Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Liberty Science Center
Yesterday we went to Homeschool Day at Liberty Science Center again. We love going to the science center and taking their special homeschool classes. It's also great fun meeting with our friends.
The first class we went to yesterday was called The Scientist In Me. They read a story about a boat sinking. Who made the boat sink, was it the donkey or the cow, or maybe the pig? No it was the tiny little mouse who made the boat sink. When he added his few ounces of weight to the boat it was just too much weight and the boat sunk. The kids then went to the tables where they guessed which items would sink and which would float. Some items were expected to float, like the piece of cork and the plastic cubes. But no one expected the wooden block to float. That was a real surprise.
In the afternoon we took another class called Clouds, Clouds, Clouds. The teachers talked about the differences between cirrus clouds and cumulus clouds and stratus clouds. Cirrus clouds are the wispy, feathery looking clouds. The puffy, billowing clouds are cumulus. And stratus clouds are usually in layers and look like a bumpy road. They usually mean rain.
The kids used cotton balls to show what each of the three main cloud types look like. They also made rain in cups. They each had a small clear plastic cup. The teacher put about an inch of water in each cup. Then the covered the cups with plastic wrap and that was held in place by a rubber band. They covered the top of the cups with an ice pack to show how it is cold in the upper atmosphere. They set the cups aside while they did their other activities. When they came back to their cups the plastic wrap was covered with water drops that had condensed from the hot water meeting the cold ice pack. By tapping gently on the plastic, they made it rain in their cups.
Finally we went to watch a demonstration of Nitrogen. First he showed that the nitrogen was boiling even though it was only 70 degrees in the building. He poured the nitrogen into a tea kettle. It set off the whistle in the kettle because it was boiling. Even though the kettle was giving off steam, the kids could touch the kettle and found out that it was very cold. Liquid nitrogen is over 300 degrees below zero. The guy who was doing the demo put three large balloons into a small container of nitrogen. He could do this because the nitrogen turns the gas in the balloon into a liguid which fits into a much smalled space. When he took the balloons out of the nitrogen, they resumed their original shape in a matter of seconds. Dakota was selected to come up front and asked to smash a balloon with his feet. Of course he could not even make a single tear in the balloon. The guy then dropped the balloon into the liquid nitrogen for a few seconds. He then put the balloon on the floor again and Dakota was able to rip it apart by stamping on it.
All in all it was a fun and educational day for everyone.