Stalactite/Stalagmite Experiment

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We found this simple and fun experiment in, The Everything Kids Science Experiments Book.

Your child will need the following items-

  • one large glass
  • two small glasses
  • tap water
  • a spoon for stirring
  • Epsom salts
  • cotton string
  • wax paper
  • paper towels
  1. Prepare a space for this experiment where it can sit untouched for at least a week.
  2. Lay down a layer of paper towel topped by a layer of wax paper. (The paper towel makes clean up easier.)
  3. Have your child fill the large glass three-fourths full of water.
  4. Add a generous amount of Epsom salts to the water. Stir with the spoon to dissolve. Keep adding salts until no more can dissolve and a little bit remains undissolved.
  5. Divide the saltwater into each of the two small glasses.
  6. Arrange the glasses a little bit apart from each other on the wax paper. Cut a length of the string, long enough for each end to rest in a glass and stretch across the space between each glass.
  7. Check the progress every day and watch what happens!

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Hopefully you can see the difference from the picture on the top to the one on the bottom, a few days later. I’d have your child straighten the string more than we did, but it still worked out great. It’s really been fascinating to see the difference from day to day.

Here’s a video I found on Youtube. This lab can tie into learning about caves and also about icicles.

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Plant Growth Experiment-Part 1

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On Saturday, we went shopping for supplies for a plant experiment Marcus wants to conduct. He wants to test how two different plants will grow in a magnetic field.

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In the garden center there were turtles so of course we had to check them out.

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Our shopping cart included all of the necessary supplies: potting mix, 4 pots, 2 seed packets (one of marigolds and the other of radish), 4 long metal screws and neodymium magnets (8 altogether).

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At home, Marcus set up his experiment. He laid all the supplies out and prepared each pot one-at-a-time.

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It’s important to try to use the same amount of soil and plant the same amount of seeds in each pot.

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Marcus made up little signs to identify each plant. He marked whether the plant was a marigold or radish and whether it was the control or the magnet.

For the magnet pots, he “planted” two magnets in the soil, and placed two more magnets on the screws, across from each other. This creates a magnetic field for the plants.

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Each day the plants will receive the same amount of sunlight and water.

Thus the experiment has begun. Marcus will keep track of the amounts of water and sunlight as well as each plants growth in a record book. ♥ Stay tuned for updates and results in the weeks to come.

Science Fun- Making a Cell Cake

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Marcus is studying life science this year, and for the past two weeks has been studying cells. He was challenged to make his own cell model in any form he chose. He thought a cell cake sounded like the most fun.

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Marcus used the following supplies for his cell cake: 1. A cake mix (any flavor, ours was devil’s food) 2. A round cake pan (8″ or 9″. Ours was 9″ from the dollar store) 3. White frosting and a butter knife or spreader 4. Various candies (He chose from the selection at the dollar store) 5. Toothpicks 6. Sticky tabs 7. A diagram of a labeled cell model, as a reference. We used the one in his science book, but a google search works too.

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The first thing we did, of course, was make up the cake. We did end up baking two 9″ cakes as we thought there was too much batter for just one. While the cake was cooling, Marcus made up little flag labels for his cell cake, using the sticky tabs and the toothpicks. He simply used the sticky part of the tabs to wrap around the toothpick, holding it in place. (He did ask me to write two of the cell parts as they were three words each, and he thought he couldn’t write small enough.) One thing Marcus did that I thought was helpful to him was to place each flag label on the candy he would use to make up the corresponding element.

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Once the cake was completely cooled, he frosted it with vanilla frosting.

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Then he set about creating each element that he was including on his cell model and placing them one by one on his frosted cake. He inserted the flags where they belonged and…

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Ta-da! He now had a cell cake! (This was a model of an animal cell by the way.)

Curriculum Finds- Online Science Resources

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We are passionate about science at our house so I thought I’d share some online resources we’ve recently discovered:

Science Fun For Littles

If you have a preschooler, head on over to Stir the Wonder where Samantha has some fun science activities.

KidZone has a super simple science section for preschoolers up to fifth graders. They also feature animal fact pages. This page is about polar bears.

Science News

Science Daily is a really cool science website that can help your kids keep up with the latest happenings in modern day science. Check out this story, with a video, that shows off a Lego model of the Vatican! (The first link is about an invisibility cloak!)

Free Science Textbooks

Ck-12.org offers free online science textbooks. My son is using their Life Science for Middle School textbook this homeschool year. All you have to do is create a free account and then you can download any of their textbooks. Web-links are included.

Science Videos

Have your child check out one of the fun discovery videos on National Geographic Kids.

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom led me to a new YouTube channel called, Bringing Smart Back. These clever videos are produced by super cute Keilee, who is a homeschooler. My kids love her videos so I bet your kids will too. Below is our favorite video so far:

What are your favorite online science curriculum/resources? I’d love to hear about them.

Weekly Nutshell

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Not a lot of grass and flowers grow here in Lima, but they do take pride in the landscaping of their park areas.

I am so proud of us this week because we managed to get outside for a walk nearly every day. This is how the parks here are landscaped, with shaped flower beds. On Monday, the sweetest thing happened (at least I think so as a mom). My 19-year old daughter Skyped her 12-year old brother and the first thing she said was, “I want to hear all about your boys camp.” (Marcus had boys camp last week.) My heart just melted.

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This picture shows the front of our corner apartment complex here in Lima, Peru. We are on the first floor so our view is partially blocked by the high wall. In fact, we see more of the tops of those two little trees than anything else, but it’s a lovely apartment and we have a little pool so we can’t complain.

On Tuesday, Marcus made this drag race car out of disposable coffee cups-

Wednesday was a bit exhausting for me because two Peruvian women came over, one representing me and the other representing the owners of this apartment. Together they checked off an inventory of our landlord’s belongings (they left their furniture and their kitchen fully stocked for us to use). This was done in preparation for our move back to the states at the end of this month. It took them four hours to complete their inventory, especially since we had to account for each and every single item from silverware to towels to lamps and couches.

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One example of the Catholic influence here. There are statues of the Virgin Mary with the Christ child in many of the parks.

On Thursday as we were watching, Hugo, this quote stood out to me-

“I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured if the entire world was one big machine… I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason.”

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Here in Peru we see these little guard shacks everywhere. We see men sitting in them all the time, keeping watch over a street or a building or a house. They sit on a stool and sometimes they have a little TV to watch, or a newspaper to read.

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Now it’s Friday. All week long I’ve been reading Day in the Life posts of other homeschooling families (similar to the one I posted earlier this week). I think all moms and dads who homeschool are amazing for choosing to take a different path with their children’s educations than what the world expects us to do. We are all doing what we believe to be best for our children and our families.

Not long ago, I was searching the scriptures when I came across this verse in Doctrine and Covenants that really spoke to me as a mom, especially as a homeschooling mom.

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It made me realize that I am giving my children something that they will never get from a government school- light and truth.

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Can Crusher Experiment

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Another experiment from the Steve Spangler website and you can find it HERE.

This experiment definitely requires adult supervision. All you need is an empty soda can, rinsed out. Add one full tablespoon of water to cover the bottom of the can. Place a bowl of cold water next to the stove burner you’ll be using. Heat the can on the burner. When you see steam rising from the can, give it a minute longer to get nice and hot. Take a pair of tongs (wear gloves for added safety) and in one smooth step, grasp the can with the tongs and flip it into the water, with the opening of the can hitting the water first. This is what happens:

Here is another go:

As you can see, Marcus had to try this several times:

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