Friday, February 12, 2016

Tying Water in Knots (a Surface Tension Experiment)

We've done other surface tension experiments and they never fail to impress. Both my boys loved this and considering how simple it was, it captivated their attention for much longer than I'd anticipated.

Here's how we tied water in knots.
What You Need
an empty 2-liter soda bottle
a nail

Trim the top off the bottle, above the label. Peel off the label. Use the nail to poke several holes between 2-5 holes about 1/4-inch apart. Make sure they are not further apart than this.

Conduct the Experiment
Fill the bottle with water quite full. Watch the water stream out the holes. Now run your fingers over the bottle's surface and pinch the water streams together (i.e. tying it in knots). Slide your hands across the holes again to separate them.

How it Works
The cohesive nature of the water molecules (which are attracted together) cause the streams of water to "bond," seemingly tying the water streams in knots. 

This great activity came from Brenda Walpole's book 175 Science Experiments to Amuse & Amaze Your Friend.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Race Around the World: an Angles Game (Protractor Practice)

Of all the areas of math, our 10-year-old isn't especially fond of geometry. To give him a little extra protractor practice, I thought up this angles game.

Anytime he has the chance to beat me, his attitude is "bring it" so I knew this would pique his interest.

What You Need to Play
PDF of the Earth game board and angles cards
plastic sheet protectors (optional)
Pencil (or if using sheet protectors, fine-tip dry-erase markers)

Download the PDF free from Google Drive here. Print one Earth for each player (or team if you're doing this as a classroom activity). Print two or more copies of the angles cards. Cut out and shuffle.

If you anticipate playing over and over, slide the Earth pictures into a plastic sheet protector. This make your game boards dry-erase.

How to Play
With the cards shuffled and placed faced down, each player takes a card on their turn and then lining up the protractor with the start line, draws in the angle stated on the card. On their next turn, the reference line becomes the line just drawn, instead of the start. The first player to get all around the world (i.e. past the start line) is declared the winner of the race!

This math activity got us thinking about what life was like in different places across the globe. To further our understanding of cultures and time zones, we read a wonderful book that lead us on a journey that only took a single moment in time.


Monday, February 8, 2016

After School Linky (2-8)

Welcome to the party!

I'm so glad you've joined us this week. Here are some of the great ideas shared at the February 1st link-up.


Chinese New Year Fan Craft at Spoonfuls of Kindergarten

 Winter Animal Homes Interactive Peek-A-Boo Craftivity from A Kinders Garten Vintage Homeschool

10 Valentines Day Books for Boys from Embark on the Journey

The After School Linky is cohosted by
Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational

We would love to have you link up your School-Age Post (Ages 5 and up) about your learning week after school including Crafts, Activities, Playtime and Adventures that you are doing to enrich your children's lives after their day at school, home school, or on the weekend!

When linking up, please take a moment to comment on at least one post linked up before yours and grab our after school button to include a link on your post or site! By linking up, you're giving permission for us to share on our After School Pinterest Board and feature an image on our After School Party in the upcoming weeks.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Homework Help: Multiplying and Dividing Fractions

Our 10 year old was given the opportunity to do sixth grade math in fifth grade. We were psyched that he was going to be challenged more in his favorite subject. The program is pretty much self-taught and while it's gone well, there has been one hiccup ... fractions.

My son normally does mental math at the speed of light, but fractions ssssslllllllllloooooowwwww him way down and that's pretty frustrating for him.

As he struggled through his homework, I agonized over a way to help him. While it's true that games and activities are always my first choice, I knew he was going to need some kind of cheat sheet to refer to as he worked through page after page in his workbook.

Hence, this printable was born.

Seeing as though my fraction activities continue to be some of my most popular, I'm guessing you followers (and the kids you work love and teach) will find this useful.

Print the PDF free from Google Drive here

Teachers - if you're prompted to request permission to access the document, use a PERSONAL email address. Most schools block emails from outside their domain, prohibiting me from granting you access.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Polymer Clay Penguins

Our six-year-old has had a fascination with penguins since ... well, like ... forever. We have so many penguin stuffed animals it's like a colony. To add to his collection, we made a few out of polymer clay.

This is a wonderful activity that exercises fine motor skills.

Supplies & Step-by-Step
Polymer clay (we used FIMO) in black, white, and orange
A stove or toaster oven

  1. Roll the black clay into a medium sized ball; this is the head.
  2. Roll another larger ball for the body. Squish the ball into an egg shape and stand on one end to make it slightly flat on the bottom.
  3. Either set the head atop the body and apply pressure to affix the two or after doing so, using a finger smear the clay on the head down toward the body to make a smooth bowling pin shape.
  4. Roll a ball of white clay and then flatten to an flat egg shape. Add to the penguin body.
  5. Roll two tiny balls of white clay and flatten. Either use these as the outer eyes or place the circles side by side and gently press together, pull the bottom to form a heart. Affix as the face.
  6. Roll two teeny black balls. These are the eyes. Press gently onto the face.
  7. Roll two small tubes of black. Pinch the ends and flatten for flippers. Attach to either side of the body.
  8. Roll a small football shape out of orange clay. Clip one end horizontally with scissors to make the upper and lower parts of the beak. Clip to shorter, making a flat surface with which to attach the beak. Press onto the face.
  9. Roll two tiny orange balls. Flatten. Clip two tiny triangles out of each to make penguin flipper toes. Attach to the bottom of the body.
  10. Add a hat, scarf, eyebrows, etc. to accessorize your penguin!
  11. Bake in a 250 degree toaster oven for 60 minutes (roughly 15 minutes for every 1/4-inch thickness of clay).
  12. Let cool and then play with - maybe even write a story with your new penguin as the main character or make a stop motion video!

To go along with our craft, we read two books, both which cleverly address how a penguin who wants to fly handles being a flightless bird. Both are utterly enjoyable. These sweet fiction books are beautiful and fun. Check them out!

Our penguins were inspired by the creations shared at How To Instructions and Bonnie Bakes.