Creepy Science: 8 Halloween-Themed Facts to Scare Your Students

Halloween is coming up, so we thought we’d share some facts from the weird world of science and beyond…

  • Dead bodies can get goosebumps! This is because dead muscles stiffen, which causes the hair follicles to contract, giving the appearance of goosebumps. (1) 
  • The largest pumpkin recorded in US history weighed 2,528 pounds and was grown by Steve Geddes from Boscawen, New Hampshire. (2)
  • Pumpkins are actually classified as a fruit, not as a vegetable! In 2006, New Hampshire even decided that the pumpkin was its state fruit. (3)
  • The fastest jack-o’-lantern carver in the world is Stephen Clarke, Pennsylvania, who managed to carve a pumpkin in just 16.47 seconds. The rules state that the pumpkin is required to have a complete face, including eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. (4)
  • Halloween could actually make children more evil—a 1970s study found that costumed children in groups were more likely to steal money and candy than non-costumed kids not in a group! (5)
  • Albert Einstein’s brain was preserved after his death. It’s been studied by scientists and even displayed in museums! (6)
  • Female spiders often eat male spiders that she comes by. Male spiders sometimes use courtship rituals to show the female that they are potential mates, not food! (7)
  • There are three species of vampire bats that feed on blood—the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus), the hairy-legged vampire bat (Diphylla ecaudata), and the white-winged vampire bat (Diaemus youngi). Of these, only the common vampire likes feeding on cows, and occasionally humans. The other two prefer birds! (8)

Hopefully, these have got you into the Halloween spirit—why not share with your students for a Halloween-themed session?

Twig Science Next Gen is full of ways to tie topical and local phenomena into K–12 science, inspiring students every single day of the year. 

Happy Halloween!


1. https://www.quora.com/How-can-dead-people-get-goosebumps

2. https://time.com/5410698/largest-pumpkin-north-america-history/

3. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/a21246075/is-pumpkin-a-fruit/

4. https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/fastest-time-to-carve-one-pumpkin/

5. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1976-20842-001

6.  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32354300

7.  https://www.thoughtco.com/fascinating-facts-about-spiders-1968544

8.  https://www.thoughtco.com/fascinating-facts-about-bats-4124369

Meet the Twig Coaches

Our team of Twig Coaches is made up of virtual teachers who appear in bite-sized studio-quality coaching videos. They’re all experienced teachers, who specialize in teaching science at particular grades. But who are they and what makes them tick? Let’s find out…


Carmen Gallagher is a science teacher. She has a BA in Liberal Studies and an MA in Teaching from San Diego State University. She has worked as a teacher in California for nine years. In her free time, Carmen loves to hike, camp, and backpack. She has hiked hundreds of miles all over California, including Yosemite and the Sierras!


Krystina Jackson is a STEM educator and curriculum development manager. She has a BSc from Xavier University of Louisiana and is a former Chemistry teacher. These days she works in curriculum development, and in her free time she loves playing logic games, specifically nonograms.


Harvey Bagshaw is an elementary teacher. He studied Elementary Education at UNC Charlotte, where he also obtained his Birth–K license. He’s currently teaching in North Carolina, and science is his favorite subject. Once, he spent a month teaching science in New Zealand! Harvey has two maltipoo puppies and recently rebuilt a Volkswagen convertible.


Denise Stearns lives in California and has been an elementary teacher for 11 years. With her dad in the military, she moved around a lot growing up, and has lived in Hawaii, North Carolina, and more! In school, Denise loved science and social studies, and she always knew she wanted to be a teacher.


Cameron Hall is a producer, director, and writer. He has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Medieval History and a graduate degree in Teaching. He’s a former high school teacher who now writes and presents shows for science festivals and loves combining science and storytelling. Cameron also enjoys reading and board games.


Noby Leong is a scientist and TV presenter. Strictly speaking, he’s not a Twig Coach—instead, he’s one of the faces of our hands-on Video Labs. Noby has a PhD in Chemistry and believes that food is the perfect gateway to learning about chemistry. After teaching for five years, he moved on to TV presenting. He has co-hosted two documentaries for ABC and even participated in a cooking competition called The Chef’s Line.


The lessons that Twig Coaches present are fun and fast-paced, but at the same time they’re carefully designed to fit right into your students’ full program of science learning. Twig Coach sessions aren’t bonus lessons to fill in when the teacher is not available. They hit exactly the same learning standards as teachers would be expected to cover in the classroom.

