Monday, 25 May 2009

Mark your calendars New Zealand

27 June - 5 July 2009

It's been a long while since I mentioned anything "nature-y" and although I'm not actually directing your attention to anything we've done recently, I am actually using today's post to remind New Zealanders to mark their calendars for the above event.

It will only require an hour each day to complete your research, but if you're like us, this will generally be over our breakfast time. One of the beauties of being homeschoolers, is that we're not in the morning rush to get out the door and off to school, so we enjoy our mornings to see what birds are visiting each day.

When you follow the link you'll not only be able to download the form to record your research but you can download a nifty colourful .pdf photo chart of the common birds.

Last year I didn't recognise many of the birds, but it's a pleasure to think I now recognise most, if not all who frequent our neck of the woods.

So, don't forget, mark your calendars and help monitor the distribution and population trends of common garden birds in New Zealand.

27 June - 5 July 2009

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Cutting Ice, Water Clock and Water Pressure Experiments

Cutting Ice Experiment

Gather required equipment: a wire coat hanger, tea towel, dental floss, pliers and a cube of ice.
Using the pliers snip the coat hanger to desired length; we cut ours to approximately 200mm
Bend both ends and make a hook as shown in photo
Tie dental floss and make as taut as possible
Try cutting quickly ...
try cutting slowly ...
or even try cutting whilst standing near the fire to see if ice will melt quickly
Whether it was because our dental floss wasn't as taut as I initially thought I had made it, but the experiment worked fine using either a slow or fast cutting motion.

Ice is melting right at the point of contact and as the dental floss goes through it’s kind of refreezing above it.

Learn more by taking the Prof's next water class.

Water Clock Experiment

Gather required equipment: Two containers, ruler, strong tape, marker pens, stopwatch and water
Make a small hole in the top container then tape both containers to the ruler.
While placing your finger over the hole fill the top container and mark the level
When ready, remove finger from below the hole and watch the stopwatch marking the bottom container at whatever time intervals you wish ... we chose every 30 seconds aiming for 2 minutes in total

Ancient Egyptians and Chinese both used different ways of measuring water to use a clock.

God made time using stars. We can still tell the time like this today.

In the old days they used long containers or circles.

If you use peanut butter containers like we did because we had no yoghurt punnets (or similar), you won't actually have all the water drop into the bottom container unless you remember to put the hole at the lowest point of the container. On our first attempt we had the hole on the concave!!! In actual fact it was a good mistake to make because we discussed why the water didn't empty entirely ... because once the water got to the level of the hole, no more water could come out as the water level was lower the hole.

Word scramble and yes, tamāhine 1 did this scramble all by herself. I was really impressed!!

Learn more by taking the Prof's next water class.

Water Pressure Experiment
This is an experiment the children remembered attempting at Playcentre some weeks ago, but it was great to create it again because we were able to understand it a little better.For every square inch of our skin there is 14.6 pounds of pressure pushing down. Not only is it pushing down, but it gets pushed up as well because it's all around us. That's why we don't get squashed.
When you're under water you get more pressure. If we were under the water in a submarine and you can't get the pressure equalised, it can actually crush the submarine if it goes too deep.

Learn more by taking the Prof's next water class.

Like I've mentioned throughout today's post: to learn more, take the Prof's next Water Water Everywhere! class. From our family's point of view the class was awesome. We highly recommend it as we thoroughly enjoyed the four weeks of learning.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 18 May 2009

Hanky Umbrella Experiment

A very fun experiment. We felt like magicians as we tipped the glass upside down without the water falling out. (Well, only a smidgen dripped through, but we knew that was supposed to happen.)

Nothing hidden in the hanky ...
Place hanky over glass
Twist tightly underneath glass
Then hey presto! Tip glass over and the water stays in the glass

This photo is from our first attempt the night before, but it was one of those "oh no!!" moments ... the batteries went flat at the crucial point of the experiment! lol
So ... how did we do it?

Aah, a magician doesn't give away his secret!!

