Monday, October 19, 2009

States of Matter, Bats in the Park

Today we did some experiments to study the states of matter. First we observed an ice cube, which is water in its solid form, in case you didn't know. Then we had a little competition to see who could melt their ice cube the fastest. We put an ice cube in a plastic bag and used any non-electric means to melt it. Dude immediately put his ice cube in his armpit, but he couldn't take it for long! He eventually put it under one of the dogs (who was a bit puzzled but didn't seem to mind.) Super tried holding hers in her hands but when her hands got cold, she popped the ice cube in her mouth! After three minutes, we measured the amount of water. Dude and his partner managed to get 1 teaspoon of liquid water; Super got two teaspoons.

After we changed solid water to its liquid state, we studied the effects of heat on water. How do you prove that water molecules are moving all the time? Drop in food coloring and watch it spread, of course. How do you prove that hot water molecules are moving faster than cold water molecules? Drop food coloring into a glass of cold water and a glass of hot water and compare.

Finally, we tried an experiment with water vapor. We turned on the tea kettle, and once it was good and steaming, we held a saucepan full of ice cubes over the steam. After a few seconds, the steam changed back into liquid water. We recorded our observations, then talked about the effects of adding heat to other solids: chocolate, cheese, ice cream, and a candle all turn to liquid when heated.

After our math lesson and lunch, we headed to the playground down the street and sat on a blanket and read The Halloween Book of Facts and Fun by Wendie Old. We talked about the origins of Halloween, and how the Celtic Samhain (SAW-win) traditions became first Romanized and then Christianized. We worked on our bat craft and bat books, but we all agree that bats are not a good Halloween symbol because they really aren't scary. They are very helpful to people because they eat insects and spread fruit tree seeds.

The kids took some time to play on the playground, look at leaves and other stuff through the magnifying glass, and collect some pretty leaves. We found symmetrical and asymmetrical leaves and traced them. While we were sitting in the park enjoying the breeze and looking at clouds, Dude said, "It's a good thing we're not in school today. We can decide if we want to work outside anytime we want!"

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