Science Sunday: Why are our bones strong?

After much talking and debating among my three children they decided to go with Land Animals for our next science to study.  But, Superman really wanted to learn about skeletons, I think that’s the only reason he was looking at the Anatomy notebook because it had a skeleton on the front.  Seriously.


I made him a deal, what if before we start learning about land animals, we learn about skeletons?  He was okay with that.


I had picked up the “Magic School Bus Explores the Human Body Science Kit,” thinking it looked really cool.  I’d seen Enchanted Homeschooling talk about some of their kits a couple of times and it looked very intriguing.


I was right.  This could make a great month long unit on anatomy all by itself.  I’m going to save most of it for when we study anatomy, but until then………


For the first experiment you need: glass jar, vinegar, chicken bone


1.  Get a rotisserie chicken for dinner, and enjoy it.  Then don’t let your husband throw away the bones.


2.  Explore the bones.  This is a great chance to try descriptive terms.  Slimy, dense, hard, rubbery.



3.  Discuss the cartilage at the end of the bone.  Also point out a few ligaments and tendons that are still attached.  Think to yourself, this is kind of gross.



4.  Predict what will happen to the bone while it’s in the vinegar.  My kids had no clue what would happen, so they went for SUPER silly!  Princess said “A Princess will come out of the bone and make flowers!”  Ummmmmm, not so much.


5.  Obsessively check on the bone for the next day or so.  Pout when you’re not allowed to touch it.



6.  Take the bone out.  Discover that you can bend it.  Talk about how the vinegar took the calcium out of the bone.  Calcium is what makes our bones hard and strong.  This is why we drink milk.



7.  Observe the dissolved calcium in the jar.  Think to yourself, that’s kinda gross.


And that’s our first part of skeleton studies.  I’ve been busy getting ready for the kids to go to grandparents while Jeff and I celebrate our 10 year anniversary this week.  I was going to do more, but I had other things on my mind………  A lot of cleaning.


Let’s see what others did this week:

Spell Out Loud did a great preschool evaporation activity.


The Usual Mayhem has a post for the strong of stomach about mold and fungus (with added bit at the end about the useful parts of fungus and mold……).

Almost Unschoolers has glow in the dark fake snow.  Now to hunt down a UV source……..


Science Sunday button Science Sunday

Science Sunday: the next ER trip

Science Sunday
Notice, on Friday I’d said amusing, not good.  But, it did lead to a great discussion on the way to the ER.

So, as I was calmly making lunch on Thursday Batman was attempting acrobatics using our recliner and the sofa.  He slipped and fell face forward onto the tile.

Being the good Mom that I am I of course said, “What were you thinking?” as I scooped him up without looking and calmed him down.  After he’d calmed down a little I then went into diagnosis mode.  Looked at him and the large amounts of blood on his face and clothes, and said, “Let’s go to the doctor.”

So, everyone got dressed, because we OF COURSE were being lazy that day.


And as we were driving there it turned into a science lesson.  Yes, a science lesson on  the way to the hospital.

See, the boys were worried that Batman was going to die because of all the blood that had come out.  They wanted to make sure it wasn’t too much blood.

So, we talked about what blood is used for and how it gets food to the rest of the body and brings oxygen .  It made for a good distraction while we were driving and helped keep everyone calm.

Then later, when we’d gotten home and I’d had a chance to read up on about how much blood a little guy has in him, we talked some more.

An adult human has about 5 liters of blood in them.  Batman is less than half of an adult human, so I averaged that out to about 2 liters.  And that’s when inspiration hit.

The 2 liter bottle of Sprite is about how much blood Batman has in his body right now.  They were all duly impressed, I was less impressed when they started talking about drinking said Sprite, but what could I expect.

That little cup on the bottom is about how much blood he lost from his “bleeding owie.”  I figure he lost about a 1/4 cup of blood, give or take.  That looks like how much is staining the clothes and jammies, and what soaked through the paper towels.

And amusingly enough I’ve gotten several comments from friends on Facebook saying “Now I’ll be able to tell your twins apart.”

Yeah, until his brother gets the same injury a week later, that’s what happened last time.  A week later his brother got the exact same head wound, and then a week after that the boys dropped a shovel on Princess’ head and she got a nice little scar on the top of her head.053

Oh well, it’s been at least 3 or 4 months of no ER trips, so this is good.

