Monday, July 16, 2012

Firework Icecream
One of my daughters insists she made up "Firework Icecream".  It sounded like a lot of fun, so we buzzed to the store to get some poprocks.  This is a great JULY treat!

Sprinkle poprocks onto your favorite icecream.  RED-poprocks/ WHITE-vanilla icecream/ BLUE- use a blue bowl to serve your treat.

Why do those poprocks fizz and pop in your mouth?  "Here's the basic idea. Hard candy (like a lollypop or a Jolly Rancher) is made from sugar, corn syrup, water and flavoring. You heat the ingredients together and boil the mixture to drive off all of the water. Then you let the temperature rise. What you are left with is a pure sugar syrup at about 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). When it cools, you have hard candy.
To make Pop Rocks, the hot sugar mixture is allowed to mix with carbon dioxide gas at about 600 pounds per square inch (psi). The carbon dioxide gas forms tiny, 600-psi bubbles in the candy. Once it cools, you release the pressure and the candy shatters, but the pieces still contain the high-pressure bubbles (look at a piece with a magnifying glass to see the bubbles).
When you put the candy in your mouth, it melts (just like hard candy) and releases the bubbles with a loud POP! What you are hearing and feeling is the 600-psi carbon dioxide gas being released from each bubble." (

Monday, July 9, 2012

I was trying to explain to my daughter that our bodies are made up of cells, specialized to perform a myriad of individual tasks from creating our teeth to the blood running in our veins. Cells are difficult to visualize and comprehend when you just "talk" about them.

So, I've been trying to figure out a few ways to model the cells in our body to help aid my daughter's comprehension...please post any other ideas you might have!

Place a bit of water a a few healthy squirts of dish soap into a pie plate. Place the pie plate onto a dish towel to keep the counter dry. Give your child a straw and instruct her to blow much fun! For sure, she'll create a HUGE pile of bubbles spilling over the pie plate. Have your child touch the bubbles with her finger and try to pop them individually.

Explain to your child that our body is made up of millions and billions of teeny tiny cells. Each cell is stacked upon the other like the bubbles. The cells each have special jobs. Some cells make up our skin, some create our teeth, some create our hair, some work together to create our heart and some make up the blood in our bodies. There are many types of cells.

Each of the different types of cells started out the same, but each cell has expressed DNA inside that tells it what type of cell it will be. So, we have blood cells, and hair cells, and nail cells...

I found an interactive website that shows a diagram and you can learn about the different organelles' functions:

Check out this awesome cell biology animation:

I think a little lightbulb went on in my daughters head...I need to think of some more examples of how to explain cell properties (organelles and all that)...any ideas?
SMMART Science:
Bubble Bottles
Another fun way to demonstrate cell proximity is by creating these fun summer bubble blow bottles. I saw another family having fun with these this summer and had to find out how to make them!
Cut the bottom off of a water bottle. Use a rubberband to secure a piece of terry cloth (washcloth) over the bottom of the cut opening.
Now dip the terrycloth bottom into a pan of dishsoap and water. Then blow throught the waterbottle top and watch a snake of bubbles form.
This is such a fun summer activity and is another way to help your child visualize how cells are stacked up next to each other.


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