Tag: Rocket Science (Page 1 of 2)

Grow Your Own Stalactite – A Step By Step Guide.

Our little lady has a fascination with all things sparkly, crystal like, and remotely scientific.  So, one day she came to me with a picture and asked if we could grow our own stalactite.  Here is our step by step guide of how to do it.

 

Step By Step Guide To Grow A Stalactite:

First of all you will need:  2 jam jars/glasses about the same size, baking soda, string, warm tap water, ruler, 2 weighted objects (we used random screws we had), and a small dish.  You can also use some food colouring, but this is optional.  We used red.

1.  Measure and write down the height of one of the jars in cm.

2.  Fill both jars 75% full of very warm water.

3.  Add one teaspoon of baking soda to a jar and stir until it is dissolved.  Add again and keep repeating until the stirring does not dissolve the soda anymore.  Make sure you count how many teaspoons you used, and add the same to the other jar.  Stir until dissolved.

4. At this point we added food colouring into the mixture.

5.  Multiply the height of the jar by 2, and add 20cm onto that.  Then measure a piece of string to this length and cut.  Tie the screws onto each end.

6.  Wet the string with clean very warm water and place into the water, one end in each jar.

7.  Place a small dish between the jars and place somewhere where they won’t be disturbed.  It is important not to touch the stalactite crystals while they are growing or you might disturb their growth and break them.

Stalactites are found in caves.  Ground water carrying dissolved calcium carbonate and other minerals seeps through rock cracks and into the underground caves.  As the water travels over the ceiling to the cave, it reaches a low point where it drips.  As it drips the minerals and calcium carbonate are deposited onto the ceiling.  These build up and harden over time, creating the spike like structure hanging down called the stalactite.

As with any true science experiment, it doesn’t always go to plan!!  Our crystals grew along our string but didn’t do any significant growing downwards.  However, when we pulled the string out of the jars, we had beautiful crystals that had developed around the ends!!  This little experiment is very simple to do, so perfect for little people wanting to make and watch the formation of their own stalactites, or in our case just some sort of crystals!!!

Grow your own stalactite - a step by step guide, stalactite, crystals, science www.mammasschool.co.uk

Mini Pond Installation-An Easy Guide to Make a Fun Pond.

Reading a link-up post on another blog ( http://www.acornstem.co.uk ), I discovered there was an easy way to add pond life to our garden.  We could make a mini pond.  My trio love pond dipping, and AcornSTEM’s post was fantastic with its step by step guide.  It was a real incentive to try and do this myself.  I researched it a little more first, and came across the RSPB’s own guide “Create a Mini-Pond”  https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/give-nature-a-home-in-your-garden/garden-activities/createaminipond/ .  It reassured me that it was a good time of year (spring) to make one, as we’d see it develop quite fast in the next few months.  It can be made at other times of the year too, but it would mature more slowly.  So, I got my thinking cap on for a tub that could be our pond, and planned to do it the next day with the trio.

I found an old bucket with a broken handle that we didn’t use for anything, and thought that would be perfect for our mini pond.  We then needed to choose a location.  There were a couple of factors that needed to be considered with this.  First of all it doesn’t want to be in a place where the sun will shine on it all day long, so sometimes sunny, sometimes shady is good.  Secondly, it needs some vegetation around it.  So if there is none when you plant it, be prepared to pop some in afterwards.  The vegetation will provide cover and perches for wildlife.  Our mini pond area has some old tree stumps around it, and is in a newly made flower bed.  So, although it is a work in progress, there are imminent plans to grow things there once our weather in Sweden warms up a little (you can see our spring bulbs just peeping through).  Thirdly, it needs to be in a safe place, as even a small body of water can be a hazard for small children (she says with a massive old well in her garden!).  I have placed ours somewhere where the trio aren’t supposed to walk (a flower bed) with perches in the form of the tree stumps to provide a more mental barrier to it as well.  We dug our hole, and stuck our bucket in.  We left it sticking out a few centimetres so any mini beasts that are land dwellers, shouldn’t accidentally bimble into it.

