Owl Pellet – Science Experiment

It’s been so busy that I haven’t been able to even think of updating my blog. However, I’m back! Last week or may be 2 weeks ago, Amit and Kabir dissected owl pellet. I ordered the owl pellet from Amazon. They discovered that the owl pellet they dissected contained bones of a shrew. They really enjoyed this activity. There was no way I could have done this activity with Kabir as I thought the pellet stank. Thank God, Amit was home to do this activity with him. Kabir has saved all the bones in a ziploc bag and put it in his treasure box. I am not too thrilled about it but I have decided not to pick a fight with him about this.

Dissection of Owl Pellet
Dissection of Owl Pellet

Breathing Experiments

Kabir and I read about breathing. So, we followed the instruction of a breathing experiment we found online.

We found an empty Sprite bottle. We filled it up with 1 cup of water at a time and marked the bottle for each cup on a masking tape.

Kabir Filling Water in a Bottle
Kabir Filling Water in a Bottle

Bottle filled with Water and marked
Bottle filled with water and marked for each cup

Then Amit inverted the bottle in a bowl with water. He made sure that one end of the plastic tube was in the bottle. Kabir took a deep breath and then breathed out in the plastic tube. He was able to displace about 3 to 3 1/2 cups of water from the bottle each time. The bottle was empty by the third time of breathing out. Arjun refused to take part in the experiment.

Kabir breathing out in plastic tube
Kabir breathing out in plastic tube

After this, Amit and Kabir had a long discussion about asthma, vital breath capacity and so on. It was enlightening as I learnt a few things too!

Additionally, we did a simple experiment where we had a race of blowing cotton. Arjun refused to take part in the race and so it was just Kabir and me. Of course, Kabir won! At first, we tried to blow the cotton using a long paper roll and then we used a straw. It was much faster to blow the cotton with a straw. I told him to pay attention to how his lungs and muscles around there goes in and out as he tries to blow out a deep breath.

Blowing Cotton Race
Blowing Cotton Race

Blood and Circulatory System

After studying about circulatory system, Kabir put together a human anatomy puzzle and he discussed the circulatory system and the function of heart and lungs with his father.

Human Anatomy Puzzle
Human Anatomy Puzzle

Also, we made fake blood. We found the recipe for fake blood online. We added marshmallows to the recipe to represent white blood cells. Kabir enjoyed drinking blood but Arjun found the idea repelling and wouldn’t try a sip.

Animal Study

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.

Taste Buds and Teeth Cleaning

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.

Tasting Experiment
Tasting Experiment

Then we did the following “brush your teeth” experiment. This is what he wrote in his science journal.

15 Aug. 2013 – Day 1

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.