Tag Archives: science experiments

Stalactites and Stalagmites

Funny how I’m learning as much as the boys are in so many subjects!

Hey, I’m not proud of the fact that I didn’t pay attention to… well, anything when I was in school. I was a daydreamer and I spent a good part of my day off in la-la-land! I liked it there. I still do.

But… in an effort to make school more fun for my boys, I am getting very interested in it this go around. 

NEVER would I have believed that I’d EVER like school if you’d have asked me thirty years ago.


Well, anyway, after two or three failed experiments so far this year, I am happy to say that our study and experiment on stalactites and stalagmites worked. It was a very cool thing to see.

We put about a cup epsom salt into some warm water in a jar and stirred it up until the salt was all dissolved. We dropped in a little blue food coloring too. Then with a washer tied to each end of a cotton string (I used an old t-shirt) we put those in the blue, salt water and set the jars apart just enough that the string was about an inch or two from the counter. (BTW, we put it on a cookie sheet with some paper towels just in case it got real messy.)

In about three days we had a good start to our stalactites and stalagmites.

I just happened to come in and check them one morning when the sun was shinning right into one of the jars. Made the stalagmite part look like it glows!

If we’d have made it green it might have look like kryptonite!

After about 4 days it connected.

Here is a pic of it after a week.

It was tunneling off to the sides!

We just threw it out today. Got other experiments waiting in the wings! This was a very cool one though. We liked it.




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What to Do With Rancid Crisco

Why, use it in a science experiment, of course.

That wouldn’t have been my first thought if I’d found it before this… but… no sense in wasting it.

Experiment it is!

Not the best smelling science experiment we’ve ever done, I tell you, but it did the trick. Plus, I didn’t feel so bad about throwing out that poor (nasty) ole’Crisco (that had been forgotten and pushed to the back of the cupboard), if I could get some use out of it.

After a couple of the big boys science experiments didn’t pan out 😦 , we tried one from Harrison’s book that was to illustrate how seals can survive in the very cold ocean waters.


Yes… we all have it. Some of us more than others. But FAT is what they need to keep warm.

We put Harrison’s hands in rubber gloves (and mine), then completely covered one of his hands in a thick layer of (rancid) Crisco. The rancid part is optional.

It really did smell bad. LOL!

Then the Crisco hand was put into a grocery bag (to keep the nasty smelling grease from getting on my pan or counter).

 Both of his hands were immersed into ice-cold water – with lots and lots of ice cubes – that had set for about 10 minutes.

The hand without the Crisco only lasted about 30 or 40 seconds before he had to take it out.

He said it was so cold it hurt!

After several minutes, I had to tell him it was time to clean up and remove his Crisco covered hand. And get this… it was WARM when we pulled off the glove & Crisco (right into the grocery bag – making for easy clean-up of that vile smelling stuff). His hand didn’t get cold at all. And the other one, that had been out of the cold for some minutes now, was still VERY cold!

So, the conclusion is… FAT is good!


Well… on a seal anyway.




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What an Awsome School Year!

Yes, I know. It’s only been five days, but if those five days are any indication of how the rest of the year will go… we’re going to have a great year! The boys were very cooperative and (for the most part) didn’t fuss about “having” to go back to school “already”. They all matured a great deal over the summer. They also seemed to grow right before my eyes in this warm, humid summer! Thankfully, I didn’t have to run out and buy all new school clothes for them – since they are in jammies for most of the school day. 

 We are doing a new Science program this year. It’s Apologia General Science and in a CD-ROM form. It’s been a great experience so far. (Actually, we have done some Apologia science studies before. Ones for younger kids. They were good too!) I know that it is way above Harrison’s head, but he is enjoying the experiments, and will glean some of the info, so that reviewing it in the future will be quite simple for him. All four of us are anxious for Science class every day!

I am still getting our system/rhythm down. We decided to split up History and Science into different days, since doing both is hard to get in everyday. I realize that it takes a week or two to find the groove – but really – it did go well for a first week. I am mostly nervous about Guy getting everything that he needs. I will soon settle down about it – but having a highschool student is really kind’a scary for me.

Here are some photos of our science this week.

Experiment 1.1 Learning about Atoms and density. This was very cool!

The boys each have a science journal to illustrate and document our experiments.

Experiment 1.2 Atoms in Motion

How atoms move more rapidly in hot water than in cold.

Very interesting!

Experiment 1.3 Chemical Reactions

Adding the baking soda to the vinegar mixture.

Harrison’s face says it all!

Now they’re coming up with all sorts of ways to use this new little tidbit of information! 🙂

Cheers to a great fist week of a new school year!








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