Latticed Learning - General Science

Learn while playing with Latticed Learning!  This week's theme has plenty of activities to go along with it - keep reading to find out more!

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Welcome back to Latticed Learning!  This year, we're continuing to learn while we play - repeating many of our favorites from the past while adding in all sorts of new activities as well.

This day's post is devoted to our weekly themes - some weeks have more activities than others, but each lesson will be fun for you to explore with your little one!

Read All About It


I Use Science Tools is a great introduction to the different tools we can use to discover more about the world around us.

Science with Light & Mirrors is typical Usborne greatness with loads of fun illustrations and blurbs about all sorts of subjects.  Many of the activities were a bit advanced for Gv, but she still enjoyed looking through the book and it will be one for her to grow into.

On the Day You Were Born introduces ideas like gravity and migration in a natural way - focusing on what life on Earth was like on the day you were born.  This would be a great book to add to a birthday present!

Everyday Science: Materials explores the physical properties of different objects around us.

What is Science?

What is a Scientist?

My Five Senses

My Five Senses

How Cool is This?

The Usborne Book of Scientists

The Young Naturalist

Pocket Scientist: The Red Book

Pocket Scientist:  The Blue Book

Sing Some Songs

We listened to a lot of non-themed selections this week, but
this album was perfect for getting into the science mood.

Watch Some Videos

We watched some random Magic School Bus episodes and had some science fun.

We also filled up with plenty of pbskids shows, like Plum Landing, Sid the Science Kid, Wild Kratts, Nature Cat, Ready Jet Go and the Ruff Ruffman Show.

I've always loved the interactive clips on this BBC site, so we played around a lot with that as well.

Play and Create

We did several things to correspond to our topic this week, mainly just exploring and playing with a bunch of scientific ideas and activities:

First, we made crystals:

I used a white pipe cleaner to form "Gv," then hung it from a chopstick using dental floss

We dipped it into a jar full of water, dissolved borax and food coloring and let it sit for a day and got this (full directions here).

Then we hung it in a window to enjoy.

Next, we had fun watching water walk from one jar to another:

Take 3 identical jars.  Fill two up with water and add food coloring (choose 2 different primary colors for a bonus lesson on color mixing), then stick the empty jar between them.  Cut a paper towel in half lengthwise, fold each half twice lengthwise and then drape the towels from each of the full jars into the empty one.  Make sure the towels are almost all the way to the bottom of the full jars.

Wait a day to see the center jar fill up with water from the other two!  (Be sure to stick this in a prominent place, because Gv had fun constantly checking on the progress of the middle jar.)

We used sponges to do a little air pressure activity:
Stick two sponges inside a sandwich bag.  Wedge a straw in between them and then tape the bag shut so that no air can escape.  Blow the bag up through the straw, then squeeze.  Find something light, like a pom pom, to direct the air at and watch it skitter across the surface it's resting upon.

Then, we investigated melting:

Fill a muffin tin with various objects, making sure to choose some that might get melty.  Gv chose a coin, a rock, a Unifex cube, a foam circle, ice, and lots and lots of crayons.  I added a bit of butter, some slivers of soap, and a couple chocolate chips.

Stick your muffin tray in a sunny spot and monitor it - after just 15 minutes, our butter and ice had pretty much completely melted.

After several hours, the ice had completely evaporated, the butter was just a layer of slime, the chocolate chips were gooey and the crayons were all melted together in big blobs (those were the most exciting to see!)

We checked out what would sink and float:

Gv chose some good things to test: a rock, a toy fish, a marble, a piece of pipe cleaner, a plastic ball, a rubber pencil gripper, a foam car, and a seed from a Sweetgum tree.  She made pretty decent predictions for each one and was surprised to see the pipe cleaner sink when it became saturated.

And then we did a little water displacement activity, using a giant jar, water, and some rocks:

Draw a line where the water is (random grains of rice and friendly frog optional).

Plunk in some rocks (and optional frog) and see how much the water rises.

We'd done a salt-art project in the past, but we repeated that idea with Gv's name to really focus on how the salt/glue mixture gave the watercolors a "track" to race down:

Write a word or name on a sheet of colored paper, then let your little one trace it with glue.  Shake salt over the top of it and give it plenty of time to dry.

Mix some watercolor paint (or food coloring) into a small cup of water, then use an eye dropper to drip spots of color onto the letters.  Focus on how the color races along the glue/salt track.

We made some homemade watercolor paints:

We used an ice cube tray and also talked about how the primary colors combine to make the secondary colors.  They all turned out great, although the purple ended up being a bit murky...  Gv really got into mixing it all up with a craft stick (see how nice and neat each compartment is? {grin}) - we discovered that an up-and-down, butter-churning motion worked best to mix it all up.

We "took a look" at sound waves, by making some rice jump:

Stretch some plastic wrap tightly over a large bowl and sprinkle some rice on the top.  Use a metal spoon to beat a metal baking pan or bowl next to (but not touching) the rice and watch the rice dance from the sound waves!

We dissected a bean:

Soak some beans overnight to soften them up.  Gently rub the bean between your fingers to loosen the seed coat and remove it - "just like you take off your coat."  You should be able to easily twist the bean open to see the embryo.  We used a black bean (seed coat on left) and I pulled the embryo up so you could see it easier in this photo.

Gv played with the rest of the beans for quite a while afterwards.  She drew a circle to sort the coats from the seeds, then used a knife to further cut them up and check them out.

And finally, we played with bubbles...

...because bubbles are always fun:

"Where'd the bubble go?"

Looking for all the great posts associated with this concept in one place?  Check out my Latticed Learning page here!

What's your favorite thing that we did this week?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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