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Tuesday, 29 March 2016 21:28

Excavation Fun!

When it comes to planning homeschool science activities or experiments, I have so far proven to be quite terrible at planning ahead. This one is super simple, though, and when I got the idea I set it up - even though I had no specific plan to do this activity with the girls - and it was ready when I wanted it!  I got this idea from Lemon Lime Adventures , and I love their use of a lego man in an ice column. My girls aren't so into lego, however, so I thought gemstones would work fine!

Materials: 

  • Empty plastic containers in which to freeze water
  • Small toys, stones, or marbles to freeze into water
  • A tray or plate (Ikea child's plate) on which to conduct the excavation
  • Digging utensils - I used a tupperware orange peeler and spoon
  • Additives - I used warm water coloured red with food colouring, and salt
  • Tools to add additives - I found the pipette really helpful for the water, but a spoon would work also, and I just put a small spoon in the salt

I used small plastic apple sauce containers to freeze, and I'm glad I did - my girls don't have the longest attention span, and any more ice would have been more than they would be able to remain interested in. I had two each for back-up, but one block of ice was more than enough for each of them for one day - and I did a fair amount of prompting and helping.

I froze the stones in layers - first filling the containers with a small amount of water and freezing solid, adding a stone and then a bit more water, freezing again until solid and repeating until the container was full and had 4 hidden trinkets. Then I saved the completed blocks in my freezer until I was ready for an impromptu science lesson!

Clara took to this a little easier than Audrey who needed more help and prompting. Occasionally I would jump in and add a considerable amount of salt and say 'see how that works' and let them continue. Once they had extracted their first stone, though, both girls became increasingly interested in unlocking the others!

I must remember that part of planning ahead should include assembling the materials - and setting up, like I did here - because I find myself reluctant to come up with an idea AND implement it on the same day. And since I enjoy the planning part most... often things just don't get done. Having these at the ready gave me no excuses - I didn't even have to think! 

The finished product - each girl unearthed four stones, and learned a little bit about how ice reacts to salt and warm water. 

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