Tuesday, June 1, 2010

M4 - May Week 3

We are doing a unit study on whales right now, so we kinda focused on beachy stuff.  Now if only we could've gotten to the beach - that would've been a blast!

Sink or Float

We've done that experiment where you collect a bunch of items and test each to see if it sinks or floats.  This week we made it a little more complicated - take the same exact item and see if you can make it float.

We started with a play doh ball.  (You can use the yucky brown play doh that results after you mix up all the play doh colors.)  It sinks.

Now form it into a boat.  It floats!  Until the water creeps over the edge and makes it sink.

Then we moved on to a discussion of swim bladders and how they help fish float.  This experiment involves balloons AND marbles, so obviously it's going to be a success!

First you get two marbles and two balloons.  You're going to put the marbles inside the balloons.  One you'll tie up right away.  The other, you'll blow a little bit of air into and then tie it up.

Put both balloons into a tub of water.  The first one sinks, while the one with air floats.  Why?

The air-filled balloon makes a handy stress reliever when you're done.  Not that you'd be stressed or anything.
Blubber Insulation

This is the tried-and-true blubber insulation experiment.  (First, put on your swim wings in case you decide to take a dive.)

Make a bowl of ice & water  Put your hand inside.  It is COLD!

Then take two sandwich bags.  Put butter (or lard, or shortening) in the first bag.  Put your hand in the second bag and insert it into the first bag.  Now you can squish around the butter all over without making your hands greasy.

Now, put your hand with sandwich bag "glove" into the ice water.  It's a little cold, but not freezing like it was without the "glove."

That's how blubber insulates whales and other warm-blooded sea animals who live in cold places!


Well, we are doing a WHOLE unit study on whales from Download N Go.  When it is done, I shall never want to discuss whales again, I think.  But I will tell you all about it when we do a review on the unit study.  In the meantime, I know all about classifying them as toothed versus "Faline" (Bambi's girlfriend) whales.  Though Mommy keeps saying it's "baleen," I think "Faline" is much more beautiful.

We've watched all the Free Willy movies.  The second one includes an oil spill disaster, so we did a little demo on the impact of oil spills on wildlife, particularly birds.  This was my favorite experiment - probably because the results are so drastic...

Put some water in two bowls.  Pour a couple of tablespoons of oil into one of the bowls.  Then get two feathers.
Dip one feather into the water-only bowl.  Dip the other feather into the oil mix.  The first feather will still be light and feathery - feathers are water-resistant.  The second feather will be heavy and gooey. 

That's why birds can't fly after they've been immersed in oil.

I had to try this experiment again and again - good thing we've got lots of feathers!

And Me
Hearing (again)

Do you know you can "hear" with your ears plugged?  Put a pencil in your mouth, like this.

Close your eyes and plug your ears.  Have someone rub the eraser.  You'll hear a scratchy sound, even with your ears plugged!

We also listened to the "ocean" through a sea shell!  The shell actually just accentuates the other noises around, or acts like a resonating chamber...
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Ticia said...

I love the blubber experiment. No matter how often I see it featured, it always amuses me.

Unknown said...

I am going to go try that pencil in your mouth and plug your ears RIGHT now! I had not heard of that one before!

Féepoussière said...

What a beautiful-but sad- experience that the feathers ...
I will do with my 3 year old daughter and a half, looking sadly from France the Louisiana oil spill ...
Thank you!