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Fun outdoor project: Using recycled crayons to identify leaves

Botany or the study of plants is a great way to introduce simple and basic plant concepts. Plants have many components like leaves, which make parts of trees, bushes, and flowers. When plants grow, they can produce seeds, fruits and leaves. But leaves are powerful producers of photosynthesis. They harness the sunlight energy in the presence of carbon dioxide and water to manufacture sugars necessary for plants to live. Without leaves, trees and plants would not be able to exist.

Leaves are present in different shapes and sizes. Botanists are experts that can distinguish between the various types of leaves. Some leaves can be long, oblong, or short, circular. But these can vary. From simple to complex ones, most leaves have veins. These channels carry nutrients and water to plants.

But young nature explorers can also identify and distinguish the different types of leaves. In this project, children along with adults can explore backyards or parks for several leaves. Children should always be along side adults when exploring unknown places.

Recycled crayons and leaves

How to use broken pieces of crayons?

Materials:

  • Pieces of crayons
  • Aluminum muffin liners
  • Oven

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Collect as many broken pieces of crayons
  • Separate them by color or color tones
  • Place them on separate muffin liners
  • Insert into oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Warning: Only adults should take the muffin pan out.
  • Let the crayons cool
  • Once cool, gently take them out and place on a paper plate or other suitable place
  • Use to color, draw or to do the leaves project below

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How to use crayons to identify types of leaves?

Materials:

  • Crayon slabs
  • Various leaves
  • Construction papers
  • Glue

Instructions:

  • Collect fallen leaves in your backyard or park
  • Select leaves with various shapes and sizes (tip: Make sure to not gather crunchy leaves. They tend to break for this project)
  • Place them on a plastic bag
  • Arrange them on construction paper
  • Color the side with veins
  • Paste them with glue and let them dry
  • Study the veins and contour arrangements

Did you notice the different shapes of each leaf? Did you notice the veins as you color the leaf? When doing this project, make sure to study the structures, forms, and color of each leaf.

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Easy Science Project for Kids: How to Grow a Lima Bean Seed

School science projects can be an exciting time for students who like to explore the wonders of nature. For children, it is a great time to explain the many natural processes that occur around us. A very simple science project, to begin with, is the process of growing a Lima bean seed.

Lima bean seeds are easy to grow and resilient to climate changes. They have a fast growing rate: most beans will sprout in about 14 days. If you’re planning on performing this science project, please be aware of the time it takes to complete the project and the deadline of the science project.

Lima bean seeds are also called ‘butter beans’. It is believed that Lima beans or Phaseolus lunatus originated in South America around 2000 BC. By 800 AD, Lima beans were exported to different parts of Europe and America. Lima bean seeds have a characteristic kidney-liked shape. They are about 1-3 cm long and are usually white. As legumes, Lima beans provide good fiber content and other nutritional minerals.

How to grow a Lima Bean Seed
Continue reading Easy Science Project for Kids: How to Grow a Lima Bean Seed
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Fun science experiment for kids: How to make silly putty

make silly putty

Serendipity, it happened! Well, that’s what scientists call it when an accidental science discovery is made. And that’s what James Wright called Silly Putty, when he discovered his new invention.

Brief History

But this rubbery substance was not a toy at first. During World War II, the United States was trying to find a solution to the high demand of rubber usage. General Electric was contracted to find an alternative to rubber. A chemist, James Wright, experimenting to seek a solution to synthetic rubber found Silly Putty. Yet, the fun toy was not widely accepted until a few years later.

It wasn’t until 1956 that Peter Hodgson commercialized Silly Putty. It began to sell in catalogs and soon became a popular toy. It is now widely available around the world. This novelty toy is mostly composed of silicone and boric acid. And, of course, it has the typical characteristic of bouncing and stretching to the limits.

Silly Putty is now available in many different colors for anyone to enjoy. Other playful uses are comic impressions. Place it on top of a piece of comic strip and gently lift up. And you have a comic imprint. Silly Putty is also available in color changing and glow-in-the-dark shapes. Have fun making silly but fun shapes and other cool experiments with this rubbery substance.

How to Make Silly Putty

Here, a cool experiment is done to simulate the texture of Silly Putty. This project is not recommended for children under 4 years old.

Materials:

  • Cornstarch
  • Regular white glue
  • Medium size bowl
  • Food coloring
  • Spoon
  • Water

Instructions:

  • Place old newspaper on the working surface
  • Mix 4 tbsp. of cornstarch with 2 tbsp. of glue inside a bowl
  • Gently add a few drops of water to the mixture
  • Keep adding water until it forms a consistency of pudding as seen in Figure 1

make silly putty
Figure 1

  • Add 2 or 3 drops of food coloring, until desired shade of color
  • Mix all ingredients together with a spoon
  • Add water if necessary
  • Place on non-stick aluminum foil or heavy-duty paper plate with coating
  • Form different letter shapes or numbers

make silly putty
Figure 2

Let children play (Figure 2) with this type of dough to develop different textures. You can also freeze it to see the effects of temperature. I don’t recommend heating or applying heat to this substance. Discard in a wastebasket after playing with it.

Recommended article:

“The stretchy, snappy, squishy science of Silly Putty” by Emily Costello. SuperScience Scholastics  2002. Pg. 12-13.