Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Konos: Trust - Floating

Konos Unit: Trust
Theme: Floating

We reviewed our Bible verses on trusting God and how God's laws are constant and can be trusted. We read books about floating and learned about buoyancy. These are laws of the physical world that we can rely on, that we can trust.


We started with a big tub of water and lots of little objects. The kids each made predictions about whether they thought the object would float or sink.


Of course, there was a lot of just playing in the water. What is the force that draws kids to play in water?


They were both really excited about this experiment and kept finding new items to test out.


I love these kinds of projects where Rachel can be involved too. She is old enough to have a basic understanding of floating and sinking even if she isn't learning the details of "why" as Nicholas does.


It was fun just watching them get excited about watching to see if their predictions were correct.



For the most part they did rather well.


So what makes an object float or sink? Is it the size?

Nicholas found two objects that were about the same size to test this theory. One was a rock and the other was a hollow plastic bale of hay. What do you think will happen when they are both placed in the water?


The rock sinks and the hollow plastic toy floats. Therefore, it is not just size of an object that determines whether something will sink or float.


I love the way Nicholas' mind works. Before I even got into much more discussion about it, he is already working on solving the problem. He figured out that although the rock sank on its own, if it was placed in a shallow plastic lid that floated then the rock was able to float too.


That's true Discovery Learning at work! Discovery Learning is highly emphasized in Konos curriculum which is why I love it so much.

He then used a suction cup hook that we had previously used in our float/sink test to make his floating rock stay anchored in one place.


We talked about the force of the water pushing up and the force of the object pushing down. Anything that is heavier than the same amount of water it displaces will sink. We used this floating ball to actually feel this force. Nicholas pressed down on the ball and could really feel the water pushing it back up.


We also discussed why we thought large boats that seem like they would be heavy could float. It's because large items like a boat are not solid. Most of their volume is filled with air and therefore they are light compared to the amount of water that they displace therefore they float.

I cut several squares of aluminum foil, all the same size. I asked them to create boats that would float.


Nicholas made a great looking boat that floated.


So did Rachel.


But then she wanted to see what would happen if she pushed down on her boat...and then it started to sink.


Yes, she was just playing but it was the perfect demonstration of what we had been talking about. By pushing down on the boat, she increased the pressure of the boat pushing down and it was now pushing down harder that the weight of the displaced water so it sank.


Nicholas took one of the other pieces of foil that was the same size as that with which they had made their boats. He crumpled it up tightly in a ball. I had to help him really get it tightly crushed but he then put it in the water and it sank. (Notice the cute sail he has added to his boat by now)


Two pieces of the same material reacting differently in water. The boat is large, flat, and full of lightweight air so it floats. The ball is small and dense therefore making it rather heavy for its size and the amount of water that it displaces. Because we crunched it up very tightly, there is little to no air in it. It sank.


Again, Nicholas likes to come up with theories and test them on his own. He decided to see if the ball of foil that sank would float on his boat or make it sink. It floated! What a great demonstration for the principles I was teaching. Thanks little buddy for making my job so easy!


Then he made another large flat boat with a propeller at the back. He put two plastic jets on it and it floated. He created his own aircraft carrier! I love his imagination!


They were having so much fun experimenting with water, foil, floating, and sinking that I eventually had to get a second tub of water out for them.


Sometimes Discovery Learning can be messy but when you see the light go on as your child is learning by doing, you will know that it is so very worth it!


Some ask how I can teach a 3 year old and a 7 year old at the same time. Rachel definitely learned a lot with our floating and sinking activities. But her attention span isn't as long as Nicholas and there are some things that we study that she just won't understand. So while she is either napping, playing, coloring, or working on some other activity that I've given her, Nicholas and I spend time one on one going more in depth into the subject we are studying.

We spent a few afternoons studying Archimedes. He is a key figure in this unit because he was one of the first researchers to discover water displacement. Nicholas loved the well-known story of how Archimedes got into a bathtub and noticed the water overflowed the edges of the tub. As he thought about how his body had caused that he realized how water displacement could be used to study weights of objects and even solve a problem he was working on at the time for the king. He was so excited that he jumped out of the tub and went running naked through town shouting "Eureka!".

