Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall Science Experiments and a Trip to the Art Museum

We are beginning to get into our school routine, finally. We are "hybrid" homeschoolers - Gabriel goes to an alternative school in our district for part of his learning, and I take care of the rest. It is working out well for us, and Gabriel has some really neat classes this year.

Last week we tried a science experiment out at home. It had mild success - I think it needs some tweaking, but I'm not sure we'll do that this year. First we read the book Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro and Loretta Krupinski. It does a good job explaining the scientific reasons for the brilliant colors of autumn leaves. Then we went for a walk in the beautiful afternoon sunshine. We collected a few leaves, and found some other treasures, too.

Annika examines the remains of a paper wasp nest

Tracks in the mud - raccoon or possum?

Most leaves in our area are just starting to change; perhaps in a few weeks we would be able to get more to use for our experiment. Then we came home and prepared the experiment, using the instructions from this website.

Leaf Chromatography Experiment

The next day, we were able to see some faint lines where the pigments from the leaves separated out. The kids thought this was interesting, but Gabriel had a hard time destroying the leaves. He is so sensitive!

On Saturday I took the kids to the Seattle Art Museum. It has been years since I have been there. Gabriel has been asking to go for some time. We enjoyed some of the crazy stuff we saw there. Gabriel is into abstract art, and enjoyed the sections of the museum covering the more modern art. He also liked the cars hanging from the ceiling in the lobby.

I was inspired by the ancient glass objects on display. It is hard to believe that people 2000 years ago had the skill and technology to be able to blow glass into such delicate bottles.

Annika found it too boring, though, and 2 hours was a bit too long for her taste. Thankfully they have a nice play area for children, and that helped to make the trip worthwhile for her.

We ended the day at a birthday party for a friend. Legos everywhere! What a great idea!

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