Want to preview the student version of Twig Distance Learning, including Twig Coach lessons and Video Labs? Try it now.

3 Must-Have Components of Twig Distance Learning

We’re in strange times for science learning, and many of the distance learning solutions out there are scrambling to catch up. It’s not hard to find solutions that are designed to engage students on a basic level just to get them doing something at home, but resources to help students master Performance Expectations or to prepare for state testing, for example, are another matter.

Twig Distance Learning is a product of listening to what teachers say are the key challenges they’re facing this year—and devising creative solutions that are adaptable, easy to use, and genuinely inspiring. We thought carefully about the problems teachers and students are going to face in the months to come, and we’re confident we’ve made some good choices that users are going to appreciate. There are lots of important features that help to make the Twig Distance Learning experience a tool for setting up students for long-term STEM success. Here’s a run-through of three of the standout features and benefits.

1. Synchronous/Asynchronous Distance Learning

Many of the distance learning resources available up until now were stopgap solutions. They help keep students learning something, which is important, but they’re not a replacement for what students used to get solely though in-class instruction.

Twig Science Distance Learning, however, is a high-quality, standards-based program that finally makes it possible to achieve a quality and depth of instruction equivalent to the classroom experience. Twig Distance Learning does this by combining synchronous and asynchronous learning—and, uniquely, being equally strong at both.

You no doubt know that synchronous learning is when teachers and students take part at the same time, such as when the teacher is presenting a lesson online. This is fine, and closer to the traditional classroom model, but synchronous learning needs everyone to be available at the same time, which isn’t always possible. Technical challenges can also get in the way.

Asynchronous is by nature a more flexible approach. Teachers don’t need to be virtually present when students complete lessons and work—they can assign content later that students can work through at their own pace. This feature of asynchronous learning is actually really empowering, giving all students greater freedom to guide their own progress.

The way Twig Distance Learning incorporates both synchronous and asynchronous models means you really have the best of both formats. In a synchronous session, teachers are able to walk through a Digital Twig Book live with students or present to students via a split screen. Asynchronously, teachers can assign students the same sections from their Twig Books and use feedback tools to check on students’ progress. We’ve made sure that no matter what approach is being used, teachers can switch between using Twig Distance Learning synchronously or asynchronously and the content and standards covered will blend seamlessly with what was taught before and what’s coming up next. We know it’s not going to be an either/or situation this fall. We know teachers are going to need to flip between live, online teaching, in-class situations, and assigning students independent work. Twig Distance Learning allows for exactly this flexibility in approaches. We hope this adaptability is going to bring real peace of mind to teachers, students, and parents in the year ahead.

2. Twig Coach/Video Labs

Twig Coach is the feature that really makes Twig Distance Learning the strongest asynchronous solution out there. As mentioned, Twig Distance Learning is the only program that can offer equally strong synchronous and asynchronous instructions.

Our team of Twig Coaches is made up of virtual teachers who appear in bite-sized studio-quality coaching videos. They’re all experienced teachers, who specialize in teaching science at particular grades. The lessons Twig Coaches present are designed to fit right into your students’ full program of science learning—they’re not bonus lessons to fill in when the teacher is not available. They hit exactly the same learning standards as teachers would be expected to cover in the classroom. Likewise, they’re not simply presenter-led videos that students passively watch—Twig Coaches encourage participation and engagement.

Twig Distance Learning Video Labs are another vital tool for asynchronous learning. They allow students to take part in experiments from home, which helps to support the teaching of hands-on science—a crucial part of getting students engaged in science. Video Labs are carried out by engaging presenters from different backgrounds, and all of the experiments are shot in HD from start to finish in the Twig Science studio.

While the primary use of Video Labs is as an aid to enable students to view hands-on lab work they’re unable to complete themselves, they can also be used as a refresher for work you carry out with students in a synchronous session.

Just as with the Twig Coach videos, Video Labs aren’t just random fun experiments. They’re carefully designed to teach important standards—including science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas—as stepping stones on students’ paths towards STEM success at school and, much later, in college and careers.

3. Culturally Relevant Content

Twig Distance Learning shares with the wider Twig Science program a commitment to bring the wonder of science learning to every student, no matter their background. Twig Distance Learning features immersive story-based investigations full of theater-quality videos, interactives, and imagery, and in all of it we’ve tried to be sensitive to the need to represent the realities of the diversity of student experience.

