Try this fun STEM activity to help your kids learn about surface tension, water striders, and physics. They will love getting creative and playing with water!
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I love experiments and STEM activity books. They are a great way to teach science and to develop independent learners. My bookshelves are full of them! Some of my books are broad-based and general. Others have specific themes, like astronomy, nature, water, magnets, air, physics, chemistry, or electricity. One of my favorite series of books is the Tabletop Scientist series from Dover Publishing.
They are colorful books with easy to understand science lessons with an experiment or STEM activity to reinforce each one. One of our favorite science projects came from The Science Of Water title in the series. It is a fun water strider STEM activity that lets the kids get creative while teaching them a sometimes hard to conceptualize scientific concept.
Make Your Own Water Strider STEM Activity
Have you ever seen water striders on a pond? Belonging to the family Gerridae, water striders are one of 350 insect species that literally walk on water. How do they do it and not sink? Check out this short video to learn more about water striders. Then, let’s do a fun water strider STEM activity.
Now, let’s get started. Use these simple instructions to make your own water strider, and learn more about how they accomplish walking on water.
Cut a strip of aluminum foil and wrap it around a paperclip to form a rectangle.
Next, cut two V-shaped notches on each side of the paper clip. Now, you have six sections of foil that will become the legs of your water strider.
Fold the sections down and form legs and feet that can rest flat on a surface all at one time.
You will need a bowl full of water for the next part of this activity. This will be the water your water strider walks on!
Slowly, lower your water strider onto the surface of the water without letting any of the legs go under the water. This may take a little practice, but you can do it. Keep trying until your water strider is resting on top of the water with none of it under the surface.
Notice that the water strider isn’t floating with part of it submerged. It is actually on top of the water. Look and you can see the little dimples in the surface of the water around the legs. It’s like the water has skin.
The Science Of Walking On Water
So how does this work? How can a paper clip wrapped in foil stay above the surface of the water and not sink, when we know that both will sink in water on their own? Go ahead. Throw some foil and a paper clip into the water and see what happens.
Water molecules like to stick together. On the surface where the water meets the air, water molecules cling even more tightly to each other. This causes a “skin” to form on the surface of the water. This skin is so strong that it can hold a weight that normally would sink in water. This is called surface tension.
The water striders have the unique ability to distribute their weight onto their long legs in a way that the surface tension of the water is strong enough to hold them up. This is the idea that was used in creating the foil water strider. Distribute the weight so there is not one specific spot that is heavier than the surface tension can hold.
Insect Lesson Resources
More STEM Activities
The June Science Calendar is packed with activities and cool science information that will keep your kids busy, spark creativity and wonder, and teach them along the way!
I love putting together the monthly science calendars. My goal is to find something for every age and every interest that will create a love of science. Some kids might not get excited about physics. Sounds boring, right?
But, the same kids might get really excited about a roller coaster ride on their trip to a theme park. They might want to know how a roller coaster works and how they are designed. This is a prime opportunity to let them explore that interest. Don’t tell them it’s physics until they get into it
In the June science calendar, I included a link to a roller coaster physics project, plus many others like it that can get your kids excited about science without even realizing it.
Download Your June Science Calendar
In the June Science Calendar, you and your kids will learn about:
- space travel
- roller coasters
- ice cream science
- the science of photography
- food chains
- solar power
- and more!
The Homeschool Scientist’s science calendars are always free and updated each month to give you and your family a variety of science fun for all ages.
When life gets crazy, we need to identify and embrace our homeschooling freedoms. In the following article, Heather outlines just seven of the many freedoms homeschooling offers.
Written by Heather Pleier of Wonderschooling.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been homeschooling for two weeks, two years, or two decades. We all tend to get into routines. The daily ebb and flow of those routines define our normal. And, as long as that’s working, great!
However, sometimes our routine gets disrupted. Life gets crazy. Sometimes, the crazy affects only our families. Other times, it affects the entire society.
There are many benefits of homeschooling special needs children, and some of them may surprise you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure about homeschooling your child with special needs, let Shawna’s experience encourage you!
Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things.
We had already been homeschooling for a year when we received my son’s autism diagnosis. While determining the next steps for therapies, possible medications, and support, people often asked when I would be putting him back into the school system.
“He needs the experts to help him.”
“How can you think you would be as capable as someone who does this for a living and with lots of different children?”
“You need to get him the help he needs socially.
Written by Kara S. Anderson
A note from Jamie: My Introverted Moms community site reopens for enrollment this Thursday! Find out more and put your name on the waiting list today.
A few weeks ago, I made a commitment that we were going to finish the last six weeks of school STRONG.
We were going to buckle down on math, and finish the things that were lingering out there.
I was so serious, that I put it on Instagram. I wanted some accountability.
Pretty much as soon as I did this, my daughter ended up in the hospital for three days. This was after a trip to the emergency room, returning home, and then heading back.
She got home on my husband’s birthday, which we barely celebrated. We still owe him a cake.
Two minutes later it was Mother’s Day, and then came a dead car, a broken toilet, and finally, a window that just exploded.
So as I sit here typing this, my question is obviously, “If God really wanted me to buckle down on homeschooling, why does He keep giving me all this other stuff to do?”
This is not a new idea, of course. My favorite resource when I need to remember that God never intended us to shove 36 hours of homeschooling, parenting, housekeeping, work, etc., into a 24-hour day is Sarah Mackenzie’s Teaching From Rest. (afflink)
In it, she writes:
“Take a hard look at the 168 hours in your week. Now consider your non-negotiables: sleep, eat, shower, pray. Plug in meal preparation, rest and church on Sunday, and enough wind-down time at the end of each day to ensure a good night’s sleep. See what’s left? You don’t get any more than that, sister.”
Although I know that’s true, I kind of hate it.
Because I always feel behind on something. And sometimes the things that fall off the to-do list are the BIG things.
Tuesday, my day started with pre-caffeine pajama toilet plunging. Guess what happened to Bible Study?
Wednesday my son’s window shattered before I had even gotten out of bed. So math was delayed by careful glass clean-up and multiple phone calls.
I can’t beat myself up about this. The window needs to get fixed; we need a car because not having one is keeping us from being able to fulfill commitments and get where we need to go, like … work.
So I don’t think my problem is priorities.
I don’t suspect yours is either, although I know a lot of you are in the same place as I am – always feeling behind – dealing with disappointment as another school year wraps up and you didn’t fit it all you wanted to.
It’s a terrible feeling – and the countdown clock has only gotten louder for me as my kids age and I’ve started to focus on the number of years before they leave home.
It’s all enough to paralyze me if I let it, and yet, I know I am trying. I know my heart is in the right place for these kids. I want to give them everything, it’s just that life keeps getting in the way.
Earlier this year we moved. It shifted everything.
I just realized this past week that I have yet to bake cookies in this house, and we’ve been here six months.
Is it any wonder, then, that school hasn’t yet found its rhythm?
And the harder I push, the harder I get push-back – not from my kids, necessarily, but from LIFE.
There is simply always something beeping, breaking, brewing or barfing (<— usually pets.)
We can’t ignore those things. What kind of parents are we if we teach our kids division, but neglect to buy groceries? Or if we drill them on capitals, but never take them to the dentist?
Any homeschool parent who has been at this for more than 15 minutes knows that home education is different. We’ve all heard that unlike school, homeschooling is a way of life.
But the standards and old rules are still deeply ingrained. Learning still looks like a kid with a pencil, even if that kid is perched in a tree.
When I’m able to press pause, I remember that learning can look all kinds of ways, and can happen anywhere. I remember to look at my kids and see that they are healthy, happy, engaged, smart, funny …
But then I also remember I need to make a radiology appointment.
I feel a little frazzled most of the time lately, and I can point to the exact origin – GUILT. Guilt weighs on me so much that every few months I have to go to get my neck fixed. The diagnosis: “stress.”
It doesn’t help that in 2019, we have people bashing working homeschooling parents. What I see from the working homeschool parents I know is so much effort to get it right, to find a balance … to keep their kids first …
Slinging mud then is just a toxic smokescreen and P.S. I don’t often see dads criticized for working. Ahem.
Intention and effort
And so this is where I find myself, on a Wednesday, when I am writing a post instead of baking cookies; instead of teaching my kids Latin, instead of calling the radiologist:
I am doing the best I can.
I wish it was better and more, but I am working on that – not the better and more part, but the guilt part.
Because now I get to log off, and I get to be with my kids. And dragging residual guilt into our time together isn’t going to help anyone.
I bet you are doing your best too. Not THE BEST. (That’s fancy internet nonsense curated by people with more free time and less puking pets and exploding windows than you and me).
We are real parents, giving real effort, 24 hours a day.
I want to believe that intention and effort is enough here.
I’m sure that LOVE is. But as homeschooling parents, we need to show ourselves love too.
We know this is still a path less chosen. There will be plenty of people who will tell us that what we are endeavoring to do is too hard; that we aren’t capable; or that we aren’t doing it right.
When we add our own voice – the voice of guilt – on top of that, we’re dooming ourselves to failure, or at least to missing out on the beauty in the mess.
I wish I could tell us all that we are enough, and that when we look back, we’ll wish we spent all these hours worrying just enjoying our kids.
The very reason this is so hard in the moment is because we desperately want to get it right.
But then, doesn’t that prove that there is no one out there more perfect for the job?
How do you deal with homeschool guilt? Where are you finding beauty in the busyness of life?
Originally posted on May 29, 2019
What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!
Written by Jamie C. Martin of Simple Homeschool and Introverted Moms
Never, when I dreamed up the Read the World Summer Book Club back in 2016, did I imagine it would become an annual event–one that readers would ask me about as May rolled around each year.
If you’re new to the concept, it’s when we visit and learn about each region of the world with our families through the summer–using books as our passports and plane tickets.
It’s brought me so much joy to serve as your global tour guide, as over 10,000 families from six continents have taken part since we first began!
And never, when I first created this club, did I ever envision a summer where so many of us would not be going on our planned vacations, and that some of us might not have even left our homes in over 60 days.
I think a virtual adventure is exactly what we need, don’t you?!
2020 marks our 5th summer book club, and this year there are TWO options for how to participate:
Option #1: A Self-Guided Tour
This option is open to anyone who owns a copy of my book, Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time.
Those who sign up for the self-guided tour will receive:
* Specially-designed book club printables, including a log to keep track of your family’s summer book reading, motivational coupons, printable maps, and an end of club certificate of completion
* Access to a private page with global books for all ages–available electronically (via YouTube, Audible, Kindle, or the library app Hoopla) so you can enjoy the world this summer even if you can’t get to a library (Plus you’ll be able to find more using my book!)
* My Give Your Child the World downloadable coloring book
Find out how to sign up for the self-guided tour at the bottom of this post!
Option #2: A Global Group Tour, with Jamie as host and guide
Our global group tour will take place within my Introverted Moms’ membership site, which just reopened for enrollment, and will remain open for new members through Sunday, June 7th!
Those who choose this option will receive all of the benefits in the self-guided tour, as well as these special features:
* We’re spending longer in each region, and heading in a different direction
In the past I heard again and again from participants that one week was not enough to visit a whole continent! So this year I’ve spread out our eight stops to allow for more relaxed exploration.
Also, the last time I ran the club, members suggested that it would be fun to begin in Australia and end with Multicultural Week (instead of the other way around). That’s the plan this year!
Check out the calendar (PDF version here):
- June 8th – Australia, Oceania, & Polar Regions
- June 18th – Latin America
- June 29th – North America
- July 9th – Middle East
- July 20th – Asia
- July 30th – Europe
- August 10th – Africa
- August 20th – Multicultural Week
* 3 emails each week, with the day’s itinerary sent straight to your inbox
You’ll get reminders three times a week, pointing you to that day’s book links, video clips, and beyond (think recipes, music, and more)!
This will be less overwhelming that getting an ENTIRE unit study for each region in one big chunk, and having to figure out what to do when.
