Friday, 30 May 2014

The Rainforest, with links

A while back I was trying to tie in dd's desire to do more science, with ds2's ongoing geography learning. I came up with rainforest (and soils - see previous post) as suitable topics that I could engage them both in. Dd has more of an interest in animals than anything else. Below is her rainforest layers poster: 

The rainforest layers printable (top left of the top picture) was the nicest and simplest one I could find. It can be seen here.

I printed out Rainforest food chain items which we laminated and velcro'd onto our felt board. I think I got more satisfaction from laminating than the kids did from the 5 minutes they spent arranging the food web, but that's kinda how it goes sometimes :)

[For info: This is the link to the food chain printable, which I found via this resource here. The latter has other Rainforest printables, worksheets etc. that might be of use if you happen to be doing Rainforesty things.]

In addition to all the rainforest stuff, ds2 did a mini-poster on The Nile and the Aswaan Dam, which was a spin off from the geography book he is using. He will be starting IGCSE geography in September, so I'm trying desperately to do the more projecty stuff now before we get to the hoop jumping.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Bees n beans project and soil experiments

Back in April we sent off for the Bees n Beans free kit as part of a research project by Sussex University. 
The kids dutifully planted their beans. 

It was a slow start, but the broad bean plants grew a little like children do some slow and squat, and some skinny and tall. Finally, after a few days of hot weather last week, the plants have suddenly burst into flower. Not all are fully blooming yet, so we wont be able to do the hand pollination bit until later in the week. Bad timing considering half of us will be in Spain, so poor dh will be left with 'pollination' instructions along with a long list of dd's busy social schedule :)

A while back, when I had a chance to think of things other than IGCSE exams and robotics championships, we did some hands-on things.

One of them was to do with soil samples. It was inspired by an experiment from this old book that we picked up from the swap shop, along with other old textbooks.

The kids collected soil samples from different areas of a local nature reserve/woodland and followed the above instructions

Watching soil settle is a bit soil settle.

Three days later...

 and we compared our bottles of the different soils

This is what they should have looked like:

Our results were, um, not quite so well defined...

We planned to do pH testing of the same samples, but the pH paper is still in its packet on the windowsill and the soil samples are bagged up and going slimy in the greenhouse. Perhaps that will be next month's project?

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Packing: Three days until C14 Robotics Team go to FLL European Championships!

You can build anything out of LEGO, right? (Toothbrush...passport...)

And they have the hats to go in style

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