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Thursday, February 15, 2018

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Optical Illusion & Science Book

Hands-on optical illusions! We are loving them because my favorite new publishing company released a children's book this year introducing the woman who developed a laser to treat eye cataracts! More on that in a moment!


Patricia Bath is an amazing role model in so many ways! She is an African-American woman who overcame all kinds of challenges to become an opthalmologist who patented record-breaking technology to treat cataracts and eye cancer! The Doctor With an Eye for Eyes introduces her story to children with friendly pictures and catchy rhymes. (Amazon affiliate link below:)


To celebrate our new obsession with everything related to eyes, I'm excited to welcome Eva from KidMinds.org to share a fun, hands-on optical illusion you can do with your kids or students! And, as a bonus, it includes math too!

Here's Eva:

You know it when you see it.

A science activity for your little kids that is just right. It’s simple but engaging. It requires minimum preparation. It involves no mess. It teaches something valuable. It offers quality time together. In other words, it’s perfect.

I have one of those for you today. Using only a ruler, pipe cleaners, and scissors, your kids will create their own optical illusion that they can use to trick their siblings and grandparents.

Start by using a marker to draw two equal lines on a piece of paper, one under the other. Add outward-pointing arrows to one line and inward-facing arrows to the next one, like this:


Ask, are the lines the same length?

Chances are that your child will state that the inward pointing line is longer, even though he/she probably watched you draw two equal lines!

Next, draw two vertical lines to demonstrate your point.


Let your kids know that optical illusions are deceptive for a reason. Let’s talk about that reason! (You also can save the explanation for after you have made your optical illusion with pipe cleaners.)

Why your eyes play tricks on you

Our eyes see millions of things each day. To process so much incoming information, our brains create shortcuts. It makes gathering information easier and quicker. But sometimes we get things wrong. What we see can be at odds with the actual reality. Scientists have discovered that it has less to do with our eyes and more to do with how the brain works.

Illusions help scientists better understand how visual processing works and how to make our lives safer. Here is an example we like: Chicago, where we live, is located along Lake Michigan. A long highway, Lake Shore Drive, runs along the lake from one side of town to the other. Visual illusions are used on Lake Shore Drive so there will be fewer accidents. It’s done by painting road stripes closer together on the sharpest part of a dangerous curve. This trick creates an illusion of speeding up so that drivers slow down and, hopefully, pass the curve without flying into the lake.

Food for thought

Do you think it might be cool to be a scientist whose job it is to study optical illusions and how they can help people live better lives?

Follow along to create your own optical illusion!

Make an optical illusion!


What you need
     2 pipe cleaners (different colors would be better)
     Scissors
     Ruler


Instructions

1.    Cut a pipe cleaner in half and measure the two pieces to make sure they are of equal length.


2.    Cut the other pipe cleaner in four equal pieces.  You can measure these shorter pieces for fun, but it’s not necessary since the longer pieces we made in the above step are the focus of this experiment. 


3.    Take one of the shorter pieces. Bend it in half and wrap the end of a longer piece around the middle of it. Do the same thing with the other side and bend the short pipe-cleaner ends down so that they look like an arrow.


4.    Repeat step 3, but bend the short pipe-cleaner ends up so they look like a letter V pointing inward.

5.    Place the finished pieces one under the other. What do you think about the red lines now? Are they the same or a different length? You can use a ruler to measure the red lines. Or simply put one line on top of another to see that they are actually equal in length.


6.    Now it’s time to test your illusion on family members!

Words to use

Optical illusion, visual processing, vertical lines, inches (or centimeters), measurement

In conclusion

At times, what our eyes see and the actual properties of objects do not match. When that happens, we call it a visual or optical illusion. Today we made our own visual illusion. Even though the red lines are the same length, they appear different due to the effects of the arrows. Do you know any other optical illusions?   



Thank you so much, Eva! I especially love how the kids can pick up their optical illusion, carry it around, and show it to people! Eva also wrote an activity about dilating pupils here and you can see more of her science lessons here!

I also have TONS of science activities and another DIY optical illusion here! And you will love my STEM Project of the Week Curriculum!




Eva is a homeschooling mom of four living in Chicago.  She blogs about mindful parenting and creative learning at Kid Minds (www.KidMinds.org)


Happy Educating,
Carla


I may share at any of these parties!




