Continuing with our fun science club activities the next day we played with Water. Understanding how water changes between different forms of gas, liquid and solid. One fun thing I did in that was that I froze water with some grapes in them and the children started digging into the ice to get to the grapes and feast on them :).
We did experiments with understanding the shape and taste of water. The kids did worksheets on the topic and had fun filling water into different containers to see the shape changing and finally conclude that water has no shape of its own.
We then experimented with food colour and water. Children mixed yellow in water; then blue and then mixed both of them. Then I gave them some oil but no matter how hard they tried they observed that oil did not dissolve in water. On adding salt to water, they again saw different results.
The next one was a discovery for me too as I also didn’t know this. Did you know how ducks stay afloat in water?
We took two card strips and covered one with oil. Then we dipped both the strips in water and took them out. The oil covered strip had not absorbed any water. Then I told them how ducks have oil glands near their tails which keep spreading the oil near their feathers regularly. It was then easy for the kids to understand that even though the ducks stayed in water all the time, the water cannot get through the top layer of oil covered feathers and that’s how their bodies stayed warm.
This was one the messiest days. We had water, colour and oil all over the workstations!
Exploring our solar system
The next two days was about how my very efficient mother just served us noodles in a plate! Remember that? Except that plate aka Pluto is no longer a planet as it was when we were children. The first day was entirely theory. We talked about sun, earth and moon and how the Sun is just like the distant stars and that other plants have many moons! The journal time was very interesting. The children drew the entire solar system writing names of all the planets.
They had many questions like if Sun was also a star why did it look so different? If the sun is so big and the moon so small why did they seem the same size to us? I was happy as they were not just observing and writing but they had many questions!
The next day to answer their questions, we did a model of Sun, moon and Earth. Craft always excites children! Once I showed them how to make the model, all were busy drawing, cutting and putting the model together. They even drew smileys on the Sun and green and blue patches on Earth and marked out far-side and near-side of the moon. With this simple model it was easy to understand moon and Earth revolution and concepts of day and night, full moon, solar and lunar eclipse and the relation between size and distance of each with the other.
Nature and Nurture
Next activity in our science club was on understanding how do plants grow. I made a chart explaining photosynthesis. We had an interactive session on why are plants important for us and we did a small craft activity on essential “foods” for the plants. But to really make it interesting we did a planting activity. A friend of mine volunteered to help me in this activity. She got soil, seeds and manure from nursery and we all went in the balcony. I had made pots using plastic cups and making holes in it.
The children had loads of fun getting hands on with mixing soil and manure and then planting their seeds. We planted okra and fenugreek. Each marked their cups with the seed name, date and their own name and kept it out in the balcony where it would get sunlight.
The journals of planting day were the most colourful. They all drew diagrams to explain how a plant grows and then described their own planting activity.
At the end of the day everyone took their cups home. The feeling of belonging is very high in kids. Each day they watered their plants; going out frequently to see if a sapling is there or not. I remember how excited Nandini was when the first shoots came out and she takes care of the plants as her own baby. Nurturing it with water and loads of love and measuring its height every-day to check on its progress! 🙂
A little magic
I thought of doing some fun to explain static electricity. I gave each child a paper and asked them to cut into small pieces and then write a number on every piece. Then I gave them balloons to blow. For some time we had a play of blow and burst but soon enough I told them I would be giving them no more if they continued to burst :). Then I asked them to put the paper pieces on balloon… nothing happened.
Next I asked them to rub the balloon against their hair and try again! Magic they all stuck. Without me saying anything they tried to stick as many papers as they could and then came the fun part for me when I asked them to add the numbers on all the papers that they stuck :D. Evil!
At the end of our simple and fun experiments, they were thinking more, asking more and were articulating and writing down their observations and learning. I didn’t set out with too many goals just that they are able to understand the concepts they learn at school better and are able to apply. Here are some pages from their journals, all of which I am so proud of! I feel I made some headway and I’m sure my little scientists will keep on exploring!
PS: I wish I could have clicked more pictures to share with all but between managing the children and teaching the experiments there was little time left for pictures when the action was really happening.