Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Summary of Summer Science Experiments We Did This Year

At some point I gave up writing the Summer Curriculum posts because I just got too busy, but I was asked if I could compile a list of the science experiments I did with the kids to share here.

I can do that.

I'm hoping I can remember everything we did....

* Animal Kingdom/Classification/Diversity

  • Animal adaptations - we explored how different animals see, eat and defend themselves with simple experiments using toilet paper rolls to simulate vision differences and different common kitchen tools to simulate having different types of ways to eat. 
  • Tree of Life project - name as many animals as possible in different sections as possible, breaking it down into subcategories at each level of classification. (Invertebrate, Vertebrate...then fish, reptile, amphibian, mammal, bird, crustacean, insect, echinoderm and all other invertebrates). Construct a tree on a large poster board out of construction paper, giving each group a branch, write the animal types on leaves and place them on the tree where they belong. 

* Human Body

  • We tested strength, reflexes and reaction times with a few different experiments. We did several experiments on baby teeth, including soaking them in vinegar and soda to see what happens to bone when exposed to acids. We visited the human body exhibit at the museum and were lucky to be there on a day when the curators were dissecting sheep hearts and lungs. We tested endurance and did experiments about heart rate after exercising at various levels of intensity. We spent a fair amount of time discussing the endocrine system and diabetes since Little Boy is in Type 1 limbo. We also talked quite a bit about puberty and reproduction, helped along by my 20 week ultrasound that they all attended this week.

* Cell Biology
  • This one wasn't a huge focus, mostly because the kids do spend a decent amount of time on this subject in science class at school. We did dye celery and flowers to show how nutrients are transported within a plant. Freckles used her student microscope to start to differentiate between animal and plant cells. 

* Genetics, DNA, Evolution
  • This week, we did a lot of comparing and contrasting between the kids to show how genes determine traits. I had the older two kids watch the evolution debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye when it originally aired. We also visited a fossil location to study dinosaurs, which turned into a game of 20 questions about extinction and more. 

*  Food Chains and Ecosystems
  • This is another topic that the kids tend to get a lot of school exposure to, so we didn't do a whole lot...but we did focus on the bee crisis, colony collapse disorder and what we can do to change it. We constructed a bee watering hole in the front yard.

* Geology

* Meteorology, Weather and Climate
  • We did quite a bit this week, including simulating tornadoes in bottles with oil and water. We spent most of our time talking about the cause, damage, lasting effects and lessons learned from the floods of 2013 here locally. We did travel up the still very damaged canyons to see the destruction first hand.
* Electricity
  • This is a hard one for me since I can explain electricity but don't entirely understand it myself. We constructed a potato clock to demonstrate the need for an energy source and a complete circuit.

* Space, Solar Systems and Planets
  • We visited a local planetarium and learned about the shape of orbits, talked about the differences between the planets in our solar system. And then we saw Guardians of the Galaxy...which should count, right???

* Chemistry
  • We built a periodic table this week, talking about the properties of the different elements and why they are placed where they are on the table. We did a lot of experiments about the properties of matter, showing how metal increases melting time of chocolate, how oil and water will separate unless soap is added (which slows the process). We talked about how adding salt to water creates a solution, and that salt keeps water colder longer by doing experiments timing the melt of ice cubes in cups with various set salt concentrations. 
I'm sure we did more stuff, I'm just drawing a blank right now. Hooray science!

1 comment:

  1. Dear God Woman... where do you find the time for all of this? You really are superwoman!! Amazing stuff.


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