Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Science Day-What is Air

Today was a science day. I have a day like this once in a while, especially after writing quarterly reports for the school district. They have this pesky section in the report to write what we have done in science, even in the report for the little kids.
I have a second grade science text book, so I looked through it and came to a section on air. A total chapter on air- this, I knew I could do.
Of course, we are not a text-book type family, so I looked up "air" in the library computer system and found these two nice books. Let's Try it Out in the Air and Air is All Around You
Both of these books contained some very easy experiments that small kids can do to help them understand some of the principles of air.
We learned that air takes up space. If we blew-up a flat paperbag the air took up space inside the bag, until it was big and round.
We also learned that if you breathe in and out of a paperbag, you get really dizzy.
We made paper airplanes so that the air could help them to fly.
Can air hold something up? If you drop two pretend fruit at the same time from the same height, they hit the ground at the same time. The air doesn't seem to do anything.
But it you drop a fruit and a flat piece of paper, you can see that the air holds the paper up in the air, as it floats to the floor. After this, we crumpled the paper very tightly, and dropping the fruit and crumpled paper, we were very surprised that they hit the floor at exactly the same time, even though the paper was a lot lighter than the toy.
In our next experiment, we stuffed paper towels into the bottom of a glass, so that when we turned the glass over, they wouldn't fall out. Next we carefully put the glass into a sinkful of water upside down. The glass is full of air, so the water can't get in and make the paper towel wet. Last, we tipped the glass and let out a big bubble of air, then we could see the water getting higher into the glass. We did this until the glass was finally full of water,the air was all gone, and the paper towels were wet.
This very simple experiment also impressed the kids. A glass of water was left on the counter and was watched for about 15 minutes. Bubbles appeared on the inside wall of the glass. This showed us that there is air in water, and because of this, fish are able to breathe underwater.
So of course, we looked at our fish and then looked up information about fish and learned how fish use gills to get the air out of the water. We decided that this is great and it would be wonderful to have gills of our own.

Now, I am ready to fill in a little bit of that pesky science section in the quarterly reports.

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