Bird Lapbook

OK- the lapbook stuff is a big win with my daughter. For those who don’t know the term- a lapbook is simply a file folder filled with minibooks or inserts on a given topic. This format is really nice in that each subsection of a topic can be shown in a few simple statements and it is also a nice way to let out your inner artist. I think she likes that there are many moving parts and that she gets to draw, color, and sticker all over the folder.

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This lapbook contains a wheel with different types of birds, a bird story, a description of the class Aves, a picture she colored, and lots of bird stickers we printed out on blank sheet labels.

Worm Dissection

The kids and I just tackled our first dissection together- an earthworm. We read lots of books first about the different parts of a worm and how they function. The kids already knew a bunch about compost and worm poop (castings), but we came across new anatomy stuff including that worms have a cluster of nerves that act as a brain, 5 aortic arches (for the heart), and each individual has both male and female reproductive parts inside the part called the clittelum (the smooth section about a third of the way down on a worm).

Also- we learned from the dissection that it is a myth that if you cut a worm in half, each half will regrow. The head half may regrow if it is severed far enough behind the clitellum, but the tail end will die.

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My daughter really dug making a lapbook for the Magic School Bus experiments so we carried on and made one on worms.

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Magic School Bus Science part 1

I bought a bunch of science supplies with some of our Christmas money…a few slide sets and a pocket microscope, some animals for dissection (the kids had been asking), and a Magic School Bus Science Kit.

Today we started with a few experiments in the kit 🙂

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Making glue from vinegar and milk:
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Fun
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Slime and a bouncy ball from Borax and glue:
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Cornstarch “oobleck”:
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Somehow during all of this, we also had discussions about polymers and made inserts for lapbooks.
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Because we obviously don’t own enough Legos

Anyone who knows us well or who has come to our house probably realizes we have a slight Lego addiction over here. And by that, I mean that at any given time there are likely Lego blocks on the floor in at least 2 rooms and they are actively being played with almost every single day. We also have a giant bin of them overflowing at this point. Given that, it surprised even me this week when I decided we needed more.

What brought this on, you say? I found the Lego Education website and learned about the sets available with motors and USB connections and the like. I never knew there were kits (aside from the robotics NXT one) that let kids add moving parts to their creations. After checking out all of the powered kits, I decided they were a bit pricey. I did however notice a kit that featured creations from the Lego Technic pieces. These models have moveable parts- pulleys, gears, rotating joints, etc., but no motors. It seemed like a good next step for us before moving on to powered models.

I did not purchase one of their kits in the end. Instead I found these cool books on Amazon (Lego Technic Books and “Cool Robots”) and bought a small set of Technic parts off of eBay. The books came right away and I was totally smitten with the Technic ones. The kids pounced on the “Cool Robots” one. They each headed off to find pieces for the robots they wanted to make.

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I tried out a few gear formations while they built their creations.

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Today we added some of the technic parts from our big pile to the ones we bought and I also pulled out our Klutz Lego Book. We made Lego tops and then competed at Lego “Skittles” 🙂

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Playing With Colored Ice

I recently saw a neat idea on a blog called “Not Just Cute“.

The idea was to freeze colored water into different shapes of ice (with your kids) and then to make sculptures out of the ice with water and salt.

Our attempt at this was a wee bit rocky, yet still fun 🙂

First off, I wasn’t sure I had watercolors that would work for this, so I substitued powdered tempera paints figuring we would find out soon enough if that was ok. I put mounds of black, white, yellow, red, and blue powder into a muffin tin and set my daughter loose with water and popsicle sticks for stirrers. I figured that she would probably spend a good amount of time mixing and pouring. I was not wrong. She spent over an hour just on creating the perfect colors and pouring them into molds. I mixed a little too, but mostly looked for things to be molds and shuttled filled containers to our driveway.

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My second veer off course was that soon after I started putting the molds on the driveway, snow started pouring down and coating them. I wasn’t sure if it would be a problem or not so I left them. This proved to be a bad idea for 2 reasons…One- the snow caused the containers to be all slushy and the colors separated even more than I think they would have otherwise, and two- my husband went out to shovel the driveway and not seeing them under the snow blanket, scooped them up and caused some molds to dump out and others to get all clumpy and not at all flat.

I moved them to our freezer at this point.

I pulled them out tonight when my daughter had a friend over to see if they could build with the ice. I would deinitely recommend using watercolors if you do this project! The tempera paint ice wound up separated and thick and wasn’t nearly so pretty as the ones on the original blog. However, ugliness aside, the girls did enjoy playing with the ice cubes and managed to build sculptures, paint on paper, and eventually as things tend to devolve in this house, decided to paint my daughters shirt by putting ice cubes down the front of it. Brrrrrr.

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(They did decide to do “laudry” and washed her shirt in the bathroom sink afterwards)