I know I don’t want to have to think TOO much in the summer; I’d prefer someone to tell me: click here, then click here, then click here, LOL. I’ve got ya covered!
* A Pen-Pal Exchange
Sign your kids up to exchange at least one note, postcard, or letter over the summer with another book club member their age. (You could also call this a “postcard exchange,” but I know it might be tough to find postcards right now.)
Maybe some of them will enjoy writing to each other so much that they’ll continue and form a lifelong friendship!
* 2 Live Author Visits
We’ll have visits with Caroline Starr Rose and Mitali Perkins, authors of May B. and Rickshaw Girl (both titles are family read-aloud picks for the summer), where we’ll get to chat about their books and the globe together. (These ladies have lived so many places!)
Your kiddos will even be able to ask them questions!
* A Multicultural Celebration
At the end of our club we’ll have an event where we join in from our corners of the world to celebrate our successful adventure around the globe. More details coming soon!
* A Special Introverted Moms’ Book Club Pick
I hadn’t originally planned on choosing a special title for mamas to read this summer, but I just couldn’t help myself! After all, summers are for moms, too.
We’ll read and discuss in our forum a beautiful YA novel throughout the summer, Forward Me Back to You (also by Mitali Perkins), and if you happen to have teens, it’s the PERFECT book to invite them to read along with you!
* 8 mini-outreaches that go along with our adventure
Each stop on our journey you’ll have the chance to give back in some way–whether it’s to your neighbors or someone on the other side of the globe.
These are simple challenges your family can complete, even if you are not able to leave home.
* Our private (not on social media!) Introverted Moms’ forum
A safe space where you can discuss the book club, yes, but also chat, meet kindred spirits, and get advice on all things motherhood, homeschooling and beyond, AND…
* Access to all the content from the 1st semester of Introverted Moms
As soon as you sign up you get immediate access to ALL the content from our first semester of Introverted Moms’ membership! This includes:
4 video mini-workshops on a variety of topics, one live event replay, 9 episodes of my members-only Literary Snapshots podcast, one extensive unit study on Victorian England, and more!
How to sign up:
To Sign Up for Option #1: The Self-Guided Tour
First, order your copy of Give Your Child the World if you don’t already have one! If Amazon is out of stock, you can find it at: ChristianBook, Book Depository, Rainbow Resource, or of course Kindle!
After you’ve ordered, fill out this form and you’ll be all set!
Check your inbox (& spam/junk if necessary) to find an email with everything you need to get started! It should arrive within 24 hours of filling out the form.
for Option #2: The Global Community Tour
Head over to Introverted Moms to find out more and register! (And yes, extroverted mamas are more than welcome.)
You can sign up monthly ($12), quarterly ($33), or annually ($120), and there’s a 30-day money back guarantee so you can make sure it’s the right fit.
Get more details and enroll here! (Look for the registration area towards the bottom of the page.)
In these very unusual times, I’m so grateful that we can still connect with the globe–and each other–this summer. I hope you’ll join me!
What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!
Our family just wrapped up 4 adventure filled years in Arizona. We had a lot of opportunities and experiences to grow on. My heart has grown to love new people, new places, and appreciating this homeschool life even more! The desert unfortunately was just too far away from all of our family, and we decided to do our best to get back to them!
On to a New Chapter!
|Shown with our March theme & Unit Study.|
Spring is upon us and in my opinion is one of the best times of year to do Unit Studies! The children are wanting to be outside more, their attention span is shortening by the day, and there are so many good choices for units right now!
So what kinds of things are there to do units on?? Well...If I had a list, it would rival a CVS receipt. No lie. Right off the bat, you can look at Spring Holidays. Mardi Gras, St. Patricks Day, & Easter fill February through April. But do you want to really spend a whole month learning about one holiday?? No.
My next go-to is to think about what we usually do in the spring. Gardening, Farming, Nature studies, Animals are having babies... there is a lot of new birth in the spring, so this is a great time to choose something in that realm.
For March, Our focus was a cultural one. We took St. Patricks day and expanded it to all of Ireland and Irish lore. Fairies, Gnomes, and things like that kept the kids interested. I didn't do a post on this due to our crazy schedule and I had a super bad accident that kept me down and out for a couple of weeks. Thankfully I'm almost healed and trying to keep things as normal as possible here.
For April, we have a lot to study! We decided on these topics-
1) One week of Easter
2) One week of England (in honor of our daughter being born there and it's her birthday month)
3) One or two days studying Viruses..because hello pandemic!
4) The rest of the month is Farming/Gardening - a focus for us to learn more about our new area, and since we live in the farming country, what is grown here etc. We also are planting vegetables again this year and its always fun watching them grow!
If you'd like to see our resources, check below for links and ideas!
Easter resources have been shared on my Facebook Page @Under The Willow Tree! There weren't many, but it was easy to do there!
One Week England Study
The kids wanted to learn about the UK and have tea and scones! How could I say no to that!
London Brainbox Game
Book of Afternoon Tea
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain (Barnes & Noble)
My Busy Books London (Barnes & Noble)
Virus Pandemic Study
The Bacteria Book
Understanding Viruses with Max Axiom
Virus 4D Model
Farming & Gardening Study
We have a lot of nature around us, and that means learning the plants for safety. Knowing there is poisonous things growing with edible things as well is very important. And we are trying our best to get a garden going!
Foraging With Kids
Let's Hatch Chicks
Chicken 4D Model
From Cotton to T-Shirt
Cotton Education Kit
To The Coop!
This is what we have so far. I've been trying to scale back our layout to allow time to do other projects and things too.
Check back later for more fun resources!
A True Interdisciplinary Resource
If you are traveling to the Los Angeles area, don’t miss this out of the ordinary place.
Interdisciplinary learning is rich: When earth science can be learned at the same time native animals and plants can be viewed, a new, rich picture emerges.
You’ll know you are close when you see large iron mammoth sculpture off the 60 in Riverside, CA. Once museums are back up again — post Covid — check out the Jurupa Cultural Center in Riverside. Follow this link for more information. This museum may not have the high-tech, eye-candy buttons that can be seen at the Discovery Cube or the California Science Center in more urban areas, but it’s super hands-on. It’s a genuine experience where children can touch, see, and be at ease in a non-over-produced environment. It lacks many overwhelming sensory aspects that are experienced at other museums.
What California history questions can be answered at Jurupa Cultural Center?
- What types of tools and objects did Native Californians build and use?
- What rocks and minerals can be found in California?
- What can rocks teach us about how the land was formed?
- What types of prehistoric life can be found in California?
- What are some common plants and animals that are found in the Golden State?
This video has an excellent overview of the location.
Earth Science Museum: Minerals, Rocks, and Fossils
The eclectic indoor museum features fluorescent minerals, Indian artifacts, petrified wood, Chinese dinosaur eggs, dinosaur fossils, ivory, and a wonderful collection of rocks and minerals exhibiting nicely-curated specimen from all over the world. If your kids love rocks and minerals, they will love this!
During the week, they host a multitude of field trips; they have an awesome outdoor classroom where kids can have a first hand experience with a variety of rocks. Also, they have a rock yard where visitors can pick out rocks such as lava rocks, agate, and quartz for purchase. Inside the museum, they even have a mammoth tusk! (For an elementary-aged California history curriculum that touches on earth science and mammoths, check out California Out of the Box.)
California Animal Life
Do your kids like personal experiences with reptiles and tortoises? In the Tortoise Barn and Paddock, they have large desert tortoises. Inside animals include a Critter Corner with tarantulas, snakes, lizards and more.
Also, if you like Native and cactus plants, check out the amazing nursery.
Don’t Forget: Save Money for the Gift Shop!
The admission, as well as the parking is free! The folks that run this museum are so smart—this means more money for the GIFT SHOP! They have a good selection of fossils, rocks, and minerals that can be purchased very economically.
When to visit?
