Friday, May 1, 2020

Happy May Day!

Happy first day of May to everyone! Today was an astonishingly busy day here, from a bee swarm arriving in our yard at 12:20 pm and settling contentedly in our Swarm Box, to Natalie finding a little toad which we then set up in a terrarium for Zac to observe, to taking down the big tent and hanging it over the clothesline to dry fully, to labeling and organizing the new plants for our water garden and butterfly garden, to me teaching: Native American Legends and Norse Mythology and SWI and Science Club!

Native American Legends

Norse Mythology

    recall the story of Loki and Sleipnir, Odin's eight-legged steed; read "The Valkyries and Valhalla" from the D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths

    how would this belief in Valhalla affect how Viking warriers fought?

    listen to Richard Wagner: Ride of the Valkyries

    look up Valkyrie and Valhalla in etymonline

    Old Norse Valhöll "hall of the battle-slain"
    valr "those slain in battle" + höll "hall"

    the word for hall goes back to PIE *kel "to cover, conceal, save"
    also the root of ceiling, cell, cellar, color, conceal, hall, helm (helmet), hold (of a ship), hole, hollow, holster, and hull (seed covering)


    an exploration of words put forward by Gina Cooke at Etymology VIII: Westward Ho! New English Words from the New World (which focused on influences from First Nations peoples and their interactions with French/Spanish/English/Dutch/Swedish/Russian explorers & settlers)

    can you find 10 words on this list that are NOT native words?

    moccasin maize papoose quinine 
 llama hurricane succotash buffalo 
 goulash tom-tom moose bison tapioca kayak cactus stogie persimmon indigo raccoon Yankee potato pumpkin pecan igloo
 squash woodchuck monsoon potlach

Science Club - Heat

Prior to Meeting

During the Meeting

  • review the results of student at-home activities
  • try "Underwater Candle" with a votive candle instead of a taper candle (and discover that this takes much longer!)
  • read & discuss pages 4-5 of NEED EnergyWorks student packet




  • do "Experiment: Does Temperature Change How Quickly Food Coloring Spreads?"
    from The Curious Kid's Science Book by Asia Citro, page 147

    freezer water: 5 degrees C
    fridge water: 13 degrees C
    room temperature water: 24 degrees C
    hot water from the tap: 35 degrees C

    we got a surprising result from this one... the food coloring moved most quickly in the room temperature water!

    we did use different colors of food coloring for each cup, thinking that this would make it easier to compare the results as students observed them. in hindsight, we should have used the same brand and the same color for each, so that we weren't introducing a new variable.

    for all I know, the purple food coloring in the hottest water (this color simply sank and didn't blend in with all of the water) was made of different denser components than the other colors. lesson learned!

  • do "Experiment: Do Frozen and Dried Baking Soda React Differently?"
    from The Curious Kid's Science Book by Asia Citro, page 176

    we got a surprising result from this one too! I mixed 1/2 cup baking soda with 1 T water and formed it into ball and left it on a plate at room temperature to dry out overnight. I mixed another 1/2 cup baking soda with 1 T water and formed it into a ball and left it on a plate in the freezer to freeze overnight. then we put 1/4 cup white vinegar in one glass bowl and 1/4 cup white vinegar in another glass bowl, and dropped in the two balls of baking soda simultaneously.

    the frozen baking soda fizzed much more strongly!

    at the time I couldn't figure out why this was happening but looking at the bowls after the reaction ended and they were resting gave me a clue. the bowl on the top of the picture was the frozen baking soda. it appears that the bonds of water between the particles of baking soda were more thoroughly broken, and it is nearly all powder again. the room temperature baking soda still has many chunks in it.

    there's an experiment which I've done in previous years where you put room temperature water in a wallpaper pan and then add warm water to one end and cold water to another end and measure the temperature at each end immediately, and then after 2 minutes.

    in doing this experiment multiple times, I've learned that the greater the temperature difference between two liquids, the greater their speed at reaching a balance.

    once, I thought to myself, "if warm water shows interesting results, hot water should work even better!" and we put hot water from a kettle at one end of the wallpaper pan.

    well, the temperature had equalized before we even took the first measurements. the students were watching the red line in the thermometer shoot down! they couldn't take a measurement because the line just kept moving.

    that experience makes me think that the warmth from the room temperature vinegar was drawn swiftly to the frozen water between the particles of baking soda, and that it shattered the bonds and dropped all of that powder, increasing the surface area available for the reaction. the room temperature vinegar and the room temperature baking soda would have moved more slowly.

    of course, I could be wrong... and the powder vs. clumps could be a RESULT of the more vigorous reaction and not the CAUSE of it!

    if you try any of these experiments at home, let me know how they turn out!!!

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