We have a lot of rocks in our garden, so I sent the trio off to find 3 or 4 large ones to place in the bottom of the pond.  This will give any mini beasts some hiding places and cover if they require it.  Next in was a large stick/branch reaching up from the rocks, out onto the tree stumps.  This is an emergency exit for any land dwellers that do accidentally stumble into it, so they can climb back out again.

It then needed filling up.  You can do this with tap water, but it will take longer to be colonised due to the treatment it undergoes.  Luckily we have a water butt full of water.  I also want to shift the said unsightly water butt from its current location, but am unable to due to the fact it keeps filling up with water, and I haven’t got round to scooping it out yet!  Today we made a start on scooping the water out, and carrying it over to our mini pond.  Do not be tempted to fill it with pond water from another pond, as you are making those mini beasts move house!!

After that was all done, we decorated around it with some more of our surplus rocks, and now will just sit back and wait to see if it starts teeming with life!  Hopefully, in a few weeks I will have a positive update for you!

 

 

 

Make a mini pond make a pond instructions gardening garden wildlife pond life www.mammasschool.co.uk

************************please be aware that even small bodies of water provide a hazard to young children, so do not leave them unattended with the mini pond*****************************************************

Thimble and Twig

Spring Rainbow Science-Science Fun with the Colours of the Rainbow.

Spring Equinox Spring rainbow science Spring Science Rainbow Science www.mammasschool.co.ukThis week our theme is the Spring Equinox.  With that theme in mind I wanted the trio to have some fun with spring rainbow science, for our science topic of the week.  Our little lady is rainbow obsessed, so naturally the mini men have a huge interest in them, and I’ve grown to admire them with a renewed passion since having the trio around. So, out of a huge choice of experiments, I eventually plumped on 6 that the trio could do.  I’ve stayed away from the concept of light for this topic for now, as we can do that another time.  We are using other concepts to make our rainbows 🙂

First up was chromatography. We took four coffee filters and drew a thick band of colour with a marker around the narrow end.  We then placed them into shot glasses of water and watched the magic.  Big hint:  Make sure you include black and brown in your selection of colours.  The original colour will separate out into all the component colours it is made up from.  This teaches my trio that one colour can be made from several colours.  It can also be used in many other situations to separate out different components that are present in one substance.

Our next experiment was to look at how plants used water for nutrition.  We took some leaves from the garden, and placed them in water with red food colouring in.  We then returned to them a few hours later to see what had happened.  The children could see the route the water had taken by looking at the red colouring throughout the leaves’ veins, and we discussed for a while the process around this occurring.

 

The third experiment was using the same principles as the second, but to a different effect.  Our local shop didn’t have any white flowers, so I bought light pink instead, confident the colour would still allow for any colour change to be seen.  We cut the stems and placed them in water coloured with blue food colouring.  If you have several food colours, you could try one in each to make a rainbow of colours.  You can also slice the stem of the flower vertically, into a y shape (leaving a large portion not divided at the top), and place half a stem in one colour, and half a stem in another.  We did try this but our flowers were too long, and snapped 🙁  However, we did get a good lovely blue edging effect from our stems in the blue dye.  The children were amazed and have learnt a lot about how flowers use water.

Our next spring rainbow science experiment, perhaps produced the quickest and the biggest wow factor for the trio.  They arranged some Skittles in a circle around a plate, and then in the dip in the centre, gently placed some water.  Fairly fast the children could watch the colours in the sweets coating being drawn out into the water.  The were actually speechless and quiet…that’s a result in my books!!

