Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nursery Rhyme Science: Three Men in a Tub

Three men in a tub,
And who do you think were there?
The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker,
And all of them gone to the fair!

Activity 1: How many men can your tub hold?
Provide each child with a piece of aluminum foil (the size isn't terribly important, just try to keep the pieces about the same size).

Each child will shape the foil into some sort of tub or boat.

Place the tubs/boats in a tub of water (if they don't float now, do some tinkering to get them to float).  Then begin adding penny passengers, one at a time.

After the boats sink, you can talk about what worked well and what didn't work so well.  If you have the time available, you can provide students with another piece of foil to make a new boat.  Can they use what they learned to make a boat that holds more pennies than the first? 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Nursery Rhyme Science: Simple Simon

Simple Simon met a pieman
Going to the fair;
Said Simple Simon to the pieman,
“Let me taste your ware.”

Said the pieman to Simple Simon,
“Show me first your penny;”
Said Simple Simon to the pieman,
“Sir, I haven’t any.”

Simple Simon didn't have a penny to buy a pie, but if you have a penny, you can do some fun science experiments...

Activity 1: Drops on a Penny
How many drops of water do you think a penny can hold? Allow each child to make a guess.

Take a few minutes to practice using an eye dropper, so everyone can squeeze out a drop at a time.  (This activity provides great fine motor practice!)

Then place a penny on a paper towel.  Provide each student with a dropper and a small cup of water.  Have students place drops of water on the penny, counting each drop, until the water spills over the side of the penny.

Activity 2: Polish a Penny
Dissolve some salt in a small amount of vinegar.

Place some pennies in the solution, the grungier the pennies, the better!

After a few minutes, remove the pennies and rinse them off.  The pennies should now sparkle brightly!

You can also try dipping half a penny in the solution for a minute or so...

The explanation...
The vinegar/salt solution removed the copper oxide from the pennies, leaving a clean copper surface on each penny.

Over time, all of the pennies will become tarnished with copper oxide once again, as the copper reacts with oxygen in the air.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Nursery Rhyme Science: Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill went up the hill,
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Activity 1: Was it more work to go up the hill or down?
Do your students think it would be harder to walk up the hill with an empty bucket or back down the hill with a full bucket?

After students have made their guesses, have them each walk up a set of stairs (or a hill if you happen to have one readily available), carrying an empty milk jug.  Then have them walk down the same stairs with a milk jug that's full of water. 

What do they think now? 

Activity 2: Don't Break Your Crown!
As my son told me, "Crown means head."  And you can use this rhyme to give a quick lesson on the brain.

You'll need a small container (with a tight-fitting lid), 2 eggs and some water.

Throughout the demonstration, the egg yolk will represent your brain and the container will represent your skull.

Crack one egg into the container and put the lid on. 

Agitate the container - you can just shake it, or you can have a student run a few laps around the room with it for it.
Open the container and observe - scrambled brains!
Clean out the container and crack the second egg into the container. 

This time, before putting on the lid, fill the remaining space in the container with water. 

Agitate the container once again.

Open the container and observe - the egg yolk remains intact.  (The egg what froths up a little bit, making it difficult to see at first, but the whole yolk is there).

The water cushions the egg yolk, just as the cerebrospinal fluid cushions your brain. 

Nursery Rhyme Science is a series of short stand-alone activities that can be interjected into a language-intense preschool or kindergarten curriculum with minimum preparation.  Additional Nursery Rhyme Science posts can be found here

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Nursery Ryme Science: Little Miss Muffet

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating some curds and whey.

Along came a spider
Who sat down beside her,
And frightened Miss Muffet away.

Activity 1: What are curds and whey?

 Pour a quart of milk into a pot.  Add 6 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar.  Slowly heat the pot, while stirring.
When the milk begins to curdle (only a minute or two), you can remove it from the heat, but continue to stir and watch.  When you're finished, you'll have curds (the solid part) and whey (the liquid). 

The curds are a very simple cheese and can be eaten if your school allows such things.  (You may wish to refrigerate them and add a pinch of salt).

Activity 2: Why don't spiders stick to their own web?
Spider webs are notoriously sticky - that's how the spiders catch their yummy bug dinners.  But, how can a spider walk across his (or her) own web without getting stuck?

Provide each student with a small strip of scotch tape and have them walk their fingers across the tape.  Then have each student dip his (or her) fingers into a small dish of oil and try walking their fingers across the tape again.  The oil prevents the fingers from sticking.

It's believed that spiders produce a substance that acts like the oil and prevents them from sticking to the web.

Nursery Rhyme Science is a series of short stand-alone activities that can be interjected into a language-intense preschool or kindergarten curriculum with minimum preparation.  Additional Nursery Rhyme Science posts can be found here

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Nursery Rhyme Science

I've been rolling around ideas for pairing science activities with nursery rhymes for some time now, but had yet to do anything with it.  Part of me was unsure as to the usefulness of such a pairing, since kids' knowledge of nursery rhymes seemed to be a thing of the past. 

And then our second son started kindergarten in this, the age of the common core, and I learned that nursery rhymes are, in fact, part of the kindergarten common core.  (Which I'm loving.... nursery rhymes are the classic literature of kindergarten (and I'm guilty of neglecting to teach them to my own children) and I am enjoying listening to him recite them while walking around the house).

Suddenly my idea for pairing science activities with these rhymes seems very pertinent!  And if I'm too late for this year, it's never to early to start gathering ideas for next year!

These are going to be very simple, stand-alone activities.  The idea is that teachers can implement them in just a few precious minutes, to provide a quick science lesson as well as change the pace of the lesson. 

Most of these activities are simplified versions of more complex activities.  I'll provide links, when possible, to the more advanced activities for those of you who teach older students (so please stick around, even if preschool/kindergarten isn't your area). 

The first pairing will be up later this week.  Please pass the word on to those who may be interested!  Let's get kindergarten teachers excited about including science in their lessons, and in turn, get kindergarten students excited about "doing" science!

Edited to add the picture.