We found these two books and a DVD at the library. The DVD sparked our interest in the lost notes of Archimedes, called the Archimedes palimpsest. We looked that up online and found this great video on the PBS website called Inside Archimedes Palimpsest.


Next we will be taking our knowledge of floating and learn how it applies to boats.

A Snack to Sink Your Teeth In

I had seen this snack on the internet last Halloween as a scary kind of snack but it works perfectly for learning about teeth.

We used peanut butter, red apples, a little bit of lemon, and some more mini-marshmallows.


I sliced the apples and rubbed them with the lemon to keep them from turning brown.


Next the kids spread peanut butter on one side of the apple slices.


Then add a row of marshmallows to one of the apple slices.


Top the marshmallows with the other peanut butter covered apple slice and show off your pearly whites!


Nicholas had not realized what he had made because it was facing outwards when he put it together. He turned it around and cracked up when he saw it!


Smile!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Free Pancakes at IHOP and Help the Children


Free pancakes at IHOP today!

Every year IHOP gives out free short stack of buttermilk pancakes to customers all day long. In exchange, they simply ask for a donation to Children's Miracle Network. You aren't required to make the donation and there is no purchase required to get your free pancakes.

We love pancakes so we couldn't miss out.

Nicholas smothered his with a little strawberry syrup and a little blueberry syrup.


Doesn't that look yummy?


For more information, please visit the IHOP Pancake Day website.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Grapevine Botanic Gardens

What a great day to get outdoors!

We headed over to Heritage Park in Grapevine for a picnic and play time.

Nicholas took care of planning all of the details of our picnic. The kids scarfed down their food in a blink so they could go play.

They love this park particularly because of this giant spider web climbing thing. It is really high but super cool. It's always the first thing Nicholas does and he shimmies straight up to the top.


Rachel usually doesn't go very high but this time she went higher than ever. She's quite brave!


Nicholas, of course, had to climb on top of the tunnel just to be a daredevil.


Once in the tunnel, he kept peeking out at me waiting for me to snap his picture.


Of course, if there are swings then Rachel wants to swing. She usually sits in the regular swings but she's been playing up a little regression these days. She insisted on sitting in the toddler swings. I didn't really mind because the bigger swings were too high off the ground for her to climb into on her own.


I pushed her at first to get her going but then told her she had to pump her feet. She knows how to do it but lately she would prefer to just have me push for her. Look at that pouty lip!


Nicholas tried to show her how high she could go if she would just pump her legs but she continued to sit and pout.


After some time at the playground, we walked over to the Grapevine Botanic Garden.

Rachel was fascinated with the waterfall that splashed down right at her feet.


Look! I touched the water!


The gardens are still bare from winter but they are still pretty.


I could see several plants with new buds on them getting ready for spring.


The kids spent a long time watching the GIANT koi fish. They are always a favorite attraction especially the ones hanging out under the little bridge.


There are lots of soothing waterfalls.


Of course, a boy can never be far from a stick. Nicholas used this one to try to arrange some little pebbles on the bigger stones.


He is the "last child in the woods". He is so at home outside in nature.


This picture cracks me up! We found these three vultures snacking on a dead something (something very very stinky). Nicholas tried to sneak up on them and thought he would hide behind this tree. It's a little bit hard to tell from this picture but the tree is way to narrow to hide him! It was so funny because he thought he was being so stealthy.


Rachel enjoyed just running around in the wide open spaces.


We learned about composting in the Compost Corral.


Nicholas wanted to crawl into the tumbler composter so I could spin him around. What is he thinking?!


I've always wanted to make our own compost but it's just sitting on that long list of other things I wish I had time to do.


I love to see new growth sprouting in anticipation of spring's arrival.


The kids discovered new fun in the pea gravel making the pathways. We must have spent 30 minutes here as they just scooped up gravel and made paths and creations.


Nicholas made this cool bug with antennas.


There was lots of wonderful unstructured play today.


What a blessed day!