Sunday, October 31, 2010

You bet I voted!

Living in military surroundings and experiencing several other countries, has certainly instilled a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to live in a democratic nation.

Even though it's not the easiest task, I often take my children with me to vote so they can experience the process. (I must say that I do love early voting since the lines are much smaller!)

Here are a few resources to share with your child during the election period:

Women's Right to Vote - American history for kid coloring pagesPresident George Washington biography

Granddaddy's Gift (International Reading Association Teacher's Choice Award)Vote!With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to Vote

I searched for a cartoon about elections, and found this Care Bear "Mayor for a Day" episode. This shows the voting process with ballots or might help you explain why sometimes the public wishes to impeach someone in office:

This Popeye "Popeye for President" episode (lots of cigars and pipes). This could help to explain how candidates each have a platform or how some candidates might not "play fair":

"You're not elected, Charlie Brown" teaches about the voting process on a school level, good sportsmanship, loss in faith in a candidate.

White House Site/Blog:
Info and coloring pages of all the US Presidents:

Monday, October 25, 2010

(with a cool science connection)

"My hand is bigger than your hand" or "My cookie is smaller than your cookie".  Try to incorporate "bigger than"/ "less than" vocabulary in your routine today.  Show your child the <> signs. 

Place an apple slice on a piece of paper, then place bigger slice beside it.  Draw a box between the slices.  Let your child draw the correct "bigger than or smaller than" sign in the box. You can talk about how one apple piece weighs "less than" the other, and one apple piece takes up less volume than the other.

Place 4 raisins on a piece of paper and then place 1 raisin beside it.  Draw a box between then and let your child decide which sign ("less than or greater than") should go inside the box.

Check out this site made by the UofU comparing the sizes of a coffee bean to a red blood cell and ultimately, to a water molecule!  This is a fun site to see size comparisons.  It even shows a graph box disected to emphasize the miniscule nature of these objects.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by Science@home is for anyone, because we are all teachers and learners all the time. This month our theme is "Studies of Society and the Environment" which covers all the humanities, from history to finance, geography, politics and of course the environment. Check out the links at the bottom to find some other great posts on SOSE.

Little sponges is what they are...children are so capable of retaining so much information!

Since daddy travels the United States, becoming familiar with where he travels entertains and teaches the girls where the states are and small facts about them.  "Florida is where I saw little baby sea turtles running on the beach back to the ocean after they hatched."  The girls like to find California where Disneyland is (we still haven't been!)  Virginia is where Grandma and Grandpa get the idea.  It's a fun way for the girls to draw a mental correlation to each state. 

Then you can quiz them by asking them to find the state by their clue..."What state is known for growing potatoes?" (Idaho)

We've posted a map on the wall where the girls eat breakfast.  They like to use a pointing stick to identify the states that they know.  Of course this is a fun activity to learn countries, territories and provinces-whatever applies to where you live.

We're still learning...but it's been a fun learning activity over meals.

Check out this fun online game to practice your knowledge of the United States:

Visit Science@home to find out more about the Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival.
Please take the time to visit the other participants and check out their posts on "Studies of Society and the Environment."

•The Planning Queen has pulled together some of the many great sources that you can use to keep kids up to date with world news.

•SMMART Ideas is writing about how your 2 year old isn't too young to learn the names and locations of the state she lives in and those around her...or even countries of the world!

•For Adventures with Kids, photos can provide a great starting point for telling or discovering history, from family history to world history. Find out some questions to ask about the photos to get you started and where you can find historical images.

•Narelle at A Bunch of Keys has been having lots of fun learning all about volcanoes and how they work.

•Monique at Your Cheeky Monkey knows that kids are fascinated with igloos - how they are built and why they don't melt. We investigate why!

•Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now has a fun treat to celebrate the end of a geography unit on land and water forms.

•At Homeage, almost every day they get another piece of the world delivered to their door, helping them learn about where and how other people live.

•Deb's girls at have been building their family tree and talking about all their relationships.
Thanks for visiting our carnival, have fun reading all the posts.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Science Detective Books
Author Michele Torrey is hosting a giveaway of her fun Doyle and Fossey, Science Detective books! Four lucky winners will receive copies of the two newest books in the series, THE CASE OF THE TERRIBLE T.rex and THE CASE OF THE CROOKED CARNIVAL, plus a cool test tube kit!

