Loading...

Follow The Homeschool Scientist on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

Are you heading to the beach for vacation this year? Are you lucky enough to live near the beach?  The beach is my happy place. It is my favorite spot for a family vacation.

Like any good homeschool mom, if you are heading to the beach (or anywhere) for vacation, you are looking for ways to turn it into an educational experience. From fun learning experiences in the sand to ocean animal studies, there are so many ways to turn vacation into a beach science class —and still have lots of fun!!!

Here are some activities, experiments, resources and ideas I gathered that will set you up for some pre-trip unit studies or on-the-spot beach science activities. Enjoy!

This post contains affiliate links.

Beach Science Activities And Resources Beach Field Guides

Do NOT forget the field guides!!! I didn’t take any on our first trip and I was so sad. We kept seeing birds, fish, and other creatures we had never seen before and had no way to identify them.

Here’s a tip: Do your research before hand and try an find nature guides specific to the area you are traveling. That will really save you time and frustration while trying to identify something on the spot. Here are some field guides you might want to have on hand.


  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Step outside into the sunshine. Feel the warmth that comes from its rays. That’s energy. Notice how the sunlight illuminates everything in the daytime. That’s energy. How does the sun create energy?

Energy can be defined as the capacity to do work. This may be in the form of kinetic, nuclear, potential, chemical, or other forms of energy. The energy that comes from the sun is in the form of heat and light. This energy is essential for life on Earth and we are discovering ways to harness that energy to make life on the planet better. 

But, how does the sun create energy? How does that energy get all the way to Earth? Is the sun’s energy really that important? Let’s learn all about it.

Why Is The Sun’s Energy Important?

The sun is a massive power plant that fuels the earth. You could say that the Earth is solar powered. Without the energy from the sun, life on our planet just wouldn’t exist. Plants require sunlight to create their own food through photosynthesis. Animals need plants as a food source either directly or to feed the other animals that they eat. Animals, also, need plants to make the oxygen they need to breathe.

Energy from the sun, also, drives the Earth’s natural cycles. The heat from the sun creates convection currents that cause winds to blow and generate ocean currents. Heat energy from the sun is key in the Earth’s water cycle. Without the water cycle, we would not have any fresh water to drink. Also, without the heat from the sun, planet Earth would be in a deep freeze!

Related post: Convection Current Experiment

What Is The Sun?

Our sun sits in the center of our solar system and considered to be a yellow dwarf star. The sun is given this classification by scientists because of its mass and the fact that it radiates yellow to white light. It is this light that contains the sun’s energy. 

It is the sun’s gravitational force that holds the planets in their orbits and keeps them from spinning off into the universe. The gravitation force of the sun is generated by its size and mass. The sun is the largest object in our solar system containing 99.8% of its total mass. At 864,000 miles (1.4 million Km) wide, the sun is 109 times wider than Earth. 

Related post: Solar System Printables

Even though the Sun contains mass, it is not solid like the Earth. Made up mainly of hydrogen (91%) and helium, the sun is actually a swirling mass of gas and plasma. Plasma is the 4th state of matter. The other three being solid, liquid, and gas.

Plasma forms when gas gets so hot that atoms break apart and basically form a cloud of protons, neutrons and electrons that have the ability to act as a whole rather than as a bunch of different atoms. Often, this plasma seems to flow like a liquid.

Even though the sun is not a solid, it can still be divided into zones: the core, the radiative zone, and the convective zone.  To understand how the sun creates energy, we need to learn about these layers.

Layers Of The Sun Core

The core of the sun is located in its very center. This zone is where the sun’s energy is produced. The temperature of the sun’s core is approximately 27 million degrees F (15 million C). Pressure inside the sun’s core is also very high. The large mass of the sun pressing in on the core gives it an incredible pressure of 250 billion atmospheres.

This extreme heat and pressure is enough to sustain thermonuclear fusion in the Earth’s core. Fusion takes place when atoms combine to form larger atoms. In the core of the sun, hydrogen atoms fuse to create helium atoms. This process releases massive amounts of energy. 

Radiative Zone

The energy created by nuclear fusion in the sun’s core is carried by photons, light particles, into the radiative zone of the sun. As the energy carried by the photons radiates through the radiative zone, they do not take a straight path. The photons bounce around the layer from particle to particle being held by each one for a small amount of time. Since the density of the plasma in this layer is so high, it can take 171,000 years for a single photon to make its way through and into the convective zone.

