Confession: I pretty much ignored it during my science unit earlier in the year. And I'm not really sure why. Flamingo Fabulous had done a, let's just say it, FABULOUS experiment/discovery exercise with her class on erosion. And filled with envy I made plans to do it as well. And then, I dunno, I just didn't. This happens a lot to me. Let's say I'm suspecting myself of adult ADD. Or I'm going to use it as a crutch, either way, to explain myself.
But here in the last days, as I scrambled for things to do, since I didn't bother to plan at all- I remembered. So I talked to my Dad about what I wanted to do, and asked him about what sort of goodies might be hidden down in the garage for me to utilize. He went down stairs, fuddled about a bit and came back up with a million empty strawberry containers. So right there, kittens, we can see that I come by the hoarding GENETICALLY.
Anyway- my Dad is STILL the Mayor McCheese, because then he went out in the yard and "cut me up some sod". Dudes, I live in the middle of the country- this is how you do it. He filled this great big rolley container. The type you slide under a bed to hide things you don't really want to bother to put away. Even though I had explained that I only needed to fill seven of the million strawberry containers. He said he just wanted to make sure I got the right sort of piece. Whatever that might mean. I got to hack at it with a pick axe thing-a-ma-jig though! Sheeeeee-ra! And discovered lots and lots of worms and ant eggs and other interesting bits so decided to take the whole thing to school anyway.
He also gave me a bag of potting soil that he had rescued from work. "Someone was just going to throw this out! This is good dirt!"
So now I was ready for some erosion.
I loaded up seven sets of two trays. One soil, one sod. We went outside to the sidewalk with some loaded up plastic boxes of water and a measuring cup - and my tub tints too!
First I asked them what they thought would happen when they poured the water on the dirt. They unanimously agreed that it would turn into a glob of mud. I asked what they thought would happen when they poured water on the grass- and they said mud again. We took the soil out first and poured the water. They were not prepared for the water to come rushing out the bottom and dirt to pour out with it. Huge gasps of surprise and EWWWWWW echoed.
So I asked again- what's going to happen to the grass basket? And they said- same thing, mud and dirty water. So off we went and HOORAY, clear water poured out. They were pretty stumped at this point. Until- whew!- somebody said "OHHHH, it's the roots! The roots are holding onto the dirt!" Can somebody give that smart kid a high five?
We then added a tub tint to the water to pretend it was pollution. What would happen if we poured polluted water on the two samples. They decided it would run out of the soil tub, but it would run CLEAR on the grass tub. Interesting....
Turns out though, pollution runs out no matter what- so we drew the conclusion- pollution harms EVERYTHING.
End super teacher moment. No, seriously. It all went downhill after that.
The set up
Splatter prevention position
pollution action shot
What did I learn from this:
1) I need to just do things when I'm supposed to do things.
2) Buuuut, it was a pretty neat thing to do at the end of the year, all the same.
3) I liked the strawberry baskets. I really like how it all poured out underneath and got the emotional reaction from the kids. Emotional reaction equals MEMORY. Note: would not ever ever ever use the strawberry baskets inside. I would maybe do the pie tins like Flamingo Fabulous. Maybe.
4) I also like the additional discussion after adding the tub tints to the water and discussing pollution. Not a standard for this grade level- but I thought it was some good stuff.
5) My Dad did indeed give me some good dirt. We used the rest of it later that day at our picnic and dug for worms and other critters. And we found dozens of fat wiggly worms for our worm hotel, and two interesting caterpillar like creatures that we clearly woke up from a deep sleep, and lots of ants eggs that we did not keep, but got to see a few stages of their life cycle happening in the patch of dirt. And wild onions! Which I thought was pretty cool, but the kids did not find interesting at all. Oh well.
Tomorrow is the last day of school and I am sad, kittens. I really liked my class. And Flamingo is flying to elsewhere. Boo hiss. I will be drinking lots of pepsi and doing much emotional eating tomorrow me thinks.