Sunday, January 5, 2014

Science Bottles and Free Printable

Here's a quick post about some of our Toddler Science Bottles.

A Science Bottle is a bottle containing a science experiment or phenomenon that can not be opened and is meant to be explored visually and otherwise.

Most people do these with individual sized plastic drink bottles.  I'm using plastic peanut butter jars.  That's for two reasons, one I like the conformity of the size and two, I'm tired of seeing kids slobber all over the caps of the bottles.  Even my preschoolers put that part of the bottle in their mouth (they often played with them in the Home Living area as play food bottles) and it's yucky.

The jars have other advantages over bottles too.  There's no ridges to obstruct view and the lid is large giving me space to place the label without covering up any of the contents.

My basic set is 6 jars of simple science including: Separation, Settle Down, Density, I Spy, Bubbles, and Magnetism.

Here's how we make each one:

Separation: 1/2 water tinted with blue food coloring, 1/2 vegetable oil

Settle Down: 1 small container of glitter glue, 1 tsp loose glitter, hot water to almost the top

Density: (river rock) 1/4 honey, (popcorn kernels)1/4 maple syrup, (plastic bead) 1/4 red tinted water, (bottle cap) 1/4 vegetable oil, (cork)

Colors and Shapes:  rice, many colored beads in various shapes and colors

Bubbles: 1/2 colored water and a generous squirt of dish soap

Magnetism: paperclips, snips of pipe cleaner, safety pins, various screws, nuts and bolts etc...

And here's how we use each one:

Separation: Tilt from side to side and remark how the colors stay separated.  Compare the motion it make to a wave. Shake it up, see how the blue water and yellow oil combine to make green.  Watch the colors separate, explain that water is denser than oil so it separates to the bottom while oil is less dense than water and moves to the top.

Settle Down:  Give the jar a good shake.  Now hold it or set it on the table and watch the glitter swirl and settle to the bottom.  Very relaxing.  Great for before bed or to "settle down" and calm your mind.  Shaking gets the aggresion out and watching it setttle helps children relax.  Try shaking the jar sideways and watch how the glitter swirls sideways before settling down.  Explain that the glitter falls to the bottom because it's heavier or denser than the water.

Density: Discuss the various items and colors of liquids in the bottle.  Discuss density and how denser liquids move to the bottom and less dense liquids move to the top.  Compare the density of the liquids compared to themselves. Point out the various object trapped between each layer.  Make statements about the density of the items compared to the liquids.  "The bead is less dense than maple syrup but denser than the water."  Compare the density of the objects compared to themselves.  Shake it up.  Watch the colors and objects separate.  Play "I Spy" with it and look for certain objects.  Ask the child to make statements on where an object is using preposition words (on, under, between...) or density words (less dense than, more dense than, but not as dense as...)

Colors and Shapes: Take a photo of the items in the bottle before it is assembled. 
Slowly rotate the bottle and note the items the child recognizes inside.  Ask them to find certain colors or shapes.  Ask them to try and find two of something.  Look at the photo of the items and try to find one particular item.  Great activity for nap time or to settle down with.  Practice saying or signing color and shape words.  Play "I Spy" with colors or shapes and have the child find them.

Bubbles: Shake the jar and watch how the bubbles fill up the container.  Explain that a bubble is a liquid ball filled with air.  Watch the bubbles pop.  Tilt the jar back and forth and notice how the bubbles stay on top.  Practice saying the word 'bubbles".  Point out other bubbles in the real word like when you wash dishes or your hands.

Magnetism: Take a photo of the items in the bottle before it is assembled.  Have a discussion about which type of things are magnetic.  Make predictions on which items the child thinks will react to the magnet.  Use a magnet wand or large horseshoe magnet on the side of the bottle..  Note which items reacted to the magnet.  Compare results to predictions and draw conclusions to why the child thinks each item acted as it did.  Try to grab only one particular item with the magnet and move it around.  Try to move an item from the bottom of the bottle to the top using the magnet.  Move the magnet away and watch the item drop.

Here's are the sets of labels I designed for the tops of the peanut butter jars.

Words Only 

Words and Images

You can place these on the sides of your bottles if you prefer.  I recommend printing them on sticker paper, waterproofing them with clear packing tape or clear contact paper and then cutting them out by hand or with a large hole punch.  Then adhere them to the jar lids or bottle sides.

I'm looking forward to adding more as the children grow!!

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