Just as well we're not magicians then huh!?

Surface Tension

Water has a property called surface tension
. Although it looks like liquid, water has a kind of elastic skin and the surface tension creates a barrier.

But what relevance has that to the hanky? Well, the trick (or should we call it the first step in the experiment) is to soak the handkerchief in water and squeeze it out.

The hanky has little tiny weaves in it and little places where water can get trapped. By stretching it really tight the surface tension stretches out and stops the water from pouring out of the glass.

The same principle applies to the use of umbrellas. Surface tension. That's why we don't get wet.

If you do try this experiment, be rest assured that you will lose a small amount of water initially ... after all, a handkerchief isn't as strong as an umbrella eh? But it certainly gets the point across that if water didn't have surface tension, then water wouldn't be water!

A few more experiments to come still, so tune back in soon.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Alpha Math-U-See completed

We celebrated the completion of Alpha Math-U-See shortly after 11 o'clock this morning.

Congratulations tamāhine 1

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Underwater Volcano experiment

This experiment is to show how lava comes up under the ocean or lake.

Heat is energy in motion and the hotter something is the more energetic its particles are.
We improvised to do the experiment. We have no salt shaker so I decided to use an old dried herbs bottle. We had no string handy so I used a shoestring. As for the large jar, I emptied the contents of the largest jar I have and I'm glad because if we'd used a smaller jar I don't think it would have looked quite as impressive ... as you'll soon see ...

Firstly, we gathered the equipment (1) a large jar with cold water (2) string (3) salt shaker with hot tap water (4) food colouring
Tie the string around your smaller jar and add a dash or two of food colouring
Replace top on the smaller jar then steadily lower into the large jar
Instantly the volcano begins erupting
A better photo showing the eruption.

My question: When magma erupts from the chamber and meets the air, it becomes lava. If the magma is coming out under the water, is it still magma or is it called lava?

Getting up close to watch ...
And show his little sister where to watch ...
All five enjoying the experiment
We took the little jar out
Placed it next to the large jar
And yes, the two jars were the same colour and the same temperature!

The hot coloured water comes out of the jar and cold water goes back in which is why the colour becomes the same.

We learned that hot water will rise through cold water.

With a little experimentation and imagination one can see how a volcano might look whilst erupting under the ocean or lake rising up to bubble under the surface.

We have more experiments we have completed so please stay tuned as I prepare the next postings ...

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Rosetta Stone Giveaway

I was reading a blog post about a Rosetta Stone giveaway this morning. To go in for the chance to win a Version 3 Rosetta Stone Latin head on over here to enter the contest:
Rosetta Stone is the fastest way to learn a language and has been the #1 foreign language curriculum among homeschoolers for a while — and you can WIN the *all new* version 3 Rosetta Stone Homeschool LATIN program… FOR FREE! This is the first year you can get Latin in the brand new Version III update.
This is a $259 program (and believe me it’s worth every penny!).
This is a computer based curriculum and Rosetta Stone will also include a headset with microphone, and a supplementary “Audio Companion” CD so you can practice lessons in the car, on the go, or where-ever! Students participate in life-like conversations and actually produce language to advance through the program.
Rosetta Stone incorporates listening, reading, grammar, vocabulary and writing along with speaking and pronunciation lessons. For parents, the new Parent Administrative Tools are integrated into the program to allow parents to easily enroll up to ten students in any of 12 predetermined lesson plans, monitor student progress, grade completed work (the program grades the work automatically as the students progress- I love that!), and you can view and print reports for transcripts. Homeschooling a lot of kids at your house? This program is designed to enroll and track up to ten students (five users on two computers) and will work for nearly all ages — from beginning readers up to college students.
To win this most excellent Latin program copy these paragraphs (in the blockquote here) and post them in (or as) your next blog post, and/OR link to the contest from your facebook page and/OR email the information to your homeschool support group – Then go to the original page and leave a comment saying that you’ve posted about, or have linked to, the contest. Please make sure the link works to get back to the original contest page when you post. And good luck!
So what are you waiting for — (please don’t) enter the contest right now!
Whether we'd be eligible in New Zealand, who knows, but if any of my overseas readers passes by and would like to enter, then I've at least spread the word.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Multitasking - experiment while making dinner

As we prepared tonight's kai, I decided to try a little experiment called Tornado in a Jar ...

