Today we dressed up for the military and discussed World War 1! We focused our discussion around the trench battles. I had written on a white board the way trenches were built, showed some photographs on my iPad and discussed the conditions and dangers that soldiers faced while fighting in the trenches. Then I set up a game that was designed to help them better understand some of the challenges of this sort of fighting.
We first set up "trenches" using our gym mats. They allowed us to zig zag the trench - which was what they did in WW1 and we discussed why that was tactically beneficial to the soldiers. Next I gave them stuffed snow balls we had, along with rolled socks and those became the "mortars" that the soldiers in the trench were going to use to stop the advancing attackers. The attackers used Nerf® shot guns and those simulated the rifles that they were issued.
The girls discovered that it was very difficult to make it to the trench with the "mortars" flying at you and survive. The trench soldiers found it was very difficult to leave the trench and survive. I have to say, we have some very tough girls and they did as good a job as any boy playing army, that I've ever seen!
The soldiers needed some real "rations" after those difficult battles - so we broke out the "rations bags" and they had a snack of nuts, apple squeezers and turkey jerky (while us Moms set up the experiments)! I also had made and printed out these WW1 Soldiers' Small Books. In addition, I gave them dog tags. We talked about how soldiers were identified during WW1.
We talked about the Scientific Method and discussed the experiment making a hypothesis about what would happen when the two elements were combined.
We pre-filled an empty water bottle with vinegar and the balloon with baking soda and then had them set in front of each child. When we gave the word they then flipped the balloon up causing the baking soda to rush into the bottle mixing with the vinegar and causing a chemical reaction that released carbon dioxide gas, this made the balloon inflate. The bottle also got very cold - which one student was able to connect that dry ice is made from carbon dioxide and that was what was causing the bottle to become cold. Pretty good, I thought!
The next experiment was for them to use litmus paper strips to record the acidity or alkalinity of 4 common items. They had milk, juice, vinegar and water. They first hypothesized which ones were acids and which were bases. Then they took paper and wrote the name of each ingredient they were about to measure/test. One by one they each dipped their litmus paper into the cup to try each one and recorded what number they had a match to on the litmus chart. Then they discussed which hypotheses were correct.
The next experiment was to figure out if acids or bases cleaned penny's better. They first wrote each element down and then did litmus tests on each one, recording their result. Next they took their pennies and one by one they tried each cup to see if it cleaned or didn't clean their penny and recorded their results. They used vinegar, lava soap shavings in water, baking soda in water and freshly squeezed lemon juice. The discovered that the vinegar and lemon juice which were both acids, did the best job of cleaning their pennies.
The last experiment was fun! They took baking soda and dish detergent (1 tspn of each) and put them in a cup. Then they added lemon juice to it and stirred! It caused a chemical reaction that made the baking soda and soap combine to create bubbling foam! Us Moms decided it was a safe way to make bubble bath and we were going to try it out at home one day!