Saturday, March 7, 2009

Q: "Why Is There Air?"

A: "To blow up basketballs."
(Thanks Bill Cosby)

Seriously, though, why is there air? How come we can feel it but cannot see it? Such great questions to hear a four year old ask. The questions also are great examples of why I enjoy working within an emergent curriculum (and working with inquisitive children in general). The best way to answer this question? Science experiments!

Using a decades-old children's book, "Air Is All Around You," we learned that, yes, air is EVERYWHERE*. Even in things that look empty, like cups, bird cages, and boxes.
*Air is not in certain food packaging, for freshness-- the book used the example of a tin of anchovies.

We then performed an experiment using a tank of water, a cup, and a paper towel. We wadded up the towel and putting it in the bottom of the cup, and then turned the cup upside down and plunged it slowly straight down into the tank of water. The air became trapped between the top of the cup and the paper towel, keeping the towel dry, despite appearing to be surrounded and presumably soaked by the water. We took the cup out and passed the towel around-- to see that it is in fact dry.

We did this one more time, this time tilting the cup slightly and slowly while submerged, and what do you think BLOOPED right out of the cup? Air bubbles! The children could see the air leaving the cup, and the water entering the cup, and were able to realize that now, the towel was going to be very wet.

Later, we conducted another experiment. We talked about how you can take air and pull it into your body (lungs), hold it in there, and then blow it out! The photos below show the children using straws to try blowing on a variety of different objects to see which ones they can move easily. Why are some easier to move than others? Is it easier to move an object because it is smaller? Does smaller mean lighter in weight? Let's find out!

Photo day! We saw some great smiles (and a few tongues) for our group photo shoot. Individual photos were taken in the library-- very academic! Better, in my opinion, than those fake woodsy backdrops I've so often posed with.

Check out these great photos-- mostly from dance. We sure know how to do the twist! We also danced to "Wild Thing" for the first time.
One child asked this to Adelaida:
"Is it the wild thing who is the one who is holding you tight?"
"Well, what IS a 'wild thing?'"
Fantastic question..!! Gotta ask The Troggs though. They'll know for sure.

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