There’s a few odd things on my shopping list this week…

My children are mad scientists! This when’s SciFri, we are going to brew up some new recipes. There are some great recipes here – give it a try!

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My Budding Botanists

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Today we started a new science program – Budding Botanists. It is a project-based curriculum originally designed for use in schools so we will have to tweak it a little bit. The boys will be Botanists working to uncover the work of a scientist whose notes have been discovered after years of being lost, trying to find plants to make fuel. Anyway, it gave us a great idea!

This morning we went to searching for lab coats. We practised protecting our senses with gloves and safety glasses. We conducted a simple experiment and then read a great book “What is a Scientist?”. What is a Scientist? shows children doing what scientists do, asking questions, experimenting, recording. My children really enjoyed it.

Primus  recorded his work. He wanted to paste in the science rules. I just read from the book! 😉

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I am really looking forward to seeing how this one goes, but it is a promising start.

Hide and Seek Mini-Unit

Start with a simple video:

http://www.sciencefriday.com/embed/video/10397.swf

Strew a book:

Camouflage by Bernard Stonehouse

Dig up an old teaching resource:

Part of a Pattern by The Curriculum Corporation

Wander around in the sun to collect natural materials to build a camouflaged insect: End up with an owl and a collage? Okay then.

The camouflage creations

Camouflage has been of interest for a while, and its great when something new pops up that starts the interest again. The next steps for us involve a library search. Picking up from the theme here we are going to expand into protective features of plants and animals.

Building with Questacon Science Squad

Have you seen the Questacon Science Squad site yet? A fabulous resource full of great experiments and fantastic buildings, the Questacon site is fabulous for visual and hands on learners like LE. Yesterday LE made a balloon car. We had made one months ago with him, but LE made this on his own after watching this video again. I was really impressed with his substitutions too!

 

Balloon Powered Car

Those great wheels were acquired at a local recycling shop – let me know if you want the details.

If you make anything from those videos, I’d love the hear about it. There are plenty of ideas there.

Dinosaurs

I found an unpublished post from a few months go I thought I’d share.

We have been looking at dinosaurs the past couple of weeks, sort of loosely following the prospective here. I thought I’d share some of our work.

A. making dinosaur skin using a variety of dried pulses.

Layer jelly, showing how material gets stratified in rock.

Dinosaurs are one of those topics that has plenty of activities around. You could spend months on it!

Making a Water Alarm Clock

The most fun you can have watching water drip!

Today we made a water alarm clock. We used a kit I bought on special a while ago, but I was not particularly impressed with the kit as it didn’t include many of the required things. Essentially, water drips from the top of the bottle to the bottom, until the water level in the bottom causes the foil lid to rise to the level of the  paperclips, connecting the circuit and sounding a buzzer. The project was fun and the finished clock will be fun to experiment with. We may try seeing what we can do before the timer goes off, experiment with some different components, and see if we can make the alarm go off sooner or later than it currently does.

Chemistry on SciFri

Chemistry is fun!

While LE has been into physics and biology, this was our first ‘official’ foray into chemistry. I have talked about the science we do in this post.

Today’s activity was to find and discuss the states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. (In case you were wondering, plasma can be shown in a plasma ball or a fluorescent light bulb. The glowing is actually caused by glowing plasma. In nature it is seen as lightning and the stars/sun.) DH also talked about Bose-Einstein Condensate. (JGI!) We filled balloons (solid) with water (liquid) and gas (air).

We also wrote these words up on card and put them on the wall. This is new for us, but something I have been trying to do more often as both a vocabulary building and reading practice exercise. It’s also something LE enjoys, as he loves to go to the wall later and ask questions about the words.

The experiment was to explore the weight of  eight different but similarly sized items, introducing concepts of density.

But the hit of the day was the periodic table videos! I showed him a periodic table, then let him loose on this site. I love this site for visual spacial learners! It features a periodic table, and each element is linked to a short video about it. The videos are well done. Each is very different and might contain experiments, stories about the discovery of the element and how it is used in real world applications or in the human body. The presenter has a sense of humour a lot like mine.  (Is that good or bad?)

I wouldn’t say LE got everything in those videos, but enough to really enjoy them, and for me to have a hard time getting my computer back!

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