Monday, 14 April 2014

Future Learn Course - Kitchen Chemistry

Milly's interest in science and everything to do with 'Explosions' has led me to this course.  We were given the heads-up on this via our home-ed FB community page, and quite timely it was too.

Today is the first day of the course.  Six weeks with seven days to complete each module... Its all about Molecules this week and whilst most of the 'Sciencey blurb' has sunk in subliminally (I'm sure) its held our interest and more so now that the actual experiments are a go-go!

So first up we watched a short video of Dr Ashworth talking about the topics to be covered and what we will need during the course.  Everything is very accessible and easy to get.  I wasn't at all sure what to expect and to be honest Milly was imagining it would be dull... until... The 'Setting a tea bag alight experiment'.  LOL

This was hilarious because, to start with her attempts to use the lighter were not dissimiliar to Montgomery Burns of The Simpsons trying to hit someone!  So funny!  Anyway, after collecting ourselves I lit the bag (I'm relieved that lighters are in fact almost impossible for a child to ignite).  The bag gently burned away and the beautiful, lacy, charred remains of the bag rose up in the air following the current of hot air showing that hot air rises.  This was repeated *quite* a few times!  :-/

It certainly is a good way to use up those 'really' old and out of date herbal infusions hidden at the back of the cupboard.  This has been the best at-home experiment we've done in ages (apart from Mentos and Cola of course) ;-)  We are going out this afternoon to buy a cheap toaster for the other experiment.  My daughters are LOVING this and have been howling with laughter and amazement.  Laughing and Learning! The perfect combo!

Following the Flaming Tea Bag experiment and looking at the Toaster/Hot Air Balloon experiment, Milly decided to make a Carrier bag parachute for their toy Soldiers.  Hettie found a compostable bag and both attached their Soldiers and ascended the climbing frame to launch their victims mini-squadron of Paratroupers!  An interesting angle on the whole 'filling a bag with air to see if it will float/take off' experiment.

Once there is a 'lull' in the learning and Hettie gets dressed!  We will pop out to get the toaster and continue with this weeks course and experiments.  I am not expecting either of them to write anything up.  Milly has very willingly posted one or two comments so this is her way of 'cataloging' her thoughts and conclusions.

I'll admit that I ended up having to use firm conversation tactics (raised voice - shame on me) to help her realise this is what she wanted and partially instigated... Her fears of 'conforming' ran deep through the conversation and it took me a while to find the right words to help her see this was all option and choice too (as is most, if not all parts of their lives).  It's interesting and quite alien (at times) to me to think that this lovely, confident and smart ten year old has very little experience of conforming in the learning 'arena'.  There is no 'body/organisation' she has to be up for to attend regular early morning starts... this is something I'm learning about her and I will take a step forward to listen to her more now that this style of learning will soon be relied upon.  It's all for the greater good to aid her learning in the field that she is currently interested.  It's quite new to me too and this will aid me to understand that what I already know about 'formal' learning she is yet to understand and this is just another part of our home ed journey.

Click here to see more about the course

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