Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Science of Snow (Part I) and Maps Galore!

Today, we did an extensive study of maps, as well as a study on 'The Science of Snow,' complete with ice experiments and an investigative look at snowflakes.  Our experiments will continue through tomorrow (hence the 'Part I' in the title of this post), and we'll be wrapping up our Winter curriculum by the end of the week, but not before a few more great crafts!  So, on with today's ideas, but first, two excellent books for teaching about maps:

This one is great for Maggie's age, and since it's written in first person, and written simply, she could relate to it and follow it easier.  It starts mapping from the child's bedroom and grows to the globe, then back again, giving some review on the beginning half of the book.  I loved it!
And this one is written in rhyme (as are all The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library books) which made it fun to listen to, but because it was so information-packed, it was a lot for her to learn at her age.  She did enjoy the read, though!  And I love that I can use it for years!
After more reading, we got out all of our maps and globe and examined the same, finding the legends and the scales on each, our location on some, and landmarks.  We also learned our directional terms (North, South, East, and West).  We then discussed the lines of latitude and longitude, including the Equator and Prime Meridian.  Using those as guides, she was able to tell me which hemisphere we are in and which direction we are in in relation to other countries I pointed out.  
 We then set to work making our own map -- of her room!
 Here, she's adding her kitten, Emmett.
All done!  Looks great, Mags!  :)
For today's journal entry, I asked her, 'If it snowed today, what would be the first thing you would do?'  She answered, 'Snowboarding!' then drew this picture of herself on a red snowboard.  :)
 After some reading on snow and ice, we started with our science experiments (with the help of my 501 Science Experiments book).  For our first experiment, we set out to time how long it would take for a cup of ice to freeze.  For the same you will need a small cup, water, and a small plastic toy.  (The toy makes it more fun and gives them a center point for their ice.)  
 Place your toy in the cup and pour water over it, being sure not to make the water level too high.  (Water expands when it freezes.)  We then placed it in our freezer and set a timer for 30 minutes.  After that 30 minutes' time, we checked on our cup to see if there were any changes, recording the same.  We continued this until our ice had completely frozen, more than three hours!  (Tomorrow, we'll be doing the second part of this experiment.)
 We also started another experiment to see if salt water melts from a frozen state faster or slower than fresh water.  To test the same, you need regular ice cubes, and salt water cubes, which Mags is making here.  (We will test out our theories tomorrow after both have completely frozen.)
 Later, we found images online of real snowflakes, noting that each snowflake has six real points.
 We then drew our own snowflakes, using white chalk on blue construction paper, being sure each had six real points.
Concentration.  :)
When Mags announced it was time for a snack, I decided to continue with our snowflake theme since that's what we were in the midst of.  I popped some bread in the toaster, and once done, used a cookie cutter to cut out this snowflake shape, then buttered and sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar and powdered sugar.  I also gave her some cocoa with marshmallows on the side.  
 Counting the snowflakes' points ... six!
And for our final ice experiment for today, we poured salt on ice to see if it would melt faster than an ice cube with no salt on it would.  It did!
 Then, of course, what's better than playtime?  We don't have real snow here, but this is just as fun and less cold -- that fake, nontoxic 'snow' in a tube.  Just add water and play!  (She could do this forever if I let her.)
And, to finish up the day's work, we did some review of the letter Kk.  Here, we made Kk with ketchup!  (She requested corndogs for dinner, so I just popped the plate in the fridge for dipping into later!)
Tomorrow?  Some more fun with snowflakes and a couple of Earth crafts!  Come back!


  1. Absolutely love all the projects you and Mags do! she is growing up way fast! Great job mom!

  2. Thanks, Melissa! I really appreciate all your views! :)