This months magazine is based around extreme environments, focusing mainly on volcanoes…which child is not fascinated by making things fizz and make a mess?!! There were three little experiments all of the trio did, and then a cut out, fold and stick volcano that our little lady did and kept (bit too complex for my little men, but also there was only one). That one was a 3D model that showed the inner workings and structure of the volcano in perspective with the outside structure. She enjoyed doing that little mission, even if I did need to sneak some of my magic grown up glue (loctite) onto it when she wasn’t looking!!
We looked at the different types of magma and how they might react and work. One being runny (water), and one being more viscous and gloopy (syrup). When air was blown into the water the reaction was instant and bubbly, with them popping up over the side of the glass. When air was blown into the gloopy water, it took a lot more effort. Nothing happened at first and then suddenly a massive bubble would erupt making us all jump!! This was showing them that the more gloopy magma was more explosive and violent the volcano.
For the biggest extreme environments experiment, I let our little lady do all the preparation, and then the little men came from their playing to enjoy watching a mini volcano in the garden. She cut out a 3D model and glued it again. We then found an old empty spice jar to insert up the middle. In this she mixed a cocktail of vinegar, red and yellow food colouring, and clear runny soap. Then when were all set up she added bicarbonate of soda to set it off erupting. She loved being in control of the experiment and showing her little brothers what was going on and they were fascinated.
The last little experiment about extreme environments was looking at wobbly planets. We have a little ball that just happens to be a globe, but any ball will do. We spun it on a flat surface, first watching it spin steadily. We then put a blob of blue tac on top of Europe and watched it spin again, being very unstable. This was showing the children the planets rotation, how a little something out of place affects it’s spin. They learnt that this happened to Mars several billion years ago, when a volcano spewed so much lava it created the largest known pile of volcanic rock, turning Mars into a wobbly planet. The outer layers then had to shift to gain stability again.
The magazine always has something in it about the environment, our effects on the environment, and suggestions for helping it. This month the focus was on the beautiful sea creature, the seahorse. These gentle little creatures are under serious threat, due to being used in chinese medicine, being used as souvenirs, and being kept as pets. Plus their homes aren’t protected. They live in shallow waters, which unfortunately us humans use a lot too. Apart from more marine conservation areas (not a lot children can do about those!), it suggests being aware of the seahorses plight and not buying souvenirs with dried sea life on them.
There are lots of other facts and stories in there too (always a feature on animals of some description which my three enjoy). The magazine is proving really handy for experimental ideas which are popular, and information the three enjoy listening too. Our little lady then scurries off with the finished magazine to read some more and dabble in the puzzles and quizzes!