Sunday, May 20, 2018

Soil, Volcanoes, and Oceans

WOW it's been a long time.....okay, well, I'll see what I can do:

One week we discussed plate tectonics, mountains, plains, and plateaus.

These fault blocks that Dustin made years ago have been used more than I thought they would. They are awesome.

We also even made a "Pangea" puzzle of continents.

The next week was our VOLCANO week! The kids were pretty excited about that. We even had a volcano kit. We made the volcano, but when it came to actual eruption, it was pretty lame, so we just shoved a lot of baking soda and vinegar in a bottle that squirted out and called it good.

That week we also talked about earthquakes, seismic waves, and magma. Here's us testing different kinds of "lava" and their flow rates:


And when I was say "dirtiest" I mean DIRTiest. Literally.

We studied mechanical and chemical weathering, soil, erosion, abrasion,  slopes, water, wind, and glaciers....WHEW! and when you study these things, you're bound to bring in the dirt---and sand---and gravel---and glacier goop. At least, you're bound to if you're me :)

Note the tray with toonies in it. Before it was flooded, that was our hoodoo experiment.  We built a mound, put toonies on it, and showered down the "rain." It honestly created hoodoos. Remember that for later.

There was seriously dirt everywhere. Also, the glacier experiment that I had gotten from a Steve Spangler book didn't work. We got the gloop recipe wrong somehow, and it was REALLY runny goop.

The next week we learned about Ice, water, water vapour, water cycle, and running water.  As part of this we did the "diaper powder magic trick" (or at least that's what I call it.) Where you cut open a diaper and pour out the polymers inside, put them in a cup and then, in front of your audience, pour water in the cup and dump it on someone's head, who is surprised to find NO water coming down on them because it's all been absorbed into the powder. But I completely turned the cup upside-down, and the powder ended up coming out on Taylor's head. Oops.

Here he is with some non-diaper water gel balls.

That was in part to learn about the different absorbency of different soils.

We even made a "stream tray" for learning about water run off, but it didn't work as planned and was more of just a mess.

We talked briefly about water purification, but what I really want to do is take them on a field trip to the city water treatment facilities! So stay tuned.

The next week we learned about Oceans. Namely salinity and the ocean floor.

I had long ago ordered from Steve Spangler this buoyancy floater thing that went up and down because of pressure, and it was a hit.

And this week (WHEW almost caught up with science) we studied Ocean currents.

It was a shorter class than usual but it was pretty awesome because some of my trickier experiments WORKED. I did this one where I got really hot water in a cake pan, put a "glacier"--ie frozen water bottle--in the cake pan, and then dropped some "glacier run-off"---ie blue food colouring---onto the glacier. By the time it dripped off the water bottle into the cake pan, it was most definitely staying on the BOTTOM of the pan-which was the point: that cold water is at the bottom of the ocean.

Other cold/warm water experiments and saturated/not so saturated water experiments worked as well, however I forgot to get any photos, so I must say we played with these toys to reinforce the concepts:

I love those toys.

And that's it for science club.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Rocks and Rocks

For science that week, we learned about rocks. we talked about how to identify rocks, including scratch testing, seeing how it marks things, what kind of cleavage it has, and what kind of crystal formations it has. The crystal part encouraged us to take out our microscope to look at good ol' salt and sugar.

This last week in science we continued to learn about rocks. We learned about igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary. We even made our own sedimentary rocks from layered plaster mixed with coloured sand in  styrofoam cups that we took off when it was dry.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Earth's Makeup

And for science. I did not do science the week I came back since I was suffering from PTSD, but this week we did.

We learned more about what made up the earth. We talked about the crust, mantle, and core. we talked about insides make up, we talked bout the rock cycle. We talked about the magnetic properties (again....I feel like we've talked a lot about that this year!) And we made our own compasses as part of this.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The rest of Astronomy

We did end up learning more about Mars. We even did this experiment where we had three jars of sand and one had a chemical reaction, one had no reaction, and the other had a reaction with something living (yeast.) This was to show how we can test for living things on Mars.

That day we also learned about the outer planets. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. I had the kids learn the saying "Many Vampires  Eat Monsters Jumping Squares Using Nuts" to memorize the planet order. I know most people learned "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas" but I learned the Vampire one as a child, so we did that one.

