Category Archives: science

Volcano Fun

We studied volcanos a few weeks ago with our My Fathers World, Exploring Countries and Cultures. I felt compelled to let big brother make a volcano… I mean… All kids should get to make a volcano sometime in their life, right?

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He used Model Magic to form the volcano. It takes a few days for the model magic to dry… just so you know.

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Once the volcano was dry, we put a couple of tablespoons of baking soda into the top of the volcano. We added a few drops of red food coloring to about 1 1/2 cups of white vinegar. Big Brother and Big Sis took turns pouring vinegar in and making “lava” pour out of the volcano. Little Sis wasn’t interested… she said it smelled bad.

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Big Brother was so excited… can you tell?

We also looked up several videos on you tube of volcanos erupting and checked out lots of books from our local library.

Do your kids like Magic School Bus? Did you know that all of the Magic Schoolbus videos are on you tube? We watched this one all about volcanos:

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Sock Grass Activity

We recently studied Kenya in My Father’s World, Exploring Countries and Cultures. We talked a good bit about grasslands. As a fun little activity with our co op, we made sock grass! I did this activity when I was teaching kindergarten and we studied plants and seeds. It’s great…the grass usually grows quickly.

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What you need:

Potting Soil

Grass Seed

Old Sock, cut off at the heel

Small container to put the sock in… I cut a red solo cup in half

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How you put it together:

1. open up the sock and dump in about a tablespoon of grass seed

2. dump in about 1/2- 1 cup of soil

3. tie off the sock (we used rubber bands to do this step)

4. decorate your container (optional) and place the sock it … you want the tied off side pointing down

5. place some water in the base of the container (it will be absorbed by the sock) and place in a well lit area

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Our grass began growing in about a week. Within two weeks, we had enough grass that we could give our plants a “hair cut.” This is a fun project to have around. My kids enjoy cutting the hair often. The grass grows quickly as long as it is well watered. You don’t need to soak the plant, but make sure that your sock stays damp.

What kind of fun plant activities have you done?

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Freebie Friday- Weather Sorting Printable

I feel like we study seasons in some way or another each year. I am always putting little trees in each corner of the page and having the kids draw the leaves for the appropriate season. Or I’m painting their arms and hands brown to make handprint trees. All these things are fun, but how many handprint trees do I need from my kids?

This week, I created a new printable for the kids to use. I still divided the page into four sections, one for each season, but then gave them a separate sheet with items to cut and sort into the appropriate season. This worked out because Big Sis was also working on sorting and classifying this week.

I hope you find this useful:

Click here to download —-> Seasons Part 1

Click here to download —–> Seasons Part 2

I do enjoy feedback. I’d love to know if this is something you’ll use!

Happy Friday!

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Wiggly Worms

Before you read this post, you need to know that I am a city girl through and through. I grew up near down town Atlanta. I played in city parks and rode my bike on paved streets. Try as I might to embrace my country girl alter ego, the city girl in me still squeals at bugs and creepy crawlies. I still rely on my husband to rid our home of those undesirable critters. A bug free home is a happy home in my mind.

With that said, Big Brother recently went to a wiggly worm class at our local children museum. He learned all about earthworms and how to care for them and how they benefit gardens.

The kids made personal earthworm farms. They wrote basic instructions on the lids… “keep me cool and moist” and “no meat or citrus.” They each got to pick a handful (maybe 25) of earthworms to put into their farms. They got an instruction sheet to take home and just like that…. we have earthworms. Big Brother likes to talk to them and let them crawl on his arms. *shiver*

I told someone shortly after the worm farm came home that true love is bringing your son’s earthworm farm inside so the little boogers won’t freeze.

I have gotten over my dislike of the creepy crawlies to an extent because we have started a vegetable garden. I have been digging out that oh so rich worm poop that is fantastic fertilizer for our garden. I have become more attached to this little earthworm farm than Big Brother who, of course, has moved onto bigger and better things.

A friend of mine just recently started her own wormy compost bin. You can read about it on her blog… she gives a little more of the step by step if you want to start your own farm.

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This Week in Homeschool

We had quite a few hands on experiences in school this week… so I thought I would share about them here… plus it’s been quite a while since I’ve done a week in review.

All of these activities were taken from Adventures in My Father’s World

First of all, in history, we talked about Eli Whitney and the cotton gin. To realize the importance of the cotton gin, we “made cotton”

Step One: take a cotton ball and spread it out so it is more flat than round. Squiggle around some liquid glue and sprinkle little green pieces of paper (seeds) onto it. When the glue has dried, ball the cotton back up.

