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Monday, July 27, 2015

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Sound Science Experiments: Vibrations & Violins!

Sound science is SO fun!  Today we're sharing activities, science experiments, and a book to talk about how vibrations create the sound in violins, guitars, and other stringed instruments!



This month's theme for Poppins Book Nook is Composers.  My daughter has a favorite composer.  This composer is pretty young, and incredibly fun to watch perform because she creates captivating videos where she plays the violin while dancing.  Each video tells its own kind of story and many of them are a collaborative effort with other musicians.  She also studied filmography in college.  And, we've used her as an example of someone who keeps trying: when she first proposed her violin and dance ideas, she was told there was no market for it.  A few short years later, she is an amazingly successful composer and performer!  Do you know her?  Her name is Lindsey Stirling.  Click here for one of our favorite videos from her (with a Skyrim them)!

Since Lindsey plays a violin, we decided to learn more about how stringed instruments (like violins) work, how the vibrations make sound, and you can change the sound that violins (or other stringed instruments) make by changing their length, thickness, and tension.  Unfortunately we do not actually have a violin, but we have several guitars, so we used those for our little experiments.

Here are  10 short experiments  to use to talk about vibrations and sound and how you can change vibrations to create and change sound!

Experiment #1: Vibrations Create Sound


Hold a plastic ruler on the edge of a counter and press down quickly.  (I know we used wood.  That works fine.  Plastic works better!)  The ruler will vibrate up and down, creating sound waves that travel to your ear.  Try to create slower or faster vibrations.  What happens to the sounds pitch?  (Slower vibrations create a lower pitch.)


Experiment #2: Your Ear Collects Sound Waves




Vibrations travel through the air (and other mediums) as sound waves.  Your ear collects those sound waves.  Try cupping your hand around your ear as someone else talks or sings.  You should be able to hear more (louder) sounds because your hand helps funnel the sound waves into your ear.  Your ear drum and the little bones in your ear send those vibrations into your ear canal, where they are picked up by tiny hairs inside your ear and transferred into an electrical signal that is sent to your brain.


Experiment #3:  Violin and Guitar Strings Create Vibrations




Pluck a string on the violin or guitar!  Watch how it vibrates and talk about how that vibration sends sound waves into the air.  The sound is also amplified as it vibrates inside the guitar or violin.




Experiment #4:  String Length Changes Sound



Pluck one of the strings on your violin or guitar.  Then use a finger to press down on the string about half way down the string.  How does the sound change?  (The shorter string creates a higher pitch.)


Experiment #5:  String Tension Changes Sound



Pluck one of the strings on your violin or guitar.  Most violins have four strings and most guitars have six strings.  Follow the string up to the peg head.  Turn the corresponding peg.  Does it make the string tighter or looser?  Is the pitch higher or lower?  (Tighter strings make a higher pitch.  Looser strings make a lower pitch.)


Experiment #6: String Thickness Changes Sound

Pluck a thin string on your violin or guitar.  Then pluck a thick string.  Which makes a higher pitch?  (the thin string)


Experiment #7:  Change the Tension, thickness, and Length in Your Voice Box

You can change the tension, thickness, and length of the "strings" (or vocal folds) in your larynx (voice box) too!  Try singing a note, and then singing a higher pitch note.  As you make the note a higher pitch, you shorten and tighten the folds in your larynx.


Experiments #8-10:  Air in Your Voice Box and Mouth

You moved the strings on the violin and guitar with your fingers.  What moves the vocal folds in your larynx?  You move air across your vocal cords by pushing your diaphragm against your lungs.  Air leaves your lungs and travels across your larynx, up your throat, and out your mouth.  You can change the sound again by changing the shape of your mouth and tongue.  Try singing a note and feeling your voice box vibrate as the air moves through your vocal folds.  Just put your fingers on your throat!  Then try tapping the top of your chest as you sing a note and see what happens to the sound!  Finally, continue to sing a note while covering and uncovering your mouth.  Both tapping your chest and covering your mouth interrupt the sounds coming out from your lungs, across your vocal cords, and through your mouth!

Since we've had such a love lately for violins, we have also really enjoyed reading Frederico, the Mouse Violinist.  It's an adorable story about a mouse who sneaks into the lab of one of the great Italian luthiers, Stradivari.  It also spends a lot of time teaching the parts of the violin and (at least our version!) has large print for young readers!

