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……..


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Science Sunday: Shrimp



A few months ago I shared how we dissected a shrimp, however the shrimp we got from our grocery store was already beheaded.  We got ones with shells on, so they saw the tails and legs and such stuff, but they really wanted to know what the head looked like, up close and personal.


I joked about going out for sushi and making my brother order fried shrimp heads again (he did it on a dare once, it was AWESOME), but Jeff didn’t think that was the best plan, for many perfectly valid reasons.




Then, when we were in Virginia we ate at this perfectly horrible Chinese/Japanese buffet.


Horrible, they messed up jello so badly I couldn’t eat it.


But, they had shrimp with their heads on.  So, right there in the restaurant we had a science lesson.


First thing we noticed is how HUGE the eyes are.  I personally think they’re kind of freaky.




Next we noticed the length of the antennae.  They’re about as long as the shrimp itself.


This required a lot of playing and fiddling around to see how much it could be moved.



And then some general exploration of how it moves and the different parts of it.


Of course eventually it was eaten.


I guess that day we played with our food.


Let’s see what others did this week:

Finding the Teachable Moments shared about their Fire Safety week, a great pre-school/early elementary unit (you have to see what her husband brought home from work!).


Homeschool Mo did a couple of things this week, but I really loved her illustration for the earth circling the sun using a pie pan.


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Science Sunday: Popping Popcorn in Illinois


I was trying to think what I wanted to do with popcorn late one night, and all I kept thinking of was charting what their favorite flavors were, and that didn’t sound exciting.  It sounded boring, mainly because I’d done that a lot when I was teaching public school.


Then in a flash of insight I popped out of bed and grabbed some bowls and pour 1/4 cup of popcorn into three bowls.  I started soaking one in water, another in oil, and left the third plain for a control.  About halfway through I had a vague memory of Almost Unschoolers doing something similar, so I looked up and they did an experiment with strawberry extract.  Interestingly enough we had very different results.


The next day at geography co-op we read about popcorn and how each one has a little drop of water in it.  Then we predicted which would pop best.


The majority thought the water soaked popcorn would pop best, but we had one holding out for our control and one for the oil.


There was a lot of very excited watching of the popcorn popping.  It amused me to see my kids who normally ignore our popcorn popper absolutely enthralled by it.


From left to right: oil, water, control.  The oil and control popped about the same amount (I got flustered getting ready to leave and left my giant measuring cup at home).  There was mixed feelings on which of them tasted better, but it leaned more towards the oil one.


Everyone was very surprised by the result of the water one.  It didn’t pop at all.  The kernel size was noticeably bigger and apparently it didn’t react well to absorbing all that water.


Our results are different that the google results I got when trying to find the science behind this.  Or the “best popcorn secret,”  I’m guessing the difference is don’t soak it for over 12 hours, that’s the difference.


So, do you think I’m right, it’s the extra time soaking that makes the difference?


Let’s see what others did this week:

Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational shared Origami Bats, I wish I was good at origami.


Enjoying the Journey shared her tips for making rock candy.  One of the rare times someone has shared it and the project worked right.


Homeschool Mo shared her preschool flower studies, I love the flowers they made to go with it.



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Science Sunday: Sea Cucumbers


Now who here read that title and said “Sea Cucumbers is that a vegetable?”  I admit I did at first when I first read that part.


But, they’re really rather fascinating.  There are two different kinds.  One that just eats sand and filters its food out of it.  The other has large numbers of tentacles and uses the tentacles to bring the food to its mouth.


Well after reading all about this we decided to make our own models, but first we needed play dough.


That accomplished we got busy making our sea cucumbers, I gave them the play dough, tooth picks, and pipe cleaners.


It was quite a lot of work, much hard work.  You know the type of work that they complain when you say it’s time to stop.


Horribly hard work.  They really hated this science lesson.


Let’s see what others did this week:

By His Design 5 shared about dissecting owl pellets.  She includes a link for where she got hers.  Last time I did this it was artificial owl pellets. 


Watch how sounds waves move at All Things Beautiful.


