Happy New Year!
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
You may or may not (which would be perfectly understandable given the time frame here) remember that we were studying the water cycle back in the fall and conducted an experiment where the children created a closed environment in a glass jar. They put a little cup and some water in the bottom of the jar, added a few drops of food coloring, and stretched plastic wrap over the top. We watched as water vapor condensed on the plastic and precipitated back down into the cup. The children were fascinated by their mini water cycles in action and started to talk about what was happening. Now the interesting sticking point in terms of the science for me was trying to figure out if the food coloring was traveling around as well. The water droplets on the plastic looked clear, and the water in the cups started out clear, but then it turned the color of the food coloring. The children had some good explanations for sources of contamination - the cups seemed to leak over time and our table where the experiment was running got bumped repeatedly. We wanted to figure out if the food coloring evaporated, so we did a separate experiment where we just put some food coloring in water in a jar, marked the level of the liquid with some tape, and put it on the window. The children made some hypotheses, and we waited. It was pretty not a flashy experiment but every few days, one of the children would remark, "Look at our jar!" Everyone would have to pass it around, and we could see the level of the water was a tiny bit lower than it had been. They definitely learned that in our classroom evaporation was not a quick process. Well, we got back from vacation and were eating our snacks, when someone yelled, "Look at our jar!" I did not remind him to use an inside voice. Instead we took the jar and passed it around like it was the most amazing and precious find imaginable. "It made a circle - there's a hole in the middle." "It's darker than it was in the water." "The food coloring is still there! It didn't evaporate!" They had more questions and more possible answers, and I loved hearing their scientific minds engage.
If you haven't heard any of the stories from this week, you can ask your child, "How did Chipmunk get his stripes? Tell me about when Turtle decided to make war on Man. What happened when Turtle raced Beaver? What happened when Turtle raced Bear? How did Rabbit trick Fox?" We talked about how people use stories as a way to share lessons and values. The children have noticed that the Haudenosaunee don't seem to like bragging, do respect quick wits, and are connected to the rhythms and patterns of the natural world. We have been doing research as well to answer some of the questions the children generated about the Haudenosaunee. We try to be fact detectives and look in at least two books to see how the information is similar and different. The children have learned about longhouses, some Haudenosaunee games, and traditional roles of children. We read "Giving Thanks," and talked about how giving thanks can be a part of daily life instead of something simply done at Thanksgiving. Next week, we'll create a mural inspired by the words of this book.
We did some interesting work with addition, graphing, and probability this week as the children rolled dice. Working with a partner, they took turns rolling a pair of six sided dot dice. Each roll involved identifying (or counting) the dots, combining the two dice for a total, and graphing that total in our workbooks. When we were all done, we put all of our data together in one big graph and found that 7 was the most frequently rolled number. "Why is that?" I pondered. "There are lots of ways to make 7," offered one child. "What do you mean?" We looked at all of the combinations that add up to 7 and contrasted that with the ways we can roll 2 or 12. I watched the collective "A-ha" moment hit.
And We're Still Going Outside