen if you made a periodic table of elements but out of the actual elements? Is it possible to make a working jetpack using machine guns firing downward? The answers, at least hypothetically, are all in the book. It’s great in entertaining and full of wit and sarcasm. A great book for science lovers and even for those who don’t but are looking for a bit of comedy relief. The author actually used to work at NASA and even has his own wikipedia page (that’s how you know a person is legit). If you’re interested, you can head to his website https://what-if.xkcd.com/ which offers answers to hypothetical questions in the same style of his book. There is even an option to submit your own absurd curiosities!

2. Plant Propagating Planter

Price: $21.99 on Amazon

Image from Amazon.com

This one is for the plant lovers. A Plant Propagation Kit is the perfect way to expand that collection of green plants without spending as much in the long run. The idea of propagation in essence is that you cut a stem of another plant and stick it in water to wait until the root grows out of the stem. Then you have two plants of the original single plant that the cutting was taken from. To propagate a plant, you really just need a container, preferably clear as you will be able to notice if the plants have grown roots. However, I just had to include this as it’s so aesthetically pleasing! Not only can it be the perfect bedside science experiment, it would also function as cute room decor. Think of it as two for the price of one.

3. Forensic Science Kit

Price: $64.95 on Homexciencegoods.com

Forensic Science  is extremely interesting when it’s hands on. I’m sure those who have participated in it would agree with me. However, for those who haven’t it is worth the adventure. I first delved into forensic in middle school, and it was extremely interesting and engaging with a grounded principle based in chemistry. The kit comprises 7 hands on labs to trace the clues and solve mystery. Feel free to have multiple people unite (keeping in mind social distancing) to solve the crime.

4. Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit

Price: $99.98 on Amazon

Image from Amazon.com

The Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit, as expected, contains the 4 GB model Raspberry Pi 4. But it also comes with 32GB Samsung EVO+ Micro SD Card preloaded with NOOBS, USB MicroSD Card Reader, Raspberry Pi 4 Case with Integrated Fan Mount, Low Noise Bearing System Fan, CanaKit 3.5A USB-C Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply (US Plug) with Noise Filter, Set of Heat Sinks, Micro HDMI to HDMI Cable – 6 foot (Supports up to 4K 60p), and a PiSwitch. With a variety of parts, this kit offers plenty of room to be creative in putting together your own mini functional computer. It will be really interesting to put it together and configure it to your own personal preference. Of course, the $99.98 is quite expensive for such a small device, thus you could also buy the parts and the Raspberry Pi 4 separately, which could be less expensive depending on what parts you like and what you want to make. Furthermore, the Raspberry Pi 4 comes in a wide variety of options in a 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB RAM with the 2GB RAM version starting at only $35!

5. Hydroponic Kit

Price: $89.99 on Amazon

Image from Amazon.com

It’s growing plants, but without dirt and also comes with a light so you can grow it indoors, which is important if you live in a cold place like Michigan. Progress toward vegetation all year! Another definite plus is that it will not be as messy even indoors, as again, it’s dirt-free. Instead plants will grow in water. However, unlike propagation, you can grow plants from seeds. It’s not just for getting roots but also long-term and sustainable. The nutrients that are usually in the dirt instead come in the form of a solution (included in the kit) to be added to the water. Accessories that you might need are included too. All you have to do is get your own seeds and start growing some herbs. The perfect combination of science and all spices of delicious. 

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