Step Two:

Picking Out the Cotton Seeds

When the glue has dried, have your child pick out the little green seeds. Let them know that it is important to save the cotton and only remove the seeds.

Step Three:

Cotton Gin

Introduce the cotton gin. In the book we read about Eli Whitney, the cotton gin was described as having teeth like a comb. I gave the kids a comb to remove the seeds and let them tell me the difference in doing it by hand and using the comb. We worked on descriptive words. And… by the way… this kept the kids entertained for almost an hour!

We also have been reading about the pioneers moving west. This week, we read a story about a family who traveled down the Ohio River and met Johnny Appleseed on the way. We talked about food preservation and how the pioneers didn’t have refrigerators or coolers. To emphasize this point, I pulled out the dehydrator I bought at a yard sale a few years back and we dried some apples.

Apples!

As we sampled the dehydrated apples, we talked about how they were the same and different has “real” apples. The kids were not big fans of the dried ones… that’s okay though… just means more for me!

In science this week, we began talking about living things. In the  Usborne First Enclyclopedia of Science, we looked at cells. It was a very brief and simple introduction to a subject I am sure we will spend more time on later.

After reading about cells, we made a very simple model using jello, beans and a grape.

Start with Jello

Make the jello according to the directions and then place in a plastic baggie. Put it into the fridge to let it set for a couple of hours.

Add a grape and some beans

After the jello has set, squish in a grape for the nucleus and some beans for the organelles (cell parts). The baggie represents the cell wall or membrane.

Throw in some math and spelling and there you have it… our homeschool week!

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Swimming Creatures Progress Report

I mentioned in the beginning of the school year that Big Brother would be doing Apologia’s Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day. He is currently obsessed with very interested in ocean animals. This science is more of a reward for him if he gets the rest of his work done.

Part of the curriculum of the book is to do a year long project… an ocean box. Confession… I can’t stand clutter. I love my kids and their lovely art projects, but I must admit that I regularly clean house when it comes to art projects. I keep a few pieces here and there, but the rest I toss. I go on the theory that much of the art process for kids is in the creating… they don’t so much care about the final project. Hey… it helps me sleep better at night.

However… with this ocean box, I cannot file it away or toss it away. This is a year long, hands on project and Big Brother couldn’t be more thrilled. He is so excited about adding to his box every couple of weeks. First we decorated the box with blue paper and coral.

Adding the Whales

Big Brother chose a Right Whale and a Sperm Whale to add to his box. We printed out pics and used pipe cleaners to attach said whales to the box.

Using Model Magic to Make a Sea Turtle

We used model magic from Crayola to add our Pinnipeds and Herps (Walrus and aquatic reptiles and amphibians).

working hard

I wasn’t sure how the model magic would turn out, but I think it worked out pretty well. We let it dry for a few days and then carefully glued the creatures to the box. The snake did break, but we were able to glue it back together. We added the google eyes when the clay was dry.

sea turtle

Walrus

Sea Snake

We’ll probably get some stickers to add after this week’s lesson… Fish!

Big Brother is loving the Apologia stuff… I am too! For each chapter, we can get online and look at extra stuff, links, etc having to do with the topic at hand. The book and journal provides several activities. You can pace yourself as needed and do as much or as little of the activities as wanted. I am thinking about repeating the whole book in a few years. It would probably be an entirely different experience when Big Brother gets a little older.

Each lesson has a vocabulary crossword that goes with it. I have been using these as the test for each lesson. Big Brother likes to do crosswords and it helps me to know that he is getting the information.

If you haven’t checked out what Apologia has to offer, I highly recommend that you take the time to do so!

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Bread, Butter and Pioneers

We’ve been using Adventures in My Father’s World this year. The curriculum presents American history from a Biblical point of view. For the last couple of weeks, we have been reading about the Pioneers. We’ve learned about the early settlements of Jamestown, Plymouth, and New Amsterdam. To celebrate all we’ve been learning, we had a bread and butter making day and did a science experiment with yeast.

First we made our bread…honey wheat:

Ingredients:

1 1/8 cup water

3 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup honey

1 1/2 Tbs oil

1 package of yeast

Put the ingredients in order into your bread machine and follow your directions on the bread machine. I put mine on the light setting…it took about 2 1/2 hours to bake.

