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: 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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Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Alamo All-Stars by Nathan Hale

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I read Alamo All-Stars over the course of a couple days. This is a super-fun graphic novel that is perfect for teaching kids about history!  I’m excited to check out the other books in this series.

Premise:

Learn about the early history of the state of Texas, its inhabitants, and their relationship with Mexico.  Who fought for the independence of the Texas?  Why?  How did the Mexican government respond?  What happened at the Alamo?  You’ll find answers to all these questions and more in Alamo All Stars!

My thoughts:

I love this book!  It’s a fantastic way to teach kids about history in a fun and engaging way.  Who wants to read about a bunch of stale dates and names in a history book?  Let kids learn history through graphic novels!!

I’m a big history fan when it’s presented in an interesting format.  Alamo All Stars definitely meets that requirement.  My school days were inexplicably absent of almost any information pertaining to U.S. History.  I don’t know how that happened, but it did.  So I learned about a period of American history that was completely new to me.  And now the story makes sense and will stick with me.  If a person can see a story unfolding before their eyes, it’s more likely that they will retain that information.

It was pretty cool to learn about the roles that Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie played at the Alamo.  (Yes, I’m talking about the man who has a knife named after him.)  I had no idea that they were there!

There are a few stock characters who act as narrators in this book (and the others in the series).  They help provide background information and commentary, as well as a little humor.  The illustrations have a somewhat simple style, but I think they’re quite nice.

I recommend this book for anybody in the elementary to teen years who wants to learn about history in an interesting way.  This would also be great for homeschoolers or to augment a history classroom.

Possible Objections:

  • One instance of the d-word
  • Some violence