Have you heard about water beads? These things grow about 20 times their size and they are seriously addictive. Well, I got some, for the kids, and turned it into a learning experience. The word of the day was “absorb” watch our video below then read through our critical thinking questions.
What does absorb mean?
What do you think will happen to the dry water bead once we add water?
*Remove bead from water at 4, 6, and 8 hours
Which bead is biggest? Why?
Which bead is smallest? Why?
Put the beads in order from the least amount of water held to the most amount of water held.
Name three things that absorb.
Name three things that do not absorb.
This is an experiment we will visit again as the kids get older it would be a great way to teach permeation! Let us know how it goes!
My kid’s favorite way to learn is through touch. They love to build, create, and destroy so this lab was a great way to teach them about primary colors and how they are used to create other colors. So I grabbed some red, yellow, and blue craft paint some paper and a brush. We headed outside and got to painting. You can watch the video below and get some critical thinking questions for your littles.
I am pretty excited to share with you my thoughts on the website Adapted Mind. The company “turn(s) real math into a delightful game”. We signed up for this website in June to serve as a supplemental game for SJ to keep her math skills sharp. The site offers both a family and school account. We signed up for a family account. We received a free month so we tried both the reading and math programs.
Ease of Use: Lets talk about the math segment first. When the student first logs in they are given an assessment that determines where in the program the student will start. They are then walked through a series of games. There are three modules that are recycled throughout the lessons. The equations change but the format stays the same. SJ was able to stay engaged due to the offering of badges for reaching program milestones.
There seems to be at least 100 badges. I will catch her exciting the game to check her dashboard for the next available badge. Each “lesson” as it is called provides an assessment of what the child has “learned”. This portion of the program can use revising since the lesson is only taught if the student gets the question wrong. This is frustrating for SJ so I teach her a lesson offline and then allow her to play the game to make sure she understands the concepts. Please be advised this program uses common core so that may be a good or bad thing depending on how you feel.
The reading section of the site features Fairy Tale characters that can be unlocked through the progression of the program. This part did not have an assessment and SJ quickly grew bored of the program despite the unlocking feature the site offered. It seems this section was an afterthought so we opted out of continuing the reading section of the site but we did keep the math.
Introducing New Concepts: In the math section there is no formal introduction of a new concept, topic, or idea to the student. If your child is a perfectionist like mine and the suddenly are faced with an unfamiliar equation then are immediately quizzed it can be daunting. However, the progress report is visible to the student. SJ’s goal is all green’s.
Parent Resources: Adapted Mine offers worksheets! These worksheets make preparing the student for the upcoming topic easy. They are very plain but serve as a great guide. You can write the problems on a white board and use manipulatives. They take the guess work out whats next while allowing you to see what grade level your child is currently working in.
My favorite feature is the email the site sends at the end of the day. The email lets your know how much work your child did. What they need to review and where they excelled.
It also allows 5 students per family account that is $2 a month per student! I recommend checking it out. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles as some other sites but it may be worth giving a shot for a free month. Sign up for you free month of Adapted Mind here.
Granola reminds me of early morning hikes, field trips and play dates. It is an all around healthy, easy, guilt-free comfort food. Its also extremely versatile. My kids love to help in the kitchen so this is a recipe they can do alone without much interference. It involves measuring, self awareness, and critical thinking. I ask the following questions to keep them engaged and learning.
What ingredients do you think will make you full? Why?
Which ingredients are sweet?
Why honey instead of sugar?
Which ingredient did we use they least of? The most of?
Once you start asking your students questions more questions will naturally come about as you explore what you are doing and why. Remember it doesn’t have to be a well planned lesson to be a lesson. Look for ways to teach your children as you go about your regular activities.
This is our go to recipe but feel free to sub out ingredients and please let us know your tasty combinations below.
3 cups quick oats 1/2 cup honey (replace with Aguava to make vegan) 1 cup peanut butter 3 tbs protein powder 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 1/2 cup sunflower seeds 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup dried cranberries
Mix all ingredients. Pack down into a lined square pan and refrigerate for 3 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy!
** If you want granola but not in bar form you can make these into balls or cut the amount of peanut butter and honey to make it more like a crumble.
If it seems like we are all over the place when it comes to math we are. I follow SJ’s interest and try not to discourage her by the order in which I think she should learn. The way I see it addition and multiplication are similar so are subtraction and division. So while she is hitting the ground running I am still trying to insure there are no learning gaps. So we have been talking quite a bit about math families.
This was a pretty easy concept to introduce because shes learned about word families. This concept was picked up really quickly because as my oldest child SJ likes to be in control. The ability for her to catch her mistake has been invaluable to her.
