Posts Tagged ‘earth science’

Earth and Space Series

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Earth-And-SpaceThis post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

We’ve had such a great time this year, doing all the hands-on activities in the book Earth and Space by Bright Ideas Press. We’ve formed Earth layers out of clay, dramatized the moon revolving and rotating around the sun, shook sandy earthquakes, dyed plate tectonic eggs, erupted a volcano, grown stalactites, cooked layered sedimentary rocks, performed skits of the water cycle and ocean currents, raced slow glaciers down a ramp, watched how groundwater sinks through layers of sand and pebbles, painted an atmosphere mural, made homemade weather instruments, created a tornado in a bottle, performed a ridiculous weather report, colored the phases of the moon on paper plates and Oreos, made sun prints, and created fun planet cards for the solar system. We did lots of other activities, too, which I mention in the videos contained in each blog post.

Besides all the wonderful hands-on activities in the Earth and Space book, the text was fun and conversational and included plenty of rich vocabulary for each topic. The printable diagrams were great, and all the printables were on a computer disc that came with the book. (The disc is attached to the back inside cover and can be removed after purchasing the book.) This makes the pages easy to copy, since you don’t have to slap a large book on the photocopier. (You are allowed to print copies for your own family.) My kids enjoyed coloring the gorgeous coloring pages, too, so make sure to have some quality colored pencils on hand before beginning the book. We placed all the pages into a notebooking binder, and we decorated the outside of the binder. (I show you how we did this in the first video tutorial below.)

I thought it would be easier for people to find all the posts if I made an index page, so here it is. When you use the book Earth and Space by Bright Ideas Press, be sure to come back and watch the experiments to help you see how they can be done.

Earth and Space Series:

  1. The Earth: Hands-on Activities
  2. Plate Tectonics and Earthquakes
  3. Make Your Own Volcano
  4. Caves Unit Study
  5. Edible Sedimentary Rocks
  6. Water Unit Study
  7. Groundwater Experiment
  8. Atmosphere Unit Study
  9. Hands-on Activities for Weather
  10. Ridiculous Weather Report
  11. Moon Unit Study
  12. Solar System Unit Study

Make Your Own Volcano

Monday, February 17th, 2014

make-your-own-volcanoThis article contains an affiliate link. I was compensated for writing this post.

I’m going to show you a short-cut on how to make your own volcano, invented by my husband. We are continuing our study of Earth and Space by Bright Ideas Press, and we are doing the volcano chapter this week. The hands-on activity is to make your own volcano, and the book tells you what ingredients you need for the eruption.

But first, I wanted my kids to fill out the diagram provided in the book. One of my sons made the lava into a groovy psychedelic orange, red, and yellow design. Isn’t it cool?


Next we experimented with the eruption itself, using an extra pop bottle. My husband didn’t seem to mind erupting it over and over, and the kids squealed with delight, as you will see in the video.


We grabbed several volcano books out of the library, and we own a volcano video, so the kids enjoyed watching lava come out of volcanoes before we erupted our volcano model.

I’ve seen a real volcano erupting when I grew up in Guatemala. The orange glow looked really interesting against the dark sky, as I stood on the street in front of my house. I also climbed a volcano and looked down into the crater. It was still smoking. I asked my teacher if it was safe to be climbing that volcano, and he refused to answer…


Just so you know, this version of a volcano took 5 minutes of spraying with spray foam (let it dry overnight), plus 5 minutes to chop off and hot glue the foam, plus 5 minutes to smash the terra cotta clay onto the volcano structure. So it took a total of 15 minutes. It was easy and fun.


And now, ladies and gentlemen, here is our video on how to make your own volcano:

Vinegar And Baking Soda Experiment

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Erupting volcanoes aren’t the only reason you will want to do a vineger and baking soda experiment with your kids. If you want to see a cool, frothing explosion any time, you can add some blue food coloring to your baking soda in a small container. Stir it well. Now add the vinegar by pouring to into the baking soda, and you will see the blue froth coming out of the container in a fun way. Be sure to put a larger container underneath to catch the excess explosion so that it doesn’t stain your counter.

vinegar-and-baking-soda-experimentThis science experiment takes less than five minutes and is sure to impress any kid, especially young ones who have never seen it before. My own kids have erupted lots of volcanoes this way, adding red food coloring to a film canister inserted into a mud volcano outside. Create four different kinds of volcanoes side by side: cinder cones, composite cones, shield cones, and lava domes. Then have four kids get ready to pour vinegar into their volcano tops. Shout, “Ready, set, go!” See which volcano erupts first.

You can use my Amazon affiliate link to buy a volcano model, which has a hole in the top for doing your vinegar and baking soda experiment. The model shows the inside of a volcano and is good for studying the anatomy of the volcano.