Friday, November 1, 2013

Messy Science

Sometimes I look at my life and am surprised to see where I am. I step back to take inventory of my accomplishments and see how I measure up. Today I did that and thought, "How in the world did I end up spending my day mixing household chemicals into a pile of green goo?"

Ah, the glamorous life of a homeschooling mom.

EM's robotics book ended the chapter titled,  Housing: Robot Bodies, with an activity to make 'frubbery robot skin'.  He is really enjoying these mini-projects because he can do most of the work on his own. I only had to help find the supplies and get him set up.

It's the blob!
In science, we are studying chemistry, so the mess is not limited to EM's goo creation. For the first part of the school year, we spent most of our science time getting background knowledge before beginning the hands-on portion of the unit. We read all about forms of matter, the elements, atomic structure, physical and chemical changes, mixtures, compounds, acids and bases. We watched quite a few videos on the Internet. We found fun websites to expand our understanding of what we were reading. This week we finally broke out the chemistry kit I bought this summer, put on our safety glasses, and did science!

The Chemistry C500 kit has 28 experiments in the instruction manual. We completed the first four on Tuesday. These experiments all involved reactions combining acids and bases. JT had seen similar demonstrations in the past, so I expected him to complain that the kit was boring. I was happy that the little bit of extension I added kept his interest and helped him apply some of the knowledge he has been accumulating through our reading. I made up index cards with the chemical equations of the reactions. I put the reactants on one card and the products on another for each one. Then we matched the cards and discussed why these equations were balanced. Both of the boys are looking forward to moving ahead with the kit. I also have another old book, Chemistry by Experiment by Paul Roberson, that I hope to use. The biggest problem I run into with these old science books is finding the supplies they list for the experiments. Apparently you could buy a lot of fun things at the drug store in the 1960s that you can't pick up so easily now!

stick man
Tonight I took EM trick or treating alone for the first time. JT decided he was finished with that part of his childhood after Halloween last year. It was a bit of a relief considering the kinds of costumes he would request and what I had to go through to create things like angler fish, paramecium, barrels of toxic waste...

EM waited until three days before Halloween to get serious about a costume. His original plan, an archer, wasn't coming together, so I Googled 'easy Halloween costumes' and came up with the stick man idea. I really don't know where I'd be without the Internet. Halloween costume needs aside, we use this vast resource to educate our boys on a daily basis. And it doesn't hurt that it helps me connect with other homeschoolers so I don't lose my mind.

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