In this respect, we’ve gone way beyond what is legally and socially compliant. We want absolutely every student to get the same level of opportunity to succeed in STEM. And we firmly believe that students get excited about science careers when they understand that scientists are regular people just like them. We’ve made sure to include representation of different genders and races in our learning materials—including in our Twig Coaches and Video Labs—and the program includes examples of a wide range of STEM professionals from all backgrounds to inspire students, including interviews with real-world scientists who talk in a relatable way about what they do, how they got started, and the tools they use.


Twig Distance Learning trials are being rolled out right now—so get in touch today to apply to have your school try out the entire program.

3 Ways Twig Distance Learning Makes Back-to-School Easier for Your Child

We created Twig Distance Learning to be a comprehensive, exciting program that takes on the challenges of these unprecedented times. There are lots of cool features that help to make the Twig Distance Learning a great way for kids to develop the sense of wonder and achievement that will set them up for a lifetime of STEM success. Here are just three of the ways Twig Distance Learning does this:

1. Synchronous/Asynchronous Distance Learning

Many of the distance learning resources available up until now were stopgap solutions. They help keep students learning something, which is important, but they’re no replacement for in-class instruction.

The new Twig Science Distance Learning, however, is a high-quality, standards-based program unlike anything anyone’s seen before. It finally makes it possible to achieve a quality and depth of instruction equivalent to the classroom experience.

Twig Distance Learning does this by combining synchronous and asynchronous learning. These sounds like complex terms, but really they’re quite straightforward. Synchronous learning is when teachers and students take part at the same time, such as when the teacher is presenting a lesson on Zoom. This is fine, and closer to the traditional classroom model, but synchronous learning needs everyone to be available at the same time, which isn’t always possible. Technical challenges can also get in the way.

Asynchronous is a more flexible approach. Teachers don’t need to be virtually present when students complete lessons and work—they can assign content later that students can work through at their own pace. This feature of asynchronous learning is actually really empowering, giving all students greater freedom to guide their own progress.

Twig Distance Learning incorporates both synchronous and asynchronous models, so you really have the best of both formats.

2. Twig Coaches

Twig Coaches make up a team of virtual teachers who appear in bite-sized studio-quality coaching videos. They’re all experienced teachers, who specialize in teaching science at particular grades.

The lessons Twig Coaches present are designed to fit right into your child’s full program of science learning—they’re not bonus lessons to fill in when your child’s teacher is not available. They hit exactly the same learning standards as the teacher would be expected to cover in the classroom. Likewise, they’re not simply presenter-led videos that your child passively watches—Twig Coaches encourage participation and engagement!

3. Video Labs

Twig Distance Learning Video Labs allow students to take part in experiments from home, which helps to support the teaching of hands-on science—a crucial part of getting students engaged in science.

Every Video Lab is carried out by Twig Scientist Noby, who’s an engaging scientists and media presenter. All of the experiments are shot in HD from start to finish in the Twig Science studio.

Video Labs can be used as an aid to enable students to view hands-on lab work they’re unable to complete themselves, or they can also be used as a refresher.

Just as with the Twig Coach videos, Video Labs aren’t just random fun experiments. They’re carefully designed to teach important standards as stepping stones on your child’s path to STEM success at school and, much later, college and career.

We’re rolling out trials of Twig Distance Learning right now—so get in touch with your child’s school to encourage it to apply to try out the entire program.

5 Easy Tools to Use Twig Science in Any Delivery Model!

From the start, we designed Twig Science to be a pleasure to use, from its clear, colorful design to the straightforward navigation between lessons. There are lots of cool features that help to make the Twig Science experience feel streamlined and effortless, and we’re adding more all the time—many at the request of teachers using Twig Science right now.

Here are some you may not know about…


1. Digital Twig Book

One of the Twig Science features we’re most proud of is the Digital Twig Book. This allows students to fill in answers directly into their own personal workbooks on their computers or tablets. You can view any of your students’ individual Digital Twig Books to see their work, and you also have a version of your own—called “My Copy”—which you can add your own notes and answers to.

These features mean that the Digital Twig Book can be used as a streamlined, all-in-one version of the program. You can even teach straight from it. Alternatively, combined with the great new Distance Learning features described below, the Digital Twig Book makes a flexible independent study tool.

Accessing the Digital Twig Book couldn’t be easier. In any lesson, click on “Twig Book” and select “Digital.”

Find out more about sharing Digital Twig Book lessons with your class by clicking here.


