August 2014 Early Literacy Calendar

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Experiments at the Children's Desk - Eggs-periment!

This was probably our grossest (in a good way!) experiment yet--and it didn't turn out exactly like the fabulous blog post we modeled it after, which can be found here. As always, we had a lot of fun and said the word "membrane" a lot that particular week.

The first stage of the experiment went smoothly--we placed two eggs in mason jars filled with vinegar. Our goal was to dissolve the shell of the egg and create semi-permeable membrane. This stage alone makes for an interesting experiment, because when you take the egg out after about 24 hours, you can bounce it! (Just a little, not as high or with as much intensity as a bouncy ball.)

Pictured here is one of our eggs in vinegar. The vinegar contains acetic acid, which breaks apart the solid calcium carbonate crystals that make up the eggshell. The calcium ions float free (calcium ions are atoms that are missing electrons), while the carbonate goes to make carbon dioxide—the bubbles that you see.

24 hours later, most of the eggshell was dissolved. We gently washed off any remaining bits and ended up with two bouncy eggs! Success! Now here's where the eggs-periment didn't go quite as planned...

Next, we put the eggs in two different solutions. The first egg was put into a jar of tap water with a pinch of red food coloring (to differentiate--and see if the membrane would absorb the color). The second jar contained sugar-water. However, we didn't follow a specific recipe to get the results we wanted. We simply made a sugar-water solution instead of measuring out the sugar and water to ensure saturation. That doesn't sound very scientific now, does it?! After searching the web, we found that other people used corn syrup or treacle in order to get the desired results.

 As you can see from the  Science Sparks post that we linked to, the egg in a sugar and water solution should absorb less water than the egg in water. However, we believe that our water was not saturated with enough sugar, and therefore both of our eggs were roughly the same size after a few days in their respective solutions (the weight of the eggs is unknown) because water was able to permeate through the membranes of both eggs at a similar rate.

We also attempted to poke the egg that had been in the water, hoping that water would start streaming from the hole. Perhaps the end of a thumbtack was a poor choice, as this is what we ended up with:

It is probably a good idea to use a thin needle instead!

While this experiment didn't turn out exactly like we planned, it was a lot of fun and comes highly recommended!

Book Buzz August, 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014

Dreamer Wisher Liar by Charise Mericle Harper
This is a great book about summer vacation, friendship, and magic. This emotive book follows Ash, a girl with prosopagnosia (face blindness), as she deals with a summer of changes and new people (neither of which she is fond of at all). What changes, you ask? Her best friend Lucy (who often assists Ash with recognizing faces) is moving away and a strange young girl, Claire, is staying with Ash’s family for the first 3 weeks of summer. But something special is brewing in the basement: Ash finds a jar filled with wishes written on paper, and each time she removes one she’s transported to an alternate place where she watches the struggles and triumphs of a friendship between two other girls. Readers will enjoy putting together the pieces of this sweet story.  Cassie (J Fiction)

Half A Chance by Cynthia Lord
Lucy has just moved to a new house on a lake in New Hampshire.  She is very nervous about meeting people and making friends. Almost as soon as she arrives, she meets the neighbors Nate and Emily. She and Nate quickly become great friends.  Lucy’s dad is a famous photographer and he is gone for most of the summer and she really misses him when he travels. Lucy also loves photography and she and Nate spend part of their summer taking photographs for a contest her dad is judging.  The hard part is, she takes a very moving photo of Nate’s grandmother, but it makes him sad and he doesn’t want her to use the image. Should she use the photo in the contest or not? Kristin (J Fiction)

Nancy Clancy: Secret of the Silver Key 
by Jane O’Connor
Bree and Nancy are at it again.  Nancy and her family go to an estate sale on the hunt for a new desk for Nancy.  When they find one and bring it home, Nancy discovers that in a secret drawer is a key. She and Bree cannot figure out what the key unlocks.  The girls put on their detective hats and try to track down the desk’s original owner.  The key leads the girls into an even bigger mystery with a pretty great surprise at the end.  Fancy Nancy fans will not be disappointed! Jacquie (J Fiction)

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