We had a chance to talk to local YouTube science-sation Jenny Ballif, who runs Science Mom! From extracting DNA from fruit to understanding the science behind slime, this local mom made science fun for kids on and offline! Her YouTube Channel, Science Mom, is blowing up and blowing minds as she peels back the curtain and reveals how the world works on a molecular level and more!
What was the inspiration behind Science Mom?
In 2013, my son’s second-grade teacher told me she had been forced to drop many of her science activities because of the increased focus on standardized testing. I asked her if I could bring a science demonstration to share with the class each week and my name changed from “Andrew’s mom” to “Science Mom.” I fell in love with this volunteer-hobby and after several years of taking science to my own kid’s schools, I decided to start a YouTube channel so I could help more kids discover a love for science.
How do you choose your projects?
Some videos, like the science behind slime, have come entirely from requests that I had from viewers. In general, I like to focus on projects that use simple supplies, things you can find a home. This year I have several courses outlined and I’m excited to be working on those because I think they deliver higher educational value than standalone videos.
How can homeschoolers best use your YouTube channel?
This year we’re releasing a science project video every Wednesday, and along with that video we have a short PDF document that encourages kids to take that demonstration and make it a true experiment. This video series follows our 2020 science calendar and would be a great way to incorporate weekly science experiments into a homeschool curriculum. I also want to be sure that homeschool parents know that the videos on our website will only refer to other science mom videos. I know for myself, letting my child navigate YouTube is a concern because there’s a rabbit hole of endless content, and sometimes the “suggested videos” may not be kid-appropriate. On the video tab of our website we have it set up so each video will only show other Science Mom videos. That way parents know if they put www.science.mom on their child’s tablet or computer, their child won’t end up watching non-educational content.
What has been the most popular post?
Ironically, my most popular video is the one that I took the least amount of time to produce! I saw a video about the “chair challenge” on Facebook and filmed a short and very informal explanation for it. The chair challenge was trending on TicTok at the time, so my video “chair challenge explained” now has more than 50,000 views. At its current rate of growth, it will soon surpass my highest-viewed video (The Science Behind Slime).
Where will you be in Clark County where fans can catch you in person?
Whenever we do local events we put announcements up on our website (www.science.mom), Facebook page (@thesciencemom), and Instagram (@the.science.mom), so following one of those and checking for updates is the best way to know where to find me in person.
How can we contribute and support Science Mom?
Join me each Wednesday this year for a science project video! The more views a video has on its first day, the more views it will get over its lifetime, so I am very appreciative of people who watch and share my videos right after they’re released. This year I’m hoping to build our community of regular viewers and to connect with more science enthusiasts and homeschool parents on Patreon, which is a membership site where people can support creators they care about.
At www.patreon.com/sciencemom I have bonus worksheets and behind-the-scenes videos that can be accessed for as little as three dollars a month. My patrons have been my number one source of funding since I began the YouTube channel in 2016. Science Mom wouldn’t be here without their support.