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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Volcanoes in the Backyard

Our verandah table was washed away with bubbling lava and joyous laughter from three children (okay, one child, one 20 year old and one old[er]adult). Boy's kitchen science evolved into a more elaborate demonstration of the volcanic forces of vinegar and bicarbonate soda.

We made a plaster of paris mountain around a small plastic vial. Once the plaster was dry, Boy painted it to resemble hot lava flowing down and destroying trees in its path. Into the plastic vial we added vinegar (dyed pink with food colouring) and bicarb soda. The resultant eruption was pure bliss for Boy who kept adding bicarb until my box was empty!!!

A wonderful, easy and frugal home school experiment that encompassed chemical reactions and art, Boy has played with his new toy for hours. All you need is plaster of paris, water to mix, a small plastic vial/jar, a cardboard cone to place over the vial (we made one from a cereal box) and on which to plaster the plaster, and paint to decorate the plaster mountain. Add vinegar and baking soda to the vial, and watch your volcano spew its fury forth.

Hint for the volcano lava - add a drop of dish washing detergent and note the difference in the lava flow.

Boy's youth work hours on Mondays have been used up. Looking to replace this with another Monday group activity, Boy chose beading classes. At our first lesson, Boy produced a necklace that he hasn't taken off since (pictured). We plan to attend every Monday morning but I have had to place a monetary freeze at $10.00 per lesson.

Boy's eyes widened in glee as he surveyed the array of gem stone beads. While they are indeed beautiful, the cost of them falls well outside our weekly budget. And then...Boy spotted the leather thronging in all colors of the rainbow. Quiet impressive and double the price of jewellery wire it is! Even more impressive though was that Boy knew the names of most of the gem beads. Lapidary classes are paying off with overall learning.

In an effort to instill real life budgeting, Boy has to stay within the $10.00 limit. If he chooses to make a full necklace, he has to use budget beads. If he chooses to use leather thronging, he will need to sacrifice quantity of beads and rely upon a few well chosen beads separated with knots rather than spacer beads.
Eager to use the beautiful glass and gem stone beads that he was in awe of, Boy has been collecting loose change to add to his $10.00 limit. Without even meaning to teach financial skills, beading classes have opened up new teachable moments and probable presents for all the females in the family. My favourite colour is red, I keep telling him. He hasn't got it yet!

In our travels to find a Youth group replacement, we stumbled upon a supply of crystal flowers. At only $2.00 each, we purchased a bulk lot for Boy to play with and for me to use in my work with children. A most effective display of crystal growth, Boy has used so many already that I wonder if I'll have any left for work. Check it out: it's Christmas in July already!

And finally, new web site is almost ready. We are going live this Thursday, the 17th of May. For a sneak preview and to find out exactly why I've been so busy, have a look at Imaginif's new home. I hope you consider joining us in the forums and getting some good discussion going around child safety and protection.


Kaber said...

I am SO JEALOUS!! My Asoerger Boy wuld be in HEAVEN if we had lapidary classes around here!

love the volcano!

maybe you need top buy a fridge that says is comes with a magic shelf. My magic shelf only seems to turn deliscious food into nasty green fuzz...

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

And I am jealous of the crystals! How'd you ever get them to grow so well?

What wonderful science experiments you are doing. This is getting my all fired up about doing our summer science. Starting next week. This week the International Science Fair is here in ABQ. We are going to the public days on Thursday and Friday. Cool!

Megan Bayliss said...

Thanks K and E
the blogs make it all look so easy but it's such hard work being a manipulative Mum and making the activities look like they're not school learning.

Laughed at your fridge comment K. How I wish I had that magic shelf. My fridge is so boring. Everytime I look in it there's nothing yummy to eat.

E, weren't you going to come down under for a science, geography and ecology experiment. There's plenty of cockaroaches for the boys to study.


jdoriot said...

I love the volcano! I'm planning some experiments for this summer and I think your volcano will have to be included...thanks for sharing!

This blog is no longer kept. I am instead blogging only to Imaginif Child Protection became Serious Business