This investigation with my kindergarten scientists is one of my favorites because it turns their thinking upside down. It makes them stop and ponder which is the beginning of all great science.
We began by discussing the question, “Why do some things sink and others float?” Most of my kindergarten students agreed that big, heavy things sink and little, light objects float.
And then this happened . . . The big pumpkin, pie pumpkin, and gourd pumpkins floated, but the little candy pumpkin sank. Hmmmm. Why? Our discussion led us to consider what the inside of the pumpkins look like and how that might affect whether they sink or float. I introduced the concept of density. Inside the large pumpkin, there is a lot of space, but inside the candy pumpkin, the sugar molecules are packed together. This activity will be the basis of other sink and float investigations in the coming months.
New vocabulary: hypothesis and density
We discovered that sometimes results match our hypotheses and at other times, our hypotheses and results don’t match. Learning occurs both times. Repeating an experiment gives validity to your conclusions, so try this again at home. Cut open the pumpkins and look inside.
During fourth grade’s sound lab, I demonstrated how my phone’s speaker could be amplified by placing the phone in a cup, as well as how to construct a DIY speaker for a phone. This scientist went home and made her own!
Does the size or material of the cups impact the volume and quality of sound? Does the length or material of the tube change your results?
Second grade physicists investigated Isaac Newton’s laws of motion with a high energy lab!
What will happen to the ball if I knock the side of the pie plate? Why?
How is it possible to pull the tablecloth off the table without the dishes falling on the floor? Try this at home! Click here to learn more.
We moved to the lab tables and applied our knowledge of the laws of motion to knock the pennies in the cup (Click here.) and the hex nut inside the bottle without touching either.
Second grade experienced the cobra weave as an introduction to potential and kinetic energy.
They further explored potential and kinetic energy with cyclone flyers, boinks and dropper poppers. I introduced the concept that there are different kinds of potential energy: elastic, gravitational, and chemical.
PreK scientists reviewed the parts of a plant and the life cycle of plants with a carrot lab. We read and dramatized The Carrot Seed by Ruth Kraus.
Then, we planted carrot seeds in the root-vue.
Will the carrots grow again if we cut the tops off and place them in water?
When we eat carrots, we are eating a tap root. Click here to watch how carrots are grown and harvested. My youngest botanists peeled the organic carrots and ate some roots!
The potato we placed in a dark cabinet sprouted roots. We moved it to a sunny window and leaves appeared.
Do you see the buds on the pumpkin vines?
Only one of the cornstalks germinated, so we planted more corn kernels.
The marigolds first grade planted in the recyclable container, filled with items to be composted, are sprouting too. They have planters in their classrooms.
The sunflower seeds the PreK classes planted are growing well also. Some of the seeds coats can be seen on the first leaves. Did you notice that just like us, they are growing at different rates?
Fourth grade physicists continued their study of light. We used a slinky to demonstrate how compression (longitudinal) waves move energy.
I introduced the concept of iridescence.
Melissa donated the shoes she outgrew to our collection of iridescent items.
We placed a penny under the Mason jar. Why did the penny disappear when we poured water from the beaker into the jar? Click here for more information.
An anaglyph is a moving or still picture consisting of two slightly different perspectives of the same subject in contrasting colors that are superimposed on each other, producing a three-dimensional effect when viewed through two correspondingly colored filters. (The Free Dictionary) Anaglyphs were first created in the late 1800s.
Jelly marbles, made from a super absorbent polymer, are always a favorite of my scientists. They grow to 300 times their original size and they can bounce! Click here to find out more.
Why can’t you see them when they are in water?
We couldn’t read the secret message until I poured water over the jelly marbles.
Fourth graders investigated a simple optical illusion. When the pencil moved quickly back and forth, the spider appeared to be in the web and the fish were in the fish bowl, even though they were on opposite sides of the card.
It was all about spiders in this lab! After looking at our plastic spiders and a real tarantula, kindergarten biologists drew spiders with two bodyparts (cephlothorax and abdomen), eight jointed legs attached to the cephlothorax, helper legs (pedipalps), spinnerets, and fangs. Most spiders have eight eyes, but they always come in an even number.
Then we learned that many spiders spin webs to catch their prey. There are different kinds of webs, but we focused on orb webs. I compared an orb web to the planets orbiting the sun. We practiced drawing orb webs and then added our spiders, as well as some flies for them to eat.
Of course, we had to go outside and look for real spider webs. I threw some small leaves at the webs and we watched them stick, just like bugs do when they fly into a web.
There are spiders all over the science lab!
I know your child will enjoy watching The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle with you. Click here.
My daughter and I looked forward to the Halloween Hikes at Chattahoochee Nature Center every year when she was young, and I thought your families would enjoy this event too. We would go early, purchase our tickets, and enjoy a picnic dinner while we waited for our group time. As you hike through the woods at night, people dressed as animals are stationed along the trail to teach you about the wildlife native to Georgia. Food, crafts, and live animal demonstrations are available. Scout groups also come to this fun, informative event. Click here for more information.
It’s the perfect non-scary alternative to traditional Halloween events.