Thursday, July 5, 2012

Solar Powered Science Activities for Elementary School

I wasn't planning on teaching today.  I finally decided it was summer vacation and we were just going to focus on social skills and life skills-- basically just enjoy our summer and have fun playing with family and friends we don't always get to see.

Unschooling appeals to me since you allow kids to learn naturally, mainly through unplanned activities.

The boys, however,  asked if we were going to have school since we hadn't had any the last three days.   When I said I really hadn't planned anything to do today they groaned and Ian asked if we could at least have science today and Alec asked if we could do art today.  So I quickly pulled a few lessons together incorporating more solar power (like our melted crayon experiment).



We read one of the books from the library about solar power.

We did a quick experiment to see how fast ice cubes would melt on different colored paper.  The book said darker colors attract more heat so we pulled out a piece of red, yellow, white, black and blue paper a few ice cubes and we headed outside.

They made predictions before we started with Ian and Alec guessing the black paper would melt cubes the fastest and Evan guessed blue.  To our surprise  the ice cube on the yellow paper melted first! 

We did discuss factors that could have influenced our results; maybe the ice cubes weren't really all the same size,  maybe the wind was keeping some of the cubes a bit colder than others, etc. 



We also made sun art using this special paper I had ordered on Amazon.  You place objects on top of the paper, lay it out in the sun until the paper changes color and then put it into a water bath to set the color changes.

They had fun creating nature collages and since it only take about 3 min. for it to change paper in the sun it was a wonderful, quick, engaging project that even my 4 yr old could do with little to no help. 

Tedco 8" X 10" Sun Art Paper Kit - 15 sheets


We were done school for the day and I let the boys go swimming.

Evan totally mastered swimming underwater today without any life vest, float or help from me!  I am so amazed that in just under a week he is swimming around without help!

Just goes to show that when they want to learn something bad enough they'll put their minds to it and learn!

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