Day 14 Marvellous Minibeasts & Science.

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_14Our next issue of the science magazine Whizz Pop Bang has been waiting patiently to be dived into for a few days now.  So, with a cancellation of sunny day plans, we decided to investigate it.  This issue fits in really well with the Wildlife Trust’s 30 days Wild Challenge, as it is titled, “Marvellous Minibeasts”, and there was plenty to enable us to achieve our daily dose of nature with it.  We spent the morning completing the nature mini beast tasks, and then the afternoon looking at and experimenting with surface tension.  This was still linked to nature, especially focusing on skater flies, amongst others.

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We set to work making insect hotels first, rolling corrugated cardboard and slotting it into plastic bottles.  We could have kept going filling it like this, but we did a little adaptation, using some extra wide straws to fill the centre more.  The mini men made these, whilst our lady made the more complicated bug collector pot, with which she could suck up the insects into her collecting pot….she had some pieces of old tights as a filter, so she didn’t end up with an unwanted snack!!  They then pottered around the garden with a very simple specimen tray, shaking bushes and investigating what fell out onto the white paper that was placed in an oven tray.

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The last 2 tasks we did before lunch, were also mini beast devices to enable them to look more closely at nature.  The first one was to make a pitfall trap.  A jam jar was dug into the ground with some tasty snacks popped into it (my trio chose strawberries, sausage, and cheese), with a few stones balancing a roof on top so it doesn’t flood.  We are going to check this tomorrow to see who has visited and then once we have had a look at them, pop them back into the garden.  The butterfly banquet we made has not been so successful today, probably due to the rather damp and windy weather conditions.  But chopped up sponge chunks soaked in a sugary solution, are now hung around the garden hoping to attract butterflies for us to watch up close.

IMG_8417 IMG_8415The first experiment after lunch was a paperclip challenge.  We had to get the paperclip to float on the top of some water, using the water’s surface tension.  We all tried first just putting one in, and as expected they sank.  The we then tried lowering them in horizontally and we all managed to get one to float.  Even the mini men in their eagerness, managed to be careful enough to get it to work, and they were transfixed.  The next little experiment absorbed them just as much, especially as each task we did upped the mess potential each time!  They used pipettes to drop water onto a coin, watching the water molecules attract and hold together until quite a large bubble of water was on top of the coin, and then keep going until it was just too much and ran off.  All three were happy to do this simple task for ages, especially using the pipettes.  I think this will turn into my back up plan when tired and hungry children are hindering dinner preparation, as they were so drawn in by it!

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We then “whooshed” pepper away from the surface of water with a soapy cotton bud, followed by fireworks on a plate (a soapy cotton bud pushing food colouring away on the surface of milk), and then looking at bubbles…an extremely messy business!!  They made their own bubble blowers from pipe cleaners and I made bubble mix.  My attempts were unsuccessful quite a few times; too much soap, too little soap, but I got there in the end!  We then added different things to the mixture to see what would happen.  The baking powder didn’t really have much effect (may have been my soapy mix though), but argarve nectar really helped stretch the bubbles out more.  The children loved the way they grew with that in it.

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This issue was bumper packed with fantastic things for all three to do again.  The mini men were gripped by what they were doing and really concentrating, and that is no easy feat 🙂 This magazine grabs the attention of the trio and they look forward to it coming through the door each month.  It was even better that it linked in so well with the 30 days wild challenge!







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