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Category: Science

  • Microscopes for kids

    We’ve had two optical microscopes and a hand-held magnifier available to the kids. A small Bausch & Lomb (i.e. high quality optics) ‘scope we got off eBay for about $30, list price around $90, was the first purchase. It had a single 50X objective and the quality of the image was good. But it was […]

  • Planet Earth

    I was looking for ways to spend the Learning Allowance the kids are afforded by the homeschooling program they’re enrolled in. Because we don’t live in a TV universe, I hadn’t heard of BBC’s Planet Earth series until I stumbled onto it at We love all the David Attenborough nature documentaries and have watched […]

  • Chicks

    Our chicks have arrived! We ordered 16 but are playing host to another 21 for some friends of ours for a few weeks. Last night we got a phone call from the post office in Castlegar saying that our cheepers were there and would be arriving at our local post office this morning. This morning, […]

  • Playground physics

    Science Club will be wrapping up for the year soon, as we’re moving into GRUBS and soccer season. This week we decided to head to the playground and have a low-key time doing some exploratory physics with the playground equipment, our bodies and a few simple props. First we rolled a damp tennis ball against […]

  • Destruction and discovery

    Inspired by Karen’s LightingtheFires blog entry, Science Club this week was a big “taking apart electronics” fest. Altogether the following revealed their innards to the kids over the course of the afternoon: A CB radio A CD player / radio An inkjet printer An iron A Sony tape deck An old clock radio A cordless […]

  • Back to GRUB-bing

    The Science Club kids (a.k.a. the homeschooled core of the GRUBS club) got busy planting for spring today. We planted five flats of seedlings with great gusto. Oddly enough Fiona was most interested in planting sweet peppers; she refuses to eat them, so I can’t imagine what possessed her to fixate on planting them. I […]

  • Round and round

    Wednesday was Pi Day, and we didn’t notice. It was 3.14, at least according to the US convention for numbering dates. Here in Canada one more commonly sees 14 03 2007, but in any event, we didn’t really notice. A day later I was reading Karen’s LightingTheFires blog and I realized we’d missed the whole […]

  • Atomic Tree Ornaments

    Another product of Science Club. Two marbles, a black one (proton) and a white one (neutron) were twisted together inside a small square of plastic wrap (in lieu of nuclear force) and tied off with a string. Around this we created an electron cloud of wool roving. Not particularly seasonal or aesthetically imbued, several of […]

  • Acids and Alkalis

    Today was another challenging Science Club meeting. The kids were very unfocused and there were only a couple of activities that pulled even half of them in. My four were all at various stages of recovering from illnesses, as were several of the other kids, and that certainly didn’t help. However, I wanted to share […]

  • Owl visit

    Today, on my way to put up the Christmas lights, I discovered this guy perching outside on a beam about 18″ from one of our windows. He’s a saw-whet. The kids were able to get soooooo close and were completely entranced. This picture was actually taken from inside the house, through the aforementioned window.

  • Co-op learning

    We’re now four weeks into Science Club. We meet for two or three hours on Wednesday afternoon. I’m preserving my optimism with effort. We’ve done some fun things, from the planet walk to the ‘elevate an apple’ challenge, to printing evergreen foliage on clay tiles. We’ve touched on principles of gravitational acceleration, solar system orbits, […]

  • Gak!

    We were in a concocting mood, and stumbled on the recipe for “gak” or “elmer’s slime”, which just happened to require two ingredients we had on hand — 225 ml of PVA glue (Elmer’s Glue-all) and 1 tsp. of borax. Actually, we have about 1000 tsp. of borax on hand, but we only needed one. […]

  • Science Club

    First it seemed like a great idea to continue to get the homeschooled core of GRUBS together for a weekly co-op learning venture during the cold months. I talked to the other mom-of-many about it and we talked to the kids. Everyone thought it was a good idea. Then I got cold feet. I didn’t […]

  • Harvest Festival

    The GRUBS held their 2nd annual Harvest Festival last weekend. It was a chance to celebrate another successful growing year, to have a feast, to have fun together and to thank the community at large for its support. We churned butter, made herbed garlic butter which we slathered on French bread and warmed beside the […]

  • Birdwatching

    Fiona was the only one who wanted to come to the GRUBS garden with me this afternoon to do a bit of digging. I wanted to make some progress back-filling the marsh-garden-in-progress. She watched, and dug, and scrabbled around a bit, got hot, sat in the shade, came back, got bored and asked to go […]