2. Distance Learning

Many of the distance learning resources that have been available to teachers up to now were stopgap solutions. They help teachers manage in these unprecedented times, but they’re no replacement for in-class instruction. The new Twig Science Distance Learning, however, is a high-quality, standards-based program unlike anything you’ve seen before. Two of the key features that finally make it possible to achieve through distance learning a quality and depth of instruction equivalent to the classroom experience are virtual coach and hands-on science lab videos. 

The virtual coaches appear in bite-sized studio-quality coaching videos, presented by experienced teachers who lead students through each lesson, encouraging participation and engagement.

Hands-on science lab videos allow students to take part in experiments from home, to support the teaching of hands-on science.

See the Twig Science virtual coach and hands-on labs in action here


3. Presentation View

Twig Science features a fantastic way to control all the events and assets that make up a lesson in one easy-to-use view—it’s called Presentation View. This feature can be used in a classroom or via distance learning through screen sharing, and it gives you a way of presenting assets to your students so that they have maximum visual impact. There’s no clutter—the students see what they need to see and nothing way. It gives you an easy way to navigate through all digital assets that belong to a lesson, enabling you to teach the lesson quickly without needing to wade through instructions.

Presenting a Twig Science lesson is really straightforward. Simply navigate to the lesson you want to teach, then click the “Present Lesson” button:

Alternatively, click the “Present” button on any asset thumbnail:

To learn more about presenting lessons in Twig Science, click here.


4. Accessibility Features

The accessibility panel provides many features, such as a screen reader and font adjustment controls, to provide a great user experience for all.

These features can be turned on by clicking the accessibility button on the bottom left-hand side of the screen.

A pop up panel will appear, giving you access to a screen reader and the ability to change many aspects of the site.

Read more about Twig Science accessibility features—click here.


5. Lesson Pinning

The Teacher Dashboard in Twig Science is a really helpful tool that lets you quickly access important tools and resources. It’s easy to add lessons to your dashboard, allowing you to navigate straight to lessons and assessment for each class. 

You can pin a lesson directly to your dashboard by clicking the pin icon. When you click the pin you will be able to select the class you wish to save the lesson for:

The lesson will now we available under My Lessons in the Teacher Dashboard:

For more on adding lessons to the Teacher Dashboard, click here.


To implement Twig Science’s range of ease-of-use tools in your school or district, get in touch today.

CARES Act Funding for High-Quality Distance Learning

You’ve likely heard about the emergency relief fund created by the federal government through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This provides a total of $2 trillion emergency funding to mitigate the economic and public health consequences of COVID-19.

Part of this funding will enable K–12 schools to deal with issues brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic—around $13.2 billion in funding has been specifically allocated to Grades K–12. This funding will help districts to negotiate the challenges associated with the switch to long-term distance learning. 

Details of state allocation for this funding can be viewed here. The funding will be distributed to Districts according to their Title I allocation. There is a wide range of purposes towards which these funds can be put to use. However, in terms of education technology, these are some of the main intended uses:

  • Managing and coordinating long-term remote learning, including ensuring all students have the resources they need to receive virtual instruction
  • Addressing the needs of at-risk students, including English Learners, students with special needs, ethnic minority students, etc.
  • Purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, and programs) to facilitate regular, substantive interaction between instructors and students
  • Purchasing assistive technology or adaptive equipment for students with disabilities

Currently, no funding has been distributed. The US Department of Education has 30 days to respond to applications for funds, which must be spent by September 30, 2021, or returned to the federal government. 

Any funding your district or school receives can be applied towards a comprehensive distance learning solution such as Twig Science Next Gen Distance Learning. The advantage of a high-quality, standards-based program like Twig Science Next Gen Distance Learning is that it goes way beyond some of the stopgap, supplemental options that teachers had to rely on in the initial period of remote instruction. It’s finally possible to achieve through distance learning a quality and depth of instruction equivalent to the classroom experience. Key features include:

  • Rich, high-quality videos, visuals, and interactives for genuine engagement away from the classroom
  • Comprehensive coverage of 3-D science standards
  • Cross-curricular applications: Arts, Math, ELA
  • Opportunities to differentiate for ELL, SPED, on-level, and advanced students
  • On-demand lessons with a virtual coach

To discuss how Twig Science Next Gen Distance Learning can help you make great use of CARES Act funding—or to request a live demonstration or educator referral—get in touch today