Thursday, 21 May 2015

FREE entry: World Archaeological Festival

The UCL Institute of Archaeology emailed me to tell me they will soon be hosting the World Archaeology Festival.  It's a Free entry.  This is a one-day annual event taking place on Saturday 13th June from 12pm-5pm. 



There will be a range of drop-in activities suitable for all ages in the Institute building itself and in the adjacent surroundings of Bloomsbury’s Gordon Square, including:

  •          How to Make Flint Tools
  •          Prehistoric Butchery
  •          Fragmented Frescos
  •          Cave Painting
  •          Underwater Shipwreck
  •          Whose Poo?
  •          Pottery Making
  •          Sandpit Archaeology
  •          Fish Mummification

There will be hosted guided tours of the Institute's internationally acclaimed collections and there will be opportunities to handle archaeological finds.

Admission is free and no ticket required and the event is open to all.  I am really excited and hoping to make this event myself so I may see you there!

For more information about the activities check out there event page and website! 
 

For more information about archaeology check out CBA's Festival of Archaeology as well as The Institute of Archaeology.  There is also a Facebook page and they're on twitter.


Monday, 18 May 2015

How to make a model Neuron and more...

So recently we have been looking at how the brain works.  So we got hands on and made models.
 
As I make science models with kids, I talk to the kids about what each part represents and how it actually all works for real.  If you want to learn about Neurons check out my STEP by STEP tutorial blog post by clicking on the photo of the neuron below...
 
 

Friday, 15 May 2015

Science: How does your brain work?

This is a fun way to learn about the main different parts of the brain!

For this I am going to use play dough to make a brain, simply because it’s really easy to get a variety of colours and for this brain all we will need is 6 different colours of play dough!



There are the six main parts of the brain and they are separated.  Each part doing different jobs.  I will go through the jobs of each part of the brain as we do this activity.


STEP ONE


We will start with the Cerebrum.  The Cerebrum is made up of four parts which are known as lobes.  WE will start with the Frontal Lobe.
Roll out your first colour.  Curl it up like a worm and shape it so it looks something like this…

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Digestion: How do enzymes breakdown food?

Digestion begins in the mouth, you might know that we chew our food to make it small but there is something else that happens in our mouths that helps breakdown food further.  This thing is an enzyme known as AMYLASE.

 


Amylase is an enzyme that breaks down starch.   Depending upon the amount of reducing sugar present, it can be from light yellow-green to almost brick red in colour after heating the solution in a boiling water bath. It doesn't detect non-reducing sugars.

Chew on a bit of bread for a minute or so.  Don’t swallow.  The taste of it changes.  Can you tell what your saliva, well the amylase in your saliva, turns the starches into? 

SUGAR! 

It’s true, you can turn the starch in your bread to sugar just by chewing it and keeping it in your mouth.
 
This happens because of an enzyme called Amylase.  Amylase catalyses (catalyses means causes a reaction) the hydrolysis (hydrolysis means the chemical breakdown of a compound due to a reaction with water) of starch into sugar. 

Amylase is present in human saliva and in some other mammals and this is where the chemical process of digestion begins.

Foods like bread, potato and rice become sweeter as we chew them as they are high in starch and this starch is turned into sugar by the amylase as we have already discovered in our first science experiment. 

The pancreas and the salivary gland make amylase to hydrolyse dietary starch.  This is then converted into glucose by other enzymes to supply the body with energy.

The pancreas produces lots of digestive enzymes.  Enzymes are imperative (that means absolutely necessary) in the digestive process.  Each enzyme has a specific job.  Like a jigsaw, they will only fit and breakdown the substances they were made to break down:
  • An Amylase enzyme will only fit into a carbohydrate, a starch and break it down into sugar
     
  • A protease, like pepsin, will only fit into a protein and break it down into amino acids
     
  • A lipase, lipids, will only fit into fat and break it down into fatty acids or glycerol

We can do an experiment that proves that starch I turned into sugar, as it happens in the mouth as we mix food with saliva.  To do this you will need: 

  • Corn flour
  • Amylase
  • Iodine - here's how to make your own: click here
  • Water
  • 2 test tubes with lids, one for the iodine and one for the solution we will make up.
  • 6 Petri dishes or a clear plastic bag.
  • 2 pipettes
  • Optional: Benedict’s solution – if you use this you will also need an extra pipette.

