Spring is a busy time in our science center! I was getting a little stir crazy with this long winter so I planted a mini desert to put in the science area. It is a glass container with a cover (so no one touches the cacti) and three different types of cacti. One is very spiky, one is furry and one is a succulent with smooth leaves. I found the glass container at a Michaels craft store. The cacti were on a clearance rack in Lowes. They were looking lonely and ready for a home. After carefully planting the plants in sand I added some plastic scorpions and some dinosaur bones from an earlier project. It looks something like this.
Meet Larry, Curly and Moe. I wanted to have plants with different textures. The kids were interested in see the different kinds of plants that live in dry areas. The little dinosaur bones tucked in behind the cactus plant were a big hit too.
I also have some tropical plants there were also on the clearance rack. These will go along with our rain forest unit next week. I am planning on adding some poison arrow frogs and snakes to the pots. This kids think it is interesting that the topical plants get watered several times a week and the desert plants rarely get watered.
Spring is also see planting time. We planted a variety of herbs in little terra cotta pots. There are 9 total pots. I am planning on having the kids decorate the pots once they have sprouted and they can give them as gifts to some of our other teachers and assistants. Next week we will plant some herbs for the kids to take home. We might plant sunflower seeds too. I will have to add pictures once they have sprouted. They are not very interesting looking right now.
The biggest excitement is the incubator. We have 18 eggs in a little incubator. They take 21 days to hatch. It is so hard to wait that long. Some of the kids seem a little skeptical about whether there are really going to be chicks in the eggs. We will find out in 17 days……
We have been digging for dinosaur b0nes this week. The dinosaur dig kits are are blocks of sand around 7 pieces for of a dinosaur. The head, arms, legs, tail and body. The sand is firm so it is taking a while to dig the pieces out. The kids love it! We will work on it more next week. Great lesson on dinosaurs, paleontologists, patience and fine motor practice.
Today I was busy with creating more goodies for my science centers. These are sensory cards. So far I have made the colors, (I forgot to put green in the picture) some of the shapes and a few other categories. I am hoping to add other categories like hard/soft, rough/smooth, birds, reptiles, mammals, fish, fabric, plants……I could go on forever thinking up new categories. I made the cards with cardboard and random items that I had around the house. It was a great way to use up bottle caps, marker caps, twist ties, rubber bands etc. I might have this as a lesson for the kids to create their own cards to take home. It is a good lesson on recycling too.
This next experiment was a little tricky. I made some crystals with alum and water. I am not sure if I got the ratio wrong or the water was not hot enough. Anyway, the crystals are cool. I would need to figure out where I went wrong before we would do this in class. The bigger one is about an inch and a half.
I read about putting Ivory soap in the microwave and having it expand and turn into cool shapes. I had to try it. It expands to cover the plate. It shrinks a bit when you take it out of the microwave. I probably could have made it even bigger but I didn’t want it to burn. If you try this only use IVORY soap. It was fun but not a school activity. I will try this with my niece and nephew though.
The last two are mini marble mazes that I made from recycled materials. The little butterfly picture is a “bumper” made from one of those plastic pull tabs from a juice container. The marbles bounce pretty well off of them. The second one has a little hoop in the top left corner and you go through it before you reach the hole. Another fun and creative activity.
I have been playing with science experiments and collecting “science-y” stuff for my class. This wasps nest I bought at a bookstore that was going out of business. I think that the lady behind the counter probably thought that I was nuts. She said, “I just knocked one of these down from our garage this morning.”
Here is a geode that I broke open.
I have attempted to make geodes with borax but have not been successful. Here is a bird skull that I found in the yard. It is a little creepy but interesting. I love how you can see the tiny bones that make up the beak. It will be in a jar so they cannot actually touch it.
I also made a geodesic dome from paper. My cat enjoys it. I might make a mini one to have in the science center. It was tricky to make so it would not be a project for kinders!
Here is a robin’s egg that I found in my yard. I have it in a small plastic container with cotton. I plan to glue the top down so the egg cannot fall out. Last year some of my students did not believe that robin’s eggs were blue. Some were still skeptical after I showed them a picture in a book. Here is evidence that they are blue!