Thursday, December 30, 2010

Snow Paint...

This snowy day project could not be easier or have more hours of fun attached...

Ages:  All ages of Kid Scientist will enjoy snow pain

Materials:  Spray bottles, food color and water
Fill spray bottles with cold water

Add food coloring to create the color of your choice.  Here's the science...what colors can you create?

My Kid Scientists were ready to play, so they stuck to blue and red.  Attach the top of the bottle and you're ready to go...

Create all sorts of fun spray paint pictures in the snow...try mixing colors and using different intensities on the nozzle for different effects.

The Science Mommy would love to see pictures of your snow paintings...send them via email and I will post them!  Have fun in the snow!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Coming Soon...

The Science Mommy has been loving every minute of Christmas Vacation with her boys!  We have been up to a few projects and experiments and you'll be seeing those very soon.  In the meantime, search through the archive and find something new for your snowy...or not so

Monday, December 6, 2010

Science in the Kitchen...

The Science Mommy and her Kid Scientists recently cooked up a little science in the kitchen, while making gifts for the boys teachers. 

I found this recipe in Family Fun Magazine that showed  how to package cake mix in a coffee cup for a microwaveable, personal-sized cake.  My boys liked the idea, but I wanted to package everything needed to make the cake and the recipe called for oil and an egg to be added later.

I have also made this, Diet Coke Cake with the boys and it turned out quite well. 

Here's the experiment...Can we combine the two recipes into a single, personal-sized Diet Coke cake that bakes in the microwave?
The initial recipe indicated that a standard cake mix could be divided into 8, 1/2 cup portions.  I set the boys to measuring the cake mix (good measuring practice).  We found that there are only 7 full 1/2 cup portions.

Next Connar did the math to find out how much diet coke we would use with our 1/2 cup portions.  He came up with 1.5 ounces and decided to use 1/4 of a cup in order to have a standard measurement.  We are using small cans of soda in order to package them more easily.

Then it was time to try our first sample...1/2 cup cake mix, 1/4 cup Diet Coke and 3 minutes in the microwave.

Taste Test...It was better than I thought it would be, but the cake was kind of chewy.  Test #2...1/2 cup cake mix, 1/4 cup Diet Coke and 2 1/2 minutes in the microwave.
This time the cake was still chewy, but there were raw spots.  Test #3...1/2 cup cake mix, 1/3 cup diet coke and 3 minutes in the microwave. This was the perfect combination!

Meanwhile, we followed the Family Fun recipe for a glaze mix to include in the cup.  This was perfect the first time!

Final Recipe:
* Put 1/2 cup of chocolate cake mix in a resealable bag and label "Cake Mix"
* Mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 tbs cocoa powder in a resealable bag and label "Frosting"
* Put both bags into a mug, including a label with the cooking instructions
* Cooking Instructions:  Mix the cake mix with 1/3 cup of the Diet Coke in the mug.  Microwave for 3 minutes.  While the cake is cooking, add 1 or 2 tbs of water to the frosting mix.  Seal the bag and using your hands, mix the frosting.  Whent the cake is finished, cut a corner off the frosting bag, frost your cake and enjoy!
* Package the mug with mixes with a small can of Diet Coke.

Enjoy!  This is a delicious, personal-sized cake!

Books for Kid Scientists...

The Science Mommy is a member of the NSTA  (National Science Teachers Association) and recently discovered a list of the Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children.

This is a long list of some of the best books, with a science theme,  published for children in 2010.  On the list you'll find:
The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino and Jon Nelson

Face to Face with Penguins by Yva Momatiuk and John Eastcott. 

Ice Scientist: Careers in the Frozen Antarctic by Sara L. Latta

There are so many great books, and they don't all have a winter theme!  Check out the list for your Kid Scientists collection.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Time for Baking...

The Science Mommy knows there are many great science skills to be learned in the kitchen.  One of the strategies many older Kid Scientists are lacking is the ability to read a procedure completely and follow the directions.  A great way to teach and reinforce this skill is baking and cooking.

My youngest Kid Scientist wanted to bake cookies for the family all by himself.  We had a tub of frozen cookie dough (from a school fundraiser) so he wasn't responsible for the measuring, but he read, and followed, all the directions.

  • Finding the directions what the first challenge for Aiden, then he needed to figure out what everything meant
  •  Reaching the knobs on the stove was another challenge!  But, there was a surprise way for him to practice a math skill...325 wasn't on the dial.  I asked him where he thought he needed to turn the dial.  After a little thought he realized that 325 would be between 320 and 330. (Sounds easy to us...but it's a great teachable moment for younger Kid Scientists)
  •  My oldest Kid Scientist took this picture, so it's not clear what Aiden is doing...he's estimating 2" apart for all the cookies on the cookie sheet.  Younger Kid Scientists are also very literal when it comes to directions, but it showed me that he had read them and understood what he read.
  •  The oven was a bit scary for both of us...but I trusted him and he was very careful.  I did emphasize the need for supervision when he uses the oven.
  • Taking the cookies out, he forgot and grabbed the side of the sheet.  Just a tiny burn...and an unfortunate teachable moment :(  Cold water helped...
  •  He was so proud of the finished product though...dessert for everyone!
This isn't a formal procedure of course...but a reminder to look for the Teachable Moments in everything you do with your kids.  This builds their confidence and their background knowledge so they will be more capable Kid Scientists at school too!