K’Nex Frisbees

The kids and I tried out another one of the K’Nex building ideas…Frisbees! It had been awhile since we last used the K’Nex and we went through the same painful 5-10 minute learning curve again. After everyone remembered/figured out how to pick the sizes and shapes that would work for what they wanted, things got smoother. Each of us made three designs and then we took them outside to see how far each could be thrown. We took guesses as to which one would win the longest throw.

Based on our totally unscientific study including 1 throw each by whomever made it, the football shape won.

I tried to rally them into a few more throws to really test it out, but the neighbor came out and got chatty and we called it a day.

Back to the Rain Forest part 2

When we visited the Rain Forest at the Zoo, we bought a venus fly trap in the gift shop. The kids picked out a perfect spot for it when we got home and proceeded to try to “trick” it into eating dropped ants. While they were doing that, I pulled up some web pages about venus fly traps and discovered their ploy would probably not work.

The venus fly trap got moved to a sunnier location near other flowering plants after our reading. It also caught two new insects the first day. Unfortunately, it kept getting tipped over in rain storms and some of the stems broke off. Kind-of fortunately, the trap’s seal is broken after it detaches from the main plant, so we were able to peek inside to see what it had caught…a huge ant!

K’Nex Cars

I found some great free resources for K’Nex online and printed off a bunch of neat ideas and reference materials.
I grabbed a variety of challenge cards to try out with the kids and perhaps some of the other homeschoolers we know.

I got out our box of parts and began to tinker. Both kids joined in and my son began building a motorized car while my daughter worked on finding all the body parts for the people. There was a bit of trial and error involved, but my son taught me a few things about how the wheels worked with the other parts. He made a working car and it was fast! My daughter decided to make one too and see which could go faster. Hers included a seat for mini figures. Much trial and error and a bit of frustration came with her effort as well, but in the end she persevered and had a great working car! My son’s was faster. The kids are trying to figure out if it is because of the difference in tire size or weight or drag from the seat contraption. After they raced them successfully, they moved on to building ramps and obstacles.

Some of the worksheets are math related.

Some of the printouts were challenges with multiple levels.

I am looking forward to trying more things out.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

J. is leaving for a business trip to Vegas today. My daughter made him this card.

In the spirit of the day, the kids wore green and ate green frosted cupcakes.

We also did some easy science experiments from a kit we had around. I thought the rainbow crystals one was appropriate 🙂

Here they are a day later. The colors definitely mixed a bit.

We also “grew” polymer worms in a special solution.

Then we topped off our holidayness with a Brainpop movie about St. Patrick’s Day.

Everlasting Evergreen

One of our stocking stuffers was a plant called an everlasting evergreen. It comes packaged in a dried up ball and when you add water it unfurls over the course of a few hours to reveal green leaves. The papers that came with it said the plants are from the time of dinosaurs and can last up to 50 years in the dried up dormant state between times with water present. It was pretty neat to watch it open up.

Incredible Growing Gator


Sometimes a science kit is better when it doesn’t work as expected. That would be this time.

Our polymer gator was supposed to grow rapidly over the course of a few days. We estimated how big we thought it would grow and measured it at the beginning and then on days after that for about a week. Based on the growing orbs and crystals we have used before, we had guesses of 6″ and 8″. The little guy started out at 2 1/2″ and only grew to 4 1/2″.

Definitely under our expectations.

It did open up our discussion about the scientific method and how you do tests to see if your hypothesis is right.

We decided there was something wrong with his tail and that he might have hit one of our targets if he had worked properly.

We definitely did not get this:

We got this: