At Home Activities
DRAWINGS BY TAMMY JOHNSTON
COLLECT & MEASURE RAINFALL - MAKE A RAIN GAUGE!
TEST & COMPARE TEMPERATURES
EXPLORE SYMMETRY WITH PAPER & SCISSORS
HOW TO MAKE MARBLED PAPER
CREATE "WAX RESIST" DESIGNS
USE A CRICKET AS AN OUTDOOR THERMOMETER
MAKE COLORS EXPLODE
GROW A SWEET POTATO VINE
WHERE IS THE IRON?
GROW SUGAR CRYSTALS
SCORPIO PAPER BAG
CHOCOLATE-CHIP CONSTELLATION COOKIES AND ASTRO SUGAR COOKIES (PDF)
YOU NEED: a rainy day ot a forecast for rain, a tall, clear plastic bottle with a flat bottom (e.g., a personal-sized water bottle), sharp utility scissors, ruler, pencil, notebook (Weather Journal)
How to make the rain gauge:
1. Very carefully cut off the top of the plastic bottle - aboue 4 ot 5 inches from the top. The top of the bottle is your funnel. The bottom is your collection container.
2. Place the top part of the bottle upside down on the lower part. Push it down slightly so that the top part will stand up straight and not topple over. Now you have a rain gauge!
3. Put your rain gauge in an open area away from trees or structures. Secure it so that it won't tip (e.g., dig a hole the sixe of the bottom, or surround the bottle with stones.)
4. After it rains, use a ruler to measure the rain in the bottom of the collection container.
5. Record your results in a notebook with the date. This notebook will become your Weather Journal.
6. On the days when it looks as though it will rain, set up your rain gauge again, measure the rainfall, and record it in your Weather Journal.
7. Compare your measurement with the local meteorologist's measurement!
NEED: two ice cubes (same size), two (identical) bowls, indoor
thermostat and outdoor thermometer, notebook (Weather Journal)
How to do the test:
1.Go outside and observe: How does the outside temperature feel? Is it warm, hot, cool, cold?
2. Go inside: How does the outside temperature feel? Is it warm, hot, cool, cold? Is it cooler or warmer ouside? Let's perform an experiment to compare the temperatures inside and outside!
3. Get two cubes and two bowls. Please one ice cube in each bowl.
4. Place one bowl inside your home and one the other outside.
5. Check the ice cubes frequently. What's happening to the ice cube inside? Is it melting faster or slower than the ice cube that's outside? Why? Make the connection between the state of the ice cube and the temperature in each location.
6. Observe the temperatures on the indoor thermostat and the outdoor thermometer. Record them in your Weather Journal.
YOU NEED: copy paper in assorted colors (the thinner the paper, the easier it will be to cut) • scissors • glue
How to make beautiful designs with symmetry:
1. Make a 1/2 fold by folding a piece of paper in half as evenly as
possible. You can fold it diagonally if you like.
2. After you fold the paper in half, then make a 1/4 fold by folding it in half again.
3. If you have a really big piece of paper, you can fold the paper in
half one more time to make a 1/8 fold.
4. Hold the paper firmly against a flat surface so that the folded edges are at the top and the right. Take the top folded edge and make a diagonal fold to touch the right folded edge.
5. Hand press the folded paper along folds to make it easier to cut.
6. Try cutting a V into the folded edge. The more shapes you cut from your folded paper the more interesting your design will be—try rectangles and semicircles, too, and make them different sizes if you like. BUT always leave some uncut areas along your folded edge. If you don’t, your design will fall apart.
7. While the paper is still folded, you may also cut interesting shapes
along the open outer edge to create an interesting border.
8. Unfold your paper completely to see how your design looks!
9. Before you finish making your cuts, experiment by unfolding your paper only once or twice, so that it still has a fold or two. Then cut more shapes along the remaining folded edges. Your design will become more complex. Or, you can also experiment by cutting on a single fold then folding once again and cutting along a double fold or a triple fold.
TIP: Be careful when using scissors— always cut away from your body.
Shapes you can make with different folds:
• 1/2 fold: People, hearts, aliens, insects, butterflies, leaves
• 1/4 or 1/8 folds: Flowers, snowflakes, and other decorative designs
• If you’ve created insects, butterflies, or aliens, you can use colored markers to decorate them. Be sure to decorate them symmetrically (making the same marks on the left as you make on the right).
• Glue your finished design onto a solid sheet of colored paper. Very nice! Create several of these to decorate your summer playhouse or yard. Clip them to a long piece of string run from one tree to another.
your marbled paper for origami, stationery, or other crafts.
YOU NEED: a flat surface or flat cookie sheets • paper • foam shaving cream • tempera paint or watercolor paint • a fork • a small piece of stiff poster board
How to make marbled paper:
1. On a flat surface, spray a 1” layer of foam the size of your paper.
2. Use the small piece of firm poster board to spread out the shaving cream evenly.
3. With watered-down paint, paint directly onto the surface of the foam with smooth strokes. You don’t have to completely cover the surface.
4. Use a fork to swirl the painted surface, making designs and textures.
5. Gently press a piece of paper face down onto the painted foam. Then, holding one corner of the paper, carefully pick it up. You’ve just made your first marbled sheet. You may continue printing additional marbled pages. Continue smoothing foam as needed. Apply paint as needed to flat foam surface. Use different colors if you like. Clean up and start over as needed. Let marbled papers dry flat. After they are dry, the shaving foam residue will easily wipe off.
TIP: Always work on a protected surface. Some shaving creams can damage wood surfaces, and some tempera paint will stain clothes and surfaces.
NEED: paper • watercolor paints • wax crayons in assorted colors
• white or clear wax crayon
How to make wax resist designs:
1. Did you know that wax resists water? Experiment by covering a few areas on
a sheet of paper with white wax crayon.
2. Paint the whole sheet of paper with watercolor. Notice that the watercolor cannot stick to the areas you covered with wax crayon. The wax resists the water—this is the secret to creating the following designs:
• Create a hidden message or secret design by writing the message on the white paper with white wax crayon. No one can read it until the entire page is painted with watercolor paint! Have more fun by creating a map to a hidden treasure, riddles to be solved, or a spooky ghost story.
• Create the look of batik by using wax crayons to firmly draw all of the outlines of your design. Next, crumple the paper and then smooth it back out. Paint the design, allowing
watercolor to puddle and saturate into the crumpled areas of paper. Let dry. After the paper is dry, you can smooth it out more.
• Challenge yourself to be more creative. Use as many light- or brightcolored crayons as possible in yourdesign before painting over it. Also explore by using colored paper with white crayons.
TIPS: Always work with dry paper. Begin by drawing your design with a wax crayon. Finish all wax work before you paint over the design. Firm, even coverage of crayon wax works best with this resist technique.
YOU NEED: a watch with a second hand • a pencil • paper
How to find out the temperature outside:
1. In the late afternoon or evening, find a place where you can hear cricket sounds. Try to listen for the chirp of just a single cricket.
2. Count the cricket’s chirps for exactly 14 seconds.
3. Write down the number of chirps that you hear.
4. Add the number 40 to the number of chirps. The sum will tell you the approximate outdoor temperature in degrees Fahrenheit. This simple activity is surprisingly accurate. That’s why crickets are often called “nature’s thermometers”!
YOU NEED: food coloring • milk • dish detergent • a baking sheet or dish with a flat bottom
How to make colors explode:
1. Add milk to the dish or baking sheet until the bottom is covered.
2. In the center of the milk add drops of food coloring.
3. Add a few drops of dish detergent over the food coloring. Watch closely as the colors explode!
What caused the explosion? The dish detergent contains hydrophobic molecules
that don’t like water. When the detergent comes in contact with the water
in the milk, it quickly spreads, rushing to escape the water and carrying
the food coloring with it!
YOU NEED: one small sweet potato, clear glass jar, toothpicks, water, and a sunny window ledge.
Ask your mother for one small sweet potato, a jar, and some toothpicks. (A thick chunk of sweet potato with skin could substitute the whole sweet potato. Make sure the skin is partially submerged.) Test your jar to make sure your potato fits. Midway down the potato draw a line that resembles the equator. Next, poke in toothpicks evenly spaced along this line. Lower the potato into the jar so that the toothpicks hold 1/2 of the potato above the jar. Fill the jar with water to cover the bottom part of the potato. Place the jar with potato in a bright window. In time you will see sprouts root spouts, then vine sprouts. Be sure to change the water once a week. You will be amazed as you watch this plant grow all summer.
YOU NEED: dry breakfast cereal, a zip-lock bag, a rolling pen, a strong magnet.
Here is a cool science project you can do with dry breakfast cereal. Ever wonder what is in your cereal? Parents do! Iron is a valuable nutrient that many cereal makers add to their breakfast cereals. Here is a way to see the iron. First, read the nutritional facts on the side of the box. Select several brands of cereal that list iron. Have one small zip-lock bag for each brand of cereal. Place your cereal sample in the bag and zip it closed. Use a rolling pen to crush the cereal> into a dust. Lower your magnet into the cereal dust. Does the cereal cling to the magnet? If so, then you are on your way to fulfilling your daily dietary iron requirements!
YOU NEED: at least one box of toothpicks, white glue or wood glue, some newspaper, a flat work surface, and a lot of time and patience.
Challenge yourself or a friend to create the tallest sculpture you can with only toothpicks and glue. Work on newspaper to catch any wasted glue. You will need to glue each place the toothpicks touch. This is a project that you can begin in May and work on till it s time to get back to school! Make a tall building, or an animal or plant. Maybe you can make a hat! Be creative.
YOU NEED: an adult to help you, a clear glass jar, a stick or skewer, popsicle stick, a piece of string at least 6 long, sugar, water, a spoon, and a small saucepan.
With the help of an adult, bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add one cup of sugar one spoonful at a time, stirring as you go until all sugar is added and dissolved. The solution should turn into a clear syrup. Remove the pan from the heat and let the syrup cool for 10 minutes. Pour the syrup into a glass jar. Now tie one end of the string around the stick, securing it with a knot, and tie the other end around the popsicle stick. Make sure you have enough string to reach the syrup. Place the stick across the top of your jar so that the popsicle stick hangs in the syrup. Set your crystal maker aside. Take a look at it every day to see what s happening. After about one week, you should find little crystals of sugar along the string.
YOU NEED: water, liquid dish soap, food coloring, plastic cups, baking sheet, plastic drinking straws, and white art or typing paper.
For each color in your artwork you will need a separate cup. Mix 1/2 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of dish soap, and a few drops of food coloring in< a plastic cup. Place the cup on a baking sheet. Lower a straw into the cup and blow bubbles until the bubbles overflow the cup and spill onto the baking sheet. Make sure not to suck any of the soap into your mouth! Remove the cup and place a piece of paper on top of the bubbles. Lift the paper off. The colored bubbles will create a cool design on the paper as it dries. After the paper is dry, you can use it to wrap a small gift, or you< can use a marker to draw a picture on it or just outline the shapes left behind by the bubbles.
YOU NEED: lemon juice, paper, a small artist paint brush, and a lamp with an incandescent bulb.
This is fun and simple. Did you know that you could use lemon juice to write invisible messages on paper? Just use the lemon juice like ink, write your message on paper, and let it dry. When you are ready to read your invisible message, hold the paper up to sunlight or a light bulb. Cool! The lemon juice is acidic and it weakens paper. When the paper is heated, the acid turns the writing brown before discoloring the paper.
YOU NEED: a paper sandwich bag, scissors, a pencil, colored tissue paper, tape or glue, a flashlight, the Scorpius Star pattern (left), a grownup to help with the first step.
Ask a grownup to enlarge the Scorpius pattern on a copy machine so that it is big enough to cover the side of a paper sandwich bag. Trace the Scorpius constellation pattern onto the bag with a pencil. Cut out the star shapes. Glue a piece of colored tissue paper inside the bag behind the cut-out shapes. Hold a flashlight on the ground pointing up to the sky. Place the bag over it and the stars glow!