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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

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EASY Valentine Treat -- 4 ingredients!

Not only are these Valentine treats gorgeous, but they are soooo easy to make! Your kids can do almost every step, or you can whip them up for a quick party! (Actually, you can make them any time of the year, but since today is Valentine's Day...)  :)


Normally I only share sugar-free or low-sugar recipes, but I understand a lot of you don't have the same issues with sugar that I do...and this is such a beautiful, easy treat to make--even last minute!



Here are the 4 ingredients:

2 cups white candy melts
8 OREO cookies
1/2 cup pretzels
1/4 cup M&Ms

And here is the EASY How-To:

1- Crush the pretzels and OREOs into 1-inch bite-size pieces  This is super fun for toddlers and preschoolers to do...just put the pretzels in zip-lock baggie and let them smash it with the bottom of a cup. Repeat it with the OREOs.

2- Arrange the pretzels evenly in the bottom of an 8 inch casserole dish.


3- Add the OREOs.


4- Place the candy melts in a mirowave-safe bowl and heat them in 25-second increments, stirring well between each heating. Once they are completely smooth and melted, pour evenly over the pretzels and oreas, and smooth it with an offset sepatula.

5- Sprinkle on M&M's!


6- Cover the pan loosely and let the pretzel "bark" set up on the counter. If you refrigerate it, the candy melts will "sweat." Once it's completely set, break it into small squares! 



Ta da!! Amazing delicious treats!



AND, if you're looking for more Valentine ideas, (like this Valentine STEM activity or this Valentine science expriment) be sure to check out my Valentine theme!


Happy Educating,
Carla


I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Friday, February 9, 2018

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Shark Valentine {FREE} Printable!

This Shark Valentine Printable is free to download and print, and it's loads of fun for all ages!



Shark Valentine Free Printable


All our kids love sharks, and I happened to have a bag of fossilized shark teeth to pass out with them! You can get fossilized shark teeth too (Amazon affiliate link below), or just share the cards! They have fun shark teeth facts and a tiger shark drawing! They are also perfect if you need a sugar-free or no candy Valentine idea!



They are perfect for shark and ocean lovers, or if you just need a "boy valentine" (though they were very popular with both boys and girls at our party)!



And if you're looking for more Valentine ideas, click here! I have science, STEM, art, literacy, math, and more!


Happy Educating,
Carla


I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Shell Valentine {FREE} Printable!

This Shell Valentine Printable is free to download and print, and everyone loves shells!



Shell Valentine Free Printable


All our kids love shells--they love finding them on the beach, counting them, looking for patterns and colors, and... sharing them with friends! I included a super fun shell fact on the valentine too! You can give a shell valentine with a shell, or just print the cards out! If you don't live near a beach, you can get sets of shells at a dollar store or on Amazon (Amazon affiliate link below)!




They are perfect for shell and ocean lovers, or if you just need a no-sugar or no-candy valentine!


And if you're looking for more Valentine ideas, click here! I have science, STEM, art, literacy, math, and more!



Happy Educating,
Carla


I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Color Valentine {FREE} Printable!

This Color-Me Valentine Printable is free to download and print, and it's loads of fun for all ages!



Color Valentine Free Printable


Coloring is a favorite preschool and toddler activity, so my preschooler shared these valentines with all our friends at our party today. We included two markers, but you could also include a set of crayons, colored pencils, or any other coloring tool--I bet even older kids would love it with a gel pen! As an extra happy bonus, there was no candy or sugar involved in these valentines!


I especially like the coloring-book style heart balloons! We put our markers in zip lock baggies with the card, but you could just as easily stick the markers to the card with a little scotch tape!



And if you're looking for more Valentine ideas, click here! I have science, STEM, art, literacy, math, and more!



Happy Educating,
Carla


I may share at any of these parties!



Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!



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Magnet Valentines {FREE} Printable!

This Magnet Valentine Printable is free to download and print, and it's loads of fun for all ages!



Magnet Valentine Free Printable


Magnets are one of our favorite science tools! You can put them in a sensory or science bin, make patterns on metal doors or cookie sheets, or just share the cards! I used a set of button magnets (Amazon affiliate link below) and hot glued them to big buttons to make them a little Valentine gift to go in our friends' bags!


DISCLOSURE: Magnets are dangerous for children who put things in their mouth! Do not give young children magnets!

You can use the valentine cards without the actual magnets if you are sharing with young children.


They are perfect for magnet lovers and loads of fun if you want a sugar-free or no candy Valentine idea!



And if you're looking for more Valentine ideas, click here! I have science, STEM, art, literacy, math, and more!



Happy Educating,
Carla


I may share at any of these parties!



Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!



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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

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Pink Glitter Valentine Slime

Okay, let's be honest...you can make this slime any time of the year, but it would be perfect for a Valentine party...and it only has 3 ingredients!!


We love slime! Themed slime is loads of fun--you can see more of our slime recipes here (both with borax, without borax, and even some edible)!

And every age loves to play with it!!

For this lovely Valentine Pink Glitter Slime, you ONLY need 3 ingredients:

* 1 6-ounce bottle of pink glitter glue
* 1-1/2 Tablespoons contact solution
* 1/2 Tablespoon baking soda


First combine the glue and baking soda until they are completely mixed:



Next add the contact solution and stir until it is not sticky any more.


Finally, knead for about 2 minutes until you have the perfect slimy consistency!


Make it for a Valentine party or share it with your kids' friends! 


The science behind it:

Why does this slime have such an awesome texture? The science is actually pretty simple, and you can adjust how you explain it based on your kiddos' ages. The borate ions in the contact solution create cross-linking between molecules in the glue. You end up with fantastic long polymers that slide past each other, stick, and interact in fun ways! For a more detailed explanation of how the chemisty works, check out this post

DISCLAIMER:

Please supervise your children carefully and/or make the slime for them. Neither this slime nor any of the ingredients are considered edible! If your kiddos are prone to putting things in their mouths, you may want to wait a year or two before you make this slime with them!


For more science activities, check out this HUGE collection!!



Happy Educating,
Carla


I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Monday, February 5, 2018

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Icy Preschool Valentine Science

This preschool Valentine science project is a variation on one of our favorite science experiments, and it is super easy, requires virtually no preparation, is excellent fine motor exercise, and is gorgeously fun!


I also really loved that it was something our preschooler and toddler could enjoy together...it reaches both of them right on their developmental level!

I also have lots of Valentine science and other learning activities in our Preschool Valentine Theme here!!

Preschool Valentine Science:


Supplies:


* ice cubes
* food coloring or liquid watercolors (pink, purple, and blue look very Valentine-y!)
* optional: pipettes (if you're using liquid watercolors)
* salt in a salt shaker

Easy How To:

1- Arrange your ice cubes like a heart! (Yep, that's fancy Valentine planning from me!)  :)


I like to do melting activities in pyrex because it is super easy to clean and the kids can easily see what is happening in the experiment.

2- Give your kiddos the supplies and let them get to work melting the icy heart! You can discuss how the ice lowers the freezing point of water (so it melts faster) and the food coloring lets you see the melted tunnels and pathways through the ice as it melts!





Look at that fine motor squeezing action!



The kids asked for spoons to stir everything together...







3- When you're done, simply wash all your colored icy water down the sink and throw away the pipettes.


We're doing this project to go with the Virtual Book Club's Valentine theme this month! For all the live excitement, visit the Weekly Virtual Book Club Facebook Page! Check out our featured book (Amazon affiliate image below), and the activities from our VBC's co-hosts below!




This book is adorable! I play similar "games" with my kids, so I especially love seeing it in a cute little board book!

Here are more preschool Valentine activities from our co-hosts:

DIY Valentine Printable - Mama Smiles
Chocolate Box Math- Teach Beside Me
Icy Preschool Valentine Science - Preschool Powol Packets (You are here!!)
Easy Frozen Heart Science- Toddler Approved
Guess How Much I Love You Movement Game - Inspiration Laboratories
Valentine's Day Secret Message Scavenger Hunt - School Time Snippets
Hearts and Squares Collage Art - My Storytime Corner


And if you're looking for more science Valentine activities, this Valentine STEM Challenge is always super popular!


And, here is our collection of Valentine themed learning activities! It could keep you busy for a whole week!!




Happy Educating,
Carla


I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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