Convective Zone

The convective zone of the sun extends from the radiative zone to the sun’s surface. This zone makes up approximately 66% of the sun’s volume but only about 2% of its mass because it contains mostly gas. The temperature of the convection zone is much cooler than the sun’s core at about 10,000 F (5,500 C). Energy is transported relatively quickly through the convective zone and out to the sun’s surface, the photosphere.

Photosphere

The sun’s surface is called the photosphere. When photons that have traveled from the sun’s core reaches the photosphere, they move rapidly through the sun’s atmosphere and into space radiating in all directions. Here on Earth, we can see the energy that leaves the surface of the sun as sunlight eight minutes after it leaves the sun.

Sunlight is made of solar photons. These photons travel 186,000 miles/second for 93 million miles. This distance is also called an astronomical unit (AU).

Uses For The Sun’s Energy

Now we know how the sun creates energy and how that energy powers our natural world, how else could that energy benefit us here on Earth?

  • Generate electricity using solar cells
  • Recharging electronics with solar powered chargers
  • Heating water for use in houses and businesses
  • Solar powered lights

What other ways can we use the sun’s energy?

Download Lesson Printable!

Get this lesson as a printable, plus get an included short quiz. Subscribe to The Homeschool Scientist email list in the form below and I will send it to your inbox asap. If you already subscribe, fill out the form just to let me know you want this printable and I will send it to you. You will not be subscribing twice.

How Does The Sun Create Energy?
Sun Science Activities

How The Sun Affects The Temperature

Fractals Suncatchers STEAM Activity

Solar Printing Science Activity

Solar Magnification Experiment

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

I can’t believe July is here already. Seriously, summer weather just arrived in our neck of the woods this past week and summer is half over! I feel the need to cram as much summer goodness into the next month and a half as I can, because once mid-August hits, school starts, hockey practice begins, and all the fall activities gear up. I’m not even ready to think about it!!!

For now, I just want to enjoy sunshine, swimming, and slower schedules. What about you? I want summer to be fun!

Using The July Science Calendar

The Homeschool Scientist’s science calendars are perfect for summer learning and fun. For those of you who still homeschool during the summer months, the activities and information from the calendar can be used to let the kids learn at their own pace or as a break from the curriculum.

If you don’t do school during the summer or your kids are home from traditional school, the science calendars are perfect boredom busters or ways to sneak learning in without the kids knowing it. 

Each day, the calendar has a link to another engaging science activity or lesson. This summer, your kids will be learning about the science behind summer storms, sharks, making s’mores in a solar oven, building a model waterslide, and more!

The July calendar is on of my favorites. It’s packed with fun STEM activities that will keep your kids’ minds active, engage their creativity, and let them have a lot of fun!

Get Your Calendar

The Homeschool Scientist’s science calendars are free to email subscribers. As a subscriber, you get weekly emails letting you know about new posts on the website, fantastic science posts from other sources, and occasionally information about resources I think you would love. Always good stuff. Never spammy. And, I never share my email list with anyone!!

Just enter your info in the form below and I will send you a download link to the calendar ASAP! Enjoy!

(If you are already a subscriber, filling out the form just lets me know you want me to send you the calendar. You won’t be subscribing twice.)

July Science Calendar 2019
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Use these resources to put together your own storm lesson or unit study! Some are affiliate links.

I am fascinated by weather in general and storms in particular. At any given time, I have 2 or 3 weather sites up on my computer, plus the weather apps on my phone. Who really needs 4 weather apps? Apparently, I do. My husband jokes that I am the family meteorologist.

We live in the midwest where violent storms are a part of life. There is nothing more beautiful and awe-inspiring than a summer thunderstorm rolling in. Watching cumulonimbus clouds form in the distance, feeling the change in the wind, and then smelling the oncoming rain is a wonderful experience. Nothing sings me to sleep quite like rolling thunder at night. Ahhh….

Storm Lesson and Unit Study 

My love of weather is the reason we seem to always be doing a weather related study. Over the years, we have repeatedly tracked rainfall, watched cloud formations, and monitored the changing barometer. I have a digital weather station that sits on my kitchen counter that makes our weather studies really easy.

Storms are a weather phenomena that have always captivated me. The power and strength of storms are simply amazing. They are an uncontrollable force that, while beautiful, can leave devastation in their wake. The science behind storm formation, tornadoes, lightening, and wind is fascinating to study.

