Saturday, 4 July 2015

Parachutes and Magnets

Today we have been experimenting more with forces. First we tested different materials to see which made the best parachute.

Then I challenged the children to drop an egg from the balcony protected by only 4 sheets of newspaper. They could try any method of protecting their egg including making a parachute and wrapping the egg up in paper.

We tried keeping water inside an upturned glass using air pressure.

We demonstrated inertia with this tablecloth experiment:

Later on we experimented with magnetism. The children made a magnetic maze game:

Friday, 3 July 2015

The Owl and the Pussy Cat

The children have been working for several weeks on this collaborative textile art piece based on the owl and the pussy cat poem. They have done all the sewing themselves either by hand or on the sewing machine. R even tried some free machining.

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat
By Edward lear

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
   In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
   Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
   And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
    What a beautiful Pussy you are,
         You are,
         You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl!
   How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
   But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
   To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
   With a ring at the end of his nose,
             His nose,
             His nose,
   With a ring at the end of his nose.

"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
   Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."
So they took it away, and were married next day
   By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
   Which they ate with a runcible spoon;   
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
   They danced by the light of the moon,
             The moon,
             The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

First they took a piece of cotton and dyed it blue. Whilst the dye was still wet they sprinkled on some salt crystals which gave a mottled effect as they soaked up some of the dye.

Once the base colour was dry and the salt brushed off they used stencils and paint to add the sea and some stars.

L designed the cat character whilst R worked on the owl. They drew their designs onto fabric pieces with dissolving fabric markers. The cut out pieces were layered and glued together with a thin layer of gel medium.

L also designed the pig

R made the turkey.

They worked together to make the boat, moon, and the trees. Everything was stuck to the background with gel medium.

They used the sewing machine to outline all the pieces. R free machined the difficult curves. L added some hand stitching for the birds' legs. We stuck on a paper £5 note.

After all that hard work it's now on the wall.


The children have been working with Dad to make some automata toys. To get an idea of the amazing things that can be made, watch this video from Cabaret Mechanical:

And here are our toys in action:

Gym Open Day

The children's gym had a open day this week which gave me the chance to take some photos which I can't usually do during class.

Toys - Forces Experiments

This week the children have been learning how to use these force meters available form any of the educational suppliers.

They designed an experiment to see the effect of friction. They pulled a laden box over different surfaces to see which needed the most force to keep it moving.

We also investigated the friction on slides by trying out different materials to make our slide.

Today we talked about air and water resistance.

Here L is running with a large piece of card to feel the effect of air resistance:

We made helicopters and dropped them down the stairs:

We weighed objects in air and water to see the effect of water pressure. We'll try some experiments in the pool next time we go.

We'll be working on parachutes next...

Toys - Making Cars

The kids worked with day to experiment with different materials for making wheels and axles. They came up with these car models.

Toys - Experimenting and Making

In the last few days the children have been experimenting with different toys and the forces that act upon them to make them move. We found out that many toys we own operate by stretching or squashing springs.

We made an elastic band powered boat.

We compared springs to elastic bands and made a car catapult.

We also tried letting cars roll down a slope to see how far they went. We changed the type of car first whilst keeping everything else the same.

Next we kept the slope and car the same and added weights to the car to see what effect this had.

Lastly we used the same car and changed the angle of the slope. The children recorded and graphed their results.

R worked on a course from FutureLearn: Begin Robotics whilst L used her craft skills to make a peg doll and a thaumatrope. R has also been attending Lego robotics workshops.

Lego Robotics

The children made a timeline of toys from the past. Find the resource (and others) here.

They tied out this Bayko building set toy from the 1960s. it's not as easy to construct the models as it is with Lego! We also had a game of marbles.