Friday, January 29, 2016

Some weeks are like that

This month has been very fun. I was very excited to continue studying chemistry with the children.
Being a teacher who believes in following the child and encouraging the children to lead, I realized Monday morning I was going to need to make some choices: 
follow their lead and support them 
insist on the lesson plan I had set.
 Needless to say this week did not go according to my plan.  
We may not have been on my track this week,
but the kids were taking me on a very interesting, wandering and spiraling journey.
Ari discovered that pencils float. 
Morah Katie: Why do you think they float?
Ari: They are not heavy.
Morah Katie: What are pencils made of?
Ari: Wood.
Morah Katie: What does that tell you about wood?
Ari: It floats.
I witnessed two older children patiently sharing with their young friends.
I over heard one four year old say: But she is just 2, she is still learning to share.
We just need to help her.

We  discovered that plastic fruit will not roll down our white tube, 
but if we work together we can unclog the tube.
The apple and strawberry can roll but the banana, watermelon and beans do not.
As we meandered our way through this week, 
I enjoyed listening to story telling 
and observing potential future authors practice their writing techniques.
Eventually, in their own time, the children led me back to chemistry. 
They remembered that if we cut an apple open and leave it exposed to air, 
Evan: The oxygen makes it oxidize.
Judah: Except for that part that we put that stuff on to keep it from the oxygen.
Morah Katie: What was that thing we put on the apples?
Clara: Lemon juice! I love lemons.
One experiment this week was to reduce the oxidation effect on the element of copper.
We hoped to take dirty oxidized pennies and make them shiny again.
With some salt, vinegar and a little hard work we successfully transformed oxidized pennies into shiny bright orange coins.
What to do with pennies? Share them and give tzedakah!
Thursday morning was here.  I had 2 more experiments I was eager to share.
Morah Katie: I had hoped to try to grow crystals earlier in the week. I'd like to try today and see if anything develops tonight and over the weekend. Shall we try?
Kids: YES!
We filled 2 jars with hot water and added 2 scoops of borax to one  and 4 scoops in the other.
We dipped pipe cleaners suspended fro popsicle sticks in the solution.
Morah Katie: Now we wait. We may succeed, we may fail.
Augie: But that would be ok because we tried.

We also try to use kind words.  In the midst of a busy morning,
Evelyn and Maya showed me how they are learning to use kind words.
We have a "talking bubble" and "thought bubble" in our classroom. They help us understand that there are things we say, and there are things we think.
Evelyn: I am saying when you share it makes me feel good.
Maya: I am not saying anything because I'm not be saying something nice.
I would say out loud it makes me happy when you share.
Evelyn: I could say out loud it makes me sad when you don't share.
Maya: I would say I feel sadder when you don't share.  But I wouldn't say anything mean even if I thought it.
Our final experiment involved baking soda balls and vinegar.
How many drops of vinegar can we add to our ball until it begins to fizz?
Evelyn: 5
Judah: 20
Maya: 25!
We got up to 30 before we decided to squeeze the entire eyedropper of vinegar out.
Abe: Now it's fizzing!
We discovered that the baking soda made our hands feel soft.
Augie: Oh it makes my hands soft and slippery. I don't really feel the fizzing!
If we added water, our ball disintegrated but did not fizz.
While one friend used the eye dropper to get more vinegar, the vinegar began to fizz!
Morah Katie: Why is the vinegar fizzing?
Olivia: It got the baking soda in it!

 I witnessed many beautiful moments of kindness and exciting moments of discovery this week. 
 I am grateful to be surrounded by such capable young leaders.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Lemons can make lemonade.

This week we explored some gifts trees give us - as chemists.
Augie: Trees give us wood.
Clara: They give us shade.
Matan: Apples for pies.
Evan: They give us oxygen, air.
Morah Katie: We give something to the trees, can anyone tell me what we give?
Evan: Carbon Dioxide.
Judah: They give us a lot of fruit.
Morah Katie: Trees give us apples and lemons.  How are apples and lemons similar?
Abram: They both grow on trees.
Augie: They both have seeds.
Clara: I like lemons. They are both fruit.
Morah Katie: How are they different?
Evan: Lemons are oval and apples are round like a circle.
Olivia S:  Lemons are yellow and apples are red.
Evelyn: A lemon is sour.
Clara: An apple is sweet.
Morah Katie: Lemons are acidic.  What does it feel like if you get lemon juice in a cut?
Clara: It hurts, it stings.
Morah Katie: I agree.   But guess what! We can take that acidic juice and use it to create something very exciting.
Our experiment: Lemon Volcanos
Core out a lemon.
Mash it up to release the juice.
Add a small amount of baking soda.
The reaction between the lemon juice and baking soda causes carbon dioxide to be released as bubbles.
Abram made a realization:
It's SOUR.
We reminded ourselves of our taste test during Rosh Hashanah.
Morah Katie: What do you remember about the taste test?
Clara: The apples in honey remind us to be kind.
Nora: Honey is sweet.
Judah: We should treat our friends the way we want to be treated.
Morah Katie: How do you like to be treated?
Judah: Sweetly.
Sometimes we may feel so sour we begin to feel like we are going to explode like a lemon volcano. But if a little sweetness is added, we can turn our lemony, sour feelings into lemonade.
Morah Katie: How can you help a friend who looks  and sounds like a lemon volcano?
Clara: We can just try to be kind instead.
Evan: You could draw a friend a picture
Augie: We can just be caring and share.

We imagined how we are like trees.
We don't grow actual fruit, we grow kindness with our helping hands and kind words.
 We can give "shade" to someone who is having a rough day by
Clara: Being kind to them.
Trees give us oxygen, we give them carbon dioxide; we help them and they help us.
We continued to explore carbon dioxide.  

Some of us enjoyed our sip of Sprite, 
others did not.
We tried to make raisins dance.  
We filled 1 cup with water and 1 cup with Sprite.

Careful observation, we didn't want to miss any "dancing".
The raisins danced on Wednesday, but sank on Thursday.
Morah Katie: Why do you think the raisins are not floating today?
Abram: The bubbles are not working. 
Morah Katie: Yesterday we had a fresh bottle of Sprite.  Today, our bubbles must be stale.
Augie: Yeah, they are tired and not working. 
Morah Katie: IF they were working what do you think we would see?
Abby: Floating.
Abram: They would float and the bubbles would pop and then they would sink.

We are looking forward to celebrating Tu B' Shevat Monday.
We are grateful for all that trees give us:
Augie:  Paper
Abram: Oxygen, we wouldn't want carbon dioxide to breathe.
Judah: Sweet fruit.