Thursday, June 19, 2014

Virtual Summer Science Camp Week 2: Bristle Bots

This is a project I would have never thought of on my own, so I am so grateful to have found the Virtual Summer Science Camp on YouTube.

Bristle bots are and easy and frugal way to introduce electronics to your kids.  The kids and I watched several YouTubes on how to make one, and I looked up a few online and on Instructables.

My plan was to stop by the dollar store to get the toothbrushes and then go to Radio Shack to pick up the vibrating motors, but while at the dollar store we spotted electric toothbrushes that had vibrating motors in them.  So we ended up getting those, paying $1 for the toothbrush, motor, and AA battery.  Not bad!

Here is what you need for the Bristle Bots:

  • Vibrating Motor
  • Toothbrush Head (we needed 2 per bot)
  • Double Stick Tape
  • Electrical Tape
  • Wires (we used 12 gauge)
  • Battery

Here is how we put the Bristle Bots together:

You can make tracks for them.  My kids ended up using them to paint with and that was a fun activity.  This is a great introduction to electronics and circuits!  Fun for the littles and the big kids too!


Monday, June 9, 2014

Virtual Summer Science Camp Week 1: Soda Bottle Rocket Launcher

This week the kids and I participated in a Virtual STEAM Summer Science Camp on my YouTube channel.  This week's project theme was rockets, so we did a little research and came up with a project we wanted to do and share.

First, we decorated our empty soda bottle to look like a rocket.  I made a template for a fin and the kids cut some out of cardboard and taped them onto the bottle.  Next, I made a cone shape out of some cardstock and that got taped to the top of our rocket.

They then started to spray paint their rocket and added some more paint detail with acrylic paint.

Now for the launcher!  I just Googled how to make a launcher and found a design online.  Here is a link to the PDF: How to Make a Soda Bottle Rocket Launcher

I went with this design because it seemed easy enough to make and gather supplies for.  I got all the PVC, connectors, and PVC cement at the hardware store for about $12, and the tire valve stem at the auto parts store was $4 for two of them.  My son cut all the PVC himself and was able to follow the directions on his own to cement all the connectors on.  We used a 3/8" drill bit to drill a hole for the valve stem and ended up having to add some plumbers tape on the male adapter that the soda bottle fits onto just to make sure there were no leaks and that we had a good tight seal.

Voila!! All done and ready to launch!!  Check out our launch below!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Homeschooling Year Round

When I first started homeschooling I never even thought of schooling year round.  I just wanted our schooling to be so much like traditional school that it really never occurred to me to do anything different.

Well, just finishing up our fourth year now and the main reason why I wanted to start schooling year round is that we are home anyway and we do all our learning at home it just feels weird to be home and not learning.

We have taken these last couple of weeks completely off of school and I plan on schooling "light" for the rest of the Summer.  I also want to get some of next year's schoolwork done before baby #4 get here, and she is due one day before the start of our traditional school year calendar.  I want to be prepared for taking some extra time off with the whole family in welcoming our newest addition.

Since we homeschool through a local Charter school we do have certain requirements to adhere to throughout the traditional school year, so  when we are in the Summer mode we get some freedom from all that and just get to do whatever we feel like doing!

This Summer we are participating in a Virtual Summer Science Camp on my YouTube channel, so I look forward to sharing our science experiments with you and hope that you can participate along with us!  Our first experiment will be a soda bottle rocket and launcher.  We will be studying the power of air pressure!  I am heading out to the hardware store today (wish me luck) and I should have the video and post up by the end of this week.

I have already shared what our Weekly Charlotte Mason Schedule looks like and for the Summer I will stick with that same subject schedule, but just not as intense with all the books we will be using throughout the week.  For instance, in History, we usually read 3-4 books per week on that subject and for the Summer I will pare it down to just one or two.

I also hope to do more Nature Studies this Summer since all of our classes are on break, we will have more time for Fun School!  I would love to hear what everyone else does for their Summer Break!