If I had my young scientists every day, I would have them practice observing and questioning which is the beginning of all great thinking. What do you see and what do you wonder? Take a minute and look at this photo. As you view the picture, what questions come to mind? Then look below at what your children noticed.
Part of the water is frozen. Why is the ice there? Why isn’t all the water covered with ice?
There are circles around Percy. What is making the circles? Why do the circles grow larger?
Most of the photo is brown. Why aren’t the plants green and the water blue?
Percy’s head is turned. Is Percy looking at something?
Percy is colorful. Is he a boy or a girl?
Percy is in cold water. Does it hurt him?
Second grade scientists used Oreo cookies to create the eight phases of the moon. When the moon is growing smaller, it is waning and when it appears to be growing, it is waxing. Remember: Light on the right, the moon is getting bright! Click here to watch a video about the moon. Click here to check today’s moon phase.
In order to explain acid rain to my third grade environmentalists, we began with a lab about acids and bases. My chemists used a natural indicator (red cabbage juice) to determine if tonic water, lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, Lysol, and dish soap are acidic or basic. I demonstrated how to make the indicator with red cabbage leaves and distilled water in my Ninja. Click here for directions to make the indicator. Distilled water is neutral (pH 7). We also tested some additional liquids prior to working with our lab partners.
Watch this video to better understand our investigation. We watched the first six minutes.
Do you check the pH in your pool, garden, or fish tank? Be sure to include your child when you do. Click here to learn more about acid rain.
This PreK science lab focused on groundhogs and shadows. New vocabulary included rodent, herbivore, burrow, hibernate, and kits. Did he see his shadow? Click here for more information about groundhogs.
How is a shadow formed? Can you see the details of an object in a shadow?
Then we walked down to the conference room to play a shadow game using an old overhead projector. When we turned off the light in the conference room, we couldn’t see our hands. We need light to see. I placed objects in various positions on the overhead and projected them onto the wall. We observed that shadows are black, show only the outline of an object, and change as you turn the object around. The shadows were also larger than the object on the overhead. Then we each had a chance to make shadows with our bodies. I had a few objects that didn’t create shadows. The light went right through them! We’ll explore that concept next week.
To extend this activity at home, project the shadows of objects on your child’s ceiling before bedtime. Make shadow animals with your hands. Click here to watch a video to learn how. Go outside several times throughout the day and notice how your shadow changes. Click here to watch a fun shadow song!
During fourth grade’s weather unit, I demonstrated how to make a “homemade” thermometer with a bottle, straw, clay, and water colored with food coloring. Click here for directions. In the photos below, the water moved in the straw as the temperature changed throughout the day. I also taped a water cycle bag on my window. Fourth graders made these during online instruction. As the water heats up, it changes to water vapor, condenses, and then falls again as precipitation down the side of the bag. Click here for additional directions. (Food coloring is optional.)
First grade physicists completed their magnet labs with a lab that focused on magnetic force. We used iron filings to understand that magnets are strongest at their poles.
The magnetic force can travel through solids. Can you guide the paperclip through the maze with a magnet under the tray? This is a fun way to practice eye hand coordination too. Make your own maze with a piece of cardboard at home. This task is challenging. Use straws, popsicle sticks, or folded pieces of paper. Then try to move a magnetic object through the maze.
Can you use magnets to balance the bird? Where do the magnets need to be placed on its body?