Michele Torrey's Doyle and Fossey, Science Detectives books are a fun series for kids in grades 1-4. They could be described as Encyclopedia Brown meets Bill Nye, the Science Guy. Featured in the books are best friends and budding scientists Drake Doyle and Nell Fossey. Each book has several "cases" that the intrepid duo solve using their scientific know-how, plus there are easy science experiments at the end. Author Michele Torrey has a degree in microbiology and immunology, so her science is spot on, and very accessible. The sixth book in the series is THE CASE OF THE TERRIBLE T.rex.

To enter, send an e-mail to  In the body of the e-mail, include your name and e-mail address (if you're under 13, submit a parent's name and e-mail address).

One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on 11/18/10. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 11/19/10 and notified via email.

Check Michele’s website after Nov 22 for the list of winners!

Friday, October 8, 2010


1. The separation of a substance into simpler substances or basic elements. Decomposition can be brought about by exposure to heat, light, or chemical or biological activity.

2. The process of breaking down organic material, such as dead plant or animal tissue, into smaller molecules that are available for use by the organisms of an ecosystem. Decomposition is carried on by bacteria, fungi, protists, worms, and certain other organisms.

Think about it...Decomposing Corpses, Decomposing Pumpkins, Decomposing candy in little tummies...
Decomposition is a perfect theme for Halloween Science Experiments!
Print ready worksheet picture of the organs and accessory structures of the digestive system

This activity allows you to replicate "decomposed and digested food" and affords you the chance to talk about the body's digestive system.  You can share a few vocabulary words like digest, dissolve, liquid, gas, solid... 

EDIBLE BARF (...never thought I'd ever write those words in a post):

1 cup boiling water
1- 4 serving box orange gelatin
1 cup applesauce
2 pinches baking cocoa
handful of oats
handful of flakes
mashed grapes

Boil 1 cup of water in a pan.  Explain to your child that water is a liquid and when it boils, some of the water heats to a gas phase.  Take the boiling water from the stove and add the solid gelatin powder.  Demonstrate how the solid powder dissolves in the water and converts to a liquid phase. 

Add 2 pinches of baking cocoa to tame the bright orange color.  Add 1 cup of applesauce, and sprinkle in some oats and cereal flakes and mix until the desired barfy texture. 

Pour the edible barf into a cake pan, or onto a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle a few more oats and flakes on top.  Tear a few grapes and drop them on the top of your barf...lookin' good.

Chill the edible barf in the refrigerator until firm and ...dare I say it...ready to eat.  Seriously, it tastes like chocolate oranges, but it's actually pretty unappealing and difficult to eat. 
Sadly enough, each artisticly carved pumpkin shrivels up and decomposes shortly after the witching hour.  Here are a few resources to share this phenomenon with your child.
Pumpkin Jack, by Will Hubbell
Hubbell illustrates the life cycle of a pumpkin.  Tim carves a jack-o-lantern and keeps it well past Halloween.  The pumpkin begins to decay, so Tim lays it in the garden to decompose over winter.  In the spring a sprout appears.  Tim nurtures the pumpkin plant until he reaps a harvest of pumpkins. 

Sid the Science Kid
I guess we have a decomposition theme...and a barfing theme...sick or spooky?

This activity demonstrates an exothermic (energy/heat producing) reaction as Hydrogen Peroxide breaks down to water and oxygen gas.  
2H2O2 -->2H2O + O2
When you put hydrogen peroxide on a cut, the enzyme (catalase) in your blood encourages this reaction to occur.  It catalyzes this reaction to occur 200,000 times per second, producing the oxygen bubbles that you see.

1/4 cup warm water
1/2 Tb yeast
4 oz Hydrogen Peroxide (3%)
2 oz dish soap

Stir in 1/2 Tb yeast into 1/4 cup of warm water in a small bowl.  Let sit for 5 minutes for the yeast to become active.

Mix 4oz of 3% hydrogen peroxide and 2oz dish soap (used to help visualize break down of peroxide).  Add a few drops of food coloring (optional).

Place the small bowl of water and yeast inside of a small jack-o-lantern.  Pour hydrogen peroxide/soap mixture into the bowl that is inside the pumpkin and put the lid on the pumpkin.

Observe the oxygen gas trapped in the dish soap puke forth from the jack-o-lantern. 
So much spooky fun!


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