Science: Oxidation and Reduction

Weeks 32 and 33 of school we learned about oxidation and reduction using Layers of Learning, year 3 unit 19.

We watched a couple YouTube videos.

We soaked pre-1982 pennies in salted vinegar. When we took them out they were nice and shiny, but within minutes they had grown greenish stuff over them. We put two silver ungalvanized nails in the vinegar and after about 15 minutes, they were copper colored.

We made a silver nitrate solution and added a coiled copper wire to it. Over the next few minutes, the solution turned from clear to blue and bits of silver grew between the coils. This is probably our favorite experiment we’ve ever done. It was really cool to watch it happen.

We started steel wool rusting in water with and without salt.

We watched a couple more YouTube videos.

We dipped apple quarters in plain water, water mixed with lemon juice, and water mixed with vitamin C. We left the fourth quarter undipped. We didn’t get to finish this experiment exactly because while we were waiting for oxidation to happen, my father, not realizing the plate of apples was an experiment, ate the undipped quarter and the quarter dipped in plain water. That was all right, though, because we’ve all see how apples brown and we were able to observe that, of the two that were left, the one dipped in lemon juice browned faster than the one dipped in vitamin C water.


Science: Compounds

Weeks 30 and 31 of school we learned about compounds using Layers of Learning, year 3 unit 18.

We made Kool-Aid solutions.

We watched some YouTube videos.

We made an emulsion.

We watched more YouTube videos.

We timed how long it took for three different types of water to boil.

We made solutions of spit and M&Ms in our mouths.

We made saturated solutions.

We tried dissolving my hair in various substances (spoiler alert: never let your hair sit in bleach for very long!).

We tried dissolving salt in water and alcohol (it only dissolves in water).

We tried dissolving permanent marker in water and alcohol (it only dissolves in alcohol).

We watched even more YouTube videos.

We mixed flour and water and put it in a cup centrifuge. Cameron swung it around for a while and when he was done, the flour and water had separated again.

Science: Chemical Reactions

Weeks 26 and 27 of school we learned about chemical reactions using Layers of Learning, year 3 unit 16.

We made aluminum hydroxide, a white gel, by combining water, ammonia, and alum.

We made green rust by combining steel wool and vinegar, letting it sit for a week, and then combining some of the liquid from that jar with ammonia.

We blew up a balloon using baking soda and vinegar.

We did a chemical reactions worksheet.

We made milk of magnesium by combining epsom salts dissolved in water and ammonia.

We watched lots of YouTube videos on chemical reactions.

Science: Fossils

Weeks 24 and 25 of school we learned about fossils using Layers of Learning, year 3 unit 15. Cameron did not join us the second week because he was super sick with the flu.

We fossilized a sponge with salt water. A few days later it was rock hard!

We made a fossil cast. Adrian “walked” his fingers across some clay. Fritz pressed a Lego into it. We covered it with plaster of Paris. Once it was dry, we removed the clay. What was left looked really cool.

We used random things and dropped them in plaster of Paris to make fossils out of them.

We watched several YouTube videos.

We did a dinosaur dig.

We made a fossil record down our hallway.

We demonstrated how radiometric dating works using M&Ms. We put a whole bunch (about 400) of M&Ms in a box with the M’s up. Then we shook the box and took out and counted all of the M&Ms that were now upside down. We repeated that over and over until the M&Ms had almost all turned upside down. Based on the half-life of 700 million years, we determined that our M&M “rock” was 4.9 billion years old.

Science: Gems & Minerals

Weeks 22 and 23 of school we learned about gems and minerals using Layers of Learning, year 3 unit 14.

We made cookies without using a recipe. Each ingredient represented a mineral and even though we all had access to the same minerals, each cookie turned out totally different from the others.

We identified various minerals.

We tested the various minerals for hardness, scratch, reactive to acid, etc.

We made crystals using borax and also using salt and vinegar.

We watched several YouTube videos.

We went on a minerals scavenger hunt.

We sorted and identified some gems.

Science: Metamorphic Rocks

Weeks 20 and 21 of school we learned about metamorphic rocks using Layers of Learning, year 3 unit 13.

We watched a couple YouTube videos about metamorphic rocks.

We squished Snickers to show how the layers compress when metamorphic rocks are made.

We demonstrated foliation using glitter in Play-Doh.

We used a brick to squash frozen Play-Doh balls as they thawed and warmed up.

We demonstrated how gneiss forms by pressing together and folding flat layers of Play-Doh.

We learned how metamorphic rocks are made.

We demonstrated how metamorphic rocks are made by putting boiling water in a jar with egg white around it and watched how the heat from the water changed the egg.

We demonstrated high and low grade rocks using rice noodles cooked at high and low heat.

We identified metamorphic rocks.

Science: Sedimentary Rocks

Weeks 18 and 19 of school we learned about sedimentary rocks using Layers of Learning, year 3 unit 12.

We watched YouTube videos about sedimentary rocks.

We let a piece of chalk soak in water and checked its weight every 5 minutes. In 15 minutes, it gained 2 grams. This showed us that some rocks can absorb water.

We mixed sand with epsom salts dissolved in water and left it in the window that gets the most sun for a week to turn it into a rock (we weren’t sure it would work because we were in the middle of several very cloudy days that week).

It worked!

We demonstrated how layers of sediment separate.

We dissolved some chalk in vinegar.

We identified sedimentary rocks.

We learned how a surface coal mine works.