Water Walking

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Today we studied how water can travel. The kids know that water almost always flows down because of gravity, but today’s experiment showed them that water can also move up!

Before we started the activity, I printed out this worksheet for the kids to record their results.

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We filled two glasses with water and added blue food coloring to one and yellow to the other. I then put a paper towel leading from the outside glasses to the inside glass. If I were to do this again, I would fill the glasses a bit fuller as it took quite some time for the water to soak up the towels and into the middle glass.

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I forgot to take a picture of our end result, but the water “walks” up the paper towels and then drips into the center glass. Coloring the water blue and yellow makes the water in the center turn green, so the kids can see that water from each glass made it to the center.

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Here are the final reports on the experiment. I asked Connor what to write and wrote it down for him. It’s the first time he’s actually made a prediction for an experiment and he tried really hard to color. I’m thrilled with the progress he’s made so far this year! Jenna did her worksheet without any help. I don’t mind spelling errors during science at this age as my main goal is to encourage her to be more independent in some of her work. As long as I can understand the point she is making, I let the errors stay.

MFW – Week 7

This week was another example of me ignoring activities in my teacher’s manual and doing other random and fun things. We did week 7 during Thanksgiving week, so making play-dough and homemade bread were very low on my list of things to do this week!

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I did an experiment with the kids to show them how water and oil won’t mix. We colored the water blue, then added oil and stirred it around. They were able to see the oil rise to the top of the water instead of staying mixed in. I cannot for the life of me remember why we did this experiment though! It wasn’t in my manual, and I’m not even confident we did it this week. I am so well organized. Ha ha!

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With it being Thanksgiving week, I decided it was a perfect time to do our Indian Corn experiment! We bought this corn when we went to the pumpkin patch in October and had been using it as a table decoration.

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I showed the kids how to take the kernels off, and we kept them separated into the three different kinds.

After separating them, I attempted to pop them in our popcorn popper to see if they would pop, and if so, how they would taste.

The red corn popped the best and the corn that was primarily yellow made a lot of noise in the popper, but the kernels were barely cracked open. The corn did have a slightly different taste than traditional popcorn.

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And just for fun, I made a batch of kettle corn to snack on while we watched a movie!

Pumpkin Science

We grew pumpkins in our garden this year and had several small ones that were perfect for science!

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I found a simple worksheet for the kids online. I can’t find the source, but there are many options if you google “pumpkin science worksheet”. They had to draw a picture of their pumpkin, count the lines, see how many blocks tall it was, and predict if it would sink or float.
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We filled the sink with water to do the “sink or float” experiment. The kids guessed before putting the pumpkins in the sink, and Jenna thought it would sink, while Connor guessed it would float. They were surprised by the results!

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After the sink or float experiment, we cut into the pumpkins to learn why they floated in the water. Once the kids could see that the insides of the pumpkin were mostly hollow, it made a lot more sense.

Counting the seeds from the entire pumpkin seemed like a large task for their age, so instead, we pulled the seeds off of the top of the pumpkin and counted those. The other reason for doing this, was I found a fun experiment to do with the bottom half of the pumpkin intact.

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We went to the garden and filled the pumpkins with dirt and watered them. Then, we set them in the kitchen window so they would have sun. The link on Pinterest showed beautiful pumpkins that the seeds had sprouted and were full of lush green sprouts on the top. Reality was mushy, moldy pumpkins on my windowsill that had to be dumped in the trash long before anything had a chance to sprout! Pinterest fail!

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The seeds we had counted earlier were rinsed and roasted. The kids thought they made a yummy snack!

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Our final pumpkin project was baking chocolate chip pumpkin bread together. I “cheated” and used canned pumpkin for the recipe, but if you’re feeling ambitious with your kids, you can show them how to make pumpkin puree from scratch. I tried a new recipe and it was soooo good! I may or may not have eaten half the loaf by myself…

Science: Color Changing Daisies

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This week we are learning about plants and water (page 6 in Science With Plants). In order to discover how water travels through plants, we did the color changing daisy experiment. I have read that carnations are a great flower for this experiment, but we have daisies growing everywhere around our house, so we went the free route!

IMG_20150618_192633705The first step in the experiment is to trim the stems of the daisy and place in a glass of water. Then add your choice of food coloring. We only added about 4 drops of food coloring. If we were to try this again, I would add more to see if it would produce more vibrant colors.

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I let the kids choose whatever colors they wanted for their flowers. Then, after adding the coloring, they swirled the flower around in the glass to mix the color and water together. While it’s probably not necessary, they love mixing things, so I made sure that was a step in the project.

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We left one daisy in plain water as our control flower. Then I set the flowers on the windowsill overnight. I checked on them just a couple of hours after setting them out and could already see evidence of color in the petals, so you can definitely do this experiment in one day if desired.

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Here is a look at Connor’s blue and green daisies. While it didn’t color the entire petal, it was obvious that the water had traveled through the flower. We used the example that the stem of the flower was similar to a straw that sucks the water up.

Red Daisy Leaf

The red was the most vibrant of all the flowers. This may be partially due to the fact that Jenna put A LOT of red coloring into the water. This is a magnified picture of the red petals. The yellow in the picture is remnants from inspecting the center of the flower.

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After our experiment, I had Jenna record what we did in her science journal. I drew the graph with the three columns, and she had to figure out and write what the three steps to the experiment were. When we do work in her science journal, I usually let her try to sound the words out on her own. I help with spelling only when she asks, or when a word is completely unrecognizable.

(The steps were: Put daisy in water, add food coloring, and wait to change.)

Overall, this was a good simple experiment to do with the kids. It doesn’t take much prep time at all, and doesn’t take long for the actual experiment, making it perfect for kids with short attention spans!

Science: Seeds

We are using My Father’s World – Learning God’s Story for Jenna’s school curriculum this year. Because we aren’t schooling with a traditional schedule, I switched the science plans around a little bit to take advantage of the seasonal activities. We are currently going through the Usborne Science With Plants book. I have to say that we have REALLY enjoyed these books! They are simple, have great pictures, and we love adding in plenty of hands-on experiments to go with our lessons.

The first lesson in the book is all about seeds. We did this lesson a few weeks ago when we were in the middle of planting our garden. Each of the kids has their own small raised garden bed and they got to choose which seeds they wanted to plant this year. Jenna chose watermelon and peas while Connor decided to plant pumpkins and peas. We had fun running down to the garden every day to check on the progress of their seeds!

In addition to gardening, we did a couple of experiments with beans. First, we split open a kidney bean to inspect under our microscope.

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It was amazing to see the tiny little leaf inside of the bean! When looking at it with the naked eye, you can’t even tell that is a leaf.

Next, we experimented with growing kidney beans. We lined a jar with paper towels and a little water, then we put dried kidney beans next to the glass, half-way up the jar.

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I made a chart for Jenna in her science notebook (a spiral bound notebook with blank pages), and she recorded the growth progress. We don’t do school every day, so that is why some days are skipped on the chart.

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Once the bean had established some roots, we planted it in potting soil and left it in the kitchen window to grow.

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This plant is in a different jar because it was Connor’s experiment. I always have him join us when we read the science book and do the experiments. While he doesn’t grasp the concepts yet, I feel like it’s good school practice for him.

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Once the plants had grown enough to see all of the parts, I had Jenna draw a diagram in her science journal and label each of the parts. (I helped with the spelling for this page)

The experiments were all very simple, and I already had all of the supplies we needed on hand, so there was no added expense! There were a few more experiments in the book that had to do with the plant growing, but we just read the lessons and skipped the hands-on part.