Tuesday, March 20, 2012

February Surprises

 This is what February in Dallas looks like.  At least for one week during 75 degree days.   The tulips were planted in December anticipating a beautiful show in April.  Alas, it is now March 18 and only stems remain.  They were beautiful while they bloomed, even if it wasn't on my schedule.  But, that is what gardening reminds us.  We are not in control.  G-d through nature continuously brings unplanned and unexpected surprises.

After the beautiful,  sunny days, came the rains.  And I had a few surprises for the students.  We donned rain ponchos, grabbed our hand lenses and went exploring.

Some of the leaves collected water drops.  This cabbage leaf looks like a swimming pool for a lady bug.

When the rain stopped, we found a big puddle in the parking lot.  I challenged the children to "think like a scientist" and make observations about the puddle.  Several children noticed that the surface of the water acted like a mirror.  They commented that they could see the trees and the building in the water.  One child noticed that the water was moving.  I asked her what was making the water move.  She watched for a moment and then answered, "the wind".

Finally, some noticed that leaves were floating on the surface.  I asked them if they could create an experiment using the puddle.  They gathered items found on the ground and conducted a sink and float experiment.  At one point a pansy was floating.  The wind caught it and moved it forward.  One child picked it up, then placed it back on the water.  But, it was turned upside down.  The children noticed that instead of floating, it partially sank.  After a period of discussion, they decided that it sank because it had water on top of the petals.  And water made it too heavy to float.

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