Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Earth and Sky Brownie Try-it

Just in time for Earth Day, we are going to be working on the Earth and Sky and Earth is Our Home badges.

Rooting Around

Last week we discussed trees and briefly talked about the job of the roots of plants. Today I drew a sketch of a flower on the whiteboard and compared the roots to a straw, slurping up water and minerals from the soil.

Then comes the fun stuff, we are going to try to start a carrot, potato, and a plant by sprouting roots. Just put them in a jar of water with toothpicks around to keep it at the top. The plant you can just place in the water. We will be observing these daily.

As of today, (Tuesday) the carrot has two long roots and the potato is starting to sprout underneath and on top. The plant still is doing nothing.

The Soil

We read several library books about soil:

We dug three holes, 1" deep, 3"deep, and 6" deep. We looked closely and identified plants, animals, and rocks.

Shayla really enjoyed getting dirty for the first time I can remember. LOL! She was upset at first by the knees of her jeans having dirt on them. As you can imagine, she quickly recovered!

We put some soil on the bottom of jar one, then we added a layer of sand, the top layer was earthworms (we put six in), grass, dried leaves and we will add some potato peels after evening meal. The experiment is to see what kind of food worms prefer and how long it takes them to eat it. It shows how beneficial it is to have plenty of worms in the garden. This idea came from the Down to Earth book.

The second jar we just filled halfway with soil, then we filled the other half with cold water. Shake it for 30 seconds. Let it sit for 20 minutes, then you can see all the plant life that lives in the soil.

The Sky's My Home!

In between of showers today, we went outside and were "sky watchers." We seen many birds and discussed how they move and of course acted out the gliding and flapping of birds.

We decided to make a simple bird feeder. Toast a piece of bread, spread with peanut butter, then cover with birdseed. Make two holes in the top and tie a piece of yarn to hang it from a tree. I chose orange so maybe the birds would see it. It'll be interesting to see if the birds take the yarn to build a nest, too.

Going, Going, Gone

We discussed soil erosion and the causes. We looked at our creek for a small example of soil erosion. We'll check out the cliffs at the state park tomorrow.

We built a 24 inch mound of sand to demonstrate erosion. Shayla poured water slowly onto it to see in fast forward speed what happens to soil in nature. Even though I said slowly, it wasn't slowly enough to snap a picture, but it was a fun experiment.

Our Air
Over the next few weeks we will be checking the air quality outside by hanging strips of tape (sticky side up)and trying to identify the particles.

Hot and Cold

We talked about thermometers. We decided that digital thermometers are much easier to read than the old type. We decided that we would use Grandma's atomic clock with the weather on it.

But, we did find out these fun facts.
  • Water freezes at below 32 degrees F.

  • Water boils at 212 degrees F.

  • The normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees F.

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