If you've made oobleck at home, you know how cool and mysterious it is - this substance (known as a non-Newtonian fluid) that is liquid until your try to touch it!


If you haven't made oobleck at home, you are in for a treat. You'll probably think this is a trick, but it isn't! Oobleck is so simple to make, but has the strangest physical properties. It's gooey and liquid until you exert force on it, like stirring it or squeezing it, and then suddenly it's a solid! How cool! Can it get any cooler?


Apparently, YES!


The creators of an amazing YouTube channel called King of Random experimented with creating fizzy oobleck, and to everyone's surprise, it worked!


What You Will Need

  • vinegar

  • corn starch

  • baking soda

  • food colouring (if desired)


Parent Tips

The focus today is on discussion the properties of liquids and solids, and comparing them. Before you start, brainstorm some characteristics of solids. Now brainstorm some characteristics of liquids. Are there some characteristics both have? Be sure to focus on comparing and contrasting liquids and solids today while playing with the oobleck. How does it behave differently when in it's liquid form than in it's solid? When does this change happen? etc. Check out more discussion questions for after the activity below the video.



This channel is fantastic for kid-friendly content full of science experiments, answering questions you never knew you had. Check out more of their videos for more sciencey fun!


Questions and Activities

Create your own oobleck! The ratio is usually 1 part water to 1.5-2 parts corn starch. Simply swap out the water for vinegar, as seen in the video.

  1. Was it solid, liquid, or both? How did it’s liquid-like and solid-like properties correspond to how quickly or slowly you moved the oobleck?

  2. Brainstorm some everyday examples of “non-Newtonian” fluids. (ex. ketchup, silly putty)

  3. Try to think of some useful applications for a non-Newtonian fluids like oobleck. (check out a cool example here)


Additional Resources

More about non-Newtonian fluids

Full lesson plan about oobleck

Can you WALK on oobleck?


Curriculum Connections

Science

Grade 1 Understanding Structures and Mechanisms: 2.3 investigate, through experimentation, the properties of various materials

Grade 2 Understanding Matter and Energy: 2.2 investigate the properties of liquids (e.g., conduct experiments to compare the rate at which different liquids flow) and solids; 3.2 describe the properties of solids (e.g., they maintain their shape and cannot be poured) and liquids (e.g., they take the shape of the container they are in and can be poured)


Learn how to code!

...WAIT, WHAT? PANIC!!


Don't worry. Coding is WAY easier than you think, and your kids will probably pick it up faster than you can imagine, without even realizing it.

Check out this quick and easy lesson on how to create a maze game using Scratch, one of the most amazing, fun (and educational) programs around.




What You Will Need

  • To use Scratch without downloading: https://scratch.mit.edu/

  • Download the Scratch program to your computer so that you can use it without internet: https://scratch.mit.edu/download

  • A computer - you can use a tablet, but the control functions will look a bit different than on a computer


Parent Tips

Coding is one of the most amazing opportunities to let kids explore on their own. I highly encourage you to let the kids explore the program and the video lesson with as little assistance from you as possible. You can also encourage them to go off script and play with the program and explore it however they find interesting- you will be surprised the amazing things they will be able to figure out on their own! Since coding is so valuable for practicing problem solving, this is also a great opportunity for you to ask questions such as "Hmm... that didn't quite work... what could we do to try again? What could we change next time?" etc. when they get stuck.





Questions and Activities

Explore Scratch! What else can you make?



Additional Resources

Online Scratch Tutorials

20 Games to Create with Scratch Book

A bunch of mazes for inspiration

How Cryptocurrency is all about Coding

What Works? Research into Practice: Computer Coding in the K-8 Mathematical Curriculum


Curriculum Connections

Coding isn't actually in the Ontario Curriculum yet as it's own subject, or as a unit in mathematics. However, it is very popular in teaching today for a number of reasons, including it's future applications for students, it's benefits in mathematics, as well as practical experience in a growing field. However, it is discussed in other teaching resources for the following helpful reasons:

  • Coding helps abstract mathematical concepts be expressed in a concrete way. For example, in Geometry and Spatial Sense units where the focus is to“describe, sort, classify, build, and compare two-dimensional shapes, teachers have had students use Scratch to draw a square - the extensions from here are endless.

  • Dynamic modelling allows students to investigate relationships, pose and test what-if questions, and easily share their findings and knowledge with peers, as well as family and friends.

  • A low-floor and a high-ceiling environment supports differentiated learning. This means that you don't have to have very much experience to get started with coding, but extending the lesson for students who appreciate more of a challenge comes very naturally.

Coding is also a fantastic way to learn problem solving skills, which is one of the most important skills taught in the classroom today. Coding helps the learners test their ideas in a concrete way.

Today we will be creating some beautiful nature art and explore the plants around us, just as everything begins to bloom for spring! While we are collecting plants to create our works of art, we will also learn about the plants we collect from, as well as any creatures we may see while we are exploring.


What You Will Need

  • flowers and leaves picked from garden/walk

  • wax paper

  • drawing paper (printer paper is okay, but a thicker paper will work better)

  • hammer

  • camera


Parent Tips

Today, we will focus on what living things need to live, and what differences in plants we can see when we investigate them before picking our flowers.

  • If your child is in Grade 1, the main focus is on the characteristics of the plants.

  • If your child is in Grade 2, the main focus is on the insects and animals they see while picking the flowers.

  • If your child is in Grade 3, the main focus is the human impact on plants and other life systems, as well as comparing characteristics of plants.

  • (See the questions and curriculum expectations below for ideas of questions to ask your child while they explore)


Instructions:

Watch the video below to start off!

Start with your collection of flowers, your paper, hammer, and wax paper.






Lay out all your flowers on your paper face down.







Cover your flowers with wax paper and press firmly into place with your hands.


Use your hammer to hammer all your flowers into the paper! Don't hammer too much on the centers of your flowers, as you will get a lot of pollen and moisture on your paper.


Let the flowers dry on the paper, then gently brush off with your fingers. When you're finished, you should have something like this! You could also continue to decorate your page. I used some fine tip markers to outline my flowers and add some detail, which was a lot of fun!


Questions and Activities

  1. What do you know about what plants need to live? Do you think the flowers you picked had these things? What can you see on the plant that would help it get these things?

  2. What differences can you see in the plants you investigated?

  3. Did you see any bugs or other creatures while you were picking flowers? What things were the same about the creatures you noticed? What things were different?

  4. How can we ensure that our exploration doesn't harm the plants? What should we do to cause as little harm as possible?

  5. Take a picture of one of the plants you take a flower from. Try to label all the parts of the flower (see additional resources for an example).



Additional Resources


Books about plants available on Overdrive with your library card:

A full, ready to teach lesson about Characteristics of Living things: https://www.worldbookonline.com/sciencepower/lesson?lessonid=sci1-characters-840015

A full, ready-to-teach lesson about Plants: https://www.worldbookonline.com/sciencepower/lesson?lessonid=sci1-plants-840024

More tips for pressing plants: https://www.worldbookonline.com/activitycorner/project?id=cr1953087

Creating a sun catcher with your pressed plants: https://www.worldbookonline.com/activitycorner/project?id=cr2246103


Curriculum Connections

Grade 1 Understanding Life Systems: 2.2 investigate and compare the basic needs of humans and other living things, including the need for air, water, food, warmth, and space, using a variety of methods and resources; 2.3 investigate and compare the physical characteristics of a variety of plants and animals, including humans; 2.4 investigate the physical characteristics of plants(e.g., basic parts, size, shape, colour) and explain how they help the plant meet its basic needs

Grade 2 Understanding Life Systems: 2.2 observe and compare the physical characteristics (e.g., fur or feathers; two legs or no legs) and the behavioural characteristics (e.g., predator or prey)of a variety of animals, including insects, using student-generated questions and a variety of methods and resources.

Grade 3 Understanding Life Systems: 1.1 assess ways in which plants are important to humans and other living things, taking different points of view into consideration (e.g., the point of view of home builders, gardeners, nursery owners, vegetarians), and suggest ways in which humans can protect plants; 1.2 assess the impact of different human activities on plants, and list personal actions they can engage in to minimize harmful effects and enhance good effects; 2.2 observe and compare the parts of a variety of plants; 3.1 describe the basic needs of plants, including air, water, light, warmth, and space

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