Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's Cran-Tastic!

We finally finished our cranberry study today! Of course I had planned to do this with the kids before Thanksgiving, but never had time to do all the activities. I thought it looked like a lot of fun when I read about it at Almost Unschoolers, and I didn't want to abandon the idea...

First we opened our cranberries crosswise and lengthwise to compare the patterns inside.

Look how teeny tiny the seeds are! They fit inside the pattern on the paper towel!

We watched an interesting video about cranberries here. (And we got a kick out of the way the British narrator pronounces cranberries.)

We predicted that the cranberries would float due to the little air pockets inside. We floated a few cranberries in water, then discussed how cranberries are harvested.

I made a very thin cranberry slice and put it on a microscope slide.

I can't believe this almost kind of worked! I didn't know I could take a picture through the microscope lens. The focus isn't the best, but still, it's cool.

I had made cranberry juice the night before by soaking about a cup of cranberries in very hot water. (I poured boiling water over them and when that didn't release much color, I microwaved them for a minute.)

So here we have plain white vinegar, orange juice (we were out of lemons,) baking soda and baking powder. The kids remembered the basics of acids and bases. They both predicted that cranberry juice would be acidic, but weren't sure why...it just seemed like it would be.

Their suspicions were confirmed when the vinegar and the orange juice didn't do anything. But look what happened when we dropped in some baking soda!

Then the baking powder...

It floated on top at first, so the kids got impatient and decided to stir it. Then it got foamy and turned deep purplish-blue.

We really enjoyed our cranberry study--thanks to Almost Unschooling Mom for a fun idea!

P.S. A million points if you get the title reference!


An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

It looks like you guys had even more fun than we did! Great idea to cut the cranberries two different ways - and I love the microscope picture!

Is the title an Oceanspray reference?

Susan said...

Super cranberry study! I love it :) I like the idea of slicing the cranberry really thin and looking at it on the microscope. My girls would love that. I've taken pics through the microscope lens before...it's a bit tricky, but neat!

Sara said...

That looks like a great and fun study! I'm impressed with the picture through the microscope, as well.

Kirsty @ Bowerbird Blue said...

What a great science day. I've been slicing fruit up for kids to see the patterns this week too. Pomegranate looked amazing. I've never seen cranberries not dried.

Sparklee said...

Unschooling Mom-- thanks again for the fun idea. We loved it! (And, yes, I was trying to be tricky and refer to the old juice commercials, but my husband says they actually still use that slogan!)

Susan and Sara-- I couldn't believe that worked! Obviously, it looked a lot better in real life, but still, neat, huh? We keep our microscope set up so we can look at anything we happen to have on hand. We also looked at lettuce from my salad today (was glad to see that it looked very clean!)

Kirsty-- how interesting that you have only seen dried cranberries! I guess it's not that surprising, though--cranberries have a special place in American history. The bags of fresh cranberries appear in our supermarkets just before Thanksgiving. My husband makes an amazing apple-cranberry pie (it takes A LOT of sugar to make cranberries palatable to me!)

Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

liese4 said...

You should make cranberry prints, they might turn out pretty.

Sparklee said...

That's a great idea, Liese! We still have about a fourth of the bag left, so we'll do an art project with them!

Karen said...

My first thought when I saw them sliced up is 'how pretty prints would be'. This looks like such a fun science day. I love the bubbly color it turned with baking soda and baking powder! Very cool. I love the microscope picture too! I never thought of doing that.