Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Educated Guess Guessing Jar

Educated Guess Guessing Jar

Fill containers (varying sizes and shapes) with balloons, beans, baubles, or anything that will fit.  Children begin by making a guess, but then they refine their guesses by measuring and estimating. 

Don’t tell them to measure, just ask them how they could refine their estimations and let them figure it out.  Measure the container and calculate volume estimates. 

Give them some of whatever you use in the mystery container and some empty containers of varying sizes to experiment and estimate with.

On Monday's we count the previous week's jar and find out who the winner is. On the day of the announcement, kids volunteer to help count the previous week's jar (and practice their math skills).

It's usually a privilege if you get picked to help as one of the counters and we try to pick kids that have done positive things in their community over the past week. During our round-up (community meeting) the community does a drumroll and cheers when the winner is announced. They get to take home whatever the prize in the jar is. 

We vary what we put in the jar to try and get both small and large numbers of things that relate to our theme of the month – pumpkin seeds during fall harvest theme, balloons during hot air balloon fiesta theme, or pieces of gravel during our Science Rocks monthly theme.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lights OFF to celebrate Lights ON Afterschool

Lights OFF to celebrate... Lights On!
October 17, 2013

Yesterday, 1 million Americans are came together all over the country, for the nation’s largest rally for afterschool programs at more than 8,000 events worldwide... celebrating Lights On Afterschool. Children in hundreds of programs are coloring images of light bulbs and decorating their programs with their artwork to tout the importance of afterschool enrichment. At Children’s Choice in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we wanted to celebrate this event, learn about science, and kick things up a notch by doing a Lights OFF Afterschool project.

We turned the lights OFF to study the science of GLOWING things.  We printed out the lightbulb templates available free at www.afterschoolalliance.orgInstead of coloring the light bulbs with crayons, kids painted their light bulbs with the chemicals inside of glow sticks, which caused the light bulbs to glow through the process of chemiluminescence.

Chemiluminescence: Glow sticks are housings for two chemical solutions. When you bend a plastic glow stick, a glass vial breaks open and the two solutions flow together, combine and rearrange themselves to form new compounds. The atoms begin emitting photons - causing a release of light energy. Special dyes give the light different colors. The energy released during that reaction produces luminescence that can last for many hours. 

They also coated, the light bulb templates with luminous zinc sulfide (also known by Steve Spangler as Glow Powder, available at www.stevespanglerscience.com). The glow powder made their light bulbs glow in the dark through the process of phosphorescence. 

Phosphorescence is a type of GLOWING in response to LIGHT energy. A light bulb excites atoms in the phosphor, causing them to store light energy. When we turned the lights OFF to study the science of GLOWING things, these atoms release this energy.  

Science Standards Addressed:
- Children know that light is a form of energy, Recognize that energy can be stored in many ways (phosphorescence).
- Children know that changes to matter may be chemical or physical and when two or more substances are combined, a new substance may be formed with properties that are different from those of the original substance.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Stop! Get Your Geometry On!

Afterschool Rap Videos

Creating rap videos is a great way to engage kids in meaningful and pleasurable learning. 

This is a great strategy afterschool programs can use to promote and support literacy, reinforce school-day learning, and in this case... teach important math concepts.

Anyone who knows us also knows that creating a rap video is outside of our typical "box" but that we also love to BLOW UP the box. 

The word RAP doesn't immediately come to mind when you look at either one of us. RAP means Rhythm And Poetry. 

We used a website... www.rhymezone.com to help us write the rhyme. Then our kids ran with the idea and created a great rap video. Check it out. 

Based on the Common Core State Standard in math... "Identify and describe shapes... squares, circles, triangles, rectangles, hexagons... "

Please share, like, and comment on YouTube! 

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