Saturday, April 27, 2013

Rock and Roll

Today is a continuation of yesterday's study of rocks and dirt, as well as a continuation of our study of transportation in social studies, with all things cars.  That's why I decided on the title for today's post --ROCK AND ROLL!  Enjoy!

You may remember the Sid the Science Kid video I posted yesterday, all about dirt.  In it, the children studied soil samples.  I thought it'd be fun to do the same, although I expanded on that idea and told Maggie we'd be collecting three samples from three different areas.  Also, I told her we'd be collecting three different kinds of rocks from different areas.  Here are the collection bags I made before we headed to the park.
Once home with our samples, we got into making comparisons and contrasts among our dirt samples and rocks, noting their textures, colors, and other characteristics. 
 The best part was checking out our samples under our mini microscope!
 Here are two of our rock samples, one so, so smooth, and the other rough and jagged.  We talked about why they might be different, and what would have made the one on the left so smooth. 
After that, for a little something fun, I decided to make the "Treasure Rocks" I saw at, using 1/2 cup coffee grounds (used or instant), 1/2 cup sand, 1/2 cup salt, 1 cup flour, and about 1/2 cup water.  To start, preheat your oven to 250 degrees, then pick some treasure to excavate from the rocks.  I chose some coin money for Maggie to add to her piggy bank.
 Next, mix all of your dry ingredients well.
 Gradually add small amounts of your water to your dry mixture, mixing constantly, until it's the consistency of dough.  (This means you may not add the full 1/2 cup.)
 Then, separate your dough into the number of rocks you want.  (I had six coins, so I separated my dough into six unequal pieces (for variety) for six separate rocks.)  Place your "treasure" into the center of your piece and cover well.
 Place your rocks (with treasures hidden inside) onto a foil-covered pan and put into your 250-degree oven.  Heat for 15 minutes, then flip over, heating for another 10-15 minutes more.
 Once they've cooked for 25-30 minutes, flip back over again, turn your oven off, and let sit in there to dry for several hours.  (Mine were in the oven for about five hours.  I thought they looked great!)
Ready to break into!
 Mags was very excited about this activity!  (I hadn't told her what the treasure inside the rocks was, so she was ready to find out!)  :)
 Breaking into our rocks ...
"Oooh, money!"
 After all that excavating, Mags came out 43 cents richer!  Score!  :) 
For a snack, we made the "Edible Rocks" as seen at, using
1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces) finely chopped, white chocolate (or chips) or white confectionery coating, 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened, condensed milk, a pinch of salt, and 1/4 - 2/3 cup Oreo cookie crumbs.  (Later, for variety, you can also use 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder and a drop of red food coloring to make differently colored rocks.)  To start, you need to heat your white chocolate, with the condensed milk and salt, in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until smooth.
 Once melted and smooth, remove your pan from the heat and add in 1/4 cup of your Oreo cookie crumbs, mixing well.
 Here is what your mixture should look like.
 Next, separate your mixture into four separate bowls, for variety.  Leave one as is, then with a second bowl, add another 1/4 cup of your cookie crumbs.  (This will make the dark mixture you see in my bowl, at the top left.)  For a third bowl (bottom right), you can add 1 drop of red food coloring to get a pink rock shade, and for the last bowl, I added 1/2 teaspoon of cocoa powder for a browner rock.
 Once the bowls are mixed and colored, cover them with plastic wrap, being sure to push the wrap down, so that it's pressed against the fudge while it cools.  The site suggests allowing it to sit "at room temperature for about 30 minutes, until it is thick and no longer sticky," but I needed mine to sit much longer than that, more like an hour and a half!  (It probably has something to do with climate -- I live in very humid area -- but I did notice that the bowl with the extra cookie crumbs was ready to roll sooner than the other bowls.  Maybe the trick for you will be to add more crumbs than the recipe suggests.  Also, I had removed the plastic wrap for the last 30 minutes, which seemed to help, and I did note that the pink mixture, I guess because of that one extra drop of moisture, was the slowest to thicken and become less tacky.)
After that time, you pinch off pieces of the fudge and shape them into rocks.  Place your rocks on parchment paper to harden further before serving.  (Don't they look great?!) 
In the bowl, ready to be served!
 (Now that's a happy face!)  :)
 Here's my girl, tasting a "rock!"  :)
In our study of cars (and number bonds in math), I found this great idea for a math game using a toy car, two dice, a large piece of paper, and a marker.  (The site I found it on is, which is chock full of great teaching ideas.)  To start, draw eleven "parking spaces" onto your paper, like I did, below, numbering them from 2-12. 
Then, have your child roll the dice onto the paper, adding up the two numbers, to determine which space their car needs to "park" in.  Keep rolling and "parking" for as long as it's fun. 
 (She loved this activity.)
For our next project, we made an "Inspirational Traffic Light," which I recreated from the one seen on the Oriental Trading Company website (, using construction paper instead of foam pieces.  (Cut a large, black rectangle, a smaller black rectangle, and four circles, one yellow, one red, one green, and one black.
 After we glued the pieces into their proper places, I had Maggie write in the "STOP," "SLOW," and "GO" on the appropriate colors. 
For another snack, I made the little fruit cars I've been seeing on Pinterest (using apple slices, grape halves, and toothpicks), as well as these adorable little veggie stoplights that I found at (using celery, cream cheese, a wooden skewer, and bits of red, yellow, and green bell pepper).  For a fruit car, start by halving two grapes, so you get four "wheels."  Next, cut off an apple slice (about 1/8 of an apple or less), with the skin still intact, and push one toothpick into the flesh of each end, with the skin side up.  Add a grape half onto the ends of both toothpicks for your apple car's "wheels."  Cute!
For the stoplights, cut a celery stalk into a piece about three inches long, then spread with some cream cheese.  Cut a small circle out of each of your three bell peppers (I used a very small circle cutter) and push into your cream cheese, in the same order as a regular traffic light (red on top, green at the bottom, and yellow in the center). 
 Finally, skewer your traffic light and serve. 
A happy snacker!  :)
I also bought her the Usborne: Build a Picture CARS Sticker Book (, with all different car scenes (at the gas station, on a car ferry, at the carwash, etc.), which we decorated together.
And what's a lesson about cars without viewing Disney's Cars movie?
We have a few more "car projects" lined up, so stay tuned for our next post!

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