Thursday, October 28, 2010

Scientists in the HOUSE!

Somehow, in the whirlwind of chaos that I like to call my life, I have lost sight of SCIENCE in our home curriculum. I paused one day while going over the lesson plans, realizing I'd neglected the subject. I was never a big fan of science class as a kid, but all of my experiences revolved around reading from textbooks and not understanding WHAT they were trying to tell me. Nicholas already has an interest in the sciences and I want to encourage that in both of my children. To make up for the oversight, we spent much of the past two weeks submerged in science.

In my original lesson plans, I should be through the Magic School Bus Germs kit by now. Instead, Nicholas and I did the vast majority of the experiments jus
t last week. Too bad for us, the yeast that came with the kit had expired (no date on the package, GrrRrRR) and so had the yeast in my cabinet. Needless to say, the experiments did not do what we wanted...the yeast did not react better in warm water than cold because it didn't react at all, it didn't release carbon dioxide to make the balloon fill, and the bread was super dense. Nic still learned a lot, but active yeast would have really SHOWN him what I was telling him. I'm proposing a do-over next week and will also include Sydney - I think she'll like participating. Instead of participating with us this failed time, Sydney instead had her own curriculum about the human body using books in conjunction with a workbook I found on the Fernbank Science Center site , a valuable resource!

In another and much more successful science adventure, the kids and I went to visit the Bio-Bus, brought to us by the University of Georgia. The day consisted of a power point presentation as well as demonstrations and experiments all about the phases of matter. Both children have heard the basics of chemistry and matter before and I am excited to see that they both were able to pick up a few new pieces of information and also came away with their curiosity sparked. Nicholas mentioned perhaps becoming a scientist and was heartbroken when the instructor told him that, no, he could not buy his own liquid nitrogen at Walmart. Sydney sat (mostly) still while listening to the lecture, remembered to raise her hand to answer a question, answered a question about density correctly and got the experience of being in front of the class while demonstrating how tightly knitted molecules in ice are. We all really enjoyed watching the chemical changes made in the experiments.

My plan is to follow up this field trip with some of our own experiments, perhaps getting out so
me more polymer to play with and also getting some growing foam from a hardware store. I also have an episode of Sid the Science Kid all geared up for Sydney to watch that shows irreversible chemical changes in easy to understand examples, like cooking pancakes. HmmMmM...maybe I should get both kids in the kitchen to show them that same example. Sounds like science and home ec. rolled into one breakfast!