When I walk by her before she has had a chance to finish and check her work she immediately covers it, not wanting me to correct her before shes reviewed it. I’m really enjoying the responsibility she seems to be developing. I want her to take pride in her work and do well and that seems to be the case…at least when it comes to math.
Its no secret that my oldest is a STEM girl. She loves math so I am always looking for ways to foster and grow this love. We discovered this activity when she wanted to do math but not in her math book. I keep beads on hand for the kids. In this case I wrote various multiplication problems on SJ’s white board. She then used the beads to show what each problem looked like with the beads, Once she successfully answered the question on the board and with the beads she could move to the next problem. At one point both younger kids needed me so she answered all the questions and waited for me to check her work.
This was a fun activity that allowed her to be creative as well as practice her classification skills. When starting this activity it is important that the student understand their one’s and two’s multiplication facts. These are to be understood but don’t have to be memorized. Once the student understands the task you are only limited by the amount of materials you have on hand.
My five year old is very familiar with this activity but recently my four year old has shown he can show the multiplication problems he sees with the beads as well. This is why I homeschool. I love seeing what my children gravitate toward while its happening then discovering how I can help them be great!
My kiddos ask to do experiments just about everyday! I actually will be reviewing a site that I joined for that purpose called Mystery Science in a different post. This experiment was very easy and a lot of fun. Most importantly you probably have most if not all these ingredients in your home already.
The experiment calls for equal parts oil and water, food coloring, and Alka-Seltzer tablets.
**We tried the experiment with aspirin and it fell flat so we re-did it with
Alka Seltzer and red food coloring.
First we put the oil then water into the jar and let it settle.
I asked these questions:
What is happening to the water?
What is happening to the oil?
Next we added a few drops of food coloring. Add as much as you like we did 6 drops.
I asked: What is happening to the food coloring?
(If the jar is steady it should stay together and not mix very much.
Finally we dropped in the Alka-Seltzer tablet and watched the magic happen.
What is happening to the oil and water?
Why do you think that is?
Since oil and water do not mix, the water bubbles caused by the Alka-seltzer float through the oil causing it to take on the same effect as a lava lamp. When the mixture is shaken the oil and water in time will separate again rather than mix.
During experiment week this one was a hit! The objective was initially to have the kids walk on water. Due to the limited supply of corn starch we did this experiment in a bowl rather than our kiddie pool.
Here’s what you need:
Shower curtain (for easy clean up)
Ball and car to explore how they react to the oobleck.
This recipe is simple 2 parts corn starch one part water. The kids loved exploring to see the progression of consistency. Its extremely messy so here is a teaching hack I have learned. When doing messy learning I tack the curtain or table cloth to my tile floor using my hot glue gun.
The kids had a lot of fun discovering how this liquid behaves (at times) like a solid. They were covered in oobleck by the time we were done. I let them play with it after our official lesson so they could mix various colors.
Here are some questions and discussion points.
1. What are the stages of matter? (We focused on three rather than five)
2. What stage is this in?
3. How does each stage behave?
4. How do you know something is a gas? A liquid? A solid?
This past week was dubbed “Experiment Week”. Day 1 was DIY Bath Bombs.
Here is what you need:
Empty Christmas Ornament or a Bath Bomb mold
1 Cup Baking Soda
3/4 Cup Epson Salt (Blended until its a fine powder)
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
1/4 cup water
Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon.
Next place the water, lemon juice, 1 tbsp coconut oil and essential oil (add per fragrance preference) into a spray bottle. Spray the liquid into the dry ingredients until the mixture has the consistency of sand. At this point we added food coloring.
Once the mix starts to stick together start placing into the molds. Close the mod and allow to dry overnight. Due the the size of the ornament molds it took a few days to completely dry out.
We covered the following topics: life skills, science, and math.
Questions and discussion.
1. Can you measure out a cup? 1/4 cup? 1/2 cup?
2. Why is it important to rest and relax?
3. What happens when the wet ingredients mix with the dry?
For the past week or so the kids and I have been storing and stocking up on empty food boxes and toilet paper rolls. We knew we were planning for a project but we hadn’t quite decided what. Well while KJ played with cars in the corner of the classroom genius struck.
A car tunnel!
I quickly pulled out the boxes, a plastic container we don’t use often and a glue gun.
SJ drew a map of where everything should go then we put it all together.
Parents I have three words for you: hours of fun! HOURS OF FUN!!
This is a great STEM activity.
Vocabulary: Velocity, engineering, acceleration and deceleration
Questions: How many seconds does it take for the car to go through the tunnels? Will it go faster or slower as we tilt the lid?
You can even have your kids decorate the boxes adding an element of art to the project. When we were done with the project we carefully removed the tunnel pieces and placed them inside the container to use another time.
Have fun with this project and please share your pictures of your tunnels below.