Growing Every Day

Posts tagged ‘planets’

Soap and Shaving Cream

It is so nice when those days come that things actually work!

This, for me, is a lovely thing mainly in the realm of science and crafts.  I am learning that most of the time, simpler is better.  The simpler the experiment the more chance it will work as it should.  The simpler the craft the more chance it will actually look like the example!

I must say, I am also learning that those two things don’t matter as much as I thought they did.  So we have to modify a craft to make it work…ok.  So the science experiment doesn’t work as it should, or not at all…ok, we can still learn from it.

In this homeschool process, I am being molded and stretched as much if not more than my kiddos.

With M2 (my youngest, 3-year-old daughter), we have started doing an “unofficial” letter of the week focus.  Lately, she is getting “bored” more and more, so we needed to do a few more “structured” learning activities to help challenge her.  One of the success projects comes from this letter focus.

Some time back, I happened upon a free preschool letter of the week curriculum – Look What I Can Do! Preschool Curriculum.  It is in e-book format and in my opinion it is nothing fancy.  Personally, I wouldn’t pay $20 for it, but if you can nab it for free or at a discount, it is worth it.  It helps me to have a letter schedule to follow for each week.  I have learned that it is easier to change a curriculum than to start from scratch and come up with my own.  So, I have been following their letter schedule, but skipping some activities and adding others.

The first successful activity for the day involved soap “exploding” in the microwave.  The letter focus of the week was ‘S’ so we called it Soap Science.  This is one of the activities listed in the curriculum mentioned above.

Successful Activity #1:  Soap Science

materials needed: medium or large glass bowl, knife, bar of IVORY soap, microwave, sensory bin (optional)

Step 1:  take all paper off the bar of IVORY soap

Step 2:  cut bar of soap into 3 or 4 pieces and place in glass bowl

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Step 3:  place in microwave and heat for 1.5 – 2 minutes

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Step 4:  let your kids watch and be amazed

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The soap will be too hot to handle at first.  After the soap cools, it has a really neat crumbly texture so we added it to our sensory bin for the kids to explore.  We ended up doing three bars of soap and had a decent amount to play with in the bin.

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You can find this experiment on YouTube here.  Note:  On the YouTube video she uses a paper plate.  I found a glass bowl does much better at containing the expanding soap.

I will say that the only thing I would warn about is the strong smell of the soap in the sensory bin.  If you or your kiddos are smell sensitive, be ready for a strong aroma.

A great extension for this activity would be to use other brands of soap and observe/compare how much or how little the different soaps expand.  (Evidently, the soap expands due to the content of air in the bar.  The air heats up and expands, causing the soap to “grow”.)

Our other successful activity comes from M1’s (my oldest, 5-year-old son) science unit.  He is studying Jupiter and over at It’s A Boy’s Life,they made a fun paper Jupiter using liquid starch and food coloring.  I didn’t have any liquid starch on hand, so I used food coloring, shaving cream, and white cardstock.

Successful Activity #2:  Shaving Cream Jupiter

Materials needed:  pie pan (or something to contain the shaving cream), shaving cream, food color (we used brown, red, yellow, for Jupiter colors), white cardstock cut into a circle, ruler, parchment paper or cookie sheet (something to scrape shaving cream onto), pencil or something to stir with

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materials needeed

Step 1:  fill pie pan with shaving cream and level off

Step 2:  put a few drops of each food coloring onto shaving cream

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shaving cream with food color

Step 3:  stir the colors to make a fun pattern (we use this time to talk about how Jupiter is a windy planet, and they can pretend to be the wind)

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a windy planet

Step 4:  press firmly (but not too hard) the cardstock circle onto the colored shaving cream.  I like to rub my fingers over the paper to make sure the color is adhering to every part of the paper.

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forgot to take a picture of the circle being pressed into the shaving cream, we used the scrap pieces as well

Step 5:  lift cardstock circle off the shaving cream

Step 6:  place the cardstock circle on the parchment paper and use ruler to scrape off shaving cream

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scrape off shaving cream

And now you have your Jupiter!

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M1’s Jupiter

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M2’s Jupiter

The color adheres immediately and will not smudge or smear.  Here is a YouTube video that can also help…click here.

These were really great activities that captured the kids (and my) imagination and creativity.  Not everyday is like this in our little homeschool, however, when it happens it is a marvelous thing.

 

 

Phases

During the past few months, we have been spending our time learning our style and rhythm of school.  Discovering who I am as a teacher to my kids, and how my kids learn the best has been intriguing as well as challenging.  I spent a decade learning how to know my 6th grade students, but we didn’t have to deal with whether they focused better in the morning, afternoon, or evening.  Or whether they needed playtime in between each activity or if they could do several activities all together.  The day was scheduled and I had my students for an hour.