You guys have any less exciting life experiences you’ve turned into science lessons this week?  I promise next week to have a less bloody post……….  Maybe I should go ahead and schedule that for the sake of sanity………

Science Sunday: How to get a corn kernel out of your ear

This has been a week of learning about medical procedures galore.  I learned that when you get a strep rash, that is what Scarlet Fever is.  My kids got to learn all about going to the dentist, which we had been slow to get going.  Actually, we had an appointment about a year and a half ago, but that’s when Superman ended up needing hernia surgery, and so we cancelled all scheduled things because we weren’t sure when we’d be able to get in to the specialist.  So, back to what I was saying.

Then we had the fun of Superman coming in while I was getting ready to start cooking dinner announcing that he had a seed stuck in his ear.  As the story came out over the next couple of days the kids had been showing each other how they could put popcorn seeds in their ears and then they’d fall out.  Each of them later on admitted to putting a seed in their ear.  When I asked Superman why he did this, he said, “Well Batman did it, and it fell out.”  GREAAAAT.  Yeah, that makes sense.

So, he got to spend a couple of hours at the local Urgent Care as we waited for them to get it out.  Jeff reported it took four different tools, and a lot of water to get it out.

I thought I’d drive the point home of why we don’t put these things in their ears, so I set up the experiment.

Supplies: popcorn kernel, small jar, various tools to try and get out the kernel (I gave them bamboo skewers, straws, and a fondue fork, and told them they could get whatever else they wanted to use).

Rules: you have to get the popcorn kernels out without picking up the jar.
Princess’ attempts:

She mainly tried the bamboo skewers, but occasionally would try the fondue fork.  I suggested trying to suck up the kernels with her straw, but she never really tried it.
The picture on the bottom right will be explained when we get to Jeff’s help.


Batman’s attempts:

Batman mainly tried with the fondue fork chasing the kernels around his jar.  He finally employed Jeff’s version and successfully got them all out, but it took quite a few tries.

Superman’s attempts:
Superman having heard my suggestion to Princess was the only one to successfully get the kernel out with the straw.  Then the kernel got stuck in the straw.
I reminded him of how they got it out of his ear, so he started trying that.  He was also the most persistent.


He tried to get it out by pouring water in.  That’s how they finally got the kernel out of his ear, with some focused water, but they had to also use forceps.  We discovered this doesn’t work because popcorn kernels don’t float.


Then he decided it might come out if we did like the volcano.  So, we poured some baking soda in, and then some vinegar, and it made a satisfying mess, but no kernels out of the jar.  He was very disappointed with that.

Jeff’s attempts:
You can tell you’ve got an interesting idea for an experiment when your husband wants to get in on the act.
His first idea was a variation on the straw, using a turkey baster to suck it up.  He wanted a medical syringe, but we couldn’t find any of the ones that came with the kids’ medicine.
Next, came the 030successful idea, which everyone ended up using.  Putting tape on the end of the bamboo skewer so that the sticky side was out and grabbing the popcorn kernels with that.  An excellent way to practice fine motor skills (that’s the picture earlier on with Princess).
We were also curious to see if the kernel would float in oil, oil having a higher density than water.  That didn’t work, but it was worth a try.

And then what’s an experiment without a follow-up activity.  Which of course I had nothing to do with, but since when has my involvement stopped my kids?
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Lunch was rather uninteresting to them, so they were “experimenting” to see what would happen to the water if they poured it into the soup.  Superman’s “pothesis was the water would get darker.”  And it apparently did, then he spent quite a while before I caught him sucking up the soup with the turkey baster and putting it into his cup.  I need to wash that tablecloth now.  Note to self, remember to do that.

And, I’m super excited because we started reading our new science book for the year, we got book one in the Apologia Zoology, Flying Creatures.  We’ve read through chapter 1, and will probably be sharing our first few experiments about that.  I’m thinking we might skip ahead to insects and get our own grow your own butterfly kit…..

I can’t wait to see what everyone else did this week!

Science Sunday: teeth


So, I’ve had the supplies to make homemade ice cream for two weeks.  We just haven’t had the opportunity.  We’ve had this cool book of experiments and other stuff called Howtoons, but life just hasn’t worked out.  I’m going to try for tomorrow, and hopefully life won’t interfere……
So, what did we do this week?  It’s been inspired by an episode of Dinosuar Train, which my kids absolutely love, and they sing the theme song all the time.  It helps that it’s mostly repeating “Dinosaur Train” over and over and over again.
Well, in the episode we were watching Buddy loses a tooth, and learns about how T-Rexs continually lose their teeth and get new ones.  This of course led to their wanting to figure out if they would lose teeth.
So, we talked about how people start to lose teeth when they’re around the boys age.  Some people lose them older (I didn’t lose my first tooth until almost second grade, so almost seven).   They were absolutely intrigued by this.
Then I talked about how some people will also lose teeth because they didn’t take care of their teeth and didn’t brush their teeth, then I sent them upstairs to brush their teeth.
Nice, simple easy.
So, do you ever cover science topics as it comes up in conversation?  A good portion of ours is covered that way.  Now, how about you?  What did you do for science this week?  Link up with any science related post.