The fourth spring rainbow science experiment is a very hard one to get right, but if it’s managed, can be very effective.  You take as many water solutions, as you’ve got different food colourings to put into them.  Add one food colour into each glass.  In the first glass don’t put any sugar, in the second 2 teaspoons, the third one 4, etc.  until you have finished all your colours.  Then slowly pipette a layer of the solution with the most sugar into a clean glass.  Slowly add a layer of solution with the next most sugar in, and keep going, until you finally add the solution with no sugar in.  The children were learning about density and which solution is heavier, and what happens to them.  As you can see from the photo, ours wasn’t totally successful (we should have had 5 colours in stripes, but we only had 3), but the children learnt a lot and went onto just playing with the different solutions and mixing and experimenting themselves…which is learning at its best 🙂

The last spring rainbow science experiment is called the walking rainbow.  This needs to be left a few days to see its effect fully.  Take six glass jars.  Fill three with water just over half way, and put red colour in one, yellow in another, and blue in another.  Then place the empty jars alternately in between them.  Next roll up 6 pieces of kitchen towel, and place each one between a jar with coloured water, and one without.  Carry on round the circle of jars doing this, so each jar should have two different ends of kitchen towel in them.  Over the next few days the rainbow will walk and the children will learn about absorption and colour mixing.  By the end of the experiment you should have 6 jars with the following colours; red, yellow, green, purple, orange, and blue 🙂

I then tried to tidy up, but my little lady commandeered the supplies.  She had no particular idea in mind, but imagination and creativity led her to spend a happy hour producing world flags with the left over coloured solutions.  She used a mixture of techniques, dipping and using pipettes.  I was happy to leave the tidying as she was being very industrious.

Spring rainbow science experiments spring science experiments rainbow science experiments www.mammasschool.co.uk6 Spring rainbow science experiments spring science rainbow science www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Thimble and Twig
Dear Bear and Beany

Bird Science Activities.

Nesting bird science activities building nests bird lifecycle www.mammasschool.co.ukOur bird science activities are based on learning about the life cycle and the habitat of our garden birds (very similar to UK garden birds).  We have chosen three so that we were not rushed, but there are plenty more to peruse over on our Pinterest page.

 

 

 

The first of our bird science activities involved making a nest, learning about how the birds might do this and what they would require.  We went on a scavenger hunt first for good materials.  This involved a lot of discussing about what was good to use.  We came back with dry leaves, twigs, long grasses, moss and evergreen leaves. They wanted feathers too (which we had to use from the craft box, since there was not one to be found on the ground), and we also added string.  The trio the thought about shapes and sizes for their nests, thinking about the birds that visit our garden.  They came up with some really cosy nest constructions which they then chose where to place in the garden.  Now we just need to wait and see if anyone takes up residence in them.

The second of our bird science activities involved providing nesting materials for our birdie friends.  We have a bird feeder in the garden, so we collected our materials and hung them onto it so that they were easy for the birds to find.  A good way of doing this is to cut two rings from a loo roll inner, then make a cross over with them.  Pop the supplies inside loosely and hang with string.  We are due a very wet week here, so we just used string to secure ours, but still loosely enough for the birds to remove them.  We hung up all our left overs as we had already decided what made good supplies.  One thing that can be added to this is pet fur.  We had a border collie this time last year, and back then we put his fur that I had brushed off him into an empty coconut shell feeder for our UK birds to take 🙂  It must’ve made very cosy bedding!

Our last activity was learning about the life cycle of the bird.  For this I had cut out some pictures, and the boys (big sister knew this and was quite happy watching) had to rearrange them into the right order.  The pictures were a bird, a bird’s empty nest, a nest with eggs in, a cracked egg, an egg with a bird emerging, a bird feeding its babies, and a young bird flying off.  Whilst doing this they were going to be telling me what was going on in the pictures.  It worked really well.  We then chatted a little more in depth to involve big sister more.  We introduced words like embryo, incubation, hatching, and fledgling into the process.

We’ve got a lot more to do this week on this subject, so if you are enjoying what we’ve done so far, keep an eye out for the rest!  There are also a lot more bird related activities on our Pinterest page, so go and take a look 🙂

nesting bird science activities nest building bird life cycle www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Thimble and Twig

Kreativum Science Centre Adventure

Kreativum science centre sweden curiosity home education learning science www.mammasschool.co.ukDadda had taken the day off work, so with everyone’s lurgy starting to abate, we needed an adventure that wasn’t too rigorous.  Kreativum Science Centre seemed perfect, being about 40km down the road from us.  I have written a previous post about this ( http://mammasschool.co.uk/education/science-and-spiders/ ) place back in January when we first visited.  We bought annual passes at that point for all 5 of us, but Dadda hadn’t been yet.  The centre is really good and has lots for children (and parents) of all ages to do.  This is why I purchased the annual passes, and after 2 visits, they have paid for themselves 🙂  Plus, I realised it would take several trips to the centre to have a go at everything!!

