R.E.A.L. Science - Chemistry for the Grammar Stage

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hello there! I know I haven't been as great as doing weekly updates this year, but I wanted to check in and share a little about how science is going for Silas. This post has a TON of pictures. I'm sharing what we have done over the last month in science. We are having lots of fun!

This year I chose to go with R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Chemistry for the Grammar Stage. We used the biology guide back in kindergarten. I wanted to simplify science this year without missing out on all the fun hands-on experiments. We have studied animals far too much, and haven't yet touched on chemistry.

 There aren't any required books to complete these lessons. There is a book list of recommended books that go with each unit. We checked out all the ones we could find at the library, but they aren't necessary if you want to keep it simple. I do have him read one here and there if there is a lull in our day. I think it's worth checking out the additional books. Kids this age still love to "see" things explained. Each lesson has a quick one page summary of what will be covered in that unit. We started out with "What is Chemistry?"

One of the first lessons explained that everything is made of chemicals, so we had to be chemical detectives and search through the house to find chemicals in our food or products.

 We do our best to limit the amount of harmful chemicals in our food, so there weren't as many that had weird stuff in them.

He marked on his lab sheet what chemicals he could find. Most of our cleaners and personal products are for the most part (harmful) chemical free.

This is his lab sheet. I like that they are pretty simple, but give clear direction.

Our next activity was a "Telling Things Apart" experiment.

I poured all three of the above items into separate bowls without him knowing what any of them were.

Silas had to smell and look carefully at each one and mark on his lab sheet how they were different.

He also used his sense of touch to feel how they were different.

 Next we would see how those 3 items would respond to water, oil and vinegar.

First Silas added each ingredient to the glass.

His first liquid was water.

We learned which of the powders was water soluble.

Next we tried vinegar. It never fails to delight my boys what vinegar and baking powder do when combined. These pictures make me laugh :)

We tried a few more combinations of food color and water.

 We also tried oil and water. He had so much fun with this activity!

The lab sheet gave him a place to record all his observations.
Our next unit was learning the properties of an atom.

Our activity involved putting fragrant liquids in a balloon and guessing whether we would be able to smell through the balloon. Silas smelled the balloon to see what it smelled like before the experiment.

He examined them to make sure there were no holes.

We added plain water, vanilla, lemon, almond and cinnamon to each balloon.

I had to send him out of the room, so he couldn't see which was which.

He did a great job guessing which scent was in each balloon. He learned that his original hypotheses was wrong. The scent did indeed pass through the balloon.

Next we learned how atoms moved faster in hot water than in cold.

We made observations after a certain time to show how quickly the food coloring moved throughout the water.

 Some of the experiments are simple. We learned about how protons have a positive charge and electrons a negative charge. To demonstrate this Silas tried to stick a balloon on the wall. Of course it fell.

Then he rubbed it on the ground.

He tried it again and it stuck. 

He did the same thing with his hair. Mine worked better!

We also made marshmallow models of 10 of the elements. At first I didn't see the value of this, but it explained how the number of protons and electrons grow by one and match the number on the Periodic Table of Elements. For each proton there is also an electron.

We made 8 of the 9 before we ran out of marshmallows.

Next we weighed our protons. Then we added our electrons to see if they made much difference in the weight of the atom, and they didn't.

He might have snuck a few of the marshmallows, but I'm not telling :) Thanks for making through this post! That was a LOT of pictures! 

What are you using for science these days? I'd love to know :)

Hillside Honey Apiary

Friday, September 18, 2015

 I absolutely love the freedom to go on field trips with my boys. Homeschoolers have all the fun - at least the big nerds like I am do! We had the privilege to visit Hillside Honey Apiary. I love that this place is run by a homeschool family. They were so kind and generous with their time. They were patient with all of our questions and took the time to answer questions from even the smallest of students. They also run a co-op out of the old school that they are continuing to renovate. How cool is that?
First we sat in for a lesson on bees. It was so fun to hear someone share their passion for their craft. Beekeeping is not only science but it is also an art. It takes mentorship, trial & error and hours and hours of study to successfully keep one hive let alone to run a whole apiary! The owner is a veteran and has retired to pursue the opportunity that God gave them. I love seeing people following their passions and dreams.

He showed us what the inside of a hive looks like.

You can see the "almost" honey in the honeycombs.

He passed them around so we could see them up close.

He took the time to explain the different types of hives available.

Next we suited up in beekeeper gear. These suits are very warm on a hot late-summer day!

The beekeeper opened up a hive for us.

He showed us the different parts of the hive and took the time to look for the queen.

He let each of us hold a piece of the hive.

We all felt more brave with those heavy gloves.

Here I am being a dork with beekeeper wardrobe malfunction. I was also trying to take pictures through that hat. Apparently I messed up my head piece while doing so.

I think this was the first time I had ever been this close to bees and not been afraid. It was neat seeing everything up close.

One of the things I loved was that we could purchase raw local honey if we wanted. I though the prices were great. I bought the large jug for $20. I realized this year that I wasn't struggling as much with seasonal allergies. I had been using raw local honey in my coffee all year, and it was the first time I didn't need to use my oils to help with my allergies. I wonder if the raw honey helped me develop more of a tolerance to some of the pollen in our area.

They also had some lovely flavored creamed honey. I bought cinnamon.

I kind of couldn't help myself. Silas fell in love with the tiny honey bear. He always asks me if I will save the honey bears for him when the honey runs out.

They also make natural skin products. I am a sucker for stuff like this. They lip balms and lotions as well. Beeswax has so many great skin soothing attributes.

My dry winter hands will thank me for buying this later this year. Thank you Hillside Apiary for your knowledge, expertise and hospitality. We will be back!
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