Thursday, 29 September 2011

Magnet Unit wrap up and Giveaway

Our magnet unit is finally finished.
The girls were happy to recreate their experiments so you could all see the pictures.

They made dancing bees - Tulip kindly describes how to make them.

Rose made a hungry spider - we used colours on the flies he had to eat but you could easily use numbers or shapes instead to create an extra learning activity.

They measured the force of attraction using a ruler and paperclip - we started at the 5cm mark and slowly moved in until the paperclip jumped to the magnet. (about 2cm distance)

they then decided to see if a stronger magnet would have a stronger force of attraction - following the same process as above but using 2 then 3 magnets (and yes - worked at 2.5cm and 3cm)

The floating butterfly was probably the most finicky activity - basically a butterfly cutout with a paperclip stuck to the back, cotton then tied to the paperclip and sellotaped to the base. The idea it to get the butterfly to float but not attach to the magnet, only Lilly managed this as everyone else's got stuck to the magnet (including mine)

Proving a magnet could work through a solid was the easiest - used a maze printed on card and the magnet underneath to move the object through the maze.

They also decided to see if a magnet would work through a liquid - cup of water and the magnet outside.
Sunflower's favourite was repulsion skating. We used a laminated sheet of paper (to provide a lovely smooth surface) and two magnets. By placing them S to S (or N to N) they repel but if you let one magnet loose and push them together the loose magnet will dance and turn until it connects NS. Sunflower said these reminded her of ice skaters.
Car Repulsion - to measure the distance a like pole will repulse a like pole.
They straped a magnet to the roof of a plastic toy car and laid it alongside a ruler, next they took it in turns to see how far their magnet would push the car (as you can see this did involve some cheating with the girls 'stepping' over the stating line)
The Mag - Lev train was made and researched
The bouncing magnets were Rose's favourite (pencil stuck in Styrofoam with washer magnets like pole to like pole)

and my favourite was the electro magnet. The girls thought I was mad when I popped this tray out and told them we would make it into a magnet because 'Mummy copper doesn't work - it isn't magnetic'

Don't you just love when they have to rethink the world :)
We also discussed how iron will only make a temporary magnet using this method but steel would make a permanent magnet.

Now to get you all stated having magnetic fun I have a little giveaway planned - it's open worldwide so feel free to join in. I will close the giveaway on Fri 7th Oct 20:00 BST and draw a winner using
the winner will receive the above set containing: magnet, plastic bead, cotton, paperclips, packet of ion filings, 2 ring/washer magnets, maze and instruction booklet with 7 activities in.

To enter simply follow Homeschool Escapade and leave a comment below and for a 2nd entry like Homeschool Escapade on Facebook and leave a comment below.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Flour Fun

Rose was presented with a flour tray today - I had originally intended to wait until winter to use this tray as I thought it looked a bit like snow and would make a cute activity to create 'snow' over a toy town, but kids develop at their own pace and Rose is at the stage where she needs to work on whole hand squeezing. (I can always redo it later for a winter activity, I'm pretty sure they won't complain).
Working from right to left, she had to pour flour into the sifter, pick the sifter up and position over the plate then squeeze the mechanism to make the flour come out. Once presented she was away and made very little mess (however that all changed when Tulip decided she would have a go - note to self use a bigger tray or put plastic down)

she also worked on transferring with tweezers - moving pom poms from one bowl to the other - but she decided that transferring them back to the original bowl would be more fun with her favourite new accessory 'the ladel'

Tulip (when not covered in flour) worked on more sticker subtraction, worked on her phonics and did some activities with the golden beads.
They both worked on a joint Think! challenge - draw blindfolded then swap, finish by colouring in the resulting picture

Check out Montessori Monday for other great ideas.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Elementary Magnets

Lilly and Sunflower have been doing some more magnet exploration this week.
Yesterday they worked on magnetic fields. They started by lining 4 paperclips up in a row and slowly pushing a bar magnet towards them and examining the shape they moved into,

next they used iron filings to explore the magnetic field of different magnets - horseshoe, circular and bar magnets.

Meanwhile Rose and Tulip explored my great masterpiece - the magnet tray!
This is two pieces of clear perspex with iron filings in the middle, I used a hot glue gun to seal the edges so no filings could escape.

It gave them the freedom to explore magnets, magnetic fields and generally have fun whilst keeping them safe from eating or spilling the filings :)

They also played a couple of magnetic games - funny faces, fishing and car races.
Today Sunflower and Lilly worked on repulsion - they explored how the opposite ends of a magnet attract each other but the same ends repel. They strapped a magnet to a plastic car and measured the distance it repelled from a stationary magnet, they also played with floating magnets and made a magnetic butterfly that hovered above another magnet (sorry no photos today as my camera batteries were flat)
After reading about the uses of magnets in every day life they are really looking forward to making a train hover above the rails - we may attempt it tomorrow or leave it to next week.(depending how crafty I'm feeling)

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


The older two girls have been working on constellations this week - both the myths and the groupings. They have used various methods to learn the common ones including pin punching and tracing but their favourite by far hs been using star stickers to map them. (inspired by this)

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Absorbing counting

Rose had lots of fun today - she got to try out her new ladling tray
I just love the concentrartion levels (I used to tick my tongue out like this when I was little)

and just to prove our activities have a lasing impact - when she spilt some water on the tray she carefully removed the jug and bowl, wiped the tray and replaced the jug and bowl :)
She also spent a long time playing with her I-Spy bottle (coloured balls hidden in rice)
and finished with a transferring exercise
which she turned into a counting activity (bearing in mind I've haven't taught her to count yet, she has absorbed this from Tulip's lessons)
Tulip started subtraction today - I presented her with a sheet containing 6 stickers, which she had to count, then asked her to remove 4 and tell me how many were left - we then wrote the sum out. Next she took the sheet of prepared sums and stickers and worked the sums out.

Early Christmas!

I went to a local home ed meeting today with Book Plus - they provide schools with  learning resources. They have a massive warehouse filled with everything from anatomy models to spinning wheels. To say I was happy was an understatement - It made my month! It's full of everything I've wanted to buy but couldn't afford.

I came away with a box full of books and objects for our magnet unit, animal skeletons and insects encased in plastic for our zoology work, an autumn themed box, a simple forces box and a human body tabbard where the organs velcro on.

I felt like a child faced with a pile of Christmas presents :)

I would highly recommend that anyone based in the UK contact their LEA to see if they offer a book plus service in your area.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Apples, Magnets and letter formation

Its been a little weird this week - Tulip has tonsillitis (again!) so that's always fun : (
We've introduced some new activity trays for magnets this week. We've done magnetic and non magnetic before so to make it slightly different I introduced a 'metal detector' (a magnet they had to tape onto a pencil) and a non magnetic metal (copper).

they also had an activity tray for induced magnetism to could create a magnetic sculpture.

which proved too much fun - they kept running off to collect other bits to attach to it :)

Over the last two days Sunflower and Lilly have worked on constellations, full lifecycle of stars, factors (inspired by this) and Ancient Egypt.

Rose has 'helped' Tulip with her letter formation, pin punching constellations and she borrowed the older girls cussinare rods - am thinking it might now be time to finish painting up my number rods.

Tulip's favourite was letter formation - I would chalk a letter on the board, she would make its sound then draw over it with a wet finger, she loved helping Rose trace over the letters too.
Nanny came up with a great experiment for the girls, someone mentioned that apple seeds sprout better when they have been soaked in water first - she got the girls to design an experiment to see if this was true, they even decided to find out if the temperature of the water would effect the sprouting (boiling, warm and cold)

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