Archive for Science and Nature

Bugs in the Stereo

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We made these guys from another of our taking-things-apart sessions…

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…this time, a mini stereo which my Dad, who’s the handiest person I know, just couldn’t fix.

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We thought that the speaker cases might be able to become bird boxes – so that might be another post…

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We ended up with these guys – it was as if they’d been hiding in the stereo all that time…

It’s made me wonder what’s hiding in other electrical appliances around the house…….hmmm….

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Ice garden

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This is a very fun thing to do with a collection of flowers and/or stones from a walk or from the garden…

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Arrange them in a tupperware tub,

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fill with water and freeze overnight. Then sit the tubs for a few seconds in a larger bowl or the sink with a couple of inches of warm water, to release the ice block.

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So beautiful! We kept it in the freezer for ages…

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Sam decided it made a perfect home for these critters…

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Birtley House Sculpture Exhibition

We visited Birtley House in Surrey to see a sculpture exhibition which they were hosting. Sam’s favourite was this kingfisher.

And I liked these mushrooms…

…and this cone.

We got some ideas for things we want to make ourselves, and have decided to turn our own garden into a sculpture garden. I reckon there is so much we can do with recycling – watch this space…

And I really want to work out how we can make one of these for Sam,

and one of these for me!

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More Stuff to take apart!

Today we got some more stuff to dismantle – a toaster, a computer keyboard and an old toy tank with remote control. I had thought that we’d do one today and save the others for other rainy days, but Sam was so into it, we spent all afternoon working through one after the other…

We have started saving the electrical bits, for example, we got three working motors out of the tank, and an on/off switch from the remote control. And we save any bits that could be recycled into little critters or anything else for that matter.

For example this rubber mat type thing came out of the keyboard…

…Sam’s idea was to cut it into a bath mat for his animals!

And this is the circuit board for the keyboard. I thought it was quite beautiful, I’ve stuck it up in the window! It makes me think of an Underground map for some futuristic city maybe, or a monochrome stained glass in a space cathedral…

And I’m planning some mosaic (watch this space), so these keys will come in nicely…

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Volcanoes

A couple of months ago Sam got really into volcanoes. We visited the permanent volcano exhibition at the British Museum, and started reading lots about them, finding out about the different types, and looking them up on Google Earth (we found Etna in Sicily, and Kilauea in the Hawaiian Islands, among others). These are some of Sam’s pictures:

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Freezing Fire

Sam had the idea that he wanted to freeze fire. So this is what we came up with…

We made some cut out flames from thin card and pushed them onto cocktail sticks. We pushed the cocktail sticks into a piece of polystyrene that Sam wanted to include in the experiment. We sat that in a big pot of water, with some food coloring in it for effect. But of course it floated, and we wanted the flames and the polystyrene under the water…

…so we turned it upside down (the flames were now in the water), and put the pot lid on upside down, so that the handle held everything under the water. Then we put the whole thing in the freezer.

Next day we had this.

It was fascinating – some really beautiful patterns had formed in the ice.

We put the whole thing in warm water to loosen it out of the pot.

It looked like a big birthday cake! It was frozen onto the handle which now became a stand.

And here is the frozen fire!

And some details of the ice.

It really was worth taking the time to look at the details in the ice and the patterns which had formed.

Now we started t melt the ice on top

It was in essence a very simple experiment but it really was fascinating to watch how the ice behaved. We really did feel like in our own way we had frozen fire!

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Junk drink!

Mixing potions is a great activity for a rainy day… or any day come to that!

Sam decided to design a drink.

When it was ready he looked at it and pronounced “Yuk!” Maybe it needs some more work…

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