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As you read the story, you can find the same parts on your own violin...if you have one!  If our obsession with violins lasts much longer, we may have to buy one (instead of just comparing to guitars!) and start lessons for my daughter!

Anyways, as I mentioned, this month's theme for Poppins Book Nook is Composers!

Be sure to stop by these other blogs for more great ideas for play, education, and more all about composers:




And be sure to visit these other awesome Poppins Book Nook hosts!

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom – 3 Dinosaurs – ABC Creative Learning – As We Walk Along the Road – Brain Power Boy – Chestnut Grove Academy – Embracing Destiny –Every Bed of Roses – Farm Fresh Adventures – Growing in God’s Grace – Kathys Cluttered Mind – My Bright Firefly – Peakle Pie – Preschool Powol Packets – Pray Species– SAHM I am – Stir The Wonder – Sunny Day Family – Sweet Silly Sara – Teach Beside Me – To the Moon and Back – Tots and Me – Tree Valley Academy – Witty Hoots



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Friday, July 24, 2015

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{FREE} Ladybug Life Cycle Packet!

Ladybugs are a year-round favorite here--we see them all spring, summer, fall, and even during warm weeks in the winter!  Most children are familiar with butterfly life cycles, so teaching them about ladybugs reinforces the life cycle concept and lets them expand their definitions of words like larva and chrysalis to more general, appropriate meanings!



You can download a ladybug life cycle packet for your own family or classroom here!  Make as many copies as you need, but please do not host or share the file.  Encourage other teachers and parents to download their own file by linking to this blog post, so I can continue creating {FREE} resources!  Thank you!!

  Inside the packet, you will find life 4 life cycle cards showing eggs, larva, pupa, and an adult.  You will also find matching label cards.  These are great for learning about the life cycle, labeling, and matching.  You can even play memory- or go fish- style games!  You will also find a life cycle chart with labels at the bottom.  You can cut out the labels and match them to the chart.  You can also glue the chart into a file folder and match the life cycle cards (or labels) to them!  There are a ton of possibilities with this little set!  We even used them outside during our Nature Club on our Bug Day!  There is also a coloring book style life cycle chart to color, paint, or play with.  Remember, not all ladybugs are red or have spots!


Ladybug Life Cycle Details:

Eggs:  10-15 tiny, yellowish, oval, eggs are laid in a group under a leaf.  They take about a week to hatch.

Larva:  Ladybug larva look like miniature alligators, eat tiny mites and aphids, and shed their "skin" as they grow.  Ladybug are often in the larva stage for 2-4 weeks before transforming into a pupa.

Pupa:  The pupa grows, attached to a leaf, for several days.  It looks like a funny yellow or orange shrimp.  The pupa shell splits open when the adult is fully formed, usually after 3-12 days.

Adult:  When the adult hatches, it has a soft shell that hardens and turns red (or other colors) within a few hours.  Adults can hibernate and live for a couple years.


I hope you love the ladybug life cycle packet!!

And if you like ladybugs, you'll totally want to check out a few of our other ladybug posts: egg carton ladybugs, ladybug pinata, {FREE} ladybug math, and {FREE} count and clip cards!


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Thursday, July 23, 2015

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Rock Bugs Craft!

Our Nature Club theme this week was bugs, so we decided to make some cute Rock Bugs as part of our activities!



You can make your own rock bugs just for fun, as part of an insect theme, or a letter theme (B is for Bugs, I is for Insect, etc.)!

I invited the kids to make their bugs based on real bugs or insects (like bees, butterflies, ladybugs, or any other insect of their choice) or based on an imaginary critter they felt like creating.

Simple Supplies:

* rocks
* paint and paintbrushes
* pipe cleaners (chenille sticks, fuzzy sticks, or
whatever you call them!)
* hot glue (I prefer a "low heat" hot glue gun...
the kids love it!)
* scissors
* wiggly eyes
* jumbo craft sticks (ours were provided
by Craft Project Ideas)
* any other supplies you want


Easy How To:

My favorite art and craft projects are the ones that let the children create on their own without a pre-conceived idea of what their project should look like when it is done.  To that end, I like to show the children what the available supplies are, and then let them create whatever they want.

So... the easy how-to is really easy!  Show your kiddos the supplies, and let them get busy!  They will create fantastic bugs and insects!  Some of them will be more realistic than others, but they will all be wonderful!




And if you like bugs, you will love our {FREE} Bug Scavenger Hunt!


Disclaimer: Craft Project Ideas provided the jumbo craft sticks for our use.  No other compensation has been provided.  All ideas and opinions are 100% mine!



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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

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{FREE} My Little Animals Alphabet Book Letter E

Yay!!  The new {FREE} My Little Animal Alphabet Book is here!!!!  Every week or two I am sharing a new little alphabet book!  You can use them in any order, but I am posting them in alphabetical order.  Today's little book is all about animals that start with the letter "e!"







Click here to learn more about My Little Animal Alphabet Books, get the other letters, see their features, and get teaching ideas!




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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

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{FREE} Bug Scavenger Hunt!

We used this Bug Scavenger Hunt as part of our Nature Club, but you can use it for a bug theme, an insect theme, or just for fun!




We had a blast on our Bug Scavenger Hunt...it took a while, but we had several kiddos find all the bugs!  It's a wonderful outdoors activity, though it's hot enough that when they were done finding bugs outside, they were happy to come inside and get a drink!  

If you're not into scavenger hunts that involve bugs and other little critters, you can print two copies of the page, cut out the "cards," and use it to play memory-style games.  Or, if you're using it with an insect theme, you can sort the cards into "insects" and "not insects" piles!  There are loads of possibilities with these little guys!

Random Sidenote: I will admit that it was difficult for me to call this a "bug" scavenger hunt because there is an order of insects (Hemiptera) often called "true bugs" but, as I explained to our little friends, today we are using the word "bug" to mean "little critters!"

I'll be sharing a few more "bug" activities this week, so be sure to join us again if you're planning a bug theme!  In the meantime, be sure to check out our egg carton ladybugs, butterfly craft and song, or our ladybug count and clip cards!




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Monday, July 20, 2015

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Top 10 Back to School Science Activities

I love back to school time!  And, I love to start a new school year out with a bang!  Exciting and puzzling science experiments capture the kids' curiosity and energy and engage them in the learning process right at the start of the year.



So, I thought I'd share some of our favorite science activities from the last couple years.  Any of these would be a fantastic way to start out a day, week, or year of school!  I have even more challenges and puzzles planned, but these have captivated hundreds of kids in my classrooms, daycare, and parties throughout the years.  You can follow any of these activities by letting your kiddos do their own experiments, having a group discussion, or journaling/writing about the activity or their reaction.

First, of course, "Elephant Toothpaste!"  This is has been a favorite for years, and is always one of the most popular experiments on this blog!



The Diet Coke and Mentos Geyser is hard to beat for an impressive reaction!



The Sparkly Explosion is super easy to pull off and kids love to help put it together!



Milk Fireworks are on a smaller scale, but they make such a fun reaction that everyone loves it!



Frozen Water Magic Science takes some precision planning, but it is absolutely stunning to see liquid water freeze right before your eyes!



You may want to step outside for the Burping Bags, but it is totally worth it!



These rockets should also be outside, but again...you won't want to miss them!



This electricity lab is so captivating that you can do it with kids 2-12!



Nut and bolt sculptures can also be built at desks and also appeals to a huge age range!



And finally...Bubble Science is incredibly fun with pumpkins, but you could also use apples!




And if you're planning more science activities, be sure to check out our Science page...you'll find over 100 fantastic science ideas!!



How do you like to start your Back-to-School season?  I'd love to hear about your plans!

We also have a great collection of Back to School ideas from a group of fantastic bloggers!  Be sure to check out these ideas:

Top 10 School Bus Crafts from Craftulate
Top 10 After School Snacks from Nemcsok Farms
Top 10 DIY School Supplies Projects from Crafty Kids at Home
Top 10 Homeschool Room Essentials from School Time Snippets
Top 10 Nature Study Supplies from Rhythms of Play
Top 10 Back to School Math Activities for Kids - Little Bins for Little Hands
Top 10 Back to School Science Activities at Preschool Powol Packets
Top 10 Back To School Printables from The Pleasantest Thing
Top 10 Tips for a Stress Free Back To School Organization from Words n Needles
Top 10 Homeschool PE Items from Something 2 Offer





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