One of the things I love most about the Montessori process is that everything is introduced in a subtle way. I remember growing up in the traditional school system where the teacher scrawled a topic across the blackboard and we braced ourselves in preparation for a complicated lesson. Every week our Montessori school invites the parents to have coffee and chat not only about Montessori but also parenting or any other subject that comes up. We also get treated to a lesson from one of the classrooms. We get to see how the subject matter is presented and then we get to see the children work through practice exercises. I have seen examples of how they present phonics, geometry, decimals – all kinds of subjects – and each time it is stimulating, intuitive, and natural. The teacher asks questions or tells a story to sort of prep the topic and then leads the children to figuring out the next step.
Now that my daughter is 19 months old (WOAH!) the husband and I are starting to look for fun and natural ways that we can introduce new concepts like the way we work on colors and shapes with polyhedral dice. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a consultant for Usborne Books so I often turn to my bookshelf for inspiration. A few weeks ago I reviewed 100 Science Experiments and found the Foaming Monster science experiment which I am going to share with you now.
Here’s the description from the book explaining the science behind this experiment:
“When you mix acids and alkalis together, they make new chemicals. Some combinations, such as vinegar and baking soda, make a gas. Watch this chemical reaction at work.” (p 56)
What is a Chemical Reaction
A chemical reaction is what happens when you cause one or more chemicals (also called reactants or reagents) to change into a different chemical. This can be a complicated scenario – as in nuclear chemistry where electronic and nuclear changes are produced in unstable and radioactive elements – or a simple scenario using everyday items you probably already have at home. This foaming monster experiment is a great introduction not only to chemical reactions but also to the concept of cause and effect – and learning that science really is fun!
What you’ll need
- water bottle
- construction paper
- food coloring
- dish soap
- baking soda
- tissue or toilet paper (one ply if you have it)
- funnel (optional)
How to do it
Empty a water bottle and decorate it with construction paper. (Use your scissors to cut the paper and the tape to attach it to the bottle.) Pour vinegar into the bottle until it is 1/3 to 1/2 full. (This is when you might want a small funnel.) Add one drop of food coloring and a dash of soap. Swirl to mix. Pour one heaping tablespoon of baking soda into your tissue and twist the ends to loosely close the paper.
When you are ready to create your monster, drop the tissue paper into the bottle. It will take a few minutes for the ingredients to fully mix.
See our monster!
I think this is a great activity to do with children of any age. Our daughter enjoys bubbles in general so she was excited to see the foam pour out of the monster and though she doesn’t fully understand yet, she did witness that a change took place. This is one of those things you can do over and over as time goes by and reiterate what is happening so that the child starts to recognize the changes. When you are doing this with older children you can discuss how the chemical reaction creates a gas.
As a co-host of the Geeky Educational Link Up I publish an educational post with a science and/or geeky twist every Tuesday. At the bottom of these posts you’ll find links to other interesting and fun educational posts. I hope you enjoy the ride!
My favorite posts from last week’s link up were:
I co-host the Geeky Educational Link Up along with some great writers. You can find out a bit more about each co-host by reading our bios over at More Than A Coupon Queen, the host site. Take a look at their blogs each week. Some of these blogs also post some great geek projects and Science projects!