Monday, February 28, 2011

Forcing Bulbs...

I don't know about you, but the Science Mommy is a little tired of the winter landscape.  This week's investigation, is a little selfish...I wanted something pretty and spring-like in my kitchen!
Ages:  This is best for the Big Kid Scientists
Materials: bulbs, various containers, rocks, soil, water
  • I presented an investigative question to my Kid Scientists...What is the best condition for forcing a bulb?  This required a bit of research before the boys were ready for the investigation.  They "googled" the question, and learned a bit about bulbs.  Your Kid Scientists can begin with their own research or you could use our ideas...
  • Once the boys had a couple of ideas, they gathered the additional materials they needed. 
  • Connar's first plan was to plant the bulbs in potting soil with water.  He plans to check the soil every day and make sure it's moist.
  • Aiden's found a diagram of a bulb suspended over water online.  He used toothpicks to balance the bulb on the edges of the plastic container.  He'll check every day to make sure the water covers the bottom of the bulb.
  • This container has just water with the bulbs floating
  • The final container is 1/2 full of rocks and water.  The bulbs are wedged into the rocks.
  • Each Kid Scientist recorded his predictions regarding which container would be the best for forcing the bulbs to bloom and which one wouldn't work at all.  We also recorded the starting date.

Finally, the bulbs in containers were left on top of the refrigerator.  This will ensure that the water doesn't spill and our cats don't help with the investigation.
We will keep you posted on the details of our investigation.  The Science Mommy would love to hear about yours!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

An Award...

How exciting!  The Science Mommy has just received an award from Be Our Best...
This is a first for The Science Mommy and I am very thankful and appreciate the recognition.  There are, of course, a couple of rules in order to accept this award...
#1 - 4 Guilty Pleasures... this isn't my personal blog, it feels a bit odd to share guilty pleasures.  So, I thought I would take a little liberty in my interpretation of the rules. {After all rules are more like guidelines aren't they?}
#1 - 4 Fun Science Facts...
Yes, this feels more appropriate for the Science Mommy!

1 - In 1822, geologist William Buckland discovered some really big teeth in England.  He didn't have a name yet for his discovery, but they were the first artifacts of dinosaurs.

2 - In 1674 Anton Van Leeuwenhoek discovered microorganisms in a drop of water.

3 - In 1666 Isaac Newton came to the conclusion that all objects in the universe, from apples to planets, exert gravitational attraction on each other.

4 - The double-helix structure of DNA was discovered in 1953 by James Watson and Francis Crick.  The length of a single human DNA molecule, when extended, is 1.7 meters.

#2 Six Wonderful Blogs to Pass this Award on...{in no particular order}
3 Moms in 1
Discover their Gifts
Our Worldwide Classroom
Learning is Child's Play
Giving up on a Clean House
Wonderland Homeschool

Take a peek at those blogs...they are all about teaching, kids and the magic that happens when the two come together!

Monday, February 21, 2011


My oldest Kid Scientist, was working on a large project for school when we discovered pages of tangram puzzles online.  These are fantastic puzzles for Kid Scientists of all ages...helping to build critical thinking, creative thinking and problem solving skills.  Whether you make your own tangrams like Connar, or click around with the internet puzzles...these will hook you!

Ages:   This is for the Big Kid Scientists

Materials: If you make your own you will need a tangram pattern, a saber saw and some 3/4" wood.  You can also use 1/8" foam, cardstock or any other material you have on hand.


  • Print out the tangram pattern.  This is a universal pattern and you can enlarge it if you'd like, as long as you enlarge all the pieces equally.
  • Cut out the pieces and trace them onto the building material you'll be using.
  • Carefully cut out the pieces.  As these are puzzle pieces, it's important to keep the lines straight and maintain the dimensions of the shape. 
  •  We used a saber saw to cut the puzzle pieces out of the wood.  This was also a great opportunity to teach Connar how to use the saw.  There aren't any pictures, because The Science Mommy needed to help hold the wood and "steer" the saw.  Connar had never used this saw before and he was excited try it out.