Since this museum is located inland in Riverside, visiting in October through May will be most comfortable. It gets super hot in the area June through September. During the week, the main focus of the center is school groups. On Saturdays, catch a tour and see the whole property. Visitors could spend as many as 2 to 4-5 hours visiting the sprawling site. I only spent 2 hours, and I felt rushed.
They have a number of expeditions where kids and families can go on into the local hills and quarries and go rock hounding. Also, they offer a variety of Boy and Girl Scout Badge Programs.
The post An Unusual California History Field Trip: Jurupa Cultural Center in Riverside appeared first on Carrier Shell Curriculum.
Our study of California has covered the eight major habitats of the Golden State.
What exactly is a habitat?
A habitat is physical space where particular plants or animals live; these plants and animals have a relationship with each other and are dependent on each other to survive. Habitats are often influenced by the level of rainfall an area receives.
Why is studying the land and habitats vital to studying history of an area?
#1. Habitats Provide Clues as to Why People Have Settled in a Given Place Over Time
In California, Native peoples often located their villages in areas close to water — where abundant animal and plant resources provided raw materials for food, shelter, and clothing. (See this Wikipedia article for more on California Native peoples.) Many Native Californian villages have been located in bay overlooks such as Monterey and San Francisco. When the Spaniards came, it seems they agreed with the location choice and eventually built fortresses such as presidios on that same land. The types of plants and animals in an area provided the reason for a people’s decision to inhabit an area, and what they needed to survive.
#2. Geographic Features Have Influenced History and Settlement
If you have lived in California for five to ten years, undoubtably you will have experienced an earthquake. These destructive events have been part of the rigorous building codes that have been a part of California’s development, ever since the San Francisco Earthquake in 1906. The fact that California sits on 2 plates – the Pacific and the North American plates – has impacted life in the Golden State for sure. Indeed, California has lost many people because they do not like the feel of the earth moving and/or the earthquake damage itself has proved expensive to repair.
#3. Settlers Have Been Drawn to Areas Because of Resources Such as Gold and Lumber
What is the biggest historical event to happen in California? The Gold Rush, of course! Immigrants came from China, the Eastern US, and other parts of the world that fateful year when snow melt pushed water down the American River along with a gold nugget in January 1848. Natural earth-borne processes allowed for the discovery of this valuable material. After its discovery, California’s population swelled from 93,000 to 380,000 in 1860. Another rich resource is California’s abundant supply of coniferous trees (both in the Sierras as well as coastal conifers); many have come to California for this strong building resource. Habitats and the natural environment are hugely interrelated with California’s history!
Besides Relating to History, California’s Habitats are also — Beautiful!
Carrier Shell Curriculum is based in the Greater LA area. One of our favorite aspects to being in California is the ability to see so many natural environments! We love being 45 minutes away from both the ocean and the mountains. Below are some of our recommendations for our favorite places in California; some of which we have already written articles about. Enjoy the links to consider visiting these awesome places!
|Coastal Redwoods||Vam Damme State Park (Mendocino)|
|Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park (Santa Cruz)|
|Limekiln Redwoods State Park (Big Sur)|
|Sierra Nevada||Yosemite (See Glacier Point!)|
|Mineral King (Sequoia National Park)|
|Desert||Joshua Tree National Park|
|Vazquez Rocks (Los Angeles)|
|Grasslands||Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve|
|San Simeon/Hearst State Park|
|Coast & Islands||Santa Cruz Island National Park|
|Pacific Grove (Monterey)|
|Chaparral||Montana de Oro State Park (Morro Bay)|
|Hahamongna Watershed Park (Pasadena)|
|Oak Woodlands||Pinnacles National Park|
|Santa Monica Mountains Paramount Ranch|
|Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park (Santa Barbara)|
|Marsh & Wetlands||Morro Bay State Park|
There are so many more wonderful places in California to visit. Write us and let us know about your favorites!
A California History Curriculum for Elementary School Students
To learn more about these regions along with the history of California, check out California Out of the Box. It’s a literature approach year-long curriculum geared for grades 3-6. Students will emerge from their studies with a deeper understanding of the history and natural environment of our unique state.