Monday, September 12, 2011

Science Fridays gets rolling

On Friday afternoon, after a few hours at the local park and playground to celebrate our first sunny day in what has felt like weeks, we had our first Science Fridays co-op meeting of the school year. The kids all seemed excited to be back to our science group learning!

Before diving into our new Chemistry curriculum, we decided to do a little intro to comparative sizes (both immensely large and infinitesimally small, and everything in between).

We started by discussing how everything in the universe is made up of "stuff". Using an apple as the example, we talked about the "stuff" that an apple is made up of, and how all that "stuff" combined is what makes the apple look, feel, smell and taste like an apple.

Then we explored how small of a piece of apple is still apple. No matter how small L sliced that apple, the kids all agreed that it was still an apple. (Then, of course, we ate all the apple slices.)

Next we talked about the sorts of equipment you would need to see pieces of that apple that were even smaller than what we could see with our eyes (microscopes and the like). And we talked about the sort of equipment you would need to look at really huge things a distance away (telescopes and the like).

Then we played a card game where we ordered objects that were both larger and smaller than ourselves (sizing up and sizing down). The largest object in our deck was the Universe. The smallest objects were a proton and a neutron. The kids had a bunch of fun with the game (so did we adults!).

Last but not least was their homework assignments -- to use this strip of paper to created a chart of things larger and smaller than themselves. To start, they'll fold the paper in half and draw themselves in the middle, then to the left they'll draw or paste photos of objects smaller than themselves (in descending order to the left) and to the right they'll draw or paste photos of objects larger than themselves (in ascending order to the right).

Next week we'll compare everyone's sizing up and down charts, and watch some computer simulations of sizing up and down. And the next time we meet after that we'll crack our Chemistry books and get going with our science curriculum.

It's so nice to be getting our year off to such a fun, positive start!

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