Step 1: Fill jar with water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid
Step 2: Add a few drops of food colouring (We used a syringe because I thought it would be easier for the children to only use a drop as opposed to a blob of food colouring ... If I had an eye-dropper, I would have used that, but one uses what is available, nē ?)
Step 3: Place lid tightly on jar
Step 4: Swirl jar in circles lots of times
(The swirling motion you give the jar forms a vortex and is an easy way to create your own tornado.)
Cool!!!! A Tornado !!!!
Close-up shot of tornado (very hard to photograph I have to say!!!)
We tried the experiment probably four times because it was so much fun.
I've included the following photo because it captures the smile on tama 1 the first time he did the experiment ... by this stage the tornado has just about "left the area" so the photo is definitely more for showing excitement of the kids as opposed to the experiment result.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Friday, 1 May 2009

Week One, Term Two now complete

I'm satisfied with our first week in Term Two. I feel we achieved good results. The focus now will be to build on our efforts throughout the coming weeks.

This post will focus on sharing photos of our volcano experiment which we carried out on Thursday.

By chance, it just so happens that Uncle Warrick popped out for a few hours before his shift started at work. His timing was perfect, because the plan was to FINALLY try the volcano experiment! Warrick, being the terrific brother that he is, was keen to muck in with us. I was very glad because it meant I could take the photos without having to stop and start at each stage of our task to get photos. The other good point having him here was that we could trial the experiment more than once, (ie we added more baking soda and vinegar with each experiment to see what would happen.)

We had a LOT of fun!!!

Tama 2 inserted the central vent with Uncle Warrick trying to prevent Tama 3 from adding his contribution of dirt at the same time!
The children all took turns with each experiment to add the ingredients.
Baking soda, food colouring and vinegar
Within seconds, moltem magma travelled up from the earth's mantle into the magma chamber
Gas pressure forces magma from the chamber into vents toward the surface
We added a little extra entertainment with the cars to indicate how the people rushed to their vehicles to escape the lava!

Volcanoes erupt in different ways - from steady to spectacular. Our (three) attempts were all "Hawaiian" eruptions, ie thin, liquid lava flows out in slow, steady red-hot streams.

As we packed up and moved on to other things this afternoon, Tama 1 looked over at our "cooling" volcano and made the comment that the red (food colouring) mixed with the sand on the cone looked like scoria, which yes, by crickey it did. So we discussed the types of rock that we are familiar with (such as the scoria) in Rotorua. More specifically, how Aotearoa New Zealand forms part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

At L-O-N-G last, I can finally check the volcano experiment off our list!

For those who keep up with my blog(s), you may be wondering if we went to playcentre this week. The simple answer: no!

Why's that? Because we still haven't found a vehicle we can afford and I've decided to make the most limited of travels off the land until we find something now. I will possibly only take the children once a week ... if that.

Again, if you're a regular to my blog(s), you'll know the answer to the next question:

Am I bothered? No.

Why not? Becuase I've said it before and I'll say it again. There's nothing the playcentre has except HEAPS of paint, that we do not have at home. This week especially I was more than happy to be home to concentrate on school work. And as the recent postings indicate, the results speak for themself!

Plus, I need to save up for another computer now. Our poor old computer is desperately in need of retirement. The old girl takes two hours to crank up in the mornings now!!!!

As my girlfriend said: "You can live without a car, but you can't live without your computer." Aaahhh, she knows me soooooooooooo well !!!! lol.

Keep smiling. Whether big or small, life will always throw challenges at us all. My challenge is simply a computer and a new car. I'm always up for a challenge, lol.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano