Thursday, 31 March 2011

Boning up on Bones

As you might be able to tell from the books in our Library Thing sidebar, we are learnig about bones at the moment. It all started with this rather excellent book.

It says it's aimed at 5-9 year olds, but Gman (11) has equally enjoyed doing the experiments and singing the bone song. Sample verse (to the tune of "She'll be Coming Round the Mountain":

Yes, my bones need calcium phosphate so they'll grow (uh, huh)
Yes, my bones need calcium phosphate so they'll grow
Yes, my bones need calcium phosphate
Or they'd never ca-ci-fi-cate
Rubber bones are not that great a fate (oh, no)!

This has inspired us to find out more about bones, and do further experiments. We downloaded the "Bones: An Exhibit Inside You" from the Children's Museum in Indianopolis and that had loads more ideas in too. One of the experiments was to make a model of a bone from the inside out, involving a straw (for the hollow centre), playdough with rice crispies in (spongy bone), snips of red and blue embroidery thread (for veins) and more dough for the outside (compact bone). The boys then cut a cross section of the "bone" and painted and labelled the different layers.

making bones
painting cross section of bones
Science was never this fun when I was at school!! Because we are a gluten free household and we didn't have any commercial playdough, we made our own, using the recipe below:


3/4 cup cornflour
3/4 cup salt
3/4 cup rice flour
3tsps cream of tartar
2tsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups water
few drops food colouring

Put all the ingredients except the food colouring into a pan and cook until thickened, stirring continuously. Let cool, then add the food colouring and knead in until the colour is evenly distributed and dough is no longer sticky.

playdough ingredients

stirring 1

stirring 2

If you are making this, I would recommend gloves for the dyeing bit, or you could end up with blue hands :-)

blue hands

The boys are making lapbooks of their bone studies so watch this space for more bony fun!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Book Sharing Monday - Light Reading

light reading

It's been a while since I posted, and a very long time since a Book Sharing Monday post, but I couldn't resist sharing our love of these books!

Waif is currently very keen on reading stories aloud to all and sundry. He surprised us by actually liking the Oxford Reading Tree series (Biff, Chip et al known to thousands of primary school children around the country) but I can't say as any of us were all that enamoured of some of the stories. Then we rediscovered a couple of these Light Reading books on our shelves, and have been gradually acquiring the full set from Amazon over the last few weeks (mostly second hand for £0.01 each!).

The books are aimed at beginning readers but appeal to Gman (11) too and equally to us parents ;-). The illustrations are very simple and the family that is the subject of the stories is presented in a lovingly humourous way. There's a hopeless-at-DIY Dad, a bossy big sister who always has her nose in a book, and two naughty brothers. From reading certain reviews on Amazon, I am guessing that some people don't really "get" the humour but we LOVE THESE BOOKS!! And how could you not love a kid's book that starts with these lines:

Katherine plays the recorder.
Roger plays the piano.
Mark plays the fool.