Saturday, February 25, 2017

Quick and Easy Pi Day Fun!

Our family's favorite time of year is approaching, Pi Day!! Last year (and probably this year too), I didn't have a lot of time to devote to Pi Day Celebrations. Sad, I know.

Last year, we had just returned from a week long family vacation at Disney World and were too exhausted to bake a traditional Pi(e) or go grocery shopping (and it fell on a Monday, boo), let alone blog about it in a timely manner.

Here's our quick and easy way that we celebrated Pi Day (March 14, ~3.14):

We made English Muffin Pi-zzas with English muffins cut in half, a tablespoon or so of store marina sauce, topped with mozzarella cheese and 3 pepperonis (because Pi is around 3). I didn't take note of the time, but we baked in the oven, at 350 deg F, until the cheese was melted and slightly browned.

Then we decorated our (boxed) cake we baked the night before in our (affiliate link) Pi mold. It was quick and simple.

And the kids enjoyed it!

As always, we took our annual Pi Day Family Photo in our Pi gear (the kids' paternal grandma makes the kiddos special shirts on her embroidery machine, lucky!!). Last year it was Mud Pi!

Wondering how else to spend the day celebrating Pi? Check out the Pi Day Fun that we've had in years past. My favorite has been the Pi-rate Treasure Hunt! I hope your Pi Day Party goes well!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Book Review: Ada Twist Scientist

Being a woman with a mechanical engineering background, I was really excited that Rosie Revere Engineer took the literary place that I was hoping GoldieBlox promised. Rosie introduced us to Andrea Beaty. We loved the rhythm of the book and the message behind it: it's ok to fail, but you really only fail if you quit. I must have purchased that book for all of J's friends' birthdays for the next year (with much gratitude from their mothers). Fast forward a few years when I got notice (thanks Amazon!) that Andrea Beaty had a new book that I could pre-order, Ada Twist Scientist (affiliate link). Having had a super crazy schedule over the past little while, I forgot about it until it arrived in September. I glanced through the book with excitement, not truly reading it, and placed it on my end table to sit and get covered up. I was going to look at it more "later" and make my final opinion. We cleaned up after Halloween, exposing the book that I shoved aside, and immediately, my 2.5 year old wanted it because it was "Mommy's book." She has yet to put it down. We read it at least two times each night (once by Mommy and once by Daddy), and she's beginning to help with some of the words she has memorized. Here's my official review of Ada Twist Scientist:

Ada Marie Twist is a curious kid who since before the time she could talk wanted to know everything about her world. She asks lots of questions and seems to have loving understanding, patient parents to guide her on her discoveries (and mistakes). She discovers a terrible stench and has two hypotheses which are not true. My husband and 2.5-year old daughter came up with hypothesis three based on the illustrations. If you have read it, what are your opinions on the stink?

Like Rosie Revere, Ada Twist has a great rhythm though it takes a few reads to get it down. If you follow Andrea Beaty's books, you'll notice that the kids she writes about are all in the same class. Like Rosie Revere, Ada Twist is named after historical figures (read the last page to figure it out). Now, we joined the Andrea Beaty book bandwagon at Rosie Revere and still haven't read Iggy Peck Architect (though my dad's degree is in architecture - maybe a Christmas gift idea for the kids to get and read with Grandpa). My 7.5 year old son wants a book about a mathematician next, maybe Isaac Mission Mathematician?

I'm also looking forward to hearing more about Rosie Revere's Big Project Book for Bold Engineers (affiliate link), set to be released in early April, just in time for Miss J's third birthday.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Melting Ice in the Fridge

Saturday night at dinner time had us conversing about our world. Somehow, the conversation was turned to, "What do you think will happen if we put ice in the fridge?" J, without hesitation, hypothesized that it would melt. Why? Because he's just that smart (intuition).

John and J put an ice in a cup and placed it in the fridge over night.

J checked on it during breakfast this morning and found that it wasn't completely melted! He was baffled. We left it in the fridge until lunch time, when it was found completely melted. They put another piece of ice in a cup and left if out between breakfast and lunch. That too was completely melted by lunch time.

Why did the fridge ice take longer to melt?

The temperature in the fridge was above freezing, so the ice would melt. It took a long time since the temperature in the fridge was in the high 30 (deg F) range. The air from the fridge did melt the ice. It was just slightly warmer than the ice itself, so it took a long time.

The temperature of the room (~72 deg F) was much higher than freezing point (32 deg F), so it didn't take as long to melt the ice cube.

Other things you can try with ice:

Melt an ice cube in front of a fan. Have one away from the fan to compare the two. What happened?

