Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tuesday - Light & the Solar System

Well, our new "plans" didn't last very long. We didn't even get through math, reading and writing. Actually, we only got to reading - and didn't finish that! I decided we needed to stop saving all of the best stuff until all of the more mundane things are out of the way. So, we started some science.

We started by making our "scale model" of the solar system. I'm using something I found online where you use a ball for the sun and a peppercorn for the earth. It turned out really neat! You can really see the size between the small, rocky, inner planets and the larger, gaseous, outer planets. And, of course, the sun is enormous! We were then supposed to take them outside and pace off the distances between them. But, we decided to glue each "planet" to an index card so they'd be easier to see and they had to dry. So, we'll try to do the outdoor part tomorrow.

Since yesterday we'd read about the sun and light, I decided to do a few experiments with light. I have a book called My Big Science Book and it had quite a few projects. Here's what we did:
  • showed how light travels in a straight line by shining a flashlight on a mirror and seeing it reflect
  • showing how light can bend through different materials by putting a red brush in a glass of water - from the side, the brush looks broken where it exits the water & from the front, it looks huge in the water & then much smaller where it exits the water - very neat! (photo below)
  • we tricked our eyes by writing while looking in a mirror instead of at our hand - this was quite hard! (picture below - my handwriting looked like I was about 5 years old - like Alexandra's!)
  • we made shadow puppets to demonstrate how light moves in a straight line
  • we demonstrated a solar eclipse with a flashlight, tennis ball, and globe

After school, we went to our Keepers of the Faith group, which is kind of like Girl Scouts. We're studying nutrition, and each girl brought a healthy food they'd never tried. Alexandra only liked the crab apples which we'd brought (they were a big hit, but I found them very sour). We also tried stuffed grape leaves (I think), dates, and edible flowers (it was kind of like eating grass). The girls also practiced stretching, warming up, weight lifting (1 pound weights),and exercising.

Afterwards, the children went outside to play. We had fun watching some minnows in a pond. We also found a barely alive cicada and the girls really enjoyed playing with him. We also picked seeds out of a seed pod.

I got very excited when one of the moms spotted a red-tailed hawk that landed in the park with us! It was so big! And so close! We watched him for 2 or 3 minutes. At one point he made a small hop and about a minute later, he spread his wings and flew away. It was such a sight - and I didn't get a photo! I had my camera with me, but I was out of film!

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