Today we spent 4.5 hours at Kreativum Science Centre.  It was so nice having Dadda there too.  Obviously I enjoy his company, but when we go to places all three children have a habit of all wanting to go in different directions at the same time!  So the extra pair of hands helped me, as well as allowing the children more freedom to indulge in wherever their interests took them.  On our last visit to the Kreativum Science Centre we did manage a lot, but there was so much we hadn’t done.  Today we went round a lot of those, including the bubble section which was a huge hit.  Other new sections that we tried were logging, giant Lego construction, boats, sound, motion, and puzzles.  We revisited some of our favourites from last time, such as the child-propelled little carts.  We have done a lot of the centre now, but we still have the whole outdoor part to do, so we will be heading back for a day in that part next time.  All three were so busy the whole time we were there.  They were intrigued, curious, and adventurous in wanting to try everything.  It really is the perfect place for them to be curious!!

Water and Ice Science Afternoon.

For this week’s science topic, I asked the children what they would like to look at.  They chose water, and more specifically ice.  This topic of water and ice science never fails to fascinate them.  It has some good criteria making it a fun science topic.  It can be messy, the experiments generally work (always a crowd pleaser!), and pipettes are involved.  So, without further ado, here is what we have been up to.

Ice Melt Experiment:
The first water and ice science experiment involved a little prior planning and preparation.  But it needn’t have to, as you can use just ordinary ice cubes. My trio decided they’d like little characters in theirs.  My little lady laid a character into each hole of an ice cube tray, and then we filled it up with water and left it in the freezer to freeze.  The idea was to have a few different solutions and see which one melted the ice first.  We had hot water, cold water, vinegar, and salt water.  We all discussed our thoughts first, and then gently pipetted various solutions onto individual ice cubes to see what would happen.

 

 

Size and Shape Ice Melt:

Our second water and ice science experiment involved seeing if ice melted at the same rate regardless of shape and size.  Out little lady filled three tin foil moulds each with the same amount of water.  This ensured the original volume was the same, but size, shape, and thickness differed.  They were then put into the freezer to freeze.  On removing them we had a discussion as to which one they thought would melt first…..and then we dropped one!  It smashed everywhere.  So on we plodded with 2 samples instead 🙂  The children accurately predicted what would happen, and its reason (no spoiler alert here!), so I was really happy for them.

Paper Flowers and Water Absorption:

This next water and ice science task involved cutting four (you can have more or less) flower shapes (identical, so use a template).  We had to use four different types of paper.  Our supplies were tissue paper, lightweight paper, heavier weight paper, and card.  Each flower’s petals were then folded into the middle and the flower placed in a bowl of water.  The idea was to see which flower would open first (unfortunately mini man no.2 dropped the tissue flower in petals down in his enthusiasm, so that one was then out of the experiment!).  This experiment worked really well and was very visual for them.  It is replicating the fact that real flowers only open their petals when plants move water into them.

Paint Rainbows:

The children were given 2 sheets of kitchen towel for our fourth water and ice science experiment.  One dry and one damp.  They then gently pipetted different colours of paint onto their towels.  The idea was to notice how the colour spreads.  They were looking as well for any difference in absorption between the damp and dry towels.  This was making them think about plants’ roots absorbing things from soil, and whether it would be more effective if the soil (the paper towel) was damp or dry.  It did progress to investigative messy play at the end with hands and fingers being involved for a more sensory experience 🙂

Exploring Surface Tension:

This is one of my trio’s favourite experiments (and mine as it is relatively clean!!).  They use a pipette (you can see they enjoy this little item a lot!) and see how many drops of water they can fit onto a penny (or a krona in our case).  They watch it grow in size into a bubble until the droplets can attract each other no more and it gives way.  They will sit and repeat this many times trying to beat their highest score, being totally fascinated by it.

