Friday, April 5
- Solar System: Making a Scale Model project at Riverside Park
Friday, April 12
Today was exciting because the first-ever photograph of a black hole was released two days prior, on Wednesday, April 10th! The children had heard about it on the news. We reviewed gravity and touched briefly on black holes and decided to spend all of our next session, April 19th, on black holes.
Meanwhile, today we finished up our planetary artwork series with Saturn (making its amazingingly beautiful rings with glitter glue dots for the "countless particles sweeping around Saturn... chunks of 99 percent pure water ice sparkling brightly in the sunlight," as the What are Saturn's Rings Made Of? card stated) and then took a deep dive into some of the other interesting cards in the Photographic Card Deck of the Solar System.
I noted that many of the cards focused on the possibility of life elsewhere in our Solar System, particularly on the moons of the gas giants. We revisited microbes (remembering our two visits from SIU Microbiology professor Dr. Scott Hamilton-Brehm) and read Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak.
We read on the Where is the Solar System card that "The Sun is one of about 100 billion stars" in the Milky Way Galaxy and the Milky Way is "one of about 100 billion galaxies in the Observable Universe." I wrote the math problem 100,000,000,000 x 100,000,000,000 on the chalkboard and we calculated the answer (without scientific notation) and then read it aloud.
There are, in the Observable Universe, 10 sextillion stars.
We also added some of these photographic cards to our Solar System String as we calculated their distance from the Sun according to our own scale. The cards which we read were
- Saturn's Rings
- What are Saturn's Rings Made Of?
- Genesis of the Rings
- A Lightweight among Worlds
- Where is the Solar System
- The Life Plague
- Asteroid Belt
- Jupiter and the Shoemaker Comet
- Io's Tides
- Io: Pizza Moon
- Europa's Hidden Ocean
- Life on Titan?
Friday, April 19 - Black Hole Day
Thank you to SIU Chemistry professor Dr. Punit Kohli for letting me know about the Science Café talk on April 25th! This timing could not be better as it perfectly (and completely coincidentally) follows our Black Hole Day. Therefore, next week I highly encourage all of our students to go to this talk, and that field trip will be in lieu of our regular Science Club mtg.
Our Black Hole activities and explorations included a review of density as well as a look at the life cycle of a star.
- review concepts of gravity and density
- Rainbow Density Experiment (PDF, print pages 6-7)
- Floating Egg Experiment
- Why Does the Heavier Orange Float? (which I think is actually more buoyancy than density, so I wouldn't do it again for this topic)
- Floating & Sinking Pop Can Experiment
- discuss student ideas: what is at the center of a black hole that would have so much mass...be so dense... have so much gravitational pull?
- look at cover illustration and read page 1 of The Life Cycles of Stars (PDF from NASA)
- watch The strange fate of a person falling into a black hole (video from BBC Earth)
Thursday, April 25 - Science Café Field Trip
Free event hosted by The Science Center of Southern Illinois
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm