We studied characteristics of few animals in the last 3 weeks of school. After studying about each one, I would let him watch related videos on national geographic website. Then he made a mini-book for each animal we studied. He wrote down any 10 facts about the animal that interests him. We studied about Tigers, Chimpanzees, Polar Bears, Armadillos, Bats, Camels, Lions, Elephants, Rhinoceros, Giraffes, Beavers, Sloths, and Kangaroos.
On Sunday, we took the kids to the Memphis Zoo. There Kabir did a scavanger hunt and marked his mini-books with a sticker after finding that particular animal in the zoo and then he wrote a new fact about that animal that we didn’t know. It was very enlightening. We couldn’t find Sloths, Kangaroos, Beavers and Rhinoceros. We found Bonobos who are in the same family of Apes as Chimpanzees and so, we marked off Chimpanzees.
For Arjun, we made a simple mini-book with photos that he cut and glued himself and I wrote the name of the animal in the back of the mini-book. He marked off his minibook with sticker too. Then he learnt the letter that the animal started with and marked off with sticker in the alphabet chart. For example, after seeing Giraffe, he added sticker to Giraffe mini-book and to the letter G in his alphabet chart. He enjoyed it so much that he carried all his stuff by himself in his bag.
We did couple of small experiments after we studied about teeth and tongue. Kabir requested to do the taste experiment as he has been doing this since last 2 years or so. I blindfolded him and he tried to tell what is it just by tasting it. This time we kept it simple and just tasted 6 things: sugar, salt, mustard, pickle, honey, and nutella.
We hard-boiled six eggs.
We put one in coffee, one in Coke, one in Sprite, one in grapefruit juice, one in milk, and one in water. Then we left them overnight for sixteen hours.
August 16 – Day 2
We transferred the eggs into bowls.
The eggs are stained in the following order:
Coffee – most stained
Coke – less stained
Sprite – lesser stained
Milk – hardly stained
Water – no stain
The egg we put in juice turned out to be covered with darker brown coat (for all the eggs were light brown).
We brushed the eggs with toothbrush and toothpaste.
The results were in the following lines:
milk and water are stainless, but Sprite and Coffee have caused discoloration of the eggs (coffee gave a dark brown coat, and Sprite gave it a white coat), and the discoloration couldn’t be brushed off, and Coke also has made a slight discoloration on the eggs which could not be removed. But grapefruit juice has caused discoloration of the egg, made freckles, and took out the outer thin layer of the shell.
This week, Kabir and I learnt about digestive system. Then we did an experiment as outlined below. It doesn’t sound as exciting as it is for the kid doing this experiment.
First, we took some graham crackers.
A fork was our teeth. It was hard to eat graham crackers as it was too dry. So, we added some water as saliva.
Then, we added Coke to compensate for our digestive juices in stomach. Then we added our food to a ziploc bag and our hands acted as muscles to further disintegrate our food.
Then, we added food to our small intestine (a stocking). The nutrients seep out of the small intestine.
Then, we used paper towel to soak water out of large intestine.
Finally, we need to visit the restroom. Kabir did go the extra mile but let’s leave it at that!
Kabir had so much fun doing this that it was so worth it. He explained the digestive system so well to his grandparents after this experiment. Then we took a rope and a yarn (as we didn’t have enough rope at home) and measured and compared it next to each other to get a visual idea of how long each of the organs involved in digestive system are. Kabir measured them himself. He converted the feet to inches and did a great job!
mouth (3 inches)
esophagus (10 inches)
stomach (6 inches)
small intestine (15 feet)
large intestine (4 feet)
Even though, he had understood the digestive system very well by now and there was no need for further experiments but he wanted to make a working model of digestive system and so, we did. It didn’t work as well but he enjoyed it. We used funnel for mouth, a fat straw for esophagus, rubber gloves for stomach, a transparent pipe for small intestine and stocking for large intestine.
Kabir and I plan to do a few fun science projects this school year. Our first project was to watch the life-cycle of a butterfly. We bought live caterpillars and watched them grow to cocoons and then butterfly. Finally, we released the butterflies in our backyard. Kabir kept a daily journal.
Kabir’s Journal (I copied it exactly but I couldn’t copy his drawings):
July 17, 2013 – Day 1
4 baby caterpillars born.
Some cobweb in jar.
1 1/2 inches long.
July 18, 2013 – Day 2
Their names: Beauty, Sunlight, Dolphin, Light
3 on top, one on the ground.
Silky threads inside.
2 caterpillars move.
July 19, 2013 – Day 3
3 attached to the top.
Two have shed their exoskeleton and are becoming chrysalides.
1 has not shed his exoskeleton yet.
The one at the bottom may be dead or is shedding its exoskeleton on the ground.
3/4 inch long chrysalides.
July 20 – Day 4
4th one became chrysalide too.
July 21 – Day 5
Transferred three that were attached to the paper to butterfly habitat.
The one on the ground: We put a paper towel at the bottom of the butterfly habitat, then we picked up the one on the ground and put it on the paper towel in the butterfly habitat.
And we found another tiny little caterpillar. It even moved!
1/2 inch long.
July 22 – Day 6
July 23 – Day 7
No change, but new caterpillar looks little longer.
July 24 – Day 8
Caterpillar is little fatter and now is 3/4 inch.
July 25 – Day 9
No change for pupae, but baby caterpillar is even fatter and longer: 1 inch long.
July 26 – Day 10
Three butterflies have emerged!
One is still in cocoon.
WE can see red meconium.
The wings seem weak for two butterflies, so we will wait for two hours to feed them.
Caterpillar is little fatter.
To feed them, we took a tulip and with a pipette we sprinkled some nectar on it. Then we put the tulip in our butterfly habitat. But all the nectar dripped off. So we dipped a paper towel in the nectar and we put it in the butterfly habitat.
Later we added a piece of orange to the butterfly habitat.
July 27 – Day 11
We added a fresh paper towel soaked in nectar, and the fourth butterfly emerged from its cocoon while we were standing there.
One of the butterflies is drinking. Hopefully he is enjoying.
We added a slice of watermelon.
Caterpillar: No change.
July 29 – Day 12
We took out the old paper towel and put a new fresh one soaked in nectar.
All four butterflies are getting active and we can see them enjoying.
Caterpillar is 1 1/4 inch.
The food in the bowl has lessened.
We released the butterflies in the evening.
July 30 – Day 13
The caterpillar is on one side of the jar.
July 31 – Day 14
We saw the caterpillar eat.
August 1 – Day 15
The caterpillar has moved.
August 2 – Day 16
The caterpillar might be dead, because he hasn’t moved at all.
After a few hours, the caterpillar moved.