Monday, February 27, 2012

science things to make and do

Sylvia and I have been finding inspiration in The Usborne Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do.  There are over 50 activities in this book, and I'll share with you our three favorite from the last couple of days.  
 1.  The bubbling wizard's brew uses your standard vinegar and baking soda reaction with the addition of soap, food coloring, and glitter.
 We filled two cups half full of clear vinegar, added food coloring, a dash of dish soap, and a sprinkling of glitter, and stirred.  Sylvia added a tablespoon of baking soda to each and we watched the reaction.

 Ayla kept stirring hers and we noticed that it did not foam up nearly so much.  We talked about why that might be (the gasses releasing instead of being trapped in the bubbles).

2.  Sylvia and Ayla also enjoyed the floating ball game.  We made small funnels out of thick paper and taped them to the end of bendy straws.  We crumpled tinfoil into small balls, and used the power of our breath to send each ball into the air.  Then we played around with the amount of force that we put into each breath.  With just the right amount of steady air pressure, we could keep the tinfoil ball in the air for a couple of seconds.

3.  The dangly monkeys started out more like a craft project than a science project.  I drew a monkey shape on thick paper with curved arms and tail, making sure that the limbs hooked around so that the monkeys could hang on a seesaw.  Camille helped me trace and cut them out and Sylvia decorated them with markers, pens, and stickers.
 We used two pipe cleaners twisted together and hung on a string at the midpoint for our 'seesaw'.
 Then, it was all about balance.  We talked about how it affected the seesaw to hang the monkeys nearer or farther from the pivot point in the middle.  We experimented with three on one side, and two on the other, or hanging one monkey on another monkey, etc.

 If the girls hadn't wanted to do the crafty part of this, I would have just drawn 'snakes' with a curvy tail for the balancing play.

This book in general leans more towards crafty, than straight-up science, which is right up Sylvia's alley these days.  Being unschoolers, I don't plan out lessons for anyone to complete, but I love it when we can make stuff, learn stuff, and have fun all at the same time.  Where have you been finding inspiration lately?

This post is linked over at the Homeschool Coop: Tuesday Tutorials ~ Science
and Natural Suburbia: Creative Friday.


  1. Sounds like a fun book! My boys have been into anatomy lately, so we've been on the hunt for anatomical models/skeletons and projects in relation. Got a book titled 'Head To Toe Science' that we've been having fun with:)

    1. Thanks Julie, Camille has been interested in how the body works lately. I think I'll request that one from the library :)

  2. What fun activities! I'm going to have to get ahold of that book. My son has chosen the Wizard's Brew for our activity this afternoon. Guess I'll go get ready for a fun mess! Thanks for linking up with Tuesday Tutorials. =)


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