STEP ONE

Add ¼ teaspoon of Amylase and ¼ teaspoon of corn flour ( the corn flour is the starch) to one of your test  tubes. 

STEP TWO

Fill the test tube with water, tap water is fine, so it is 1/3 full.

STEP THREE

Put a lid on your test tube and give it a gentle shake

STEP FOUR

Test for starch.

Hypothesise about what will happen when you mix the solution you have made with iodine.

In one your petri dishes (or on a small area of your plastic bag if you don’t have petri dishes) put a drop of the amylase and starch solution on using one of your pipettes.  Always use this first pipette only for the amylase and starch solution.

Then, with the second pipette, drop the smallest drop of iodine onto your drop in you petri dish (or on your plastic bag).

It goes black!   This means starch is present.

STEP FIVE

Leave the solution for 5 minutes.  Repeat STEP FOUR – don’t forget to your hypothesis.

STEP SIX

Leave for another 5 minutes and repeat STEP FOUR.  Do this another 4 times.

On the last test you should notice that when you mix the iodine in with the solution it’s no longer black but it’s yellow.  You should also notice that each time you test the solution the colours will go from black, to brown, to orange and then yellow.  This means that the starch has all been turned into sugar.

If you have the Benedict’s reagent solution you could test to see if simple sugars are present in the solution.  If there is sugar present the solution will go a green to yellow colour, if you heat your solution in a bath of boiling water the colour will turn to a brick red colour.
Benedict’s reagent solution does not detect not-reducing sugars, but will detect the simple sugars form in the reaction of Amylase and starch.

I hope you enjoyed this experiment.  If you want to learn more about digestion why not click on the image bellow and go to a fun project to learn about the rest of our digestive tract...

 

Friday, 1 May 2015

More Crazy Fun Science!

So last week's Science Crazy we were looking at the lungs. 

It was great fun!  We made our own model lung, if you want to try it out at home visit my blog post: how to make a model lung...

(Click the image for the link to activity)



And we learnt about carbon dioxide and had fun with our self inflating balloons...

Thursday, 30 April 2015

SCIENCE: STEP BY STEP How To Make A Working Model Lung


LET'S MAKE A MODEL OF A LUNG!   We did this at Science Crazy last week and it was a huge hits with the parents and the kids!  It is such a simple but effective way of demonstrating how a lung works!





As you make your model I will talk you through the different parts of the lung.
 

For this project you will need:
  • Some plastic tubing – alternatively you can use straws
  • A clear empty 500ml bottle (make sure the bottle is a sturdy plastic)
  • 3 balloons
  • Modelling clay
  • Electrical tape (I found this worked best)
  • A craft knife or Stanley knife
  • Scissors


STEP ONE

First we need to cut the end off our water bottle. 

TIP: I like using a water bottle with quite a thick plastic as otherwise the balloon can crush it out of shape.

 
STEP TWO

Cut some plastic piping, you will need two pieces about 8cm long each.

These tubes represent the trachea (often known as your wind pipe).




In the body the trachea is one tube that splits into two, feeding air, from your mouth and nose, into the left and the right lungs. 

These tubes, the trachea, when it reaches the lungs, split into bronchi

Brochi is the plural of bronchus.

The bronchi then branch out into bronchioles, these branches then end at tiny sacs called alveoli, which is where the gas exchange takes place; this is where the oxygen (O2) is drawn into the blood and the carbon dioxide (CO2) is taken away.

 

STEP THREE

Put a balloon on the end of each piece of cut tubing with about 3-4cm of the tube tucked inside your balloon.  Seal the end of the balloon and attach it firmly to the tubing using some tape.

 

These are your lungs where all the bronchi, bronchioles and alveoli is contained.

 

STEP FOUR

Put your lungs with the attached trachea (the balloons fixed to the tubes) into your bottle, and hold in place with your modelling clay like this…



 STEP FIVE

Now you will need your third balloon.  What you want to do is tie a knot in your balloon, w ithout inflating it.  Now cut the top of the balloon off (I tried the base of the balloon in my very first attempt but it was much trickier and this way leaves you with a handle.  You will see what I mean when we have finished making our model of a lung.



