Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tiny Stomps Can Make Such Big Splashes!

Preschool science for curious little minds...

I've often been asked for science activities and resources for preschool kids. Finally, I've decided to pool some of our favorite activities and resources together for parents of preschool and kindergarten age kids.

Me and Kat at the Science Center!
Photo Credit: David Venezia

Kat and I first began our adventures in learning together when she was 3 years old. This gave me a wonderful opportunity to really show her the many things that I love about the world. What I didn't expect was that I too, would begin to learn more than I ever thought possible, and that this would brighten my life in so many ways!

The wonderful thing about young kids is that everything is new and exciting! Kids want to know more about the world and are excited to be active participants in it. They want to stick their feet in mud puddles and squish their toes around in it. They want to pick up the ladybug crawling on the ground and take a closer look. Kids are natural explorers and they do a great job of finding things to be interested in (even if it's something they're not supposed to be getting into!). The wonderful thing about this is that every time you go outside, you're presented with a wonderful opportunity to teach your kids about the world and how to care for it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Look Inside The Crystal Shard

Kat and I have been spending quite a lot of time outside lately, examining and collecting rocks. We're captivated by the glittering greens, deep reds, and dramatic blacks that we see all around us. The type of rock that has most captivated Kat however, is the sparkling white of the Quartz Crystal. When she was 4 years old, she would go on collecting expeditions with her friends, amassing large piles of the white rocks. As she's grown older, she's used them to create land art, or line her garden. It came as no surprise to me that when we were contemplating our next week of geology study, that Kat suggested we study crystals.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Baking With Geology!

A couple of weeks ago, Kat and I began our big geology project. We learned a lot about the geological history of Arizona and even took our lessons to the field! While examining the outcrops around us, we talked a lot about the layers of the Earth and plate tectonics. We talked about how layers of the crust may have been thrust upwards as plates moved into each other (uplift) and how some layers would sink under others as they moved lower to the mantle (subduction). However, as I was explaining these concepts to my daughter, I realized that she would have a much easier time understanding it if she could see these geological processes at work. So, we spent an entire week in the kitchen cooking up concepts for understanding geology!

The Earth's crust is divided into four major layers: the crust, the mantle, the outer core, and the inner core. The Crust is approximately 5-30 miles thick, being the thinnest at the oceanic layer (up to 5 miles thick) and the thickest at the continental layer (up to 30 miles thick). The crust contains all of the dirt, sand, pebbles, rock, and bedrock that we typically think of when we consider the Earth's crust.