Record the temperature of various locations around your house (fridge, freezer, closet, patio, washing machine, etc.) with a thermometer and predict which ice cube will melt the fastest based on the knowledge you learned here. Place an ice cube in various locations and see if you're right!

Related Posts:
     *Melting ice, measuring temperature
     *Melting ice with colors

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Dolly Science

So, after Pi Day, my husband, John, came down with pneumonia for two weeks, we had Miss J's 1st birthday, and immediately after that, John came down with shingles (coincidentally, on the day Miss J was vaccinated against chicken pox and the day J's sixth birthday present of the chicken pox arrived on our doorstep). So needless-to-say, I've been working full time and mommying two (at times, sick) kids, basically on my own for two months. I'll admit that there have been days I've pooped out before 8p.

Background on the lesson:  I was able to save a few of my childhood dolls. Miss J has taken a particular liking to my Cabbage Patch doll, Meggie. She gets so excited any time we pull her out. Besides being a way to get her to stop evening screams, she is learning a lot. She took interest in this doll right around 7 months, and the bond has only grown stronger.

Science lessons learned by playing with a baby doll

  • Anatomy!! Ask about, describe, and point out parts of the doll's body. 
    • Miss J's favorites are the doll's nose, toes, and belly button.
      • Big bro, J, is joining in on the fun and knows that the belly button is where babies were attached to their mommies and how they received food while inside their mommies.
      • J likes to help her identify body parts and will even sing songs (ie. Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes, the Hokie Pokie, etc.) with her and the baby doll.
  • Have them teach: Babies like to show you what they have learned. Ask him/her to point to the body part on the baby doll, him/herself, and you.
  • Relationships and conclusions: Deciding what do do once you know a result is important. Ask your baby what to do if the baby doll is cold/tired/hungry/grumpy/happy/excited. How would the baby express if she is tired, happy, grumpy, etc.?
    • Miss J loves to cover her baby with a blankie, giving hugs, tickling the baby, cheering with baby, clapping the baby's hands, giving the baby a binkie, etc.
  • Order and direction: Science is full of order: you do this, then this, and then that (ie. put on bib, eat food, and clean up). 
    • In science, skipping steps can lead to bigger problems. Equate it to bathing your kid and then giving them that big giant bowl of chocolate pudding. Some things you just don't do out of order.
    • Show order while playing with the baby doll. See if your baby catches you doing something out of order or not what is expected. 
      • Do something silly like put the baby doll's shoes on before her socks. 
      • Of course, discuss it with your child! Communication is key in science.
  • Practice: Retention (remembering how to do something) is important in science, so practice skills!
    • Miss J loves putting bibs on Meggie and then pretend spoon feeding her.

Just in case anyone was wondering, Big bro, J, also played with a doll at an early age (no gender bias here):

What science lessons can you learn by having simple childhood toys around?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ultimate Pi Day Party! 3-14-15 9:26:53

Last week, we celebrated the Ultimate Pi Day (3.141592653...) with a Pi Party in the park. We had 20-30 people attend and had so much fun! Here's our Pi(e) spread complete with many homemade and store bought pies.

One of our nerdy attendees made this sign by the pie. Do you get it? Also, our local grocery store got in on the Pi Day fun...notice the price of the mini pie?

We lined the other tables with butcher paper and traced circles for Pi Day Posters and Investigating Pi. One of the attendees decided to reverse my investigating pi lesson to measuring the circumference with a string and seeing how many times she could measure the diameter from the circumference string (a little more than 3). The kids were more excited about the Pi-rate Treasure Hunt! Who can blame them?

Pi-rate booty!

Pi-rate Treasure Hunt:

I printed out an aerial Google Map of the park with clue #1 marked. The park where we had the event had a walking path, so I stuck the clues in obvious places along the path for the problems. Hints were more hidden, so the participants had to actively look for those if they needed the help. The kids had to answer 5 questions (preferably from the same set of questions) to get a prize from the treasure chest.

I had three levels of math problems for the kids to find and solve. I cut and pasted the problems onto colorful 3x5 cards:

Easy (green): Preschool
Medium (orange): k-2 grade
Hard (pink) = 3 grade+

Then I had some problems for adults (yellow) who might have accompanied their kids around. Those were more high school math, up to pre-algebra.

Here are the problems I came up with (note, my goal was to not make anyone cry).

Easy Pi-rate treasure hunt problems
Medium Pi-rate treasure hunt problems
Hard Pi-rate treasure hunt problems
Pi-rate treasure hunt problems for the adults

How did you fare on the Pi-rate Treasure Hunt questions?

How did you celebrate the Ultimate Pi Day??

Just for fun, here's our annual Pi Day Family Photo:

And one of the kids and me:

Previous years' Pi Day Photos.