Next Up… Science in the kitchen:

Mix 1 package of yeast with 1 cup of warm water and 1 Tbs of sugar, pour into a glass soda jar ( I didn’t have glass… plastic seemed to work well) and cover the opening with a balloon. Put in a warm, dark place and observe every 10 minutes or so… Have the kids record observations in a journal.


Big Brother recorded the results after 10, 20, 30 and 40 minutes. Just a side note, I did have to shake the bottle a bit to get the yeast moving. We repeated the experiment with just yeast and water… no sugar and noted the differences. We talked about how yeast needs sugar to be effective.

Moving on… to homemade butter:

Pour heavy whipping cream into a glass jar… fill it about half way up. Add a little salt for taste if you’d like.

Put the lid on the jar… make sure it’s sealed tight! SHAKE! Shake for about 15 minutes or so… the butter will begin to form… be patient… I promise it will come.

Separate the butter from the rest of the liquid in the jar.

Spread your homemade butter on your homemade bread (or crackers, etc.) and enjoy!!!

Now I’m going to head over to the Hip Homeschool Hop and see what other homeschoolers are up to this week!

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Eggs + Salt + Water =

Science Experiment Day at our House…

 This book is one that came with Adventures in My Father’s World. We are alternating between this and Apologia’s Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day. Today, we talked about what scientists do. We talked about forming theories and then conducting experiments to see if our theories are correct. The book suggested a very simple experiment to see if an egg would float or sink in salt/ fresh water. I was pretty impressed with big brother. He pulled his knowledge from what he’d learned from his Apologia book yesterday about currents. He said the egg in the salt water would float because salt is heavy and sinks and pushes things up.

 We filled two glasses half way up and put ten heaping teaspoons of salt in one of them. Then we dropped eggs into each cup.

 Big brother was right. The egg in the salt water floated. I had the kids record their findings in their journals.

 Big Brother was straight to the point, “The egg floted in salt.”

Little Sis dictated, “The egg floated in salt water. The egg didn’t float in not salt water.”

For some reason I shied away from science experiments last year. I am hoping to get past that this year. My kids really enjoy the hands on stuff and Big Brother didn’t complain at all when I told him to write about this in his journal. Normally, getting him to write is a nightmare.

And that concludes our homeschool week. A good ending to a week that started off pretty rough.

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Plants, Plants and More Plants

Spring time = flowers, plants and bugs… Oh my!

What a great time to take advantage of those teachable moments with things in bloom outside and makes some teachable moments with inexpensive materials inside!

First of all, here’s an update on our Root Vue

 All three radish seeds that we planted are flourishing. One of the carrots is doing alright and one onion has made an appearance. This little experiment has gotten quite a bit of notice when friends come over. The kids like to explain about the roots and seeds. Hopefully, we’ll see some fruit for all our labor. 
 Big brother got this little kit for Christmas from his cousins It is filled with all sorts of activities and experiments for a little astronomer. Before the obsession with dinosaurs, Big Brother was obsessed with planets. He’s a little scientist at heart. You can find this kit here on amazon… only about $15.  One experiment finds out why plants don’t grow on other planets. Included in the kit are seeds, soil and three little pots. After planting the seeds, you place them in different areas of the house and see if they grow.
 Earth… with sunlight and water.
 Venus… Sunlight, but no water.
 Saturn… in the freezer without water.
We also have this book that was included in our My Father’s World First Grade Package. I am a fan of the Usborne Science books. They are chock full of information and hands on experiments. 
If you invest in the Root Vue, the Little Lab Stars and Planets and the Usborne Science with Plants Books, you’ll be having all kinds of planty fun! Also… be sure to check out the dollar section at Target. They usually have little seed kits and gardening stuff around this time of year.
**If you’re like us and your budget is tight…. consider asking for things like this for Christmas or birthday presents… that’s the only reason we have these materials**

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Root Vue Farm- Another Update (19)

We originally planted three of each seeds- radish, onion and carrot. The radishes sprouted quickly… after just  a couple of days. The carrots came next, but only two of them sprouted. And finally, the onion… but only one.

 The system is supposed to be self watering. I am a little concerned because the soil on top is completely dry. The water in the basin on the bottom doesn’t seem to be going away.  Oh well… time will tell. 
 Onion and Carrot sprouts.
The roots. It is pretty cool to see the roots creeping around in the soil.

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