Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Home Learning: Rocks #1

Besides hitting the road with the RV, we have tried to continue to journal, and read through the summer.  Some days it works better than others. 
Both my kids are interested in rocks, and to be honest, I know very little about them.   I am grateful to be able to find a whole hands-on unit from the FOSS program.  I love using their investigations because I can pick the language I want to use, and because the kids are able to learn by experimenting on their own.
Above, they kids are coloring their learning folder.  We use it to collect words (new vocabulary), notes, pictures, and drawings. 

We had a trial start with a friend, and  after that, the kids were eager to learn. For the first activity, I gave each one six mixed rocks (two scoria, two basalt, and two tuff).  They needed to observe, and feel them.

They also separated them in groups.  We talked about why they separated them in such a way. They talked about color, texture, and additional observations. 

This is not in the FOSS program, but my kids really wanted to know which rock was heavier. 

They used a hand lens and a microscope to take a closer look.

Next, I invited them to rub the rocks together.  This is what my Little Guy tends to do when he finds rocks on his own. I gave each child a piece of white, and black paper to be able to see the dust coming off the rocks. 

They truly enjoyed making and collecting rock dust. We learned a very important lesson, when working with rock dust it is best to wear safety goggles.  

Finally, I printed three sheets to "register" the rocks in our collection.  They wrote what they learned, or thought about each type of rock.  For the rock above, Big Sister wrote that it is brown, it is rough, it has lots of holes, and that it makes a lot of dust. 
They also drew the rock, and rubbed them together to tape a little of the dust to each sheet.

They loved writing about their rocks!

Here you can see their work.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Vacation Learning: On the road

Since we got our new-to-us RV, we have been out as much as we can.  So far my husband is joining us in every little trip.  I drove it a few times already, but I have a lot more to learn before going without him.  It is a 19 foot coachmen Freelander which is tiny for its class.  In the future, I plan to travel with the kids for extended periods of time on our own.  I wanted something comfortable, and small enough to not feel overwhelmed. We are loving it.  I hope to share more about our adventures soon. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Home Learning: Water #17 Final

"Lo prometido es deuda" A promise becomes a debt.
I typed back in April that I was going to publish two more post about our water unit.  I did the water wheel post, and then... Well, life happened.  The springtime consumed us. Nature called us to be outdoors.  We camped for 11 nights in May! The kids played with their neighbors, we participated in a lot of homeschool gatherings, and my sister and beloved nephew came to visit twice. I kept on planning our  next adventure at night... and I let time go by. But, since I owe this post, here it is! "Más vale tarde que nunca" Better late than never.

For the last experiment, we explored water on two types of earth materials:

Gravel                                                                                   Dirt

First, the kids looked at particles of gravel and dirt under the microscope.  They made their own predictions.

Next, we poured the dirt and gravel in the cups using a coffee filter. Each cup had four holes at the bottom to let water run through. We made sure we had the same weight for both. They soon figured out that a bigger volume of dirt was equal to a small volume of gravel. 

We placed a bigger cup underneath to collect the water that was not going to be absorbed.  Just in case, we made sure the cups with the coffee filter, and earth materials all weight the same before adding the same amount of water.

The kids added 50 ml to each cup. 

We waited until the water stopped dripping and placed the cups with the water absorbed  by the earth materials on the balance.  The dirt cup was heavier.  We learned that dirt absorbed more water.

Then, they measured how much water percolated through each earth material.

They found out: 37 ml percolated through gravel, while only 24 ml percolated through dirt.

We left the cups on the balance.  After a few days, the water had evaporated and both earth materials went back to having the same weight. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Home Learning: Water #16

We moved our next exploration to our deck.  The kids and I read about water as a source of power, and wanted to give it a try. It was a double challenge as it required for them to be creative, and for me to let them create.  Let me tell you, it was very hard for me to not jump in and help them out. I gave them the basic materials: water, dowel, a few disks, paper clips, a bin, syringes, string, and water.

First I told them that they needed to create a wheel powered only by water. It also needed to pull the small paper clip attached to the string.  Right away they started to explore the materials. 

I asked them a lot of questions like: 
-Can water make it turn?
-What is that piece for?
-Can it pulled the weight?
-What problem are you facing? What can you try to fix it?
-Is that piece needed? What is it for?
This part was difficult, since I knew exactly how to build the water wheel.  I wanted them to make it on their own.

Here is a picture of Little Guy giving it a try.

Big Sister came up with this arrangement of materials.  It worked! 

After complaining that it kept on stopping, she came up with this other much faster arrangement. 

Here is another one of her designs. 

The two kids worked together to build more models. 

This was their last model. It also worked!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Home Learning: Water #15

We already finished with all the water experiments. Besides this post, I have two more to publish. I hope that by sharing them here, others can find ideas for their own water units.
Above you can see the kids preparing the water for our experiment.  They needed to make green water for our air temperature sample, and blue water for our cold water sample.

Once the blue water turned icy, we compared it to the air temperature water. We were able to see condensation! The sweat outside the cup was our sign. The kids touched the "sweaty" cup to discover it was coming from the water in the air outside of the cup.  The water vapor in the air (a gas) touched the cold cup, and it became a liquid again.  The condensed water was not blue, hence it proved to us that it was not just water leaking from the cup. 

We noticed that the air temperature water didn't have any condensation. 

Next the kids prepared a condensation chamber.  They added 50 ml of the icy water to a dome lid, put a cup on top, and left it to rest by our sunny window. 

This is what we found out a couple days later. The water had evaporated. As it touched the cooler sides of the cup, it condensed, and became water again. It is a whole water cycle in a cup!
The kids also figured out that water evaporates to its pure form, hence the blue coloring was left behind. All the water droplets were clear.

I opened the chamber for them to explore the water droplets.