We decided to revisit the ABC science series we started last fall. Although all three kids are using their own independent science curriculum, there is no reason we cannot find time for some fun hands-on learning. This week we have been exploring the importance of fire to life on Planet Earth.
Fire. It can be scary. It can be comforting. It can bring life. It can bring death. One thing we know: without fire, life would not exist.
We begin our journey watching a video…
Last year we purchased a membership to Discovery Education Streaming Plus through the Homeschool Buyers Co-op. I love having access to some amazing videos, including those by the BBC, one of our favorites! We watched How Earth Made Us: Fire. It does take some getting used to the accent of Professor Iain Stewart.
We were mesmerized by the walk through the heart of fire using a special fire suit. FREAKY! The section on Fire and the Age of Metals was a nice feature for my son who wants to major in metalworking. There are some impressive shots of nature. We even found them mentioning Oregon. (Funny side note: My son says, “Mom, even a British guy knows how to pronounce it correctly.” It is properly pronounced Or – eh – gen not Or – e- gone!)
Note: If you are a young earth Creationist, the reference to a million years and such may bug you.
Additional Videos to Watch
Recording What We Learned
I created a notebook page for the kids to record the information they obtained from this and the other videos we watched. The most important thing I wanted them to understand was WHY fire was important to their lives AND be able to provide a specific example. We also covered the Tillamook Burn, a major fire from our area. We were able to talk about WHY fire is important to the health of our forests.
Click on the image to download this printable.
I was pleased that my children (with some prompting) were willing to at least fill out the Notebook page.
After watching a few videos where we learned that carbon dioxide has a heavier molecular weight than air, we recreated an experiment we’d watched the day before.
Goal: To demonstrate how carbon dioxide is used to extinguish flames.
Supplies: Vinegar, Baking Soda, Candle and Fire Lighter, glass container or beaker
Step 1: Light the candle. Make sure there is no wind to blow the flame out.
Step 2: Pour a small amount of vinegar into the bottom of the container. You want enough “fuel” for the reaction so be generous.
Step 3: Pour a small amount of baking soda into the container with the vinegar. This will cause a reaction.
Step 4: Timing is important. Move the container with the reaction still occurring over the flame. You want to be low enough to the flame but do NOT pour out liquid. The gas should blow out the flame.
At this point I didn’t get pictures because I was busy helping the kids with the experiment. Every kid was able to complete the experiment. 2 out of 3 achieved the result.
As most experiments do, this sparked the interest of my son. Can I find out what else will burn? Can I play with the chemistry kit? Permission granted they spent the next hour playing (what scientists call experimenting).
Learning that dry fuel burns faster and better than fresh, green fuel. And of course we had to find out if vinegar would put out the flame. (It did!)
This is what happens when you pick up a hot beaker that has just spent 3 minutes burning chemicals. Lesson learned.
We hope you enjoyed our learning experience.
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