Ice Fishing

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  We continued our look at states of matter by doing a fun little experiment – ice fishing! Each child received a glass dish with water (the colours were just for fun!), several ice cubes, and a “fishing line”.  After laying the fishing line across the top surface of an ice cube, we sprinkled salt on top, counted to 10 and then checked our lines to see if we ‘caught’ a cube! The salt caused some melting of the ice cube, and as it refroze again, it trapped the fishing line.


Dancing Raisins

…. otherwise known as “The Great Gas Experiment” took place at our kitchen table today. The kids had fun watching the raisins “dance” in the glass of ginger ale, as the bubbles of gas carried them to the surface. When a few bubbles burst at the surface, the raisins would then sink to the bottom of the glass to begin their ‘dance’ all over again!

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Liquid Cryogenics

Now that the insects and bugs have all but disappeared from the backyard, the boys haven’t been able to attempt more cryogenic experiments involving these poor, hapless creatures, and our kitchen freezer. One cold day one of the kids initiated the idea of seeing what would happen to oil if left overnight in the sub-zero temperatures. Knowing the outcome, I decided to add more variables so that a comparison could be made. We put out a bowl of water, a bowl of canola oil and a bowl where we mixed the two liquids. We then recorded what we discovered the next morning!

The Transit of Venus!

Several weeks ago I noticed one of our neighbours outside in his driveway, with strange apparatus and pieces of cardboard. My curiosity got the best of me and so I walked over with the kids to find out what he was doing. During discussion with him we learned that he was tweaking some viewing instruments in order to give a talk and a viewing presentation on the “transit of Venus”. This was the first time I had ever heard tell of such an event. Definitely handy to have a retired physics prof nearby, I learned.

He started out by making a pin-hole camera type of viewer, but he wanted to project a larger image of the sun onto a screen. On sunny days when we saw him out, we went over to see how he had progressed with his ideas. We enjoyed seeing images of the sun on his garage wall, and then in a cardboard box. The day of the solar flare we went over and we were able to see the shadow of the solar flare on the image of the sun! He had it projected through a telescope in which he had replaced the lens near the eyepiece in order to project the image out.

Well, today was the big day! We enjoyed a trip downtown to the Museum to hear our neighbour speak. It was quite a celebratory community atmosphere with people of all ages and stages present. There was a projected image of the transit of Venus inside the museum on a screen from the university’s observatory. Outside, Dr. Hunt had set up a telescope and projected the telescope image onto a piece of cardboard for us to view. Someone had brought a piece of welding glass that you could hold up to your eye and see the sun (which looked green, by the way). The weather report had been a bit iffy, promising clouds and possible rain, but it turned out to be magnificent weather for this once-in-a-lifetime event! We celebrated by going out for ice cream afterwards!

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Transit of Venus

April showers bring May flowers

We made a very simple rain guage and the plan is to check it each time it rains and record our data.

Using an empty 2L  pop bottle, we filled the bottom with tiny stones. We then attached a ruler with packing tape, and then filled it with water so that the water level is right at the ‘0’ mark on the ruler. As it rains, we’ll be able to see how much rain falls each time.

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Sunday was an exciting day – we had rain! Unfortunately, not enough fell to get the water level past 0. Next time though! Next time! 🙂

Geology Fun

We’ve had some fun in the past couple of days, using a fantastic resource book to do hands-on learning about the earth.

You can find out what we have been up to here and here!


Crocs, and snakes and spiders… oh my!

Do you know the difference between poison and venom?

Or that certain scorpions flouresce under black (uv) light?

Have you seen the amazing skin of a crocodile, close up?

Yesterday we visited Reptilia, the reptile zoo just north of Toronto. Serious fun. Amazing creatures. Check it out!

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Last Day of Summer Hike

On the last day of the summer we went hiking at the Arboretum. Kaelan was proudly sporting his new bathing suit while Eden had to bring “Kitty” in her carrying case. What a wonderful end to a fantastic season!

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The Great Rodent Mystery

This morning I found a dead mouse downstairs – Summer, our cat, had likely scared it to death sometime during the night. Poor thing. I put it in the garbage.

Thankfully I had time for a morning walk (by myself). On my walk, I found another type of rodent, dead on the sidewalk. During my walk I decided that it would be fun to take the unknown rodent home and do a comparison study between the mouse and the mystery rodent I had found. I used some leaves and a discarded candy box to take it home during the latter half of my trek.

I gathered the kids on the back porch.

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We made a list of differences between the two critters. We then sketched them. We researched via internet what the unknown rodent could be, and after some searching we discovered that it most resembled a Northern Short-tailed shrew. We learned a few interesting facts about said shrew via Wikipedia. And finally, after our science observation was done, we buried them back in the earth from whence they had come.

I LOVE this stuff!!!