Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Science Week (A Simple Summer Theme)

This summer we were excited to kick off our Simple Summer Themes with Science Week! Each week of summer vacation we explore a different "theme." We use materials on hand, simple/easy projects that don't take long to complete, hands on activities, recipes, and field trips.

This summer, even more than previous summers, we're truly keeping our themes simple. We're doing something fun with them when we want to, but also making sure we have lots of time for free play and spontaneous summer fun too.

Our first week proved to be a great kick off to the summer as it was exactly what the boys needed - something a little fun that fit into our other summer activities. They loved Science Week so much, they are requesting a lot more Science over the summer!

1. Find Inspirational Resources
When taking on science experiments, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Our original inspiration for Science Week came from the fun we've been having with the new book, The 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments for Kids written by the founders of the Kids' Activities Blog. You can read more about this resource here.

Other great ideas can come from online, we've been saving several of the ideas we want to try over on Pinterest.
"Rain in a Cup" experiment from The 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments. 
2. Have a way to record your work. 
I put together this Science Experiment Form so we could begin to explore the steps of the scientific method. Sometimes Big Brother filled out his own (while I filled out Little Brother's) or sometimes we did one as a group. 

3. Explore Science Using Natural Materials
We used white wildflowers to explore what happens when we use colored water instead of regular water. We were pretty excited with our results over night. 
White wildflowers added to colored water did in fact change color!

4. Conduct a scientific experiment you can eat! 
I used to love making butter with my primary grade students when we learned about the pioneer days. But making butter also makes a great science experiment! Especially as you can begin the conversation about solids and liquids (matter) and how some things can change form. 
We used about 1/2 cup of whipping cream and put it into a small jar with 2-3 marbles and closed the lid. The boys took turns shaking the jar as hard as they could. At first the cream just looked "lumpy", but as passed the jar around the lumps formed together into a large ball with a little bit of watery milk on the side. The lump was butter. We served it up on crackers for snack! 

5. Water Play Science is great for a hot day! 
We've enjoyed sink or float activities in the past, this is such a great introduction to experiments for young scientists. Little Brother and our friend Little Buddy enjoyed collecting items in the house to use for the sink or float experiment. We've also done a nature sink or float in the yard before. They key is to have kiddos make a prediction before they drop the item in, and tell you why they made that prediction. 

6. Lots of baking soda and vinegar fun! 
Throughout out science week I tried to stick to ingredients we already had on hand, or could easily get at the grocery store. Somehow this meant we definitely used a lot of vinegar and baking soda! A few of our favorite activities are below:

Colored vinegar, droppers, and baking soda = fizzy color mixing. Using food coloring and vinegar I mixed up three containers of primary colored vinegar. The boys used droppers to drop color into a tub of baking soda. As they did so, the colors mixed. 

Blow up a balloon with the reaction of baking soda and vinegar! This one has been showing up all over the internet - and is very easy. Use a recycled bottle, a balloon, a tablespoon of baking soda, and a funnel to set up this hands on activity. Put a small amount (1/4 cup) of vinegar into the bottom of the bottle. Use the funnel to put the baking soda into the balloon. Carefully attach the balloon to the top of the bottle and shake the baking soda into the bottle. The reaction will fill the balloon with air. Note- this will only last for a few minutes. 

Wizard's Brew from Babble Dabble Do. 
This project was a blast! We posted this quick picture over at Instagram, but I highly recommend you check out the directions and video over at Babble Dabble Do

Science week was definitely a great way to kick off summer, and we can't wait to keep going with some more of these hands on science experiments as the summer goes on!

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