NASA Science and Space Photos

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Science is Takayiyo's favorite subject right now. He is a sponge when it comes to the Universe. He just can not get enough information about the Sun, Moon, planets and other galaxies. He also loves to use his Lego's (almost daily) to demonstrate the Laws of Physics, engineering, and anything else he can think of. This space is for our science experiments, interesting factoids and works. 

The Lifecycle of a Plant

posted Jan 9, 2012, 8:12 AM by K Day

Last week we did a lesson on the lifecycle of a plant. We've talked about plants before (we have planted them in different materials, learned about what they need to grow and how to care for them, etc.) but Taka loves plants so much (and they are lots of fun), I thought we'd try another approach ~ The Lifecycle.  

We used this handy dandy poster from Oriental Trading to get us started. This poster is simple but effective to start things off. I would strongly encourage everyone to do more research and go into more detail yourselves though. Taka also keeps a Science Journal for his observations and notes!

We began with seeds and within 3 days we had sprouts! The long clear planter contains 2 different types of Morning Glories. The cool thing about this planter is that we will be able to see the root system when it matures. 

The other pots were a "Miracle Grow 3 in 1 Kit" Taka received for his birthday. It is actually a very thoughtful kits with seed pots and larger pots for after separation. At this point the cucumbers were the only sprouts (in the purple pot). 

After about a week we had some 6 1/2 inch sprouts. Both the Morning Glories and the Cucumbers were about 6 1/2 inches tall. The tomatos were only about 2 1/2 inches tall and sweet peppers have not yet sprouted. Taka has hypothesized that the seedlings will grow at least an inch in the next week and that the sweet peppers will sprout out in another week. We shall see :) 


posted Aug 23, 2011, 1:07 PM by K Day

Growing up we didn't have cicadas every year where I lived. However, here in the Chicagoland area it seems as though we have them every year. We've certainly had them the last 3 years. Although it's new to me, it's not new to Taka. He's been growing up with them and this year he has found several shells to study, right here in the back yard. He studies them for a while, gets creeped out, leaves, then comes back to them with renewed awe. These pictures were taken on his garden tote bag. 

Today we went to our copy of The Smithsonian Institutes Animal - The definitive visual guide to the worlds wildlife. It is one of the best books and we love, love, love it! The pictures are amazing and the information isn't too bad either :) Anyway, we learned that cicadas are ARTHROPODS and what an ARTHROPOD is. We also learned that only the males "sing" and that their calls can be heard up to a mile away. No wonder we have trouble sleeping at night when they are singing. We also learned about their "family".
Phylus:    Arthropod
Class:      Insectica
Order:     Hemiptera
Family:    Cicadidae
Species:   There are more than 2,500 species world wide


Will the seeds grow?????

posted Aug 9, 2011, 2:58 PM by K Day   [ updated Sep 24, 2011, 7:30 AM ]

Seed Experiment
Seed Experiment

Taka loves our garden that we started from seed. Getting back to more formalized science experiments, we decided to see if the seeds would grow in ANYTHING. So we filled some pots with different things (grass, rocks, sand, wood chips, potting soil, potting soil + salt, and garden dirt) to see if seeds would grow in the different environments.

Seed Experiment

Next Taka began to write out the experiment in his journal which so far looks something like this (only in 6 year old writing)...

Summary:   We are planting seeds in different materials. Sand, Grass, Rocks, Garden Dirt, Wood Chips, Potting Soil, Soil + Salt

Hypothesis: Only wood chips, garden dirt and potting soil will work. 

It's not so much of a hypothesis as a statement but it'll do. As we observe our pots in the coming days and weeks he'll see what works and what doesn't. 

Check back in a week or so and we'll have updates on our experiment :) 

As predicted the seeds did not grow in sand, grass, rocks or the soil+salt combination. We did get some really nice flowers from the wood chips, garden dirt and potting soil though. I was surprised at how well they grew in the wood chips.

Egg Crystals - Cont.

posted Mar 8, 2011, 10:33 AM by K Day

On day 2 we discovered that the best results came from Salt, Vinegar and Baking Soda. The green egg is Vinegar and the Orange Egg is our Baking Soda. As you can see the crystals grew through the shells, not just around the edges. 

Finally after most of the liquid had dried up we were left with both soft and hard crystal formations. Taka' scraped some crystals off, observed them under the microscope and recorded his findings in his Science journal. He thought the Vinegar crystals looked like rocks (more smooth than jagged), the salt crystals looked bubbley and the Baking Soda crystals was jagged. Taka had so much fun he wants to do it again, with different ingredients :) 

Egg Crystals

posted Feb 27, 2011, 10:00 AM by K Day

We found this really cool experiment at Roots and Wings Co. It's pretty simple and straightforward with huge results. I would encourage parental participation, especially depending on age and ingredients being mixed. 
Here's what you'll need:
    • Empty Egg Shells (We rinsed ours out and removed the membrane inside.)
  • Very hot or boiling water
  • Water Soluble items from around the house (Baking soda, salt, sugar, etc.) 
  • Food Coloring
Add water soluble ingredient(s) to water and stir until completely dissolved. Add food color and pour into egg. Viola, now you can make Egg Geodes too! 

Step 1 - Gather your clean and empty eggs. 

Step 2 - Gather all your ingredients so you have them ready to mix :) We used Sprinkles, Sugar, Baking Soda, Vinegar, Laundry Powder, Baking Powder, Meringue Powder, Vanilla, Honey & Cinnamon. We mixed each ingredient with hot water in a measuring cup and then poured the mixture into an egg. Be sure to clean the cup and any other utensils each time so you don't mix ingredients!  

The Baking Powder gave us the most exciting results :) When we mixed the baking powder with the hot water, it foamed & fizzed. A LOT! See the picture of the reaction in the measuring cup? It also kept fizzing in the egg for almost 2 HOURS! So cool! Can you see the fizzing in the blue egg picture below? (The white stuff is the fizzing)

The yellow egg in the picture below is our Salt Water Egg. In only 90 minutes we started to see crystals form. Some of the crystals are hard and some are soft. 

The orange egg (below) has a baking soda solution. The green egg (below) has a vinegar solution. We used 1/4 cup vinegar & 1/4 cup hot water. Both have begun to grow crystals in about 90 minutes. Taka' noticed that the vinegar egg has a bit of foam on top and some bubbles on the bottom. 

Check back in a few days for updated photos of our crystals! 

Mixing Colors

posted Jan 11, 2011, 9:42 AM by K Day

Today we pulled out the color mixing science kit. Taka' had so much fun! It's a very simple idea that can really go a long way in a lesson. We started with dropping color tablets into test tubes of water. By putting the colors in the test tubes (or other clear container) the child can "mix" the colors while they are still in the tube (or container). By holding the yellow and red test tubes side by side Taka could see how they made orange. 

Once we finished that we then began mixing the colors in a mixing tray. (You could also use clear cups.) This opened the door to talking about Primary, Secondary and Tertiary colors. Which then went into the Color Wheel, Roy G Biv, as well as contrasting and complimentary colors. 

This was a really fun and easy lesson to do and Taka' loved it! I'm including some of our white board pictures as this was mainly a verbal lesson and I didn't write any actual material for it. 

Yeast! Who knew it could be so much fun?

posted Jan 4, 2011, 6:26 PM by K Day

Takayiyo has been begging to make bread for 2 weeks. It started out like many things with the phrase "I know how to do it!" (You may remember when he discovered that he "knew" how to make life.) So it began, 2 weeks of "You just mix flour, salt & water!". So we made a quick trip to the store for a few supplies and began our journey of discovery.

We began our journey quite simply by putting some yeast into a bowl and looking at it. We swirled it, poured it from one bowl to another and generally played with it until Taka was ready to move on.

Next we read up on Yeast and what it is. We found a really nice explanation on Fine Cooking. We learned that Yeast is a single-celled fungi - they are LIVING! How cool?!?!?!?!? We also learned that they produce carbon dioxide and alcohol. Taka' translated that to "I have a GREAT IDEA! We can blow thing up with YEAST!!!!" You should have seen the excitement...

Then we did a few "experiments" and baked some really yummy bread.

We did 2 experiments by combining water, yeast and sugar in containers (bowl with lit and bottle with balloon). The lid on the container didn't blow up as Taka would have liked. However the balloon did begin to fill up as you can see below. In the end we had a great time learning about yeast, how it works and what it can do, and eating yummy home made bread.


posted Nov 24, 2010, 4:31 PM by K Day   [ updated Dec 5, 2010, 2:08 PM ]

Unfortunately I didn't snap any pics this week :( It would have been a great week for it too! Imagine if you will a 2'x8' (yes feet) lever base, a 6'6" daddy on one end and 7 kiddo's on the other. The kiddo's loved the huge lever and conducted many experiments on it. Youngest child - Oldest child, Smallest child - Biggest child, and so on. In addition to the Mega Lever we had table top experiments, cross word puzzles, boards of nails (a hammer claw is a lever) and a coloring contest. The lesson really seemed to stick and the kiddo's had a lot of fun. 

The lesson material was comprised of bits and pieces of information but I want to especially mention COSI and MSI. COSI is the Columbus, Ohio's Center of Science and Industry. They have great lever activities online. You can also visit COSI and do life sized activities at their center. MSI is Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. Lever experiment A is based on MSI's "Build a Lever" experiment. Although we didn't do everything exactly the way MSI does, the base idea was compliments of MSI. After the initial experiment the kiddo's began using a variety of things in their cups such as rocks, coins, paperclips, pencils, etc.  If you are looking for ideas I encourage you to check out their websites. THey are a wealth of information! 

Thermometer Experiment

posted Nov 6, 2010, 7:43 PM by K Day

This experiment utilizes thermometers and paper to demonstrate how color can change the impact solar energy has on temperature. Although we implemented this a bit differently, we first found this experiment at EIA - Energy Kids, in the Energy Activities with Energy Ant.  

 - Cardboard file folder box lid
 - 3 Thermometers 
 - Fasteners for Thermometers
 - Push Pins
 - White and Black Paper


Step 1 - Measure your box lid and identify appropriate location of your thermometers. 
We chose to space them evenly across the lid. 

Step 2 - Cut paper to cover bottom portion of thermometer. 
Our papers ended up being 5"x4". 

Step 3 - Fold paper in half and put one side of paper under thermometer. The other half of the paper should rest on top of the thermometer bottom. 

Step 4 - Attach Thermometers. 
We used a push pin to make the initial hole in the cardboard. Then we used fasteners to attach the thermometers to the lid. (Our thermometers have a small "Frame" around them with a hole in the top and bottom which made them easy to attach. If your thermometers don't have holes, you could use tape or close the paper tightly around the thermometer so it doesn't move.)

Step 5 - Use push pins to "close" paper around thermometer. 
We used four pins per paper. 

Step 6 - Place thermometers in sunny place for at least 30 minutes.

Step 7 - Observe and record! 

  1. Is the temperature the same on all 3 thermometers?
  2. Which one is hottest, coolest?
  3. Was your hypothesis correct?

You can see our finished product above. It's may not be pretty but it does the job! 

Scientific Method

posted Nov 3, 2010, 5:47 AM by K Day   [ updated Nov 3, 2010, 9:22 AM ]

Overview of the Scientific Method
It occurred to me that although Taka LOVES science we've never had a lesson on The Scientific Method. I started looking "around" and found so many great documents already out there. I really like the one I found on Science Buddies (left). It's clear & concise and the site provides the detail around each step which makes it conducive to a full lesson. However, right now, we really only need a reference for Taka to have a look at to remind him of the next step. So I threw this together. I've laminated it and threw it up on the wall by our science area. So far so good.  

Check it out HERE or the attachment below.

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