Our December Science Bloc was fun and interesting, and a perfect complement to the many holiday-time endeavors. Here are some of the experiments we tried:
Water and weight – By making a seesaw balance with a wooden ruler and pencil we placed two cups with water on each end, nearly balanced. By placing a finger in the water of one of the cups the balance tipped towards the extra weight, surprisingly consistently.
Water and Air Pressure, Surface Tension – In a large bowl of water we let a glass fill with water under the surface; slowly we pulled the glass up – the glass stayed miraculously full of water all the way until, after geting heavier and heavier the rim of the glass cleared the surface, and the weight and tension released. The air pressure on the water in the bowl had kept the water pushed up into the glass.
Water and the dry paper – We filled a bowl with water and pushed a paper towel into the bottom of a glass. We then inverted the glass and pressed it down into the water; we pushed it partially down ( surely the water must have rushed in ) and all the way down. When we pulled the glass up the paper was always completely dry, protected by the air trapped in the glass.
Density, Diplacement and Shape – We filled a big bowl with water and tried several objects reasonably similar in size: which would sink and how fast and in what motion, which would float and what percentage of the object would be submerged. It was fascinating to the children and we will carry it further later on. One interesting phenomenon was with our ball of clay which sank in 1/2 second, but when shaped into a wide thin boat floated very nicely!
Solar and Sideral Year – We affixed a Lincoln head penny to our desks and rotated another penny around the fixed penny with continuous contact. To our surprise it rotated around not once, but exactly twice. The earth’s yearly orbit of the sun is similarly 365 1/4 days or 366 1/4 days depending on vantage point. I know a parent who can help us figure this out in the future.
One learning experience the videographers liked for their Home-school video was moving a septogram in the big room (there were seven kids that day) and then coming into the classroom and having each student draw the shape on the chalkboard . It’s a very satisfying shape to draw and the children certainly improved with each effort. We often move the shapes corresponding to the number of children present, decograms, decogons etc. in the big room; and find the triangles, squares, pentagons and hexaons that fit into and make up the larger shape. Then we bring it into the classroom and draw it. Number and Geometry are everywhere. Watch out!