Period.

I am glad to announce that we are learning!  We are learning both content and more about who we are as people and learners.  In that light, I am not sure where this blog is headed, or what it will morph into; however, for the time being, my goal is to post fun and valuable lessons we have completed, or are working on.  I am thinking of it almost as a journal, something we can look back on to track our journey together.  I invite you to come along with us.

So, let’s get started…

Currently we are taking a trip through the Solar System using Lapbooking through the Solar System by Paige Hudson.  It is a great resource.  I grabbed it as a freebie, but I believe it is worth the $4.50.  It has provided a great structure for our space exploration.

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We spend two to three days learning about each planet and complete a fun activity to go with it.  Once you get into the planet portion of the lapbook, it tends to become a little repetitive.  So, I have been making sure to add one or two of my own (or found) activities to beef up the fun factor for a K-1st grader.  The information for this lapbook comes from whatever books you may have on hand or can find at the library.  So before starting, I would recommend finding two or three books to cover the solar system and/or each planet.  The lapbook gives suggestions for several books.  Since I didn’t have the books recommended, nor did my public library, I used what I (and a friend) had on hand: The Solar System by Rosalind Mist, and planets by Gail Tuchman.

Today, we finished up the section on the moon.  The lapbook has a Phases of the Moon Diary page where you observe the moon for 27 nights and record a picture of the moon as well as the phase that it is in that night.  I found this really cute Phases of the Moon book over at teachinginbroncocountry.blogspot.com.  Mason had a lot of fun putting it together.

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Tonight will be our first night to observe the moon.  So, we will head outside with binoculars in hand and Mason will be able to refer to his Phases of the Moon book and fill in his moon diary.  He is very excited and I love that.

Day-by-Day

Keeping it honest here,

I will have to say that I did not put much effort into a focus of “schooling” last week.  In preparation to write this post, I started to reflect on last week and realized – I don’t remember a whole lot about it!  You know those weeks, where you just live it.  You walk through it and press on.  I love how the Lord prevails and toward the end of the week, I was able to come out from under the fog.

Last week, I decided that it would be fun to work within a theme of the Sun.  I did a little searching online, but as the last post stated sometimes there is just Too Much Help to wade through on the internet.  There are many units out there about the solar system, but not many just focusing on the sun.  I was having a hard time even knowing where to begin or what to do.  We did a craft or two, but it was a sensory activity that helped move me forward.

We poured out a good amount of regular table salt onto a cookie sheet (saw this on the web).  Mason enjoyed this and started writing his name, letters, and such.  Then I had the idea – the Sun theme.  I asked him to draw a sun.  Then I asked him to write a word that described the sun… he wrote ‘hot’.  Yes! I had a feeling I was onto something here.  He continued to come up with words to describe the sun.  Wow, a spelling activity within the theme of the Sun.  No striving, just flowing.

salt letters

There is a small part of me that wants to have a beautiful, complete, out-of-this-world (pun intended!) unit put together.  Yet, I know this is not needed, nor do I have the extra time in life right now to create one up front.  In the meantime, we will walk day by day exploring our sun, moon, stars, comets…

What activities would you suggest for a Sun theme?

Week-in-Review

Math:  

Counting Practice

  • While cleaning our utility room, I found a roll of Thomas the Tank Engine stickers.  Mason thought they were amazing and quickly stretched them as far as they would go on the couch.  Seizing the opportunity, I asked him to count them.

Recognizing Patterns

  • With the roll of Thomas stickers, there were over 30 on the roll.  I noticed there was a pattern every six stickers.  I asked Mason to find the pattern.
  • I also asked him how he knew the pattern was starting over.  I want to better understand how he is recognizing patterns.

stickers1

Basic Addition, Crayola Pad

  • A sheet of basic addition problems, purchased at Wal-Mart.

Crayola practice pad

Science:

  • We created a Solar System mobile.  This was a mixture of several activities that I had seen from an art book Adventures in Art by Susan Milord, and two other crafts online.  The mobile was a spiral mobile.  We made a circle of cardstock and stapled it together for the top – we used yellow paper to represent the sun.  The planets hang down each one a little bit farther to represent the distance that each planet is away from the sun.  I chose to use a smaller hole punch so that we could simply knot the ribbon behind the hole.  This was a fun way to work on the order of the planets.  Also, a great way to revisit the order time and time again.

planet mobile

Sensory Activity: 

Salt Letters (mentioned in post above)

  • We place a good amount of salt on a cookie sheet – Mason then went about drawing pictures, as well as letters, numbers, his name, etc.
  • I also classified this as a Spelling activity since he started writing words describing the sun.

And again, Mason worked on his calendar activities from RoyalBaloo.com throughout the week which covers some Handwriting, and Math – graphing, shapes, number awareness.

desk

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