I have gathered at bunch of resources to use to create a custom storm lesson or unit study for your students. There are books, links, notebooking pages, hands-on activities, and more. Let’s starts with books…

Storm Books

I have always liked to base a lesson or unit study around a book, then fill in with other books and websites. Here are a few of our favorite storm books geared toward elementary age and younger students.

  • A couple years back, we received the latest DK Adventures book, Twister, from our friends at DK Publishing. The books in this series are part adventure story and part fun educational information. Twister is a story of a boy that visits his storm chaser cousins in Tornado Alley and ends up on a chase himself. In between the chapters, DK has packed lots of storm information like storm chasing gear, a storm shelter guide, the anatomy of a tornado, and lots more.Twister would make a great base to launch a storm unit study. Add books, online resources, notebooking pages, and hands-on activities to round out your study.
  • Storms is a National Geographic Level 1 reader that is a great book for young learners to learn the “why” about all types of weather, storms in particular. This book explains the science behind thunder, lightening, hurricanes, tornadoes, and more in a simple way that kids can easily understand.
  • Children 3-7 will love The Storm Book by Charlotte Zolotow. This lyrically written Caldecott Honor book beautifully describes nature and an oncoming storm from the perspective of a young boy.
  • If your child likes facts, this Time Life For Kids Science Scoops book, Storms!, is for them. 
  • Storms Weather Book For Kids is a Kindle book full of  fun facts, science, and amazing pictures of storms, including hailstorms, blizzards, hurricanes and tornadoes.


Storm Lesson Links  Storm Notebooking and Unit Studies Hands-On Storm Activities Weather Lesson Resources

Looking to study weather in general? Here are a bunch of great weather lesson resources to check out.

Using Clouds To Predict The Weather

Weather Unit Study Resources

Weather STEM Activities

What Makes The Weather?

Free Rainfall Chart Printable

I even have a weather science themed Pinterest board.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Fireworks, parades, flags, cook-outs, family, and friends. I love the 4th of July!!

Growing up, my family always had a huge cookout with other families and then we would all go watch our town’s fireworks display. Back in the day, the big treat for the young kids was sparklers, while the older kids shot bottle rockets and the occasional roman candle. So much fun!! But….

What were our parent’s thinking???

We all, remarkably, made it through childhood with all our fingers and minimal sparkler scarring, but thinking about it now as a parent makes me cringe.

I still love Fourth of July. We still have cook-outs and go see fireworks. However, I try to find safer activities for the kids, but ones that they will remember as fondly as I do those darn sparklers. In my search for fun stuff this year, I ran across a bunch of fourth Of July STEM activities! Perfect!

Here are my top 10…..

Fourth Of July STEM Activities 

4th of July Straw Rockets

Declaration Of Independence map math activity 

4th Of July Skittles Experiment

Fireworks In A Jar

Milk Fireworks

Independence Day Building Structures STEM Activities

Film Canister Rocket Fireworks

Star Spangled Slime

Fizzy Fireworks Painting

Red White And Blue Chemical Reactions

More Summer STEM Activities

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Each month here at The Homeschool Scientist, you will find a new FREE Science Calendar you can download and use in your homeschool or classroom. Each day on the calendar contains a link to a fun science activity or fascinating science information that your students will love digging into.

Many use the science calendar as a fun kick-start to the school day. Others use it as a reward for getting school work completed. If you are taking a summer break, the science calendar makes a fantastic boredom buster and a great way to sneak in some learning. 

June Science Calendar

So, what’s in this month’s science calendar?

June means the official start of summer, but it’s also National Dairy Month, Get Outdoors Month, and National Candy Month. You can bet we found some fun ways to celebrate these with science and included the links in this month’s calendar!

Download the June calendar and you will also learn about:

Download Your FREE Science Calendar!

The June Science Calendar is FREE for our email subscribers! Just enter your info in the box below to subscribe and we’ll send a download link for the calendar asap! As a subscriber, you won’t get spammed or put on any other list. What you will get is updates when new posts are published, subscriber-only freebies, and alerts to deals and resources I think you will love!

If you are already a subscriber, simply fill out the form to claim your download. You won’t be added twice.

Enjoy!

June Science Calendar 2019
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Learn about how energy is passed from one organism to another in this food chain lesson. Plus, download a FREE pond food chain coloring book for your younger learners.

