Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ok, right up front I need to apologize for being a terrible blogger this year!  Having a fuller schedule is wonderful, but I have not done a very good job of keeping you updated on the wonderful learning happening in our home school assistance program....sorry.

I am really enjoying seeing science through the eyes of children!  In late December we started delving into physical science.  I brushed up on force and motion (the big ideas) and tackled teaching Newton's Three Laws of Motion to young people.  We used stuffed animals and balloons to illustrate the concepts and even found examples of all three laws in children's books.

January has found us putting knowledge into practice.  The children designed and tested "balloon racers", speedy little vehicles that travel on a string course in the hallway.  We found through testing, trial and error, that design, balloon size and many other factors determine how speedy those little guys are.  We also learned how to calculate speed, and averaged distances and times.  (And learned that spit really accumulates in a balloon that is blown up over and over, and that when it pops, said spit is also a speedy traveler)

The next big idea was energy!  We started by timing ourselves running up a flight of stairs.  The stairway was measured and converted to meters.   We found our weight in Newtons and then did some scientific calculations to determine how many joules of work we did.  Then we used that to find out how many watts of power we used to run up the stairs.  It was really fun to compare and contrast our magic number of watts to the number of watts used by common household items.

But the energy fun in only beginning!  The last couple of weeks we have had a small solar panel and wind turbine in the room.  Ask you children about alternative power sources.  They have been coming up with lots of great ideas.  If you have a chance to stop by the room, you will see their plans for everything from televisions powered by hamsters running on a wheel, to solar/wind/water powered robots that will clean up your town!    Who knows, maybe one of these little ones will solve some of our world's energy problems.

So, that is the past couple of months in a nutshell.  Stop by anytime.  I enjoy your ideas and input, and as always, I love that you share your precious children with me.

For now,

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