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Science Sunday: Mississippi: Stetson hats and felting


When googling interesting fact on Mississippi, I learned “Hat maker John B. Stetson first practiced hat-making in Duns Falls”.  So I looked for books on cowboy hats and found “Boss of the Plains.” Widgets


All about how he started making hats, only he was in Colorado when first making the distinctive hat.


Well, after reading it we had to see if making felt was as easy as he claimed.



We got some wool roving and arranged it in a criss cross pattern, making sure to overlap it somewhat.



Than we got it wet and put it in a terry wash cloth.



Finally we rolled and pounded it a bunch to help it “mesh” together.



And after smushing it up a bunch, we created felt.  Not very high quality felt, but it was felt.


Why does wool or other natural fibers felt?

It felts because there are small barbs in it that causes it to catch on itself.  Information from Cornell University


Why did our wool not felt well?

1.  The water needed to be hot, much much hotter.

2.  We did not use soap.  Soap will help the barbs hook together better. Information from





Let’s see what others did this week:

I love the spider web they made at Raising LIfelong Learners.


At Keitha’s Chaos, they had a brain based obstacle course, what a great idea!




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Science Sunday: Easter edition

Science Sunday


So, let’s pretend I didn’t break all of the eggs I have dropping them earlier this week.  Or let’s say I did and I made it to the grocery store before Thursday afternoon.


Then let’s pretend I actually was able to do the science experiment/Easter lesson I wanted to do instead of having to run errands for an upcoming vacation.


So I could share with you the science of Easter Story Cookies also known as meringues (head over to that link for a great explanation of how to do meringues to tell the Easter story).


Instead, I’ll just explain to you verbally, so much more boring that whipping the eggs breaks up the amino acids and the protein molecules by adding air into the mixture.  When they are heated the molecules are solidified creating the yummy lighter than air mixture.


Actual more technical explanation, that is not written by a woman madly trying to get things done while her daughter is taking a short bath and her sons are attempting to conquer the world using a stick and some other imaginary weapon.


Let’s see some other Bible related science:

Almost Unschoolers showed the science behind Resurrection Rolls.


Mad About Jesus has a whole section of science experiments to show different Biblical principles.


Mama to 4 Blessings showed a great illustration about obedience using pennies.

Almost Unschoolers showed how sin can change us by doing the classic change the carnation’s color experiment.




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Science Sunday: Mississippi Steam Boat

Science Sunday
I really wanted for Mississippi to look at Steam boats and how they work. I found a great lesson for high school, but it was way too complicated for my group of guys.

I found a few great books, and then after a quick youtube search, found the perfect video about how a steam engine works (as described by a 9 (?) year old boy):

Afterwards the kids drew their interpretation of how a steam engine works.
This is Batman’s interpretation of how it works.  I thought the drawings were pretty accurate.

Then I made and they demonstrated (I didn’t want to cut out the pieces necessary for 8 kids to make it) how it would work as a steam engine.  High Hill Homeschool has some great instructions on making this.
We first tried it with my steam kettle, but it didn’t produce a focused enough steam source to turn it.  So, we poured water on it, and used that to demonstrate how the steam engine works.
All in all a fun lesson on steam boats.
<a href=””> Widgets</a>

Let’s see what others did this week:

Almost Unschoolers made and explored the science behind Resurrection Rolls.

All Things Beautiful made their own batteries.

Almost Unschoolers attempted to recreate a battery from a book they read.  It apparently was the week of batteries.

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom created a ball and socket joint and a great lapbook.

No Doubt Learning had a super cute amazing shrinking leprechaun hat.  I’m thinking this could also be for Dr Seuss unit or for our brownie, who needs a hat.


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Science Sunday: Octopus Colors

Science Sunday

I just heard about a linky sponsored by Apologia Science, so I’m gonna link this up to Homeschool Science Show and Tell!

I had planned to share with you what we did with your suggestions for starfish (unfortunately they weren’t as intrigued with starfish as I am), but sadly I LOST MY CAMERA!  So that post will have to wait until I find it again.  Please be praying it pops back up sometime soon.

We read in our Swimming Creatures text that octopuses change color not just because of where they are, but also because of their mood.