STEP SIX

Stretch the balloon from STEP SIX over the bottom of your bottle where you made the cut and stick it down with some tape.  This is to represent your diaphragm.

 


The diaphragm, in the body, is a major muscle of respiration, it’s located below the lungs and is a large dome shaped muscle that contracts rhythmically (like your breathing pattern) and constantly (else if it stopped we would stop breathing and die!).  Most of the time it works involuntarily.

The reason we needed a bottle with quite thick plastic is because the balloon used in this step that represents our diaphragm needs to have not gaps round the edge and it’s important it doesn’t rip. If there are any hole or gaps, our lung model will not work.

IMPORTANT
MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO GAPS BETWEEN THE TUBES AND THE EDGE OF THE NECK OF THE BOTTLE, THIS IS IMPORTANT SO YOUR MODEL WILL WORK.

 
Your model is complete.  Now here’s how it works…

 
Pull the balloon at the bottom of the bottle, the balloon that represents the diaphragm.  When you do this you should, if you have ensured there are no gaps around the tubing or the diaphragm, see that the lungs, represented by the two balloons attached to the tubing, inflate.



Push the balloon up into the bottle, the lungs, the balloons in our case, will deflate. This is beause there is less room in the bottle because the diaphragm gets in the way, it's pushed the air out through the tubes like our diaphragm pushes air out of our lungs and back out through our air ways ( our nose and mouth).



This works for in the same way as our lungs in the body.  When we pull the diaphragm in our model, we are simulating what happens when the diaphragm in our body contracts.  When it does this, it makes room for more air that enters our lungs through our mouth and nose and down through the trachea, which is the tubing in our model.

A fun fact!

The lungs are known as the lights, this is because they are the lightest muscle in your body and it's where the term 'I'll knock your lights out' comes from!  How cool is that.  I got that fun fact from my local artisan butcher from Rose House, Ipswich.  Check him out here , his meat is amazing and he's so knowledgeable!  (I am not being paid to say this)

Sunday, 26 April 2015

What's inside the Earth?

I did this project last year with Honi, my 7 year old.  Today we did it again but this time Harmonie, my five year old, joined in and this time we got the atlas out too.  This is how we did our project today...
 
 

 
All you will need for this project is:

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Where do I get the time?

Where do you get the time? is a question I'm often asked and that I really don't know the answer to, but then again I am sat at my computer  in the early hours of the morning trying to write this post (knowing I will have to finish it off in the morning, which turned out to be the afternoon, when I get a free moment, when the girls are getting ready or busying themselves in some other productive way!)



Life is busy, but I believe all the hard work will pay off in the end.  You have to try.  How can I teach my kids to work for what they want in life, to fulfil their dreams if I am not at least trying to do the same.  Lead by example.  I think that's important.

At the moment my life is full of...

Friday, 17 April 2015

A bit of a drama...

What a week!

I keep meaning to write.  I have so much to tell you all but, at the moment, I am one super busy mama.  So much going on.  Mostly super exciting but it's making me so super busy while I'm at the start of setting up business.

So, this weeks highlights...


Sunday, 12 April 2015

Science Crazy Club begins!

Friday was my first ever Science Crazy Club.  I've done some science groups in the past but this was the first of my Science Crazy Club sessions and it was great fun!

I am running in 6 week blocks with a different theme each time. This time we are looking at the human body and the first session was all about DNA!


Thursday, 9 April 2015

How did you celebrate Easter?

For me I find Easter one of those seasons.  To me Easter is a Pagan festival, untrue to our beliefs. I'm not saying Christians who celebrate Easter are wrong, I'm just believe we should all follow what we believe is right - we all have our own path.   It's not like I completely avoid it.
 
Anyway, this is what we got up to...

Friday, 3 April 2015

Activities for Kids this Easter

Some fun Easter Activities to try with the children this Easter...


Easter Art Projects...



Make an Easter Bunny with a pinecone



Knit a chicken - these can be filled with mini chocolate eggs which adds to the fun as the chickens lay chocolate eggs!

Easter Maths projects...

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Get ready...

I am so busy preparing for my first Science Crazy Club!  I am so excited about what I have planned for all the children to do.  We've still been busy doing a whole lot of other things...



