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

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