All living things, no matter how big or small or where they live, need energy to survive. Energy is defined as the ability to do work. When it comes to energy being used in living things, that work could be to run, to play, to think, or to grow. These are all considered work.

So, if it is so important, how do organisms get energy?

It depends on what type of organism you are talking about.

How Do Living Things Get Energy?

Living things obtain energy from their environment. Some create their own energy from elements within their surroundings (producers), while others must get their energy from other living things (consumers and decomposers). Let’s look at each of these types of organisms in a little more detail.

Producers

Plants are considered producers simply because they can produce their own energy through a process called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis allows the plant to take solar energy from the sun, water and nutrients from the soil, and transform it into energy the plant can use to grow.

Consumers

Animals are consumers. They get their energy from the food they eat. Some animals eat only plants. They are called primary consumers, or herbivores. Other animals eat only other animals. They are called secondary consumers, or carnivores. Still other animals, like humans, eat plants and animals. They are called omnivores.

Decomposers

Some tiny organisms like worms, bacteria, and fungi eat dead plants and animals. They are called decomposers. These organisms are important because they clean up dead matter and let the nutrients from the dead plants and animals to be put back into the soil to be used by plants. They are nature’s recyclers.

Related post: Life Under A Log

What Is A Food Chain?

So, we’ve learned how organisms get energy. They either produce it themselves or obtain it from eating other organisms. This passing of energy from one living thing to another is called a food chain. Every organism on Earth is part of a food chain of some sort. Even people!

Each ecosystem has it’s own food chains based upon the plants and animals that live there. From oceans to grasslands to desserts, food chains are vital to the health of those ecosystems and the environment.

We like to study the pond ecosystem. There are several nearby and we always seem to see something new each time we visit. Ponds and the areas around them are teeming with life of all kinds. Right in that one ecosystem, there are many food chains we could study. Let’s learn about one of them.

Pond Food Chain

It is that time of year when the mosquitoes are laying their eggs in any still body of water they can find. Soon, we will see millions of tiny mosquito larvae swimming in the shallow water around the pond’s edge. These larvae feed on the microscopic algae that grows in the pond. Algae is a type of plant that uses photosynthesis to create its own energy using solar energy from the sun and water and nutrients from the pond.

Those little mosquito larvae are a great food supply for the fish that live in the pond. In turn, those fish are a popular food for the raccoons that hunt at the water’s edge. When that raccoon eventually dies, the decomposers will use its body for energy and return nutrients back into the soil or water for plants to use in the future.

algae —-> larvae —-> raccoon —-> decomposers

You can see from this real life example how each organisms passes its energy to another and how the decomposers complete the cycle that can start over again when a plant uses those nutrients the decomposers put back into the soil.

Pond Food Chain Coloring Book

Now that you’ve learned about food chains and how one might look in a pond ecosystem, let’s have some fun with this Pond Food Chain Coloring book! It’s free for our email subscribers, just fill in the form below and I’ll send you the download link. 

Pond Food Chain Coloring Book

Don’t worry. Our emails aren’t spam. Only the good stuff like: what’s new on the blog, subscriber freebies, interesting science information, occasional deals that I know you want to know about.

Enjoy!

Looking for more homeschool science printables?? We’ve got lots more!! CLICK HERE!!

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

This is an updated post to include new ideas submitted by readers! This post also contains affiliate links.

Lots of families are gearing up for family vacations this time of year. Vacation packing lists are being created so no vacation essential is forgotten. Shirts, shorts, underwear, sunscreen, swimsuits, shoes, camera…..

But what about the science packing list?

Really! I’m not kidding. Take science supplies on vacation!

Vacations Are Great Times To Learn About Science

Vacations give kids the opportunity to learn about science outside of the textbook and without even realizing it! Plus, exploring and learning as a family makes great memories, too.

I always search for ways to make our family vacations an educational experience while still having fun. We have some favorite places to visit, since my daughter can’t pass up a zoo and I am all about exploring new parks and nature preserves.

Here are some of the places we look for on our trips to add a little science:

Science Vacation Packing List

It’s great to plan out a few fun educational stops on vacation, but I like to be prepared for the unexpected science experiences, too. That’s why I like to pack some science supplies along with my flip flops and suncreen.

So what kind of items go on a science packing list? It kind of depends on where you are going and what your family enjoys doing. Here are the basics to get you started.

