Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Particularly Fabulous (though ordinary) Day

Today we started off first thing with a quick experiment about negatively charged atoms.1)Balance a nickle,
2)place a toothpick on it (it's more helpful to measure the toothpick at the 1/2 way point, and mark it - ours was 3.25 centimeters at the 1/2) then
3)place a clear cup over it.
4)Bring in a staticked balloon - can be charged by a giant friendly dog who rightly questions your motives when you approach her and proceed to rub a balloon back and forth across her fur- then
5)approach said prepared toothpick with your charged balloon - sending it spinning around atop our nickle! Sometimes it moved when we were three feet away! (but our Annabelle is SuperDog.)
We got a bonus life lesson - that either our kitchen table is slanted, our floor is slanted, or Trevelyn has the ability to draw nickles to him - regardless of where he stands around the table! Which led to much hilarity for some of us, and aggravation for one [ahem] of us.

Maddie continued to play with balancing the nickle while Trev played Clone Wars math and their Mama checked into some more resources for the day. (Call it re-grouping, call it good homeschool/unschool Mamahood - whatever. I sat. In the quiet. For a minute or two.)

We raised the question if two things can take up the exact same space.We tested it with a cup of water, marked the water level, and then added marbles. Turns out, the weight (mass) of the marbles forced the water level to rise. Which surprised the children. :)

Our next experiments were questioning whether air has matter, and takes up space. Trev said it didn't. We'll see....
The first experiment we did regarding this was to wave air into a (then sealed or twisted) plastic bag (not blown up to full capacity or forced in, just opened, and "scooped" in). The gas molecules push to get out, you can use your your hands (and later your bum and your tummy) pressing against the gas to see if you can force the air out. Which of course, you can't. :)
Then this one...

No, it wasn't wet. :) His hand was wet, however, so he had dampened the paper when he touched it. lol. This is a really fun experiment - not only do you get to learn that air can hold its own with water, but that, again - air (and paper) do indeed have mass, and take up space - even when submerged (properly) in water. Just make sure that you dunk it straight down, and lift it out straight up again. Tilting will of course put water inside your cup.

The children were in need of rowdy play for a minute - so they dashed outside for a bit to putter around on their bikes. (phew.)

... and then owls.
One of my very favorite places for tools is Home Science Tools. I get their newsletter, and today it spoke about owls and their vision. So we did a little investigating on how owls see differently than us. Very cool! (and simple.)

This is a copied excerpt from today's newsletter.

"Owl Eyes
  1. Cover one eye with your hand. Hold a pen or pencil about a foot in front of your face. (You can have a helper do this for you, if you want.)
  2. Keep looking straight ahead while you start moving the pencil to the side. Even though your eye is facing forward, you should still be able to see the pencil out of the corner of your eye. Stop moving the pencil when you can't see it anymore. How far did it get to the side before it disappeared?
  3. Now, hold the tube to one eye and look through it at the pencil in front of your face. Start moving the pencil to the side - how far did it get before it disappeared?
  4. This time turn your head as the pencil moves so that you can still see it through the tube. Stop when you get to the point where the pencil disappeared in step two. How much did you have to turn your head to see the pencil at that point?
Owls have two eyes, just like us. But the way they see is different. Because of their eyes, an owl can see much better in the dark than we can. However, an owl can only see straight ahead. This is why they need such flexible necks, so they can turn their entire head in nearly every direction. An owl's eyes cannot move around like ours can. Try looking up, toward the ceiling, only moving your eyes. An owl would have to lift his head to do what you just did."

Though the newsletter was sent today, it isn't listed in the archives yet (as of the posting of this). It's a great resource, if you're interested!

Experimenting with running things down loooooong marble tubes.
And Camp Lazlo (cartoon network) games online for the other.

Making a documentary.

Which I would love to share with you :)-- but Little Son's lecture was about 20 minutes long (okay, maybe 10), and therefore can not reasonably be uploaded.

Let's fill up the bird feeders....

and play in our own backyard

and then motor around on bikes at the church parkinglot for a while

...and then finally celebrate sunshine and warmth (42!) at a neighborhood playground.

ie.... let's dance....

The sun sets now (5:38pm) the sky grows pink.
Daddy is expected home, soon-- and though there may yet be more to this day, the Mama signs and sighs off on a beautiful, melodious note.

Life is so good.
And we'll prob'ly see you tomorrow.


  1. Wow. What a lovely day you had!!! Mine ... well.... mine went a little sideways. A few times. I'm not entirely sure what to do to shake my funk off, but hey, I'll work on it later! Seeing your lovely post sure started things in the right direction though! The nickle thing is AWESOME!! :D

  2. Oh, it went sideways a few times!!
    I've just chosen to Get Over It sooner than I would have at other times. :)

  3. The water experiment with the crumpled paper, I keep forgetting to do that. On it! Oh,vwe made the borax crystal pretties today! I'll post it soon!-K

  4. We love the home science tools site and info too. We do a lot of experiments and projects too. Always fun!

    We are making aluminum silver cleaner tomorrow...foil, baking soda, etc. in a pot with silver. Should be fun!

    I love seeing your projects!

  5. Love, love, love your writing as always. I gave you a little blog award over at circletheworld, come on over to pick it up.

  6. Hey, that nickle-attracting superpower could come in handy!
    Great day--love the playground pics.


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!