Science Fun: Non-Newtonian Fluid

solid-and-liquid One of our good friends is an engineer for the Army. On a visit to their house a few years ago, he wowed all the kids by making a substance for them that was liquid in the bowl, but turned to solid when you applied pressure to it. These types of solutions are called ‘Non-Newtonian Fluids’ and they are really cool!

The best part is that they are super easy to make. All you need is 1 cup of water and 1 1/2-2 cups of cornstarch. Start by mixing in 1 1/2 cups of the cornstarch to 1 cup of water. If the mixture is too runny, add in more cornstarch a little at a time. We usually find that 1 part water to 2 parts cornstarch works best. You can add in a little food coloring as well if you’re feeling really creative. ūüôā

Mix well with a fork or whisk

Mix well with a fork or whisk

Once you mix the water and the cornstarch, you will have a soupy liquid in your bowl. Have the kids push down on the surface with their finger and they can feel it turn to a solid! They can also scoop the liquid into their hands, but when they rub their hands together it will become solid.

Rub your hands together to turn it into a solid

Rub your hands together to turn it into a solid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This can be a messy experiment, so I would have the kids play with it outside or over a non-carpeted area. My two still love to make this and play around with it, even though it’s been years since they first saw it. It’s a great boredom buster for summer afternoons, and the kids love to amaze their friends with it as well.

For those of you science geeks like my friend, you can read all the scientific explanation of non-Newtonian fluids on Wikipedia.

Blood type science experiment

blood type experiment

When I was in 7th grade I had an amazing science teacher named Mrs. Hogan. ¬†She had a unique way of making science fun and exciting, and one of the most memorable experiments she had us do was on blood types. ¬†Ever since I did this experiment, I have always been able to remember which blood types are compatible. ¬†It takes very little set up, so it’s great to add-on to a homeschool anatomy unit or just for fun on a summer afternoon.

You can download the Blood Type Experiment instructions and worksheet for free at my TPT store here:

Blood Type Experiment Worksheet

Blood Type Experiment Instructions:

Here’s what you will need:

4 clear cups

Post-it notes or a sharpie to mark the glasses

Red and blue food coloring

Water

 

To set up the experiment:

blood type experiment

1. Fill each glass about halfway with water

2. Label each glass with the different blood types: O, A, B, and AB (be sure to label them high on the glass or your water will obscure the labels like my ‘A’ cup here!)

3. Put several drops of red food coloring in the ‘A’ glass and stir

4. Put several drops of blue food coloring in the ‘B’ glass and stir

5. Put equal amounts of red and blue in the ‘AB’ glass and stir

You should now have 1 glass of clear water, 1 red, 1 blue, and 1 purple.  The students can then use the Blood Type Compatibility sheet  to chart which blood types are compatible.

The answer is found simply.  If you can pour water from one cup into another without it changing the color of the receiving cup, then that blood type can receive the one you poured.  For example, if I pour the red water from blood type A into the purple water of blood type AB, the water stays purple.  This means that AB blood can accept type A blood.  Here is a quick rundown of all the different outcomes:

O can receive only O blood.

A can receive both A and O blood

B can receive both B and O blood

AB can receive all blood types and is the universal receiver.

O is the universal donor – it can give to any blood type.

Note: this experiment does not deal with positive and negative blood types but is meant as an introduction to blood types

Older kids should be able to reason out the answers without having to actually pour the water, but younger kids really understand the concept when they try it out.

20 years later, I still can tell you quickly about blood types because of a great demo by Mrs. Hogan, and I now my own kids can chime in too!

Teaching History and Science with Music

On the hallway bulletin board as you entered my high school band room was a quote by Plato: “Let me make the songs of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.”¬† The idea is that music is so powerful, it can not only change our moods and inspire us, but it can actually shape our thinking.¬† We all know that music plants in our memory like nothing else will, and while classical music may not be what you listen to on the radio, it can have a profound effect in your child’s understanding of their lesson.

In our history and science lessons, I try and make the concepts ‘3D’ for my kids.¬† It’s great to know who the Goths are and their role in the demise of the Roman Empire, but it’s so much more meaningful understand how this people group still affects our lives today through words we use and the architecture of the buildings in our country.¬† Now when my children see a picture of Notre Dame or some of the buildings in our downtown area, they understand what Gothic means and where it came from.

Nothing makes a lesson jump off the page more than music, especially instrumental pieces that allow your child’s imagination to run wild.¬† I encourage you to try playing the music after your¬†lesson and then talk with your children about what they felt from the piece.¬† We often go back and listen again after we discuss the music so they can point out to me the specific parts they liked and understood.¬† My children often get inspired to act out the scene from the lesson while the music is playing.

Here are my tips to adding music to your lesson:

1. The first few times, play the music after the lesson discussion and tell them what the piece is about.

2. Have your children lay down and close their eyes while they listen. Tell them you want to hear what they imagined after it is done.

3. If you are using several movements from a symphony over a series of lessons, play one of the later movements before your lesson and see if they guess correctly what the piece is about.¬† You’ll be amazed at how good they become at this!

4. Be sure to tell your children a quick bio on the composer and help them understand when the piece was made.

5. Don’t feel like you have to play the whole movement, 2-3 minutes is usually the length of an elementary attention span.

6. Every so often have your children draw or sculpt while the music is playing to give them a different outlet for their imaginings.

 

Ideas for music and topics:

Please note that these are affiliate links, and if you choose to download these items I will receive a small commission.  These are some of my favorites that I have used in the past with my children.

These are just a few of my favorites, but with a little research you can find ways to incorporate classical music into your lessons and truly make an impression that will last!