Rocks, fossils & dinosaurs

Just as it takes time for children to learn hand dominance, it also takes time for them to understand their preferred learning style, for example, sometimes ‘unwanted behaviour’ is apparent because a child cannot learn by listening alone but are a strong kinaesthetic learner, they learn by ‘doing’ by ‘muscle memory’, this is why, when I plan lessons for children or even activitives for my own children, I try to include a 3D approach, involving visuals, listening opportunities and doing, this way every child will take something from what you’re teaching.

As a parent you are ‘teaching’ and ‘educating’ your child with out even realising it, from behaviours to social skills etc. Always remember that.

I always acknowledge what topics school are teaching my children, then turn it into a fun 3D approach at the weekends (gauging their enthusiasm for the topic obviously!)

This week my daughter’s loved learning about rocks, fossils and dinosaurs, so this weekend was a busy one……

We started with an archeological excavation breakfast !

Set some fossils, shells and dinosaurs on the table. Provided tools: magnifying glass, tongs, knife & fork.
Layers of a full English covering toy dinosaurs.
Excavated dinosaurs 😆

Now on to our next project, learning about different types of rocks-always fun when sweets are involved, whatever your learning style!!

We unwrapped 3 sweets of each colour and cut them into quarters, we squeezed one set together softly to represent sedimentary rock.
We then used pressure and heat from our own bodies to mould the sweets together in more of a playdough texture, to represent metamorphic rock.
We then moulded the last few sweets together and put in the microwave for a few seconds, it was hot and runny but dried hard to make igneous rock.

My daughter was inquisitive about, what would happen if we put it in the microwave longer, so we tried that too! And as you can see, it changed colour, and was bubbling with the heat, it was far too hot to touch just like real life magma!!!

Time for more excavating…..

I squeezed, and I mean squeezed toy dinosaurs into balloons, filled them with water and put them in the freezer over night.

And squeeeeeeeeze!!

Once frozen I took them out the freezer and took the balloons off.

Then, supervised, I gave my daughter a hammer and screw driver and she chiselled away at the dinosaur ‘eggs’.

Now time for a spot of lunch!

We then did a bit of research on caves, stalactites and stalagmites, we wondered how they formed, so…..

⚠️ if you do the following experiment ALWAYS wear gloves⚠️

2 cups Epsom salts, 2 cups hot water, mix thoroughly then split between 2 jars.

Soak a piece of wool in the mixture, tie a paperclip to each end and put one end in each jar.

After an hour the stalactite will start forming, this photo is after 24 hours, we can’t wait to see what happens over the next few days……

Now time to learn about rock erosion.

We discussed what erosion meant and the different ways this may happen.

Annabel didn’t think water or ice could damage rocks, because rocks are so hard, so we did a freeze/thaw experiment.

We collected a range of different types of rocks, counted them, put them in a container and took a photo of their positioning. We covered them with water and put them in the freezer.

After just 24 hours, you can see there is not much change, so we will continue to freeze and thaw for several days…..

Now time for the choc-chip cookie erosion test. Once again, always a winner when food is involved! We used toothpicks to represent human activity and water to represent weathering.

We put one cookie in a glass of water and one on a paper plater, which we prodded using the toothpick.

We prodded continuously for 1 minute, then observed the differences.

Then repeated up to 4 minutes. Annabel observed from the experiment that weathering is quicker at eroding rocks than human activity.

And now to eat a couple of cookies 😋😋.

And for the grand finale of our busy, science weekend. The volcano.

We spent Friday evening, papermache-ing around a plastic bottle, shaping our volcano.

Once dried, Annabel painted it.

Now, with plenty of baking soda, white vinegar and red food colouring, we are ready to erupt!

Wow! What a busy weekend we’ve had! So much learning, but more than that, so much fun!! We observed, questioned, experimented, talked and laughed together, this blog is a mere snippet of what went on!

Great fun!! Together time!

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