Sweetie Colour Run:

This wasn’t really in our topic but we wanted to do it anyway, as it tastes good 🙂  Lay some sweets like skittles or smarties on some paper towel.  Then slowly pipette water onto them and watch the colours run into the paper and breakdown into the colours they are constituted from!  A very effective experiment.

Water and Ice science experiments www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Evergreen Science Fun

Science using evergreens exploring nature nature based learning www.mammasschool.co.ukEvergreens are our nature curriculum theme for the week.  We have used them to study, sketch, do craft, and now we have done some evergreen science.  We hope you like our ideas and fancy trying some at home 🙂

 

 

 

 

The first evergreen science experiment involved examining them thoroughly before we destroyed our supplies in other experiments!  We used magnifying glasses to get a better view.  Twin 2 here was fascinated by moving the cone around and it becoming larger and smaller.  We did the same with the branches we had.  We looked at the various differing structures of the evergreens close up, pointing out how they all differed.  We also smelt all of our samples.  This is a very fragrant topic!!

 

The next experiment we did with the evergreens was to dissect them a little and take them apart.  Here Twin 1 is attempting to use tweezers with snow gloves on, to remove some seeds to examine.  I had to give him full marks for perseverance as he eventually managed!  They also took apart some other cones (this one was too lovely to destroy!).  They enjoyed chopping and using the tweezers to take them apart and look more closely at it.

 

The third evergreens experiment we did was revisiting a previous one from a few weeks ago.  It is a firm favourite as it is very effective visually and my trio don’t get fed up of watching this happen.  I am not going to spoil the results in case you want to try this at home.  What you need to do is place one in cold water, one in warm water, and one in air.  Then you should have a good comparison.  There are a lot more variations you can do, and as you can see, we had one half in and half out….let the child lead, they always have the best ideas!!  We also set ours up using a variety of different types to see if there was any difference between tree species too.

The last evergreen science experiment we did was also revisiting a previous concept.  The children love this idea though, and there is nothing wrong with repetition, although I did add a twist to it.  It is the concept of non-Newtonian fluids – a fluid that is not a fluid.  We mix cornflour and water.  Then play with it.  You can feel it being a solid in the bowl, and then as soon as you pick it up, it turns into a liquid.  I had a tray on the table full of evergreen supplies.  They enjoyed adding these into the mixture and playing with everything combined.  They were amused with a bowl each for an hour, and it was only the fact it was suppertime that made a clock watching mamma call it to a halt.  This was really good play based learning.  A lot of mess but a lot of fun too 🙂

Wriggly, Squirmy, Earthworm Science.

worm science ideas exploring nature nature based learning www.mammasschool.co.ukTo compliment this week’s Nature Curriculum topic of earthworms, we decided to have some fun doing earthworm science.  There are lots of ideas on this topic, but our earthworm science was kept to three tasks.

 

 

 

 

First task of our earthworm science was to examine them under a magnifying glass.  Our little lady’s worm was very receptive to this.  It stretched out, it moved so she could see it in action, and it raised its head end up in the air.  She got a really good view at how these mini beasts move.  We chatted about their structure and pointed things out.  I introduced them to the fact that these were invertebrates with no backbone.  The trio were quite animated discussing this through, and working out how they moved.  Consideration was made as to what would happen to us as well if we had no backbone.

The next earthworm science task was to make a wormery.  Having made an edible one the other day, the trio were quite clued up as to what was happening here.  We made some holes in the bottom of a large plastic bottle (for drainage), and then added a little gravel to aid this process.  In the centre we added a smaller sealed drinks bottle.  This is to try and keep the worms towards the outside of the larger bottle, so we have more to view.  Next went in a layer of sand, followed by a layer of soil, followed by sand, and then soil. On the top we placed some food for the worms in the form of peelings and a teabag.  Then all three worms were carefully placed into their new home 🙂  It’s now sat pride of place on our kitchen table.  We watch them eat, and they watch us eat!!

