Sunday, September 29, 2013

School Time 9/26 - Rocks & Experiments

Today was a yes for school time. I got Becca situated in her chair and she was couching a little bit to start. I told her no worries, today we're just going to learn about rocks and dirt and soil, no tests or anything.

First I asked Becca and her sister if they knew where rocks came from. Neither one would say yes. I talked about mountains and how in the rain and earthquakes and things the mountains start to break of really big pieces of rock, and those break smaller and smaller until they become rocks like I'd gathered from the yard onto a plate. I held it up and Becca looked at it. I took a rock out and put it in her hand so she could feel it. I talked a little about how some rocks are hard and some are smooth, usually because they got rolled around in the water until all the hard parts got chipped offed. We felt both a hard rock and a soft rock.

Then I got another paper plate with small rocks on it and talked about how those came from bigger rocks that broke into smaller pieces, and we felt those rocks as well. Becca looked attentively down at the plates both times. Then I got a plate with dirt on it and talked about how dirt is really just really small, teeny tiny rocks that had been broken up. I put a little bit of dirt in my hand and held it up to Becca's sister and asked what it looked like. She said, "rocks". Then I held some up and Becca looked intently at it as well. I asked if she wanted to feel it, and when she said yes I helped her feel it.

After that I talked about how when dirt mixes with dead plants and animals and pieces of wood and animal poop then it looks a little different, and I held up some soil from our garden on another plate. We looked at how it was different than the dirt, and had tiny pieces of wood in it too. Then I got a plate with grass clippings on it and talked about how grass and other plants grow in soil, because all of those things mixed together make "vitamins" for the plants that make them healthy so they can grow. I helped Becca feel the grass as well.

Then I held up the soil plate and the small rocks plate and asked Becca which she thought would be better for growing plants. She looked back and forth at the two plates a lot of times, but wouldn't pick one. She looked noticeably more at the soil plate, but she wouldn't look back up at me after looking at it, like her cue is normally.  After a little while she looked like she picked the soil one, and when I asked to confirm she wouldn't say yes. I asked if she was choosing the other one, then, and she wouldn't say yes. I said, "you need to pick one, are you trying to trick me?" and she laughed and looked at me. Then when I asked about the rocks one again she didn't say yes, but when I asked about the soil one she said yes. I said that's right and we talked again about the "vitamins" in soil that would help it grow, and how rocks aren't good for plants to grow in.

Next I asked Becca's sister a question, I can't remember which. After that I held up the grass and the dirt, and asked Becca which came from the mountain rocks. Which one did the big mountain rocks become after they fell down and broke apart, the dirt or the grass? She looked at both again but then looked away. I realized she was staring at the plate of small rocks to the side. I said yes, mountain rocks do become those size of rocks eventually. I moved them away and asked about the dirt and grass again. She wouldn't pick, so I started asking one, then the other. She still wouldn't confirm. I reminded her it wasn't a big deal, and she could pick one if she wanted. Eventually I started pausing longer after asking, and she said yes when I asked her about the dirt. I said yes, the dirt was just little tiny rocks after all.

After this I proposed we do some experiments and see what happens when we mix things with water. I had a clear plastic container. First I put in some rocks and asked Becca and her sister if they thought the rocks would change when we added water. Becca's sister said she thought they wouldn't change. I asked Becca if she thought they would change, and she didn't say yes. I asked if she thought they would stay the same and she didn't say yes. I said, it's got to be one or the other, silly girl! The next time she said yes, she thought they would stay the same. We poured water on them and, sure enough, they stayed the same.

Next we did the same with dirt. This time Becca answered first, and she said yes she thought the dirt would change, first time. Becca's sister thought the same. We poured water on, and it turned to mud! That was definitely a change. We felt the mud and Becca got a big smile, I think partly because I forgot to get a towel so I just had to hold her hand while Paula got a towel for us.

After that we did grass. Becca's sister thought the grass would change. Becca had a coughing fit in the middle of me asking, but after her cough was over she said yes to the grass staying the same. Sure enough, the grass stayed the same. We did flour next. Becca picked first and thought it would change. Becca's sister thought it would change too. It did, and we felt the paste that it made, and Becca smiled again at that. Next we did oil. Becca thought it would not change and her sister thought it would change. We poured water in and looked at it (Becca would look attentively at the container after each time I poured water in and mixed it around) and noticed bubbles in the water where the oil was coming through. I said that's because the oil and water don't mix together, the oil doesn't change when you add water. Last we did some juice. Becca's sister and then Becca both thought the water would mix with the juice, not stay separate like the oil. Sure enough, that's what happened. I told them that oil is one of the few things that doesn't mix with water, but other things like milk and chocolate syrup and juice and soda pop all mix with water. I talked a little bit about what an experiment was, trying something new to see what would happen, and how even things like trying new food can be an experiment. Then we called it good.

I asked Becca if she had fun with the activity and she wouldn't say yes. I said I thought she was tricking me again because she was smiling when we were feeling all the goopy things mixed with water. I asked her again and this time she said a definite yes, that she had fun with school time today.

Side note: I was really surprised that Becca got all the experiments "right". With something like experiments I didn't feel like there was pressure to pick a "right" answer, we were just guessing and then discovering, so I was less worried about me introducing my own bias because it didn't matter to me which answer she picked, I was kind of hoping she wouldn't get so many right actually.

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