April 30

Vortex

First grade meteorologists investigated vortexes in this weather lab. A vortex is a mass of whirling fluid or air. A tornado is an example of a vortex. Click here to learn more about tornadoes.

What do you wonder about this vortex bank? What if we placed more than one coin inside at the same time? Would the size of the coin (nickel, dime, or quarter) change the speed? How would a marble or a ball move? Click here to watch one in action.

A milk frother can form a vortex.

This jar is just filled with water, a little dish soap, and glitter. Twirl it and a vortex that looks just like a tornado appears.

At the end of lab, we used tornado tubes. How do they work? Through our investigation, we discovered that the air and water are changing places.






I used a tornado tube between two jars filled with Styrofoam balls and water. What is happening? Why?

I filled this air vortex cannon with water vapor. Watch it in slow motion. Click here. (Wait for it!)

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April 30

Turtle Lab

PreK scientists studied turtles in one more pond lab. Turtles are reptiles and therefore have bones and their bodies are covered with scales. Turtles are oviparous because they lay eggs. They are omnivores, but turtles do not have any teeth. Born with shells that are attached to their bodies, they pull their legs, head, and tail inside when they feel threatened.



This is Squirt, our red-eared slider.


We learned the fingerplay, “There was a Little Turtle”. Click here. Ask your child to teach you the hand motions.

To help us learn the body parts of a turtle, we drew a diagram.






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April 27

Greenhouses

The greenhouse effect is a process that occurs when gases in Earth’s atmosphere trap the sun’s heat. This process makes Earth much warmer than it would be without an atmosphere.  Click here to learn more about the greenhouse effect and climate change.

To help us better understand the greenhouse effect, my fourth grade scientists planted sunflower seeds in their mini greenhouses. We will also see the water cycle in action as the water evaporates, condenses, and falls again. Then we explored air pressure in several fun investigations.




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April 23

Butterflies

When the caterpillars arrived a week ago, they weren’t much larger than a grain of rice. They ate and ate until they were ready to make their chrysalids. We should have Painted Lady butterflies in about a week. The life cycle of a butterfly is an example of complete metamorphosis- egg, larva, pupa, and adult.



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April 22

Water and Air

The magical refilling bottle demonstrates the power of air pressure. To see it in action, click here.

In another demonstration of air pressure, I punctured a hole in a water bottle and when I opened the cap, water came out of the hole, but when the cap was closed, the water stopped flowing from the hole. Why?

I tried to blow up a balloon inside a bottle but was unsuccessful. However, when I removed my finger from the hole in the side of the bottle, I was able to blow up the balloon successfully. It was all about air pressure again. Then my first grade scientists tried to blow up balloons with and without their fingers over the holes. For more information, click here.

Whew, we weren’t finished yet! I held up a cup and asked what was in it? I explained that air is everywhere, so a cup is never empty. I plunged the cup directly into a tank of water and then when I turned it sideways, we watched the air escape. I glued tissues into the top of various sizes of paper cups. I plunged them directly down into the water and when I lifted them straight up, the tissues were still dry. Why? Finally, I placed a piece of cardstock over a mason jar filled with water. When I flipped the jar over, the paper kept the water from spilling out. Air pressure pushing up on the paper kept it in place. But wait, I repeated the process, but this time, I removed the paper. Why didn’t the water fall out? I revealed that I had placed a screen in the lid of the jar which again demonstrated the concept of cohesion and adhesion.
Click here to learn more.


Many of these investigations you can repeat at home. Have fun!

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