Thursday, May 21, 2015

Science experiments

A while back, a friend shared a website that was giving away a free middle school physics kit to teachers and they allowed homeschoolers to participate. It sounded interesting so I signed up... and promptly forgot about it. A couple of months later, a box arrived on the doorstep. It was most mysterious as I hadn't ordered anything and neither had any of my older children. It wasn't until I opened the box and took a good look inside that I felt the vague stirrings of a memory of signing up for something scamper around the edges of my brain.

That's what it was. Three complete kits of a set of optics experiments, including laser pointer, flashlight, Fresnel lens, and other interesting things. The workbook is also part comic book with a story line that ties the optics experiments together. This week seemed a good time to spend some time with them, so that's what we have been doing.

I'm not sure how much actual science learning is going on, but the laser pointers and Fresnel lens have been popular, as have these water cubes.



They started out as teeny tiny little cubes and overnight they grew into these huge shapes. (We made three kinds... water, saturated with sugar, and saturated with sucralose.) They were part of an experiment to show the difference in refraction that occurs with different substances. I thought it was interesting, but I think everyone else was just a wee bit fascinated by the cubes. This morning we played with difference sized water balls and discussed convex and concave lenses as well as magnification.

The producer of these kits is Physics Central and it seems they make a new kit every year. (I don't know if they give them away free each year, but I'll keep an eye on it.) All of the kits for this year have been given away, but you can still download previous year's manuals, complete with the comic book story. You would need to gather the necessary supplies yourself, but the information is there.

If you have junior high aged students, it looks like a site that may be of interest.

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