Science at our house…

It seems that I haven’t had much time to post anything lately! I thought I’d take a few minutes and post some of Otter’s biology activities.

Early on in the semester he made hot ice to demonstrate an exothermic reaction.

Gathering the ingredients:

Making hot ice for science

Adding in baking soda (OOPS – too fast!):


He also made homemade ice cream which demonstrated both exothermic AND endothermic reactions:


Mixing all the ingredients together in inner bags with ice and salt in the outer bags:


Shake-shake-shake (until your arm wants to fall off, LOL):


Getting ready to taste the experiment while discussing the scientific “whys”. He’ll never forget the concepts of exothermic and endothermic!


Another lab Otter did was testing to see if yeast is alive:

The test tube with yeast and sugar in it created gas which inflated the balloon over the top. It wasn’t a dramatic reaction because the yeast was old, but it did work. The other tubes were either controls or had less sugar.

Next is the model Otter built out of marshmallows to understand the fluid nature of a cell membrane. Each cell membrane has phospholipid molecules that can move around, sort of like ping-pong balls crowded together, floating in a bathtub. The marshmallows in this activity represented the heads of those phospholipid molecules and the chunks of apple represented proteins and lipid rafts. When Otter moved the apples pieces around, he could see how membrane-bound proteins can move in and among the phospholipids. As he moved the apple chunks, the marshmallows floated to close the empty space the apples left. This awesome activity is from Ellen McHenry’s Cells curriculum, something we used to supplement a portion of Otter’s Biology.marshmallows

Otter isn’t the only one doing science at our house! I’m helping another homeschool mom/friend teach her daughter in several subjects. I’ll call our new, occasional and much younger student “Rabbit” because I’ve always thought rabbits are so cute and sweet and that describes her to a T. wink Rabbit is a lover of science just like Otter and he enjoys participating in some of her experiments during his free time.

Here’s one that sat on our counter for a full day before the colors finally mixed and made a uniform purple. The top glass has HOT water colored with blue food coloring and the bottom is COLD water colored with red.



Rabbit learned about the movement of atoms, how cold water (and air) sink to the bottom while hot air (and water) rises and lots of other fun concepts.

Rabbit also got to use the microscope the other day to look at this butterfly we found in the backyard:


She was amazed to see that the wings are made of tiny scales. I just had fun watching her face light up as an entirely new world was opened up to her for the first time.

It’s been busy at Guesthollow!!