Archive for the 'science' Category

Growing Science

You’ll recall (if you’re one of my ten readers) that I did a little tutorial on how to make a six-page book a couple of weeks ago and promised that I would show you how we used them recently.  So, here it is!

First we set up a little science experiment about growing seeds based on this fabulous pinterest pin and this blog entry from the Artful Child.  We talked about what we thought seeds needed to grow (sunshine, dirt, water, etc.) and then we placed wet paper towels on contact paper (you could use ziplock bags in this step instead), placed pea and sunflower seeds on the towels, then closed up the contact paper, labelled them, and carefully taped them with packing tape onto the window.  We made sure that the tape went all the way around so that no water leaked out of the seed packs.
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Then we talked about what a hypothesis is (thank you Dinosaur Train for teaching Clara this for me!) and came up with one about what would happen to our seeds.
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Then we drew pictures of what our seeds looked like at the beginning of the experiment.
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And we looked at them and drew them a few times before we took them down and planted them in our garden.
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Here’s what they looked like when we decided to plant them!
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We decided that while the plants did not make it “all the way to the top,” they were going to keep growing, so we would continue to check our hypothesis as they grow.

Density Experiment

I was asked by our favorite children’s librarian this week to review a book for her and let her know what I thought.  The book is I’m a Scientist: Kitchen by Lisa Burke.  I looked through it and found that it had a few good activities that I wanted to try, but overall I found it to be a good book, but not a resource that I would want to buy.  It really only has about fifteen different experiments in it, but they are all well photographed and made really interesting for kids to want to delve in to and try out themselves.

Yesterday we had a bit of free time (probably due to the extra hour in our day!) and Clara and I decided to try one of the experiments out.  We did one on density, and I have to say, it was a huge hit!  We may have to try out more of these experiments.  Here’s what we did.
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I gathered some supplies:

  • A plastic bottle
  • vegetable oil
  • corn syrup
  • food coloring
  • a funnel
  • some water
  • various small objects (not pictured)

First we poured the corn syrup into the bottle through the funnel.  We noted that it went really slowly and was very thick.  Next we added the water with a bit of blue food coloring in it.  Then we added the oil to to top.  We discussed why they were in layers rather than all mixed together.

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Then we added various objects and noticed if they floated or sank and if they floated, in which layer they floated. Some of the objects we added included a key, a penny, a little rubber snake, a little skeleton eraser, and a pretend spider.
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Then at the very end, we just had to shake the bottle. We noted that while the oil would not mix with the water, after a while, the syrup and the water were able to combine.

The girls were both thrilled with this experiment and we had everything on had to do it. So, overall, I would say that makes this one a hit!
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Dyeing brown Easter eggs

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As you know, I have a ton of brown eggs.  My chickens produce about fifteen eggs a week.  We eat about three.  Not really kidding.  So, I had plenty of eggs to hard boil.  Fresh eggs do not hard boil well because they are hard to peel, so I saved a dozen in the fridge for three weeks.  My fingers were crossed that they will work out.  But then about a week ago, I gave away four eggs from this dozen.  No big deal.  I still had eight, which was plenty for our deviled eggs.  Then this morning I went to boil the eggs and this is where the first one I tried to put in the pot ended up.
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So, I added one fresh egg into the pot. It will be fun to figure out which one is the fresh one. I call not peeling that one right now!

Anyway, we dyed the eggs this afternoon with Clara. It was her first time and I was a little freaked out about the possibility of food coloring spread all over the house and all over us. Plus it was sunny for the first time in what feels like weeks, so we took our project outside. I did a little research and learned that those little kits with the pellets that dissolve in water to make dye are totally bull. All you need to dye eggs is vinegar, food coloring, and warm water. I already had all of that in my pantry.

First we made only the primary colors: yellow, red, and blue. Add one tablespoon white vinegar to each cup, then a bit of food coloring (I went with six drops… it was a pretty random number, though), then I added enough hot water to fill the cups halfway and cover an egg.
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We dyed the eggs each of the primary colors, then grabbed some more glasses and did a little color experimenting. Clara was amazed that yellow and blue make green, blue and red make purple, and yellow and red make orange.
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Overall, this was an incredible activity. I have to say that all my worrying was just silly. Not one drop of dye was spilled and Clara LOVED it! It was a science experiment, art activity, and cooking project all in one. And, brown eggs officially make the best dyed eggs ever. They are so dark and beautiful!
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The Green Light

There are some things that your parents tell you that you never quite believe.  I think that this stems from all of the  “Because I said so”s and “If you make that face its going to get stuck that way”s.  You learn to take what they say with a grain of salt. I remember when I was little I knew that the burner on our stove was hot.  It was red, after all.  Mom had told me never to touch it.  But, I didn’t really believe her.  I stuck my hand down on it and had coil burn marks in my palm for two weeks.  It hurt.  You would think I would start believing what my parents said, but its just hard.

Yesterday, one of the things that my parents had told me about, but that I never really fully believed, was proven to me.  And it was beautiful.  It didn’t hurt at all.  Living in Maui, as they have off and on for the last three years, my parents have made a habit of going to the beach to watch the sunset every night.  I know, they have it really rough.  The first year they were there, they claimed that on a cloudless night, as the sun went down, at the last moment that it was on the horizon, it turned green in a green flash of light.  Dad sent me scientific data to prove that such a thing exists.  We came over, went to sunset and it never happend.  There was always a cloud in the way.  We never saw it.  So, I didn’t really believe. 

Until last night.  I could easily have missed it.  I was chasing Clara around the beach.  She wanted to run and splash her feet in the water, but Dad made sure that I was watching.  He didn’t want the blame if I missed it.  Down went the sun, red ball of flame into the blue ocean as I stood with my toes in the warm sand.  Clara sat on my hip as I told her that we were watching the sunset and that the sun was that ball in the sky, but that its really a star.  And then as it disappeared, it turned green, bright green!  It wasn’t so much a flash as a moment of pure green in the sky at the point where the sun disappeared.  It was just amazing to watch because it was just so unexpected, despite the fact that I had been told to expect it.  And I have to admit that I really should believe more of what my parents tell me.  Well, at least sometimes.

The green flash
The green light, as captured by Mom, 2/6/09