Despite the fact that this was a short week because of the Melbourne Cup Holiday - it was still a very busy one!
To start the week off with a flourish - on Wednesday we created a volcano! After the Museum visit with their Dinosaur bones, and the resultant discussions which included volcanoes - we set up a Science Experiment to make our own volcano in the sandpit. All the children worked together - all working in a fairly confined area, discussing, planning, creating, and co-operatively building a very big sand mountain - the start of our volcano. Now how could we make it erupt? We talked about volcanoes, how the earth was very hot right in the middle, and how sometimes inside that hot part - parts of the earth moved and this created an explosion to occur with red hot lava, rocks and fire exploding out of the top of the crater. How could we make this happen? So Margot inserted a jar into the top of the sand volcano and put Bi-Carbonate of Soda and red dye into this jar. The next step in the experiment was to pour vinegar into the jar, we counted down from 10 - 1, then in went the vinegar - and magic - our volcano erupted! (No explosions or flying rocks but red flowing lava never the less) Our experiment was successful - so of course we need to do it again and again and many more times - each one with a count down! When we had finished, the children carefully collected all the stained red sand so nobody would get it on their clothes and discarded this. Then the next step was to all stand around in a circle and on the count down jump on top of the mountain and stomp it flat - almost as much fun as making it. We voted it to be a very successful fun experiment. We now have a book about volcanoes on our reference shelf- encouraging an awareness and connection with the natural world.
Also as an extension of the Museum visit - we had lots of animal bones on a table for the children to touch and learn about, with a reference book about skeletons and bones to help us. The bones ranged from a single tooth to rib bones, a cow's skull, a sheep's skull, part of a backbone and other different bones. We also had animal and insect X-Rays on our light table for the children to observe, discuss, match and identify.
The next exciting thing was that some of the silkworms we have been feeding and watching have started to spin their cocoons. The children have been collecting the cardboard inner rolls from toilet rolls and Margot placed some of these in the silkworm box and the silkworms are spinning cocoons inside these, or sometimes just on the sides of the box. The children have to able to see some of the silkworms spinning, the magifying glass makes it even easier. When spun the children move them to another box, and feed the remainder that have not yet spun, but they know that if a silkworm is spinning we are no longer able to touch it - they are learning respect for small creatures. Over the next week the remainder of the silkworms should spin their cocoons - then we must just wait patiently for our first moth to hatch out in a couple of weeks. Then we will see the next step in their life cycle - mating and laying eggs, then dying, to restart the cycle all over again next year.
We are encouraging the children to become interested, curious learners!
What will happen next week?
Group A educators - Margot, Ann and Lisa