Skittles Experiment

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I’ve seen this experiment several places online and the results looked so impressive that I just had to try it out with the kids.  Check out the beautiful pics of our Skittles experiment!  I know that we’ll be repeating this experiment to see the beautiful color combinations–probably whenever we have company over.  They’ll think we’re magicians!

Materials:

  • Skittles
  • large plate
  • warm/hot water
  • measuring cup

Directions:

  1. Arrange Skittles in a circle around the outside edge of the plate, making sure to alternate colors.  Plate should sit on a level surface.  (This really does affect the outcome of the experiment!)
  2. Pour warm water in the middle of the plate so that it spreads out just beyond the line of Skittles.
  3. Watch closely because the colors will disperse fairly quickly.  Try not to shake the plate or it will cause the colors to shift about and muddy.

This experiment is a fun jumping off point for talking about diffusion.  You can see that concept in action by watching the colors diffuse through the water.

 

The Way of the Samurai Book Giveaway — CLOSED

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I will officially be starting monthly giveaways on my Relaxed Homeschooling blog!  This month’s giveaway is The Way of the Samurai by Inazo Nitobe.  I thought it looked like a really interesting and educational book.  If you would use this book in your homeschooling endeavors, go ahead and enter!

You can enter by following the link below.  It’s open to participants within the 48 contiguous United States and will end on Feb. 28, 2017.  The winner will be announced on my blog and contacted through email.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Old Keyboard — English

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We hit upon this idea totally by accident.  My daughter brought an old computer keyboard to me yesterday and asked how to spell my name.  I told her and then pointed out each letter in turn for her to push.  Why did I never think of teaching her letters using an old computer keyboard?!

She went on to ask how to spell her own name and those of other family members.  After typing in several names, there were a few letters which she recognized without my prompting.

The keyboard could also be used to teach a child their numbers (assuming it has a number pad), or even the different punctuation marks and symbols.  And if your child practices spelling, this would be a fun method for them to key in their spelling words!

If you have an old keyboard lying around, why don’t you pull it out and have some fun with it?

Roy G. Biv with Licorice

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I had some Twizzler Rainbow Twists left over from a church snack, so the kids and I used them to learn that Roy G. Biv can help us remember the colors of the rainbow.  I cut the pieces in half and gave each kid their own set.  Then they took turns identifying the colors in the Roy G. Biv’s name and putting their pieces in order.

It’s a fun and simple way to help your kids learn their colors!

R – red

O- orange

Y – yellow

G – green

B – blue

I – indigo (no indigo licorice, but explain to your kids that it’s between blue and violet)

V – violet

Marshmallow Painting — Art

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This is a very easy art method to use with your children.  We simply squirted out blobs of different colored tempera paint onto foam plates and dot-painted with marshmallows.

You can use mini, regular-sized or jumbo ones.  You can even find novelty-shaped marshmallows during the holidays.

Just be prepared to let your kids eat a few marshmallows on the side!

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My youngest daughter enjoyed making an abstract picture.

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor by Nathan Hale

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I requested The Underground Abductor from the library as part of my quest to find interesting graphic novels for children.  I could not put this one down!  I didn’t know much about Harriet Tubman, but now I want to find some adult books to learn more.

Premise:

Araminta Ross was born a slave, but she dreamed of freedom for herself and her family.  She escaped to the North and later, as Harriet Tubman, returned for her family.  In her journeys she led many others to freedom on the Underground Railroad, met Frederick Douglass and John Brown, and worked as a spy during the Civil War.  Harriet Tubman became a legend in her time, known as “General Moses” for her unequivocal success in leading her people to freedom.

My thoughts:

I absolutely loved this book!  Araminta (better known as Harriet Tubman) was an amazing young woman who was born into slavery in Maryland.  She worked hard and eventually made plans to secure her freedom.  When she found out that she was going to be sold and would not be able to buy her own freedom, she made the decision to run away to the North.  Harriet was successful and had started to settle into a new life, but when she heard about “The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850”, she knew that she had to get her family to freedom sooner rather than later.

Harriet made many trips into the South to bring her family (and many others) to freedom.  Because of a head injury she received as a child, Harriet suffered from narcolepsy and during these sleep episodes she would see visions from God.  These visions helped guide her on the many dangerous trips she took, and alerted her to dangers along the way.

Harriet also aided the North during the civil war, acting as nurse, spy and consultant.  During one particular episode, she helped lead about 800 slaves to freedom in one night, when she aided Colonel Montgomery and his Jayhawkers.

Amazingly, Harriet Tubman survived all of the dangers she faced throughout her life and eventually settled with her family in Auburn, New York.  Her dedication, drive, and courage are an amazing example to all of us.  When there is something worth fighting for, don’t give up.

I recommend this book to kids who enjoy graphic novels and would prefer to learn about history through that medium.  This particular book is best suited to elementary-age children up to teens.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence (though the illustrations are not graphic)

Nathan Hale: Revolutionary Spy by Nathan Olson

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Here’s another book from my quest to find interesting graphic novels.  Nathan Hale: Revolutionary Spy is a book that can be digested in one sitting.

Premise:

Nathan Hale was a young man who lived in Connecticut immediately prior to the Revolutionary War.  He was a student at Yale and later taught others (even getting up early to teach girls for free).  Having grown up amid the colonists’ unrest due to British taxes, he volunteered to join the army.  Nathan’s willingness to serve as a spy and his refusal to betray his country are commendable.  Unfortunately, his life was cut short when he was only 21 years old.

My thoughts:

I think this book is a great beginner biography for elementary-age children.  They get a quick overview of Nathan’s life–just enough to pique their interest.  Once they’re at a higher reading level they can come back to Nathan’s story and read a book that is more in depth.

I enjoyed reading about Nathan and the defining moments in his life.  He sounds like a remarkable young man, and it’s a tragedy that his life was cut short.  I’m sure he would have gone on to do many more commendable deeds had he lived longer.  Particularly gratifying was his view on the importance of educating women.  He was truly ahead of his times!

The book is divided into four very short chapters: Student and Teacher, Soldier and Leader, Daring Spy, and War Hero.  At the end, you’ll find a section with more information about Nathan Hale.

I recommend this book to kids who enjoy graphic novels and would prefer to learn about history through that medium.  This particular book is best suited to elementary-age children.

Possible Objections:

  • Nathan is hanged (while we only see his silhouette, kids may still find it disturbing)

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