Thursday, June 27, 2013

Water Week - Update #3


$1 Summer Movies

Regal movie theaters run the Summer Movie Express, which shows $1 kids movies on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings for 9 weeks during the summer. You can find more details here. Today's movie was Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, which was very fitting for our water theme! The movie was adorable, and M loved it. She asked if she could get up and dance several times during the movie, and finally had a "dance party" during the credits. She is hysterical!

Water Experiments

 After the movie, we spent some time doing a few kitchen science activities. First, we explored oil and water. Yesterday we read in one of our library books about how ducks have a coating of oil on their feathers that keeps their feathers dry when they swim. We tested this out by mixing oil and water. We added some food coloring, and talked about why the food coloring didn't mix with the oil (because it is water based), but "exploded" and diffused throughout the water when it got through the layer of oil.

I put M in charge of pouring and adding the food coloring, so we ended up with a VERY dark blue. We dumped out half of the mixture, poured it into a bowl, and expanded the activity to talk about color mixing. M added a few drops of yellow food coloring to turn the water green! This gave us another opportunity to talk about how the food coloring mixed with the water to change its color, but didn't mix with the oil. This was  big hit.

 Next, we washed out the measuring cup and made some new green water. M poured the water into a small mason jar. We added a paper towel "bridge" from the jar with water to another empty jar. We talked about capillary action (she thought that was a pretty funny word) and guessed how long it would take for the water to "climb" up the paper towel.

NOTE: This took quite a bit longer than we guessed. Here's what it looked like after 20 minutes:

After 30 minutes:

 We checked it again at bedtime (about 9 hours later), and the water had started pooling in the second jar. I was impressed. M, not so much. Maybe we'll try it again when she's a little older.

After setting up the capillary action experiment, we moved on to talk about states of matter. We talked about the properties of solids, liquids and gases. M is only 2, so the conversation was very basic.

Solids are hard and have a definite shape (we can make ice cubes in different shapes, and when we take them out of the ice cube tray they keep that shape). Water turns into a solid when it is very cold, like when we put it in the freezer.

Liquids flow and take the shape of the container they are in. We can pour water because it is a liquid. We poured it from a jar into a measuring cup and then into a bowl, and each time the water changed shape to fill the container. When ice heats up, it melts and becomes a liquid.

Gases have no shape; they will expand to fill any container. When they aren't in a container they will rise into the air, like the steam that rises out of a pot when we are cooking. Water turns into a gas when it is heated, and we call it steam. When steam cools, it condenses and turns back into a liquid.

We heated up water in a kettle, poured it into a jar, and added food coloring. We observed how quickly the food coloring diffused throughout the water (molecules have more energy and are moving faster). We watched the steam rise, and put a bowl of ice on top of the jar to speed up the condensation. The idea was to make it "rain," but the neck of the jar wasn't wide enough, so the water just dripped down the sides of the jar. It was a little disappointing.

Our last experiment of the day was supposed to simulate how rain falls from a cloud. I found the idea here, and it looked really cute, but didn't work the way I expected it to. We made a shaving cream "cloud" on top of a glass of water. M added food coloring until it "rained" down into the cup. She was very interested in the shaving cream (we later took an entire bowl of shaving cream out to the baby pool to play and explore), but didn't really get the rain part. I'm wondering if this would work better with cotton balls somehow... maybe we'll revisit this when we get into weather.

Chalk Paint Round 2

Yesterday's attempt at chalk paint was a bit of a disaster, but I thought it was such a good idea that I wasn't willing to give up. This time I mixed the cornstarch, food coloring and water myself (while M was busy playing with a bowl of shaving cream in the pool). I added more water this time and got out the foam brushes. This was SO much better! I found that the more watery the solution was, the easier it was to paint with. The foam brushes definitely slid across the pavement much better than the regular paintbrushes too. We got out our foam hopscotch set and used the pieces as stencils to paint numbers all over the driveway. I also painted the alphabet across the driveway, and we stepped on each letter as we sang the ABC's. The only issue we had was that the watery paint was very easy to spill (see the big splash under the letter I). I'm wondering if small cans might work better, like recycled pineapple or tuna cans (and as a bonus, they would look like mini paint cans).

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