This week my niece and nephew helped me make a mini ecosystem. I did not have any 2 liter bottles so I used orange juice bottled instead. We put glass stones in the bottom, a moss ball, a snail and 2 ghost shrimp. I named the snail Gary “I know, how original” and the two shrimp Scampi and Coconut.
Step one: add moss ball
Step 2: Add snail
Step 3: Add shrimp. I do not have a picture of this. They were a little tricky to add since one wanted to stick to the bag and not go in the water.
Then in the top bottle we added soil and grass seeds. Then opening to the top bottle is covered with a piece of cloth held with rubber bands. This prevents the soil from falling into the water below.
The area that they have to swim around in is too small so I might have to redo this using 2 liter bottles. The shrimp like to follow Gary around. Gary likes to hang out on the moss ball and sometimes will slid up the wall.
Ghost shrimp eat plankton and flake food. Since this is a new “aquarium” I will give them some flake food so I know that they won’t starve. The snail should be content with the moss ball and the left over fish flakes.
I found an interesting site with ideas to use to get kids interacting nature. ,This site has ideas on how to get kids to appreciate nature. Actually, I think that kids already appreciate nature, it is the adults in their world that do not allow them the opportunity to be in nature. What kid does not love to play with rocks and sticks?
There are lots of great ideas to use with kids on the small wonders blog. Some ideas are more fit for use at home rather than at school. Anything that gets kids playing outside is a good idea. http://www.myantsykids.blogspot.com/
The Green Hearts site also has great ideas on nature play. http://www.greenheartsinc.org
This site has tons of information about science from early childhood to college. http://nstacommunities.org/blog/2009/03/22/using-tools-to-move-water/ I kept reading articles and then clicking on related articles. The lesson pictured is about using tools to move water. What a fun and simple hands on experience. This could lead to rich vocabulary lesson about volume, more, less, efficient, predict or practical. They could also add tubes to the lesson on a different day to discover how different sized tubes move water. Then find tubes in the house or school that move water.
Did you know that there is even an international Mud day!! I need to look more into this. http://nstacommunities.org/blog/2013/06/28/summertime-science-investigations-and-international-mud-day/comment-page-1/#comment-126128
Make your own barometer. I am interested to see how well this works. I got the idea from http://www.parents.com/fun/games/educational/teach-about-weather-with-this-science-craft/?socsrc=pmmpin130627ffBarometer
This next one demonstrates air pressure and the fact that hot air takes up less space than cold. The bottle has hot water. Place a balloon over the top and put in a bowl of ice water. I got the idea from http://savvyandsleek.blogspot.com/2011/08/kid-craft-science-experiment.html?m=1
This demonstrates density. Fill a bottle with water. Add a thin later of oil. Add a few drops of food coloring. Sprinkle with salt. The salt is more dense than the oil so is moves through it carrying the color and a drop of oil with it. The oil bobs back up to the top. I got this idea from http://www.kiwicrate.com/projects/Salt-Volcano/2331
This year I am planning on having the kids make blocks from milk cartons. We will stuff them with paper from the recycle bin. Since we have about 20 kids and drink milk every day we will end up with a lot of blocks!
Surface tension is an interesting thing to play with. This first experiment I did not think was going yo work. I put a wet handkerchief over a glass full of water. Put a rubber band around the handkerchief to hold it in place and turned the glass over. I thought it was going to dump water everywhere. I was quite surprised.
The surface tension of the water in the handkerchief held the water in the glass. The next time I try this I want to try it with a dry handkerchief. Will it still work? How about if after turning over the glass and wet handkerchief I rub a little soap on the handkerchief. That might be interesting. Who knew a little piece of cloth could hold back water.
The next surface tension experiment I did was to “tie” water together. I poked three holes near the bottom of a plastic container. Then filled the container with water. There are three streams of water.
If you put your hand in front of the water and pinch the streams you can make them connect into one stream. This took a little practice.
This would be a fun activity in a water table or at home in the bathtub. Does it work with soapy water?
The third experiment I tried has nothing to do with surface tension. It is about balance. I balanced different coins on a ruler. The heavier coins could be balanced with the lighter ones if they are moved closer to the center. You could present the challenge of how to balance 10 pennies and 5 quarters. (or what ever number of coins you wanted). This could be done with other objects of varying weights, but I had coins on hand.
Unfold a sheet of newspaper and put a ruler under it. Have about 3 inches of the ruler sticking out over the edge of the table. Hit the end of the ruler. What happens to the paper?
Now fold up the newspaper and try it again. Why is there a difference? The paper is held down by air pressure. More surface area= more pressure Who doesn’t love flinging things around. How small can you make the paper and how far can you get it to fly?
Punch 4 holes in the side near the bottom of a can of soda. I used a nail. Turn the nail to the side before pulling it out to angle the hole. Turn the tab up and attach a string. Fill with water and watch the can spin by the force of the water pressure. Try making one with more holes. Is there a difference? How about if you have few holes that are larger?
Here is the bottom of the same car.
These are some examples of cars that we will make. I will prepunch holes in the wheels. The axles were straws and pipe cleaners. Not the best materials. I think I might look for some sticks to use. Of course the kids can take time to decorate them and make some passengers for their cars. Once everyone has made a car it is time to test them out on ramps!