Science Sunday

I really have to sit down and figure out how to make a button. I’m thinking that might happen after Halloween. I still have to make Princess’ costume, and a couple of other projects.

So, this past week we were studying “All About Us.” I was all set to do a bunch of experiments about the five senses, when I discovered my kids had absolutely zero interest in this.


What did they want to learn about? Bones. More bones, what do bones do, why do we have bones, where are our bones, who else has bones….. And then more about this.

Luckily, some of the books I’d checked out from the library covered some of the stuff they were wanting to talk about. So, we read a few books, and then talked about our bones and how we’re put together. Now comes the two fun parts.

First experiment, this is what made me decide no more senses.

Materials: blindfold, something that makes noise, we used a couple of pencils.


1. Blindfold your child. This is what they really hated, I didn’t think about how hard it would be for them to be blindfolded.


2. Have another child make noise.

3. The blindfolded child then points to where the noise is coming from. Further variations are to have them cover one ear, and try to decide if it’s easier to find where the noise is coming from with one ear or two (if they’ve done it right, it’s easier with two, but kids aren’t that good at covering their ears)*

*except when they don’t want to hear something, then they’re very very good.

This next one is a game I found.


Skeletons in the Closet– This is set up for four players. There are several different levels, my kids just did the below easiest level of spinning the spinner and getting the pieces they needed to finish putting the skeleton together. (Sigh, my copy was much more expensive at the silly teacher supply store)

Truthfully, my kids are not ready for this game. They don’t have the dexterity to put the skeleton together on their own, and they don’t really have any clue how you’re supposed to play it. That being said, they LOVED it. After they finished putting the skeletons together and learning that you have to play carefully with them. They had a lot of fun playing with the different pieces and moving their skeletons.

The actual experiment……. Yeah, you’re probably going to be grossed out by this.

Those of you with a weak stomach stop reading now…..

Have I peaked your curiosity yet? I know as soon as I’m told to stop reading I keep reading.

We studied a whole chicken. I went to the store and got a whole chicken to cook for dinner, and thought this would make a great science experiment. Not a whole lot of pictures because I didn’t want to get the chicken gunk all over my camera.

Oh, and for those who are worried about any germs or contanimation, after each step we used hand sanitizer.


First we touched the skin, and talked about how our bodies are covered in skin, and how our skin protects us.


Then we removed the skin and touched the muscles, and talked about how we use our muscles to move. (When I post what we read this week, I’ll have some great books for this age range on this subject).

Finally, we felt the bones on the inside, and felt some of the bones on ourselves. If you’re ridiculously skinny like my kids are, you can feel your rib bones.

And anyone who thinks I’m starving my kids didn’t see how much Batman ate tonight….. He ate 3 helpings of steak, salad, and noodles. By the end he had eaten more than me.

I’m scared of my grocery bill when these kids become teenagers. I’m taking donations now…..

I can’t wait to see what else people have done. Some of my upcoming themes are going to be harder to find definite hands on ways to cover science. So, I’m hoping to get more ideas.

Sound and Touch

We didn’t get as much done as I would have liked this week, but for good reason. We had cousin come to visit us.

I had big and glorious plans of doing one science experiment a day to go with the 5 senses. Then reality crashed in and we got one of them done, and the other one was more happenstance.

Touch Experiment

Materials Needed: small bag or box (not see through), several small toys

Here’s what we put in our bag.

1. Tell your kiddo to find a specific object in the bag. For the first go around try to choose an easy object. Then make a guess how many trys it will take.


2. Have them close their eyes and try to pull the object out. Keep trying until you find it. Notice how well he “closed” his eyes. If he was peeking, he did a really bad job because it took him 4 tries.


3. Congratulate them when they find their object, and then provide a new challenge.


They always pulled the snake out first.

Sound Experiment

I have some planned for at home, but here’s what I found at the Kid Museum this time.


The diferent positions of the ball hit different “keys” on a music box, you can make your very own music box song. So, we had fun prediciting what sounds different places would make.

If you have a science post, new or old link it up here. Join us back here next week for a bunch more 5 senses experiments (I just found the best book at the library today (Thursday the 15th, when I’m writing this)).