This was fascinating to me, and demanded an art project.
First we painted the different colors octopuses have been seen to change.  Afterwards we painted our own idea of different emotions.

Simple, but to the point.

Did you ever have a science project lead to an art project?  My kids LOVED this!

Let’s see what others did this week (or in the past several weeks):

Over at Homegrown Learners they learned about Louis Pasteur, I’m linking to this partially because of the cool movie clip she found and partially because it was such a blast from the past to see this book series, which I had and LOVED growing up.

Spell Out Loud has a great post about the human heart.

Fit Kids Clubhouse had a great post about her son’s experiment with a lava lamp.  I really encourage you to take the time and read it, not skim, but read.  It’s a great testimony about taking the time to follow your child’s lead.

Little Wonder Days did a whole series of egg experiments.  This is part one.

Raising Lifelong Learners has a great post on making your own compass.

And finally here’s a fun suggestion of a series of books to read with your kiddos about different animals.

Science Sunday will be on a Saturday next week, and on Sunday I’ll be sharing the next country for Around the World in 12 Dishes: Sweden!  Anyone have a fun Swedish inspired craft they’d like to suggest?


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Science Sunday: Octopus propulsion

Science Sunday

I just heard about a linky sponsored by Apologia Science, so I’m gonna link this up to Homeschool Science Show and Tell!

We started studying Octopuses, I learned the PROPER plural for that from our science book this past week.  Okay, there’s actually a debate about that, but still.

First I gave the kids some various papers, they chose blue and yellow, and let them have at it to make octopuses.  While they made those I took turns reading with the different kiddos.  Afterwards I was very amused to discover the similarities in their projects.


Next, we looked at my terrible brilliant drawing of an octopus expelling water.

We talked about how an octopus sucks in water, and then pushes it out, and that’s what pushes them through the ocean.

Then I got out a turkey baster and we squeezed the bulb to feel the air coming out.  That let us feel what the water being pushed out did.

Now, you could follow this up with letting them play with it in the bath tub, or in the summer in the pool, but that would not have pictures of it for obvious reasons.


Finally we took some eye droppers I had and tried squeezing them under water.

This part didn’t work so well because apparently someone had knocked the bulbs off, so we weren’t getting good suction with them.
But, with the various hands on and “illustrations” we did, they did get the idea of how an octopus and other cephalopods move, so that’s all good.

What kitchen things have you found to be good for using in science activities?

Chestnut Grove Academy has some great ideas for studying whales with little guys.

Juggling with Kids shared about Diving Ketchup, and I was thinking this is an excellent example of octopus propulsion also.

 We’re about to start on starfish, anyone have some good hands on ideas for them? I’d love to hear suggestions.  All I can think of right now is to look at the ones my MIL gave us under a magnifying glass and make a craft using sandpaper.

Science Sunday: Indy 500

Science Sunday
019Or, how to make 5 boys insanely happy.  All throughout our geography coop last week I let the boys, when they were done with other projects work on creating a race car out of Legos.

The only rules were it had to be able to move on its own, beyond that it was all in what they decided.

At first there was a lot of “My car has guns and a shield…….”  However as they tried out all of these uber weaponized race cars and discovered they didn’t go as far, they started taking off the weapons.

Before we raced the cars we took time to write what made each of their cars special.  Or in Princess’ case, draw pictures of different parts of her car.

It was interesting what each kid thought was special about their cars.  I think that’s one of the most amusing parts of teaching, seeing how their minds work.


As the very final activity for the day we raced them.

And of course we all have to pose for it!

We divided into two groups to race, andthe big kid race was tied between Superman and another kid.


The little kid race Princess won, and hers got the most distance of all.  Her secret weapon?

It was a SLED!  I didn’t think it was going to go far at all, but apparently it slid super well.

You learn something new every day!

Let’s see what others did this week:

Highhill Homeschool shared a water wheel her kids made (I’m really hoping she tells more about this, it’d be perfect for Mississippi).  UPDATED: She included more detailed instructions on making it, so here it comes for Mississippi.

Homeschool Mo writes about their earthworm unit (including an art project).  I don’t know if I’d order earthworms.

Teach Beside Me shared a food chain printable that looks fun.

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