Harmonie wanted to do Science over the weekend.  She just loves science. Of course, I love that, science is never boring! 

She had fun making a model of a bone...

Monday, 30 March 2015

Science: colour explosion magic milk!

 


You've probably seen this experiment everywhere.  It's an old one but a good one and lots of fun for little people.
It involves an explosion of colour too which makes it fun for children but there is also a lot of important science in it too.
If you want to know how to do it yourself, you will need...
  • Whole milk
  • A dinner plate or bowl
  • food colouring a couple of colours is better we only had two in today (you will have to dilute the gel food colourings in a little bit of water to thin it out first though)
  • Pipettes (optional but adds to the fun)
  • washing up liquid

Now for the fun!

STEP ONE

First pour in the milk so it covers the plate (about 1cm deep).



There might be a few bubbles so let it settle so the surface is smooth.

STEP TWO

Now you get your pipette and squeeze a small amount gently on to the milk in the centre so it looks like this...


STEP THREE

Now for the really fun bit!

You need the washing up liquid in a small container.  With a clean pipette, drop a tiny bit of washing up liquid into the centre of your bowl.

Before you do this, remember to hypothesise about what you think will happen - you might want to do this in a science journal




Dip another cotton bud in to your washing up liquid and try again.

At this point you might like to talk about or note down (in your science journal) your observations.

What to do more?

If you want to carry on experimenting do what we done today: try it will semi-skimmed milk, try it will skimmed milk and then try it one more time in water.  Remember hypothesis first and observe the reaction. 

Which milk is better?  The one with higher or lower surface tension. 

Does it work in the water too or is it different?  Why do you think that is?

How does it work?


Milk is mostly water with about 5% to 10% protein and fat globules  (tiny droplets of fat suspended in solution know to scientists as Lipids)but it also contains calcium, vitamins, minerals, salt and carbohydrates.


The fats and proteins in the milk are sensitive to changes in the surrounding solution (the milk) as we learnt about in the curdling the milk experiment and making butter experiment we did a while back.


The beautiful bursting colours is caused due to the chemistry of that tiny drop of soap. Washing up liquid (our soap) has bipolar characteristics; soap is nonpolar on one end and polar on the other.   The soap's polar, or hydrophilic (water-loving), end dissolves in water, and the soaps non-polar end, its hydrophobic (water-hating) end, attaches to a fat globule in the milk. This is what weakens the chemical bonds that hold the proteins and fats in solution.  This is what alters the solution and causes the effect we can see!
What is making all the colours whirl and swirl and blend? Well it's the molecules of fat, the lipids.  They bend, roll, twist, and contort in all directions as the washing up liquid, the soap molecules try to join up with them. The soap molecules combine to form a micelle (a cluster of soap molecules). These micelles distribute the fat in the milk (push them about).
The food colouring is just being bumped about in the process giving us this effect, letting us see what normally isn't visible to the human eye.
You will notice, if you try dipping in more and more washing up liquid the reaction stops.  this is because the washing up liquid becomes evenly mixed with the milk, leaving no more lipids for the washing up liquid to chase. Or, to put it another way: when there are micelles and fat droplets everywhere the motion stops.  It makes for a great show though.
Of course there is one other reason the colours explode the way they do. Surface tension.  As I already said, milk is mostly water therefore has surface tension like water. The drops of food colouring floating on the surface tend to stay put (you do need to keep the liquid steady though).  The Liquid soap wrecks the surface tension by breaking the cohesive bonds between water molecules and allowing the colours to zing throughout the milk. 

To test this idea out try this experiment again but with water - it's not quite as dramatic but you will see what I mean.

Don't forget to finish your science journals (if you are using one) with a conclusion from what you have learnt! 


 

Thursday, 26 March 2015

A Rainbow! A Rainbow!

Monday the girls were all quite low. I had a migraine and so we did what we could manage.  For Chiara that was her workbooks.  She dived into them happily.




Honi finished her letter to her pen pal, and practised her 4 times tables.  She wanted to do French but after lunch she just lost that feeling.  Harmonie piped up with I like French and said Bonjour then waved hello to us all.  It was very cute.

Naomi mostly got stuck in to her maths and Harmonie found a fun science workbook.  She wanted to do pages and pages of it.  We got to a page about the sense of taste.  I had a fun idea...