The next lesson we learned about other elements of the solar system. This included the outer edges of system which of course includes Pluto. We learned about it's weird barycentre and created a model (btw my phone was in for repairs, so that's why I have horrible photos.)

Also, it included comets and we learned why the tales always point away from the sun.

The next class was about space exploration. We talked about natural and artificial satellites. We talked about propulsion, gravity, and exploration. Umm I can't find any photos. I think we actually did comets this day because we ran out of time on the other day.

Anyway, next class we talked about the moon. We talked about the phases and we had ourselves be the earth, this Styrofoam ball be the moon and a lamp be the sun. It really helped bring it home.

Although our faces weren't as close as this. It was just a cute photo. Anyway, I finally realized that the "dark side of the moon" is actually lit up by the sun as much as any other side, but is called the dark side because we never see it!  I don't know why this took me so long to realize.

The next lesson we learned more about the moon, but we also learned about the earth's rotation.

IT WAS PERFECT! Serendipity often happens with homeschool. It just so happens that I got to the point in the book where we’re learning about solstices on the day of winter solstice! We also learned about the Zodiac and why the suns rays effect different parts of the earth differently. 

Our next lesson (boy, just going through all these lessons makes me realize how much science we've really done! Go us!) We learned more about the earth's rotation. We learned about different evidence of the earth being round and the sun going around the earth. We watched this awesome youtube about the earth not being flat. It talks about a group of people who insist that the earth is flat. I loved it!

We talked about sundials, and I guess you can make a compass out of a sundial, but I couldn't figure it out.

Then we went on Christmas break. I told everyone that we could only do one science class a week from now on, and it was really good timing. One: because I was getting burnt out, and two: I was done with astronomy.

The first lesson of the year was about the study of the earth . We talked about fossils and geological history. We briefly talked about energy as well because of fossil fuels.

As part of this, we made our own "fossils" by taking tiny toy dinosaurs and pressing them in play dough and then putting plaster of Paris in the indents. 

And that's it! Whoo hoo for science!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Our Solar System

For science this week we studied our solar system. Did I tell you we do science twice a week? (Well we're SUPPOSED to, and this week we did.) Well, I figured that since I was in Vanuatu for half this semester and who knows about next semester, we need to do double duty to get through the content.

The first lesson we talked mostly about planets' rotation around the sun and how gravity and the laws of physics (mostly inertia and centripetal force) effect all that. We also talked more about the sun.

As part of this we talked about how a spinning planet works like a gyroscope and gives it stability.

Friday's lesson (which I moved an hour later because I was late getting back from Lethbridge...I love the moms who are so easy going with me!) We talked a little more about the entire solar system, but then focused on the inner rocky planets. We'll need to talk more about Mars because we didn't get to some things.

And by the way, those books that were "lost" in the mail ended up being at Babb after all! So now I am definitely ready for teaching!

Sunday, November 26, 2017


We also had the FIRST science club in this house!!! We focused mostly on constellations. I thought we had some pretty magical moments. We went into my dark storage area and brought out Maxwell's constellation globe. They passed it around while I read greek myths about the constellations.

They also made their own constellations and we talked about how constellations are completely dependent on your viewing perspective. The kids had a good question: How far away from earth would you need to be before the constellations don't look familiar? I have no idea. Good science fair question.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Inro to the Universe

Thursday and Friday we're SUPPOSED to do science, but I've only done two classes so far.

The first class was an introductory to astronomy. We talked a bit about how to study stars, including how to find the North Star. We also spent quite a bit of time talking about telescopes and how they work. This of course brought up light and lenses and all that Jazz.

The other class we had, we learned about the expansion of the universe and red shift. We talked about why the milky-way looks hazy, why stars twinkle, and what makes a star bright.

We also talked about the movement of the stars in the sky, and used an umbrella globe to illustrated this:

but that's all the classes we've done because, well, MOSTLY because I couldn't get my science book! I was SO annoyed. I ordered all the books I needed to do science. I got two of them, but one got lost in the mail. I went ahead anyway, but then after two lessons I felt stuck. I ordered ANOTHER one of the same book. THAT ONE got delayed in the mail too! (still not here)

Finally our house closed and we moved all our stuff in the garage. The highlight of the move for me was to open a school box and find THIS:

Science is up and in full force now folks (ummmm except I'm gone to Calgary this Friday picking Dustin up from the airport......)