Thursday, January 24, 2013

Eggsellent Eggsperiment

Science Fair is coming up and Serena is gearing up for the big event. She wanted to do something with pasta, so I put her to task: build something with only pasta and marshmallow that would hold up a few books. (We've been reading and learning about super structures lately.)

There's some frustration with pasta snapping and marshmallow squishing, but she persevered and made her sort of "dome" like structure - she remembered from Bill Nye's video that a dome shape spreads out the weight.

Time for the big test...

The marshmallow-pasta structure held up a light paperback book nicely. We moved onto a thin hard cover book. Then we started stacking a few small books on it. So far so good. How about a bigger heavier hard cover book?
Splat! The Greek gods flattened the whole thing. Guess it's not quite Mount Olympus. Our not-so-super structure held up just under 2 lbs. of books.

A bit deflated from our flattened experiment, we decided to repeat it with eggs - Bill Nye did say eggs are super strong!

Check out our eggsellent eggsperiment video:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Love Note

I saw this on Serena's doodling pad. She's one sweet swinging monkey!  (And very nice cursive too, I might add!)

Monday, January 21, 2013


Cardboard tubes, tin can, Nutella jar, Tylenol box, yogurt containers, old windshield wipers, coffee cup... What do these recyclables have to do with gravity?

After much tweaking and taping and re-taping and chasing the ball down the stairs (our issue with gravity) and getting the ball back from the cat (it's her toy afterall), we have finally achieved success with our experiment.

Serena declared that she's going to duplicate this on every wall in the house. Better eat more Nutella, fast.

Resource: Bill Nye the Science Guy DVD - "Gravity"

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Toboggan Fun

Down from the hills and over the snow
Swift as a meteor's flash we go,
Toboggan! Toboggan! Toboggan!
Down from the hills with our senses lost,
Jealous of cheeks that are kissed by the frost,
Toboggan! Toboggan! Toboggan!

(Excerpt from poem "Toboggan" by Benjamin Franklin King)

Monday, January 14, 2013

LEGO Skyscraper vs. Earthquake

How tall can we build a LEGO tower before it topples in a simulated earthquake? An inquiring mind wants to know!

We donned our lab coats (a.k.a. pajamas) and played scientists today. First we reviewed the steps to all good scientific inquiries: observation / research / hypothesis / experiment / analysis / conclusion. Our groundwork included watching Bill Nye's DVD on "Structure" and reading "Super Structures: Inside the World's Most Spectacular Buildings".

We built a "shake-table" with 2 boards, 2 elastic bands, and 4 rubber balls. You twist the top board out of alignment and then let go to create a lateral shaking movement just like an earthquake!

Then we started building up our "skyscraper", recording its height and whether the "earthquake" was able to topple it.

It got taller...

... and taller...

... and taller...

... until it finally succumbed to the earthquake at 60.5" tall! Then we tweaked the girth of the tower and discovered that a skinnier tower would fall at a much shorter height.

Scientist Serena filled in her scientific charts with her analysis and conclusion which confirmed her hypothesis that "the taller the tower the easier it falls".

Then she's freed from the standardized constraints of a scientific experiment and started building all sorts of funky towers for the simple joy of toppling them in a massive earthquake!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

So She Sews

We started journaling our homeschooling adventures 2 years ago, and one of our first posts was Fabricland. Serena's desire to learn to sew has not waned, and I am happy to report that she has made some good progress lately albeit her mom's disinterest and incompetence in said faculty. To date, she has made herself (with a little assistance) several felties animals and a needle bag. I see floral curtains and leopard skin bed sheets in her future...