Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Yesterday was one of our 'table days' - so when everyone was ready, we met at the dining room table.  I was absolutely thrilled that DS sat down with a notebook and decided to write a poem first, because of it being such a windy day outside.  He felt he wanted to try and capture the feel of it in a poem. It was beautiful. (Some-one's obviously was inspired from listening in at his sister's Creative Writing course last week :-) )

We then cracked on with some reading and updating our Reading Diaries, then some 1-2-1 maths each. Both DD & DS had Leap Ahead maths books to finish - they had both gone as far as they could and hit some tricky fractions, decimals and tables.  We took it in turns to have 1-2-1 time to help them work through the areas they were finding difficult and I'm delighted to say they both finished their books today and, more importantly, understood what they had done :-)

DS then felt in an experimenting kind of mood, so he took to the kitchen with some vinegar, baking soda and (his own addition) peppermint oil! The result?  The sweetest smelling baking soda volcano ever :-)

The kids then decided to have an hour outside before lunch.  They had great fun digging big holes and building assault courses for each other!

In the afternoon we decided to carry on in the experimenting vein and got out the Dyson Challenge STEM cards (these are fab & are available FREE from James Dyson Foundation).  DS picked a couple of simple ones, as it was late in the day, so we started with making a tornado -

I couldn't get a great picture I'm afraid, but the effect was instant, and very nice and visual.  

Basically, you need a clear plastic bottle, fill it 3/4's full with water, add a few drops of washing up liquid and a few pinches of glitter.  Screw the lid tightly back on, swirl the bottle, hold still and watch the tornado take place :-)  DS absolutely loved doing this!  Make sure you don't over-fill the bottle, or when you shake/ swirl it will explode! :-) 

As for the science bit, you have created a centripetal force - this is an inward force that directs the water to the centre of it's path (in this case circular, created by the swirling motion).  The soap allows the glitter to be suspended in the water, making the effect more visual. 

The second experiment we did, from the same Dyson STEM challenge cards, was called "Scared Pepper" (or Scaredy Pepper, as we liked to call it!)  Even simpler than the tornado - we needed a bowl of water, and some pepper! 

After you've filled your bowl, and let the water settle, grind some pepper on the surface.  Then, gently, dip one finger in the centre of the water - watch what happens (the pepper will jump back from their finger).  Next, rub a tiny amount of washing up liquid on your finger, then dip it back in (the pepper will jump right back to the edges of the bowl).  This is a great, very instant and fun experiment to show and teach children about water tensions (the soap lowers the water tension).  When you (or your child) dip your finger in the water, the water tries to spread out - and as the surface of the water levels out, the pepper is carried to the edges. 

Have a try. Let me know how you get on :-)

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