I usually pack all these things in a plastic tub that way they are all together when I need them. No searching through the rest of our vacation supplies to find what we need.


Thanks to everyone who sent me suggestions for the science packing list. Do you have anything to ad?

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

*This post contains affiliate links.

Math typically isn’t the first thing people think of when it’s summer. For our family, summer is all about sun, fun, and friends. Mention learning anything around here and get ready for the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Since it’s so important to keep the learning going during summer break, especially essential math skills, I have gotten into the practice of tricking my kids into learning.

Yep. Pure deception.

But, it’s all for their good! It keeps them sharp and saves us time when we hit the books again in the fall. The key is finding activities and resources that are having such a good time that they don’t even realize they are learning. 

I pull off the treachery all year long, but it really comes in handy during the summer. I’ve rounded up some of our favorite math resources that your kids will actually have FUN playing. These will keep your kids on track during the hottest months of the year. They are tried and true games, activities, and books that we always have on hand, but will make learning this summer something they will enjoy!

Interest-led math

What is your child interested in? What do they spend their free time doing, reading about, or dreaming about? Use that interest to make math fun for them. Here are a few interest-led math resources your child might like.

Math For Horse Lovers

Geometry Through Virtual Reality

The Math Used In Baseball

Music And Math

Cooking With Math

Math Games

We are big fans of games here. In all of our 10 years of homeschooling, we take at least 2 days a month just to play games. Everything from Scrabble to Quiddler to Carcassonne teaches skills and strategy. Here are a few math games you and your kids might like.

Smath

Math Dice

Zingo

Sequence Numbers

Check The Fridge

Logic Games

Logic is essential to mathematics. It is the science of correct reasoning that allows us to come up with conclusions, such as in math problems. Logic is also the basis for learning to code. There are so many logic games and puzzles that make learning these skills fun and easy. Here are a few of our faves.

Rush Hour (Our whole family has loved this one for years!!)

Code Master

Clue Master

Circuit Maze

Logic Puzzle Book

Your Favorite Math Games and Math Resources

Does your family have a favorite math game or resource? How do you make learning math fun in your homeschool?

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

(This post contains affiliate links. I received a free copy of Eddie The Electron from Amberjack Publishing and I was compensated for the time to review the book. Opinions are all mine.)

Most primary and elementary science curricula do not cover atoms. It can be difficult for some young learners to grasp the concept of something they cannot see making up everything that we can see. However, I don’t see any problem with taking baby steps toward understanding larger, more complex concepts like atoms and elements. We build on these types of concepts with young children all the time.

You Can’t See It, But It’s There

Think about the wind. Can you see it? Can you feel it? The wind is just atoms moving really fast. Even though you can’t see it, the wind is there. It’s the same as when you blow up a balloon. You are filling the balloon with millions of atoms of nitrogen, oxygen, and other elements. Even though you can’t see the air that you exhale, it is still present.

Share these examples with your young learners. Let them test it out with a balloon or by blowing on their hand. Get them used to the idea that somethings are so small that we can’t see them, but joined together, those atoms are a force.

Age Appropriate Atom Lesson For Early Learners

Even the most complex subjects can be introduced to young learners when you start with the basics and explain it in a way that they can understand. I’m not saying you need to walk your child through atomic theory. I’m saying that you can introduce the concept of an atom and some basic supporting information. Make it interesting, simple, and fun.

You might also like…

The Science Lesson

I created this simple Atom Lesson download that you can use with your children as a place to start. It covers the basics of atoms by answering simple questions like – What is an atom? What makes up an atom? Are there different types of atoms?

You can download this Atom Lesson for FREE to use as a start to your atom or element study.

Fun Children’s Science Book

Eddie The Electron is a charming book from Amberjack Publishing that teaches kids about atoms without them realizing they are learning. Eddie walks kids through what it is like being an electron inside an atom. He brings concrete ideas ideas that can help kids understand the concept of atoms.

The book is entertaining and simple, with cute illustrations. You could read it aloud to younger kids or let the bigger kids read it themselves. Both would find it a fun read.


Eddie The Electron was written by a PhD chemist, Melissa Rooney. I love her thoughts about kids and science “I am confident that, by presenting these scientific concepts to children at an early age, Eddie would increase the likelihood that they would be comfortable and interested in such ‘complicated’ ideas.” 

Learn more about Melissa Rooney’s courses.

Connect with Amberjack Publishing

Hands-On Atom Resources


Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview