Friday, March 25, 2011

3/25/11: KinderCare Spring Camp - The Science of Dirt

Are you looking for a Spring Camp during your child's spring vacation week? KinderCare has a wonderful program, and some cool experiments. Get your kids excited about Science. The theme is "The Secret Science of Dirt". KinderCare's enthusiastic teachers and fun activities give young learners a chance to dig into the science behind “growing green” and create kids who are excited about the natural world. If you don't know already I also blog about my friend's non-profit Green Schools so this is a great match for me and it is always exciting to get kids excited about Science as I was.
For more information go to their Website.
Some fun facts about Dirt:
• Did you know that earthworms eat dirt?
• Did you know that rain and snow help to create dirt?
• Did you know that most dirt is made up of tiny pieces of rock?
• Did you know that dirt can be of different colors including red and yellow?
• Did you know that some types of monkeys eat dirt?
• Did you know that some of the dirt in your backyard may be about 1,000 years old?
• Did you know that there can be more than a million earthworms in one acre (little bigger than a football field) of land?
• Did you know that it can take hundreds or thousands of years to make just one inch of dirt or soil?
• Did you know that soil or dirt can be of different shapes?
• Did you know that one cup of soil may hold as many bacteria as there are people on Earth?
• Did you know that the weight of all the bacteria in one acre of soil can equal the weight of one or two cows?
Did you know that earthworms, gophers, shrew, deer mouse, mole crickets, and snakes are just a few of the many hundreds of animals and insects that live inside soil?

Here is a simple Experiment you can do with your kids. We did this at the Children's Museum in Boston and my son really liked it.

Science AdventuresTM: Take the Adventure Home
Fun hands-on science activities to engage your child in discovery learning.
By: Science Adventures’ Andy the Science Wiz

LEAF CHROMATOGRAPHYAs Spring causes leaves start to start budding out all over, it is the perfect opportunity to engage your young explorers with some simple hands-on science nature fun. This easy experiment combines a fun, outdoor leaf hunt with some simple chemistry to uncover the hidden colors of leaves.

What you will need:Plastic cup or water glass
White coffee filter
Rubbing alcohol (Should only be used with adult supervision)
A selection of leaves

What to do:Take your budding scientist on a field trip to collect green leaves from a variety of trees. Once home, encourage your scientist to carefully look at and sort the leaves they have collected. What is the same about the leaves, what is different? Have them look closely at the leaves with a magnifying glass if available.
Cut the coffee filter into strips about one inch wide. Have an adult carefully pour ¼ inch of rubbing alcohol into a cup. Place one end of the filter strip under a leaf. Help your child use the edge of a dime to rub back and forth on the leaf a few times. This will rub some of the leaf’s color onto the filter paper; you should be able to see a green line. Place the filter paper in the glass so the bottom of the filter touches the alcohol with the green line just above the alcohol. Use a piece of tape to hold the filter paper in place and leave everything undisturbed for an hour. After an hour, check the filter paper and discuss what you see with your child!
What is happening:Leaves are the food factories for plants. They use photosynthesis to turn light and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates. It is the chemicals responsible for photosynthesis that give leaves their color. Leaves are primarily green because the most common chemical found in leaves is green chlorophyll.
In your experiment, the alcohol dissolved the chemicals in the leaf and carried them up the paper spreading them out so they can be seen. Try different types of leaves to see if you can find different colors. Once dry the filter appears and some of the collected leaves can be used to make a collage.

Disclosure: KinderCare gave my family one week of Spring Camp to blog about this.

No comments: