Posts tagged: science

Science – Weekly Unplugged Project

By , April 19, 2009 9:36 pm

Oh, I had better get this up now before Turnoff Week starts tomorrow and we are all supposed to try not to be on the computer!

The theme for this week’s Unplugged Project was science.  I actually have something to post about science, but I didn’t get to it today.  Perhaps I will post tomorrow, but I’ll try and post quickly!!  I’ll link to it in Mr. Linky below if I get to it.

If you have a science Unplugged Project to post, please link to your project post in Mr. Linky below.  If you didn’t do a science project, but want to join in in the future, please read more about the Unplugged Project here.  We’d love to have you!

The theme for next week’s Unplugged Project will be:

Yellow

Have fun!

PS:  It’s not too late to join in the Turnoff Week Blog Challenge for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift certificate (Turnoff Week is April 20 – 26).  Read here for more information!

Layered Life-Cycle Puzzles (Recommended Toy)

By , March 18, 2008 9:03 pm

Since my 2 year-old is obsessed with puzzles at the moment, I am always on the look-out for fun, educational, high quality puzzles that she might be able to do. A recent surfing expedition revealed these totally cool layered, life-cycle puzzles. They are made of wood and feature five separate puzzle pictures to complete. The mini-puzzles fit on top of one another in layers to show the life cycle of a butterfly (or frog, or duck).

The recommended age is 4 and up. As much as I’d like to claim that my genius 2 year-old could do these, she probably could not without assistance.  The big photo makes it look deceptively easy, but there are actually thirty pieces, five puzzles, and five layers.  Her older brother and sister might enjoy them though. Hmm…we’ll see. (It’s times like this that I really wish I homeschooled so that I’d have an excuse to buy these slightly pricey but really amazing-looking puzzles!)

These Beleduc puzzles are made in China of birch wood and meet or exceed “Specifications of European (EN-71) and American (ASTM) Toy Safety Standards:”

This butterfly puzzle is also made of wood, but the description offers less information (it costs less too):

A Seed is Sleepy (Aston, Long) – Book Recommendation

By , March 1, 2008 10:19 am

Spring is in the air which means that seeds of all kinds will soon be sprouting: flower seeds, tree seeds…weed seeds. (Big sigh.)

Now is a good time to teach your little ones a bit more about seeds. I can’t think of a more lovely book for this purpose, than A Seed Is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long.

This book is packed with interesting facts about seeds. Each two page-spread presents a one sentence fact, followed by a short explanation. For example the first page says: “A seed is sleepy.” Followed by: “It lies there, tucked inside its flower, on its cone, or beneath the soil. Snug. Still.” The information is presented in a sweet, almost poetic way that makes it easily accessible and enjoyable for a variety of ages.

What really makes this book truly wonderful though, are Sylvia Long’s amazing illustrations reminiscent of old, botanical prints. Her colorful paintings are incredibly rich and detailed. Ms. Long has a real eye for seeing and reproducing the beauty and wonder of even the simplest natural objects.

 

We love this book so much, that next on my wish list is Ms. Aston and Ms. Long’s other collaboration: An Egg Is Quiet

The Birds Do It, The Bees Do It, Even The Itty Bitty Sea Monkeys Do It…

By , September 24, 2007 11:37 am

CAUTION: YOU MUST BE OVER THE AGE OF 21 TO READ THIS POST.

The other day my 7 year-old daughter went to feed the sea monkeys and yelled to me: “Hey Mom! Come here, I have to show you something really interesting!” As I approached my daughter whose eyes were riveted on the sea monkey tank, she said, “Look Mom, they’re stuck together! Why are they stuck together?”

I look, and sure enough, two sea monkeys were “stuck together.” (Please refer to the *x*-r@ted sea monkey photo – sorry it is a bit blurry but it is not easy photographing mating sea monkeys, especially with a mediocre digital camera).

I attempt to mutter some lie about how I am really not sure why they are stuck together when my daughter spots some nearly microscopic babies swimming near the bottom of the tank, which successfully divert her attention from the attached sea monkeys.

OK. We clearly have sea monkey hanky panky going on here. Wild sea monkey o*gies* are taking place in my home but I am simply not ready to be explaining to my 7 year-old why the sea monkeys are “stuck together.” Honestly, the fact that sea monkeys ever even would be “stuck together” is news to me. That shows how much I know!

But, having no life and being of a nerdy mentality I had to know more. After the kids had gone to bed and I was free to research naughty sea monkey behaviors without fear of being discovered, I started to check it all out online. Here are the Sea Monkey Facts of Life as I interpret them from what I have spent way too much time researching:

– Sea monkeys are either male or female, not hermaphrodite like worms for example.

– If no willing mate is available, then a female can reproduce without fertilization of her eggs, called parthenogenesis, “self-conception” (my Sea Monkey females seem to have plenty of willing males to help them out however).

– Males have a long traily tail and females of breeding age have a visible egg sack (I just thought they were constipated…oops).

– Males sometimes compete with each other to be favored by an eligible female (Wow! Just like human males!)

– The mating thing takes a long time (I can tell you that from my own observations) – sometimes several weeks according to this site!

– If the conditions are not really right for the hatching of the eggs (water temperature too cold for example), the eggs can live on indefinitely without hatching. They will hatch when the optimum conditions occur.

– The eggs can actually sometimes hatch inside the female in which case the female gives birth to the babies at the bottom of the tank. (Can she have an epidural?)

Want more sea monkey dirt? Then check out these informative sites:

Sea Monkey Geek
Sea Monkey Worship Page
Sea Monkey Mania
Official Sea Monkey Website
– (“Sea Monkey Reproduction” at The Official Sea Monkey Website)

Mom Unplugged vs. Evil Sleepy Poser Mom – Lunar Dilemma, Part 2

By , August 28, 2007 9:00 pm

NOTE: This post will make more sense if you first read part 1: The Moon Unplugged? Not For Me!!

I know that “my public” is in complete suspense about the outcome of my lunar eclipse dilemma, so I will put the two of you out of your collective misery and tell you who won. Was the victor Mom Unplugged or the Evil Sleepy Mom?

The answer is: guilt prevailed and I think I deserve a genuine Good Mom Award for this one!!

I set my alarm for 2:30 AM so as to not be the complete loser I knew I would be by certainly sleeping through the entire eclipse. Unfortunately the moon was not conveniently eclipsing directly over the skylights above my bed. And…horror of horrors…I could actually see STARS, many, many stars. Not a single cloud in the sky. There went my bad weather excuse.

I decided to drag myself out of bed to try and find the moon. I was also worried that the three new kittens on their first night completely loose in the house, might have become terminally ensnared in the hanging beads of their favorite lampshade. Despite having moved that particular floor lamp away from any easy launching pads, I quite expected to come downstairs to find all three kittens, each dangling from the lampshade by a single claw.

Perhaps all was not lost in the sleep department either. Maybe the moon was putting on its special show directly over the living room skylight that is above the sofa. I had visions of continuing my sleep on the sofa while my junior astronomer studied the eclipse beside me. Or better yet, parking my daughter on the sofa with some binoculars and then going back to bed!

Well, there were no Cirque du Soleil kittens suspended from lampshades, and I did see the moon through a living room skylight, but unfortunately not the one over the sofa.

Despite having witnessed several other lunar eclipses in my life, I was still awestruck. For a homework assignment over the weekend, my daughter had just observed that the moon was pretty much full, yet here it was suddenly looking more like a crescent. I decided that I had better be a Good Mom after all and wake her up.

But first I wanted to find the binoculars that I hadn’t seen for three years. As I wandered around the house in search of them, first one kitten, then another, attached itself to my pajama pant legs. There I was, searching the house for a pair of fatally missing binoculars at 2:40 AM with a kitten dangling from each leg of my pajamas, swinging to and fro as I walked.

“OK, enough is enough!” I thought, as I gave up on the binoculars, detached the kittens, and went to wake my daughter. I hopefully thought that my little girl might be a less enthusiastic scientist at this hour, but she eagerly leapt out of bed.

“WOW!” she said as she saw the partially eclipsed moon. We talked about the science of it all as we watched, first from the living room, then from the back deck. Just as it was about to totally eclipse, it occurred to me that we might as well do this up right so I grabbed a flashlight and warm jackets and led us through the backyard and out onto the golf course directly behind our house.

We laid down side by side on the cold, damp grass and there, finally free of the tall Ponderosa Pines that fill our yard, we beheld quite a spectacle. The starry sky formed a perfect dome above us. The now orange-red totally eclipsed moon was, of course, the main attraction. But we had plenty of other celestial wonders to discover alone together, recumbent in our pajamas at 3AM in the middle of the 10th fairway.

We identified the milky way and several constellations. We also saw shooting stars, a first for my daughter. Most were the rapidly fleeting kind, but one was a big slow-moving object that seemed to trail a long tail across the sky before finally evaporating.

I must admit that as we lay there, I was wondering about the schedule of the sprinklers and half expected our lovely time to be rudely interrupted by a sudden dousing of cold water. But we escaped them. Although a bit later, finally back in my warm bed, I did hear the sputterings and squirtings of them turning on. We had a narrow escape!

As we meandered back to bed at about 3:30 AM, my daughter told me that she would dream she was riding between Mars and Earth on a shooting star, sitting astride it and holding on to the top point.

I must say I really did feel like a “real” Mom of the Year as I, slightly damp but happy, tucked her back in bed and kissed her goodnight. Thank you Mr. N (her teacher) for encouraging us to break our routine and gaze at the moon in the middle of the night.

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