Friday, March 27, 2009

Science is Fun!

It was a week of science fun. We started with an activity while studying mountains. Each of the girls had a piece of construction paper on which they drew as I taught about mountains, their climate, and their plant and animal life. We spent three days working through our overview of mountain life, and they really enjoyed the opportunity to sit and draw. I think they remembered each lesson a little better, too! YAY!Then we had science experiments galore. We were actually two weeks behind on science experiments. Sometimes life just crowds certain things out, I guess. But, we made sure we caught up! We did the past two weeks' experiments and then did this week's as well.

We've been learning about weather for a while. Back in January, we set up a weather station and rain gauge in our back yard. Then, earlier this month we were talking about air pressure and made our own barometer.

Next we learned about compass directions and how we can tell which direction the wind is blowing. This is our weather vane...
We haven't taken it out to try it quite yet. Yesterday was a very still day wind-wise, and we're expecting a lot of rainy storminess over the next few days. So, we'll wait until a dry windy day to go out and test it.

Next we learned about temperature and how a thermometer works. We made our own thermometer with an empty drink bottle, some colored water, a straw, and some clay. When the thermometer was put in warm water, the liquid rose in the straw. When put in cold water, it went back down. When put back on the counter it rose back up just a touch.
And we learned about wind. We did several wind experiments, learning about how air moves from high pressure locations to low pressure locations, like air coming out a balloon. We also talked about the movement of warm and cold air and did an experiment to "watch" hot air move.
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Then we decided we wanted to do something just for the fun of it. This week Angie read Hill of Fire by Thomas P. Lewis and Joan Sandin. It's a true story telling about the birth of the volcano Paricutin in Mexico. Also, our read-aloud right now is a fun tall-tale called Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois, a book full of historical information as well as fanciful creativity. The story is set in the weeks surrounding the explosion of the volcanic Pacific island Krakatoa in 1883, known at the noisiest day in history! Meanwhile, a fellow local pastor and his family had traveled to Alaska this week to visit some friends, and the multiple eruptions of Mt. Redoubt have left them stranded, uncertain of when they will be able to leave Alaska to return home.

In the midst of all of this volcanic reading and activity, we just had to make our own volcano. We've seen the way baking soda and vinegar react, but this time we went the whole nine yards and really made a volcano.

The girls mixed up the dough for the "mountain."
Then they created the mountain, molding it up around an empty Coke bottle.
We decided to paint it, but the only semi-appropriate color of paint we had on hand was green. So, we decided to go for a grassy volcano. :-)
The girls finished their painting, and we left it overnight to dry. Then, after lunch today, we erupted Mt. Hibbard! Ah, such fun!
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2 comments:

Choate Family said...

How fun! Wish we could be there with you to share in the science, but it's neat to see you guys doing the experiments we did just a couple of years ago. Brings back lots of memories!

Ruthanne said...

Wowza! What a fun week of science. I'm SO bad about science.

Can't art just qualify for all subjects? :D