Friday, April 15, 2011

Making light of a rainy day

filled with smaller bags
 You know what they say, "April showers.." and all that jazz. Well as we await the beautiful May flowers we have to find fun and active ways to enjoy all of the rainy days.
Today Shnook decided to be Shmitty's science teacher. He looked in the book More Mudpies to Magnets (check my bookbag page) and picked out an activity to teach his little brother. I was pleasantly surprised at how well he lead his eager charge. Shnook patiently explained what he was doing and shared some of his own knowledge of air properties.  We had a fun time exploring the strength of air and I wanted to share with anyone else looking for a simple, cool indoor activity with the kids.

The aim was to explore the strength of air. All you need are plastic bags without holes and a large garbage bag. First, you blow up one bag and discuss the properties of air. Discuss how it's different from and similar to solids and liquids. Push on the bag showing that it takes up space. Second, have the children try and sit on the bag. According to the book the bag is suppose to pop, but of course ours didn't. I took this opportunity to tweak the experiment and test in stead how much weight the air could support. So we went in turn from lightest to heaviest sitting on the bag. Of course it popped when I sat on it, lol. 

Third, discuss why the bag popped and what we can do to get it to support heavier things. After guiding the kids to the idea of adding more air, fill a garbage bag with several smaller plastic bags ( visually demonstrating that you are adding more air) then tie it shut. lastly, repeat the weight test.  

This time really let the kids go at it, laying on it, jumping on it you name it. In the end a neat little surprise will await them. When the garbage bag finally pops the smaller bags, some still filled, will fly out. Since it's the end of the activity they can play a fun game of air bag volleyball. 
Air bag volleyball

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