playdough science

Yesterday our friends came over for our Wednesday afternoon homeschool get-togethers. Susan has been generous in letting those afternoons follow the units Andrew and I have been working on assuring me that her kids really do like weather! and volcanos too! I have a feeling at this point I could suggest just about anything and she would insist her kids love that topic too!

It’s nice having flexible friends.

So last week we did several experiments that model an erupting volcano. This week I made a big batch of playdough (using a recipe I don’t recommend…I was out of cream of tartar and desperate and paid for it with super sticky playdough! Use this recipe instead! You’ll be glad you did!).

And we used the playdough to make…..

models of the earth!

We started with a small ball of yellow: the inner core. The we rolled out some greenish/yellow and wrapped it around the inner core making the outer core. Then we added the inner mantle, the outer mantle and the crust! As we were making the earths we were talking about what parts of the earth are the hottest, the names of all the layers (“are you having trouble rolling out your inner mantle? hmmm…here’s more flour. Keep trying!” “The crust is so hard to get on!”) and most volcano-y…we talked about which layer the magma comes from.

Then, we cut them open to admire their layers.

And we poured over the illustrations in the volcano books.

These afternoons have been going so well.  It’s great for Susan and I to have another adult around a little.  It’s great for the kids to have each other to learn from and play with.  It’s also gives Susan and I an excuse to do bigger projects than we might normally do.  We all really enjoy it.

Even this new guy:

Little Gregory is just so very tiny baby.  Barely even really a person.   4 weeks old and Susan already thinks he’s huge and I assure her…he’s still so small.  And so quiet during our lessons.  He can’t be listening in….right?  hmmm…


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About robyn

I stopped teaching Kindergarten in 2005 to become the mom of two crazy boys here in Brooklyn. At first I thought being a stay at home mom meant that I needed to pour all my time and energy directly into my sons, but I realized somewhere along the way that being a rockstar mom meant not only taking good care of my boys, but also taking good care of myself. And taking good care of myself means pursuing something creative...just about everyday. I started Made In Brooklyn to motivate myself in my creative goals as well as share my work with others and perhaps inspire them in their own creative journeys.
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19 Responses to playdough science

  1. Loralee says:

    So awesome! What a great idea–I sure never did that kind of project in school. I love the picture of little Gregory, too. Amazing how small and vulnerable they are but how quickly they change and then make volcanos!

    Love the new set-up, Robyn. Nice work!

    • robyn says:

      Thanks Loralee! yeah..I don’t think I ever did this kind of project in school either. And I don’t think I could have pulled it off with my class of 25. It was really nice to do it with a small group.

      So true about Gregory. ;)

  2. Susan says:

    Gregory is six weeks today. Time flies, huh?

  3. Susan says:

    Is there a way to get follow-up comments e-mailed to us? You know I’m a sucker for those comments ;)

  4. Julie says:

    My son, who is 14 years old today, is studying volcanoes right now also. He made a volcano with a friend for a project. They used a can of diet soda and poured salt into it….that volcano erupted great! Try it if you build one. Just build the volcano around the can of soda. I love your ideas and it looks like your kids do too!

  5. robyn says:

    Happy Birthday to your son, Julie! I LOVE that soda can idea!

  6. Melissa says:

    I think if you were in charge of the project, I’d tell you that my kids like everything, too! I think they WOULD like everything, if you were in charge!

    There’s a mom in the area who used to be a teacher and now homeschoolers her daughter. But she does preschool and homeschool programs at the library that are GREAT! You could totally do that. Sometimes she’ll design a program to meet her daughters’ needs. If she feels like her daughter should be getting out with other kids more and she’d really like to see her daughter share her writing with other kids, she’ll design a homeschoolers’ writing group, and VOILA! All needs are met.

    I love getting the idea of getting together to do projects like this. Makes the project and mess feel less daunting when another grownup is involved.

    • Tara says:

      Great idea Melissa! Robyn would be fabulous at that!!!
      Charge $5 a class. Who wouldn’t come???

      • robyn says:

        awww….shucks. thanks guys! I would probably love that. But getting the right connections to make it happen? ug. oh to live in small town with a large homeschooling base…like Melissa!

        • Susan says:

          Robyn! There are probably thousands and thousands of home schoolers in New York. Just think about the odds. You’d have a much harder time finding some in a small town. I mean, unless it were like a “magnet town” that, for some reason, a lot of home schooling families had the flexibility to move to.

          And everyone is totally right–your project ideas are so fun. I am being totally sincere when I tell you that my kids are really into volcanoes and weather and anatomy, but you could seriously convince them to like anything.

          • Melissa says:

            from the little bit I googled in Brooklyn, it looked like there were a lot of groups and places where you could “advertise”! I’m not pushing it- i just think you’d be a natural at it, and it could be a great way to make some more connections and meet some of your needs and some other homeschoolers’ needs. I’d join!

          • robyn says:

            Susan, thanks!

            I don’t doubt at all that there are lots of homeschooling families in New York. I was specifically referencing the town where Melissa lives where it’s actually quite common to homeschool…and I would NOT say that it’s quite common in New York…but I know they are out there!

            For example! In Melissa’s comment below she’s even found some groups! ;)

  7. Melissa says:

    What’s the book they’re pointing at there? Did you use a book to guide you?

    • robyn says:

      That book…it’s called “Eye Wonder: Volcano” ;) I picked it because it has a table of contents and Andrew LOVES a good table of contents. But I actually liked “Let’s Read and Find Out Science: Volcanoes” a lot better…even though it didn’t have a table of contents. ;) The Read and Find Out book had a few volcano recipes in the back…but I got the idea of making a playdough volcano from looking a picture of a diagram showing the earth’s layers.

  8. Amy says:

    A volcano is always a hit if you ask me. Just recently at pre-school my little one was having a great time making a volcano in the sandpit … pouring a bi-carb soda and red dyed water mixture into the sand sculpted volcano and waiting for it to erupt … what could be better?

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