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Friday, February 16, 2007

Today at OurPlace

We finally had a week with few interruptions, so we were able to get some fun things done.
In Science, we studied the Earth's layers, earthquakes, and volcanoes. Luckily, we already had a volcano mold that my sister gave us. Her daughter had used it in a Science project. We mixed red food coloring with vinegar and poured it in first. Then, Patrick sprinkled baking powder into the hole and out poured "red lava".

It was exciting, but we felt we could do better. We headed to the store for Mentos and Coke. We had heard (from Myth Busters) that a mento dropped into a bottle of coke would cause a chemical reaction that resulted in Coke shooting out of the bottle...not just overflowing, but shooting out. Well, we wanted our volcano to have some power. We took the volcano outside and sat it on top of the bottle of coke. We dropped the Mento in and, while it fizzed up, overflowed, and made a nice volcano, we didn't get the geyser that we were hoping for. We went through 3 small bottles of Coke and a bottle of red soda before giving up on the spectacular show. I called Jeff to ask him what we were doing wrong and he informed me that we were supposed to be using DIET Coke. Ohhhhhhhhhh!!!!! So, that was the problem. Jeff came home with a big bottle of Diet Coke. We ran outside with it...didn't even bother with the volcano mold....and tore open our Mentos. Madison unscrewed the lid and we all ran like we were truly about to be buried in lava! Jeff dropped a few Mentos in and we WERE NOT disappointed. That Diet Coke shot 7 or 8 feet up into the air. By the time it stopped, 3/4 of the Coke was gone from the bottle. It was awesome and worth the wait!!
So that was Science today!
Afterwards, we got the journals out so the kids could draw and write about volcanoes. I can find out more about what my kids have learned about a subject by looking at a drawn picture than I can grading a test. I couldn't believe the details on their drawings, like the vents coming out of the sides of the volcanoes and the bits of rock erupting with the lava. Madison also drew a picture of a man tending to his vegetables at the base of the mountain and showed how he was upset because the lava was going to kill his vegetables. She drew this because we learned that the ashes actually create fertile ground for growing plants. I thought it was a fun touch to her drawing. We continued with our study of American government, American heroes, and American symbols this week. We read a lot of history on many of the American symbols and came to appreciate them in a new way. I bought poster board for the kids and poured all sorts of craft supplies out and told them to make a poster about the things that are symbolic of America. I printed out some pictures for them, but encouraged them to draw and do other things as well. As always, it was interesting to see how different they all were. Madison worked on hers for two days....she loves to be creative. If I give Madison a theme and a few supplies, she can create anything.

Each one of the kids also filled in a 4-square grid ( ) in preparation for writing paragraphs/papers next week on "Why I Love America"
The only bookwork they did today were tests and their problem areas in Math. As always, it is hard for me to put the bookwork aside. I'm sometimes too obsessive about the kids completing everything on my daily plan. We've had a couple of hard days this week, and I just wanted to lighten things up and get back to the joy of learning...outside of bookwork. I never have regrets when I do!


Blogger Theresa said...

That sounds like a wonderful day! We loved our mentos/diet coke explosion, too. I like the drawings of the volcanos and the posters of American symbols. I may just have to steal that last idea!

11:13 AM  
Blogger Gina Marie said...

You can still watch the diet coke/menthos experiment videos on You should really watch them if you haven't - there's one that is completely coordinated with a hundred bottles. It's amazing! Those scientists had to be soaked by the end. After seeing it, all the men from our small group at church got together to try it. It didn't work as well because you can only buy one liter bottles here, not two.

5:14 PM  

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