  • Once the pieces are cut out, located tangram shapes online and do your best to arrange the pieces so they form the shape.  Most of the shapes aren't nearly as easy to create as they appear!
 Have Fun with your tangrams!

Monday, February 14, 2011

More Books for Kid Scientists...

My Kid Scientist Aiden, has been busy reading.  In fact, he's currently reading everything in sight.  We wanted to share some of his current favorite science books...

Winter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim  by Juliana Hatkoff.  This amazing story is about a young dolphin who became entangled in the lines of a crab pot.  Though she was rescued and survived, the blood supply to her tail was compromised and she ended up losing her tail.  Through the donations and work of many people, a prosthetic tail was built for Winter.  This is a fantastic story and the photographs throughout the book are amazing.  Aiden loves this book and I am sure you're Kid Scientists will as well.
The Magic Tree House - Research Guides by Mary Pope Osborne.  This is a brilliant series for young readers and Aiden is equally compelled by the Research Guides as the fictional stories.  The magic tree house allows the two young characters, Jack and Annie, to travel through time in search of various clues.  The best part of the story is the historical or geographical setting and the interesting information that is shared with young readers.  Many of the fictional books have research guide companions.  Here the author shares the background knowledge she learned while writing the fictional story.  These are great tools for helping young readers understand the difference between fiction and non-fiction, and the settings of the stories are extremely engaging.  Aiden asked me to pass on, "I think everybody should read these books because they teach you so much and they are fun to read."
What do your Kid Scientists enjoy reading?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Groundhog Day and Shadows...

It’s Groundhog Day!  
While a groundhog is a fun and quirky way to make a prediction, it’s not terribly scientific.  In fact, the Science Mommy read today that Phil, the groundhog, has about a 39% accuracy rate.  

 Shadows however, can be interesting to observe, make predictions about and explain.

Ages:  This one is for the Big Kid Scientists

Materials: 2 pencils, clay, flashlight, large piece of paper  OR  sunny day, driveway, sidewalk chalk

Set-Up Procedure:
  • Find a room that can be made quite dark when the lights are out
  • Place the large paper on a table or on the floor
  • Roll the clay into a ball, poke one of the pencils into the ball and place it in the center of the paper.

Big Questions:  What determines the direction a shadow falls?  What determines the length of a shadow?  

Investigation Procedure:
  • Make the room as dark as possible
  • Use your flashlight and the pencil stuck in clay, to cast a shadow.
  • Use your other pencil to trace the shadow (this may work better if you have a partner…one to hold the flashlight and the other to trace the shadow)
  • Think of a way to record the position of the flashlight.
  • Move the flashlight and predict where the shadow will now fall.  Predict how long it will be.
  • Move the flashlight around, tracing the shadows and recording the position of the flashlight until you have enough data to write a rule that answers the Big Questions.
  • What else did you learn while you were doing this investigation?  How can you share your discoveries?  The Science Mommy would love to hear about what you’ve learned.

2nd Investigation Procedure:
  • On a bright, sunny day draw an X on your driveway with sidewalk chalk.
  • While you stand on the X, ask a partner to trace your shadow with sidewalk chalk.
  • Label the first shadow with the time of day.
  • Repeat this process every 30 minutes throughout the day. After you have a couple of shadow tracings, can you predict the shape/size/direction of the next shadow?
  • Think about the shadow tracings and the Big Questions.  Do you have enough data to answer the questions?  What else do you need to know?
  • What else did you learn while you were doing this investigation?  How can you share your discoveries? The Science Mommy would love to hear about what you’ve learned.

Groundhog picture from:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Winner is...

...drum roll please...
The winner of this fantastic, Science Mommy Kit...

Thank you to all entries.  I wasn't able to use the random generator because I got a couple of entries through email.  So, I did an old fashioned drawing...

 All the names are in the jar...

 The Science Mommy Kit will be sent to "The W* Family".  I will contact you via email to get details for mailing.

New Science Fun is on it's way...
...marbled Valentine's
...making a winter sun-catcher
...investigating tropisms in plants