The last earthworm science experiment was looking at absorption.  This wasn’t about the earthworms, but using the worm idea to study another concept.   We wrapped a smooth straw up in tissue paper.  The paper was then concertinaed into the middle of the straw.  Pipettes of water were slowly squirted onto the paper.  What we saw was the paper slowly expand and wiggle, moving like a worm!  The concepts we chatted about were how certain materials absorbed water/fluids, moving onto how this caused them to expand.  Finally, we finished off with chatting about saturation points.  My trio are a little addicted to pipettes, so this experiment had their full focus and attention!!

All three really enjoyed their earthworm science, and we hope you’d like to try some of our ideas 🙂

Cool Candle Experiments.

I’ve never had a table looking so pretty, all set up for an afternoon of science experiments!!  We added a few (well, 10!) other candles as well to make it extra cosy 🙂 So this week is all about Candlemas, and the knowledge that with reaching the midpoint of winter, we are now on the way to Spring.  I will write more about this theme in our subject overview in a post later in the week, but for now, lets get talking about the cool candle experiments!

 

The first experiment, was to look at using heat as a source of power.  There are multiple DIY ways of setting this up along the same principles, but why bother when you have a very pretty, tinkly noise making angel construction that does the same job?!  We set it up and lit the candles.  Then we sat back and waited for the spinning angels above to gather momentum, and spin faster and faster.  We discussed the heat’s role in the result, and the fact it was providing energy.  We also took candles away to see what would happen, having tried to predict it first (it slowed down), and then put them back again, for it to get faster once more.

We then moved on to an experiment to look at what fire needs to burn.  We used 6 candles and 6 jars/glasses of varying size.  You can use as many or as few as you want  (I have three children, meaning they could do 2 each….need to think these things through to prevent even more arguments in the day!!).  We chatted about what fire needs to burn (fuel and oxygen), and what they thought would happen if we put the jars over the candle.  We then put one jar over one candle to demonstrate it going out after it had used the oxygen up in the jar.  Next, we lined the jars up, and decided which ones would allow the candle to burn for the least amount of time, through to the one that would allow it to burn for the longest.  This, in itself, was interesting for them to do, as it made them think about the capacity inside the jar, not just how tall or short it was.  I’d deliberately chosen tall thin jars, and short wide ones 🙂 I’m amazed to say, with much diplomatic discussion (that’s amazing in itself!) they came to the right conclusion, as we used a stop watch to time how long each candle took to go out.  They were very chuffed with themselves!

Next up was the thirsty candle experiment.  I placed a candle on a dish of water (we put food colouring in too, so it was more easy to see…..oh, and prettier!).  We then lit the candle.  Next we discussed what would happen if we placed a glass over the top, and could we get the candle to drink the water 😉  At this point all three thought I’d gone more than a little mad, so I showed them.  While the candle was alight, the warmer air in the jar took up more room.  However, once it had used the oxygen up and gone out, the candle sucked the water up into the inside of the jar…..well the science of the situation did!  As the air cooled, the air took up less space in the jar, so the air pressure inside the jar dropped, and drew in water from outside trying to equalise the pressure.  The children didn’t quite believe it the first attempt, so we repeated it quite a few times!

The last experiment certainly had the wow factor for them.  We lit a candle stood in a bowl of cold water, and held up by a lump of blue tac in the base.  We then left it to its own devices for a few hours.  On returning, what we found remaining, was a hollow tube of wax.  The water had absorbed the heat energy from the candle, so once that had dissipated into the water, it didn’t affect the outside of the candle anymore, which was then kept cool.

They loved today and we had lots of fun.  We hope you will give some of these a go, and enjoy trying them 🙂

cool candle experiments candle science www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

The Nature Curriculum we use is, “Exploring Nature with Children. A complete, year-long curriculum”. It is a beautifully written framework, written by Raising Little Shoots, and can be found over at https://raisinglittleshoots.com/ It suggests a topic for the week, and then provides some background information and suggestions for nature journaling and outdoor exploring. It also provides a comprehensive suggested reading list (fiction and non-fiction) for each week, plus a poem and a piece of art to study. There are extensions activity ideas too. We use the topic as the theme for our week, and follow the ideas for our journaling, and one fiction book. What we have been doing from the curriculum can be found on our curriculum overview post. The craft, science, maths, and English ideas we have researched ourselves to fit in with the theme 🙂 This makes a learning a lot more nature based.

