Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Science Update

Spike finished up his unit on magnets today. His school supplies include a ring magnet, a horseshoe magnet, two bar magnets, and a latch magnet. Oh yeah, and a sample of the rock magnetite. So he has been able to get lots of hands on experience with playing with magnets.

His last experiment involved finding the magnetic field for his different types of magnets. We put some iron fillings on a paper plate and he took turns putting the different types of magnets under the plate and watched what the fillings did. He then drew it on his worksheet. We all thought the ring magnet looked the neatest.

Princess is studying a unit called Forces in Fluid. It is actually an optional unit, but since she has not received too much science in school up to this point I figured we can use it all. Her latest experiment was trying to crush a can using internal pressure. You heat a can that has about an inch of water in it on a stove. When it has reached a heavy boil, you flip it over as quickly as possible and put it into a shallow pan with cool water. When the gases from the steam cool off and again become liquid, the loss in pressure inside the can causes it to crush. I tried several times, but was only able to achieve a little bit of crunch....and a burnt thumb.

And what has Sprout been up to? Oh, a little of this...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Magnets and Solutions

Along with math and language arts (yep, those are every day), it was science today. Science is much more fun to take pictures of, so that is what I did. Spike is studying magnets, and what kid does not get a kick out of playing with magnets? He did a couple of experiments today. For the first he took a needle and pulled it across one end of his bar magnet 20 times. We then put a section of cork on either end, he colored one end so that we could tell them apart, and then floated the contraption in a bowl of water. And what did we have? A compass! Spike thought it was awesome.
His second experiment was more of a game. I gathered random stuff from around the house, like a bobbin, paper clip, pop can top, CD, et cetera, and put it into a box. He had his horseshoe magnet tied onto a stick and "fished" for things to figure out what was magnetic. I had made him guess beforehand. The big surprise for him was that the top of the pop can was not magnetic. Sprout liked watching him to the experiment, and later tried her own hand at it.

Princess had her very last solutions experiment. For this one, she made 2 liters of Kool-Aid. She put 100 mL of the drink into 6 different cups, and added an increasing amount of water to each cup. If I remember correctly the amounts of water started at none, and by the last one it was 150 mL. She then studied how they look different as the solution became more diluted along with the difference in taste. Spike and Sprout glady helped with the tasting. This lesson, of course, went along with reading about concentration and dilution of solutions. Wow, that is a fun sentence to say aloud. Each of the different solutions went into an ice cube tray section where they became popsicles and she further observed the differences. It was a fun experiment as she understands the concept pretty well now, and even got to drink Kool-Aid, which is a rare treat in our house.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lipstick and a toddler

This is what happens when I leave Sprout in the master bathroom while making the bed....

I actually carried her and her lipstick downstairs to the school room because that was where the camera was and I was not leaving her upstairs to make more messes, even though I wanted pictures. She unfortunately broke the lipstick while prettying herself up, and was telling me, "It's broken, Mommy....fix it." It is kind of sweet that she thinks I can fix anything.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

We have a schoolroom!

We are now officially working from our brand new schoolroom. It is absolutely wonderful. The kids have been able to focus better on their work, I can keep their school stuff better organized, and when we are done with school it is out of the way and no longer taking up valuable family room space. Instead of individual desks, I got the kids a large 6 foot table. This has worked out really well because it gives them room to spread their things out a bit or work on science experiments. The kids still stick to their own side and have their own things stashed there. The big table also works out for me because I will be able to set up my sewing machine on it when I get a hankering to sew. Woo hoo!

We have put up a few posters for things that the kids are trying to remember. Some of these posters are just pieces or paper that I have drawn stuff on, like where the divisor, divided, and quotient go on a division problem for Princess. Others are actual store-bought posters. Currently we have a poster up that highlights some U.S. history. The kids like looking at all the portraits of the Presidents while taking a mid-worksheet break.

And while it does not pertain to school, this room has a nice big closet in which I have begun to store some of my craft stuff.

It was a a lot of work getting the basement finished, but I am so glad we did. I am feeling quite spoiled!

My busy students doing their work.
Sprout watching Dora the Explorer on my computer so Spike and Princess could have some quiet while working on assessments. A view of the other side of the room which holds the school bookcase and my computer desk.