Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pond Scum and Planets

Gizmo is in Life Science this year, being a 6th grader and all, and so along with petri dishes, seeds, and her curriculum books, she received a microscope this year. Today was her official first Lab assignment of learning how to use it. I figured that called for a mini field trip to the city pond to gather some pond water. This was a surprise to them and a welcome break from school after finishing math. Gathering the pond water and plant life was a quick matter. Getting the kids to want to leave the pond was another. I did enjoy the walk though around it though, so I guess I can't complain.

We don't have all that much bread around the house anymore, since we are a mostly gluten free household, but I did wish that we had brought some for the ducks. At the sight of the kids they started swimming closer.

We spotted a baby duck.
That, of course, made Princess very happy.

And Squirt enjoyed yelling a string of gibberish from the comfort of his stroller as we walked.
Once home, I showed Gizmo how to set up a slide and get it in focus in the microscope. The best place to do it was on the dining room floor. I snapped a picture really quick, but it is does not convey how both of the big kids enjoyed the microscope. I think I heard the phrase, "Awesome, look at this," more times that I would care to count.

And although Spike's science was not super exciting today, it was fun. He has been studying the solar system. Last week, we set up all the planets on the kitchen table, represented by fruit and veggies. Mercury, the smallest, was a pea, and Saturn, the largest, was a honeydew melon. Earth was a grape, and was promptly eaten as soon as I said it was okay.

Today we had an experiment to help show just how far our solar system is. Spike and I got a roll of toilet paper and marked the planets along it with construction paper. The beginning of the paper was were the sun would be. Earth was five toilet paper squares away, and Neptune was a whopping 150 squares away. Each square represented 18,700,000 miles of space. Unfortunately, the only place to lay it all out was outside, and it was a bit windy. The girls helped us hold it down though. Gizmo is at the Sun end, and I was at Neptune.