Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April 28

We started off "just right" today, with a stack of library books.
Bunnies, penguins, elephants, crickets, and tracks of ornithopods and therapods.
A fine beginning.

We made rain!
And talked about that dewpoint means the point of when water vapor condenses into liquid, forming rain drops.
A very cool experiment -
boil a big pot of water,
place a bunch of ice in a little pot (with a tiny bit of water if your ice is dry)
hold the little pot over the boiling pot,
and watch the water vapor condense on your little pot,
and then fall as does the rain!Cool.
Simple, but still cool.

And we discovered how wings work - with wind currents.
-Get a piece of paper, and fold it toward you--but stop when you're an inch away from the edge.
Make your fold here.
Bring the bottom edges together, and place a piece of tape on both ends.Loop a 20 inch or so piece of string through the bend in your paper,
and tie both ends to a long dowel or yardstick.Swing the stick from side to side to see the way the wind catches under the wing, an makes it rise.
"The air going over the curved top of the paper trvels faster than the air under the paper. The faster-moving air exerts less pressure than the air moving under the iwng. The greater pressure on the bottom surface keeps the wing up in the air." *
When we were doing this, the wind kicked up, and we didn't have to sway the stick.
"Look, Bud, it's flying!"
"Big deal, the wind is blowing it!" He said, not sure what my point was.
"Exactly my point! The wind current has caught it, and it propels it up! Just like it does for birds."

Dinosaur World. (a long-time favorite.)


We looked at frost crystals under the microscope. Funny that though they are so terribly small, they are still six-sided crystals.
- We put a slide in the freezer for a minute, then hunted down something in the freezer that had frost on it.Even watching it melt is pretty cool.

Then we watched a living ant under it.Had a bit of "It's my turn!!" over that one. :)

One of us mowed the lawn (er, and had to get a plastic bag for a couple of presents left by Annabelle-- so we got to again talk about wind currents and things being lifted up into and over the current)
while another talked the ear off a neighbor about Prehistory
and the other turned up stones lining the flower beds looking for more little friends.
I was grinning over the fact that I could hear the conversation (due to the quiet of the push-mower) but that I was excluded from the over-the-fence conversation as I was Otherwise Occupied.
That boy does love a new audience for his lectures.

A new (for us) dinosaur website. (Kind of basic, but acceptable because you can create and mutate your own species. Gotta love that.)

Into the sunshine!A break in the clouds for an hour or two or four made for some warm outside play.
And play and play and play.

Fossil footprints.
- Take two pie pans.
Fill them both about half way full of fine sand - about 1 1/2 inch deep.
Pour some water into the first pan, mixing the sand with the water-- to the consistency you would want for a sand castle.
Smooth it out evenly and make your impression.
For the second pan, if you have 1/2 cup of water left in the picture (that should do it), add about 1/3 cup of Epsom Salts to it, and stir the water to dissolve the salts. This is the "cementing solution".
Pour it into your (dry) sand, mix it well, and then spread the sand evenly.
Make your hand or foot print. Or your dinosaur impression, if you insist.
After a few days of letting them bake in a warm and dry place, investigate the difference in the two impressions.

When water is mixed with the salts, the salts act as a kind of glue, holding the tiny granules of sand together.
Carbonates -such as calcium carbonate- found in nature act the same way. In nature, carbonate works to bond the grains to all the other grains of sand around it, making it Sandstone.
Carbonate cements mud particles together to make Mudstone.
Where carbonate fills up a whole layer on the bottom of a lake, it becomes Limestone.

Looks like the babes are wrapping things up with a bit more play with Blondie,
then we've plans to snuggle in on the couch with supper, a giant bowl of popcorn, and Dinotopia.

Prob'ly we'll see you tomorrow.

* A direct quote from the book "Barron's Science Wizardry for Kids".

The wing and the rain experiments came from the book "Barron's Science Wizardry for Kids".

The fossil experiment comes from the book "Dinosaur Tracks" by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfield.


  1. WOW! What a wonderfully busy day! Come bring it to my house, it sounds like a lot of fun. :)
    I'm jealous. I keep telling myself that my kids are too small for that sort of stuff but I guess at nearly 2 and nearly 4, I should start teaching them something, right?

  2. Playing with stuff is fun!

  3. So many great ideas! Love 'em!

  4. Dinosaur World is a favorite here too - we'll have to check out the new site you mentioned.

    You have amazingly, full, creative days!

  5. Oh Oh- I forgot to say how impressed I was with your totally cool, professional microscope.... gotta choose one for the boy next year.

    I'm done now :0)

  6. There was a great "Cyberchase" recently about dewpoint, you can find it at PBSkids.org

    Love the fossils, we used to make plant impressions in the plaster of paris too.

  7. What really great ideas! Very inspiring.


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!