Saturday, August 13, 2011
Fizzing Sidewalk Chalk Shooting Stars
Our family read-a-loud, this week, transitioned us from space, back to simple chemistry. Phineas L. MacGuire erupts! by Frances O'Roark Dowell is the first book "From the Highly Scientific Notebooks of Phineas L. MacGuire" series, and deals with Mac (also known as Phin, or Phineas, but never Listerman), entering his first, school science fair.
In keeping with the other books in the series, there are three, go-along, vinegar and baking soda experiments, at the back. But, like Mac's science fair volcano, they are pretty common experiments, that we have done many times before.
Happily, there are a couple of acid/base experiments floating around the blogosphere, that we haven't tried yet, like the exploding sandwich bag, or fizzy sidewalk chalk.
We decided to go with the sidewalk chalk first, because it made for an easy transition from our space theme. And thanks to a quick run in the sprinklers afterward, even ended up tying into the Perseid meteor shower, we've been watching out for, this weekend (so far we've only seen one fireball - but it was very exciting).
As to our project, I started out by giving the girls a small bucket of homemade, sidewalk paint (smashed up pieces of blue, sidewalk chalk, mixed with water), like we made earlier in the summer, to splash and spread around on the cement, in order to make a smeary, swirly, and chunky (because I didn't bother smashing the chalk really well) kind of sky background.
Then, I mixed up a few cups of smashed, yellow, sidewalk chalk, with a cup or so of baking soda, and poured it out in clumpy piles, around the area.
The children sprayed the piles with vinegar, to make them foam and fizz, in a very satisfyingly star-like way.
They were very pleased with the effect...
...and we were reminded of Van Gogh's "Starry Night"...
...especially, as I said, once we turned the sprinklers on, for little more summer fun, and to wash off chalky children, before we let them back inside...
...and transformed our stars, into shooting stars, very much like the meteors we've been seeing in the night skies (this could be accomplished with a hose, or spray bottle, if you don't have sprinklers near your cement).
For more science themed fun, and ideas check out the Science Sunday link-up, tomorrow, at Adventures in Mommydom, or the What My Child is Reading link-up, today, at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns, for more children's book reviews, and recommendations.
It's great to be a homeschooler.