 

Winter Pond Science Experiments.

My trio have been enjoying some pond science experiements.  We thought we would share them with you, so you can enjoy them too.  Visiting a pond isn’t usually thought of as a winter activity, but they have had lots of fun and seen a fair bit, so give these a go!

Pond Melt:  We found this idea in our “Nature in a Nutshell” book.  We collected a sample of pond ice in a jam jar (that in itself was quite an achievement as it was very thick and hard to break a chunk off), then we brought it back home to melt.  It was then ready to examine for life, to see if anything lived in it during the winter.  All we could find in our ice was algae under the microscope (we were using a pond life identification kit page from www.microscopy-uk.org.uk).  It was still interesting for them to see though.

Examining pond water:  Our next pond science experiment involved a sample of pond water collected in a jar.  In here we saw lots of tiny little brown organisms swimming around madly.  The children used their magnifying glasses to get a closer look and loved watching them.

Purifying water:  I gave the children some soil to mix into a jug of water.  I then gave them a plastic bottle with the top cut off and inserted as a funnel.  I lay next to that small stones, cotton wool pads, and coffee filters.  I then gave them the task of making the water clear.  With big sister’s advice and instruction they put the coffee filter in first, then the cotton wool pads, then the small stones.  This meant that she’d chosen to filter substances out in quite a logical order  We did get much clearer water out the other end, so I wasn’t brave enough to recommend drinking it!

The story of our pond:  We laid out various items to use in our story: flour to act as waste from a factory, soil to resemble a result of deforestation, food colouring for chemicals we put onto crops, shampoo for the soaps we use to clean ourselves, oil for vehicle and cooking waste, and raisins for human and pet waste).  We then made up a story of a pond in an uninhabited area, which then gradually became a built up area, and all these waste products ended up in the water.  As we told the story we put them into our clean bowl of water.  The children were horrified with the result, and it really made them think of man’s impact on the environment.

Microscope work:  Our little lady whiled away an hour, happily making up slides and looking at pond water and pond water plants.  She also digressed which is always good with any learning!!  She started pipetting water onto the stems, revisiting the concept of surface tension.  She then decided to slice the reeds apart length ways, discovering the various tubes inside.  We then had a brief conversation about xylems and phloems.

 

Why don’t frogs freeze?:  The last experiment was to do with finding out why frogs can survive the freezing temperatures of a pond in winter.  We took 2 containers, and put water in one and syrup in the other.  We also marked the level at which the fluid was at.  We then put them into the freezer overnight.  On removing them in the morning, the water was frozen, and had expanded (to a higher level in the cup), but the syrup was still a liquid.  Our blood is represented by the water.  Ice crystals form, making the fluid expand, which would then damage any cells and they would die (so would we).  The syrup represents the frog’s blood.  Some animals like frogs make glucose in the liver and then send it via their blood to their body’s tissues.  This doesn’t freeze, and the frogs are fine 🙂

We hope you have had as much fun as we did doing these pond science experiments 🙂

Winter Pond Science experiements, pond, pondlife, science, nature, pond life, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Winter pond science experiments pond science www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

The Nature Curriculum we use is, “Exploring Nature with Children. A complete, year-long curriculum”. It is a beautifully written framework, written by Raising Little Shoots, and can be found over at https://raisinglittleshoots.com/ It suggests a topic for the week, and then provides some background information and suggestions for nature journaling and outdoor exploring. It also provides a comprehensive suggested reading list (fiction and non-fiction) for each week, plus a poem and a piece of art to study. There are extensions activity ideas too. We use the topic as the theme for our week, and follow the ideas for our journaling, and one fiction book. What we have been doing from the curriculum can be found on our curriculum overview post. The craft, science, maths, and English ideas we have researched ourselves to fit in with the theme 🙂 This makes a learning a lot more nature based.

 

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