Monday, March 28, 2011

April Showers...

Guess what?  
The Science Mommy is hosting a challenge! 

The Challenge: Design and build a Rain Gauge that will collect and measure the amount of rain that falls in a day. Collect rainfall data from at least three different days and share your information in a chart or table.  

Contest Entry:  Email a photo of your Rain Gauge, and a sample of your data to the Science Mommy or leave a link to your investigation in the comments.  While your kid scientist does not need to be featured in the photo, the work does need to be the work of a Kid Scientist.  All eligible entries will be entered to win a copy of the book...

Water Dance by Thomas Locker

The challenge will run through the month of April with a random drawing on April 30.  Photos of rain gauges will be featured on The Science Mommy.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

We Have a Flower...

Have you been following along with our Tulip Bulb Investigation?  Well, we have an flower...
The first of the tulip bulbs bloomed this morning!

Kid Scientist Aiden is pretty excited that the first bulb to bloom was the one he started.  If you can't read his prediction, he wrote, "Team Aiden - The one hanging in water will go first and I don't think the one in rocks will sprout." 

His prediction was half correct.  The bulb hanging in water was the first to bloom.  The bulbs in the rocks have sprouted but haven't yet bloomed.  The bulbs in the dirt haven't changed at all.  According to Aiden, "Well obviously.  When you plant a bulb in the dirt it takes all winter to grow."  The bulbs that were floating in water, have all molded.

Whether you are forcing tulip bulbs in the kitchen or observing something else over time, encourage your Kid Scientists to make, and record, predictions.  They will have more buy-in to making the observations and will remember the investigation, as well as their their thoughts about it, longer.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Science Project...

My Kid Scientist Connar came home last week with a science project assigned at school.  We're excited to share the project with you and challenge you to make your own.

Project:  Connar is studying ecosystems and evolution in school and his assignment was to create an organism.  At first, The Science Mommy wasn't too excited about the imaginary aspect of this project however, it did provide lots of opportunities for Connar to share what he knows about adaptations, food chains, and an organisms role within an ecosystem.
Procedure: Connar started out by thinking what he wanted his organism to look like...right away he had the idea to create a bio-luminescent creature {he really wanted to tap into his electricity kit}.  I asked lots of questions to help him decide where his organism lived and how it had adapted to that environment.
The creation of this organism was a challenge to Connar...he needed to use the saber saw to cut the dowel for legs, he used the drill to cut holes to anchor the legs, he salvaged an old toy for a switch and learned how to modify it to fit with another battery pack and he needed to figure out how to wire the light bulb to the switch and battery and install it into his organism.  There was more science at work here than meeting standard on an ecosystem project!  Finally after several assembly attempts, lots of glue and a couple of rounds with spray paint...
"Titano-aqua-saurus: this organism lives at the bottom of the ocean in an environment with very little light.  It's body coloring provides camoflage against the dark ocean floor.  It has a bio-luminescent rod to attract and hunt prey which are small fish.  Because it is dark, he doesn't have very good eyesight and relies on special cells in the large gills to smell prey. It also has armor, like a lobster as protection."

Now it's your turn...
  • Do a little research to find out what adaptations are and why they are important in understanding organisms. {There's a link in the sidebar!}
  • Create an organism using materials you have around your house.  While you are building your organism, consider where it lives.  What's the temperature?  How much water is available?  How much sunlight?  What other animals live in this area?  What shelter is available?
  • Make decisions in creating your organism that make sense for where, and how, it lives.  What does it eat?  What time of day is it most active?  How does it protect itself?
  • The Science Mommy would love to see what you create!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Forcing Bulbs...the Tulip Update...

Have you been working on the forcing bulbs investigation?  You can follow that link to the original investigation and get started right now!

We are two weeks into our investigation, and for a while there it looked like we had made some miscalculations.  The bulbs were "started" on February 27, and it was on March 9 that we really saw some growth.  These pictures were all taken on March 12.

One of the bulbs that was propped on the edge of the container, with their tips in the water is doing the best. By best we mean that it has the most growth.
Also producing some stems are the bulbs that are just sitting in water.
The bulbs in rocks and water are much slower in responding than the others, but you can see that they are all starting to grow.
The photo is blurry, but the bulbs planted in the soil haven't done much at all.

My Science Kids are changing the water every three or four days, and making sure the bulbs in soil have moist soil.  They have predicted that we will have some flowers in about a week.

Monday, March 7, 2011


If you are following the experiment on Forcing Bulbs, stay tuned.  We will be publishing our results soon!

Did you know that on March 5,  a fissure opened on Kilauea's rift zone?  This fissure is still erupting lava...
Photo Credit:  Tim Orr, USGS, Science Daily

This recent volcanic activity inspired the Science Mommy to post a research investigation:
Ages: This one is for the Big Kid Scientists

Materials: Volcano resources - online or print.  This is a great opportunity to help your Kid Scientists learn to use a web browser to do a search, determine importance, and record their thoughts.  You can use this graphic organizer or something similar to help your Kid Scientist.

  • Choose an investigative question that interests you, or write your own.
  • Use the resources available to find information that will help you answer the question.
  • Find a way to share what you have learned.  Remember to report your findings in your own words and keep track of the resources that have helped you.
Alternate Procedure for Little Kid Scientists:
  • Find pictures of volcanoes - in magazines books, or online.
  • Invite your Little Kid Scientist to explore the pictures...they can sort the pictures, they can ask as many questions as they can think of about the pictures, they can talk with you about what they notice & wonder, they can choose one volcano and do some guided research with you...
Investigative Questions:
  • Where are the most active volcanoes in the world?
  • What is the difference between an active volcano and a dormant volcano?
  • How are volcanoes in different areas similar?  How are they different?
  • What makes the volcanoes in Hawaii unique?
  • How do geologists monitor volcanoes?  What data do they collect?  What do they do with the data?
  • How are earthquakes and volcanoes related?
The Science Mommy would love to hear what you learn about volcanoes!  
Have fun with your research!