Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Desert Sun

Welcome to Day 2 of our weather studies and desert studies!  Today, we focused on sunny weather.  We started by reading Today Is Sunny by Martha E. H. Rustad ...
... Sunshine: A Book About Sunlight by Josepha Sherman ...
... and Sun by Honor Head.
We then watched the "Special Sunny Dad Day" episode from our Sid the Science Kid: Weather Kid Sid DVD.  (This is a promo for the full video, which is 99 cents to download.)  It was informative, with a neat experiment suggestion of using a large piece of colored construction paper and some sunscreen to show the effects of the sun.  (Fold one end of your paper in so that you can see the color on the inside versus the outside once it has been in the sun.  With the part exposed to the sun, use you finger to paint on some sunscreen in fun shapes.  Leave outside for a few hours, then observe!  Your child will notice the difference in color on the inside of the folded piece and those parts that were covered in sunscreen.  What was learned?  The sun's rays can be damaging!  We should protect ourselves with sunscreen, hats, and proper clothing!)
Then, we used some Sun Art Paper to have some sun fun of our own!
We placed our paper on a firm piece of cardboard, then arranged some fun shapes on the top of our piece to lay in the sun (plastic animals).
It was less than five minutes before the paper was bright white and ready to be removed.
We took it in, wet it as instructed, and laid it out to dry.  (You can see our animal shapes pretty well!)
After it dries, the paper turns dark again and the shapes turn white!  We will have fun with this again soon!
 It was then time to move on to Geography and our study of the desert.  To start, we read The Magic School Bus: All Dried Up: A Book About Deserts by Suzanne Weyn.  (Maggie loves these books and videos and the silly Ms. Frizzle.)
And then we watched the first half ("Desert Giant") of this great Reading Rainbow video, Desert Life, about the desert and the giant saguaro cactus.  (We borrowed our copy from our library, but you can watch a grainier version of it at http://vimeo.com/6276885.)  It's worth looking into!
After the video, Maggie completed her "A Desert Habitat" worksheet out of her Evan-Moor Science workbook.  (She was very proud of her finished work!)
It was then time for a fun snack!  I found a great idea for today's snack at http://blog.candiquik.com/?p=5699, using (1) 16oz. package of vanilla CandiQuik (I had never seen this stuff before, but found it easily in the grocery aisles at Walmart!), green food coloring, 1/4 cup lite corn syrup, pretzel rods, and green decorating sprinkles. 
First, melt the first half of the package according to the package instructions.  (Set the other half aside.)  Add green food coloring to the melted candy and stir until well combined.  Once mixed, heat your corn syrup in a small saucepan on the stove until just boiling  Remove from heat and immediately stir into your green candy.  Mix well with a rubber spatula until you have a paste, then cover with saran wrap and place in the fridge.  Cool for at least two hours.  Once cooled, remove from the fridge.  Pull off small chunks and knead and roll with your fingers until you can shape it.  Shape your little chunks into cactus arms, like below.
 Once your cactus arms are shaped, set them aside and melt the other half of your candy according to the package instructions.  Add green coloring to that second batch until close to the color you have with your arms.  Dip your pretzel rods into the liquid candy and place on waxed paper.  Immediately attach your candy arms and sprinkle the wet candy with your green decorating sprinkles to look like the cacti's "spines."  Let dry and harden.
"Cactus Pretzels!"
 I decided to add a bit more flair to this snack, and crushed a graham cracker onto a plate, to appear like sand.
 I then laid the Cactus Pretzels on top of the sand bed and served them!
This is one happy snacker!
Tomorrow, we'll be studying the desert even more, and learning all about wind!

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