Friday, August 28, 2015

Multiplying Domino Fractions

Fractions can be challenging for kids. I thought I'd see how my 10-year old son would do multiplying fractions.

I made some fun game cards, which I laminated, and got out our set of dominoes and two dry-erase markers. I put the doubles aside (i.e. six six, four four, etc.) and turned the rest of the dominoes upside down on the table.

Download a free one-page PDF with two game cards from Google Drive here.

He drew two dominoes from the pile and placed them on the game card. 

Then he multiplied the numerators and the denominators, writing the numbers on the card with a dry-erase marker. Stumped? Watch this great video from Khan Academy.

Lastly, my son reduced the fraction to its lowest terms, if he could.

Now it was my turn. I did the same thing with my game card. Lastly, I asked him to compare our final answers. Whose fraction was bigger?

If it's not readily apparent, we looked for a common denominator. Confused? Watch another Khan Academy instructional video; this one is great!

The player with the largest fraction takes the four dominoes. With a limited set of double six dominoes, we were able to play three rounds.

With the cards laminated, the dry-erase numbers you add can be wiped clean with a paper towel.

The player with the most dominoes in the end wins. My son really enjoyed this and asked to play it again; it's fun skills practice!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Balloon that Inflates Itself (a Science Experiment)

That title is probably a little deceiving. The truth is, we blew up a balloon without it ever touching our lips - thanks to a gas-producing chemical reaction. 

With older brother away, this was the perfect experiment to pass some of the day. My six-year-old son was in awe!

What You Need
Empty plastic water/soda bottle
3 tsp. baking soda
1/3 c. vinegar
2 people

What to Do
Pour about 1/3 c. vinegar into your empty plastic bottle. Set aside.

Now one person holds open the neck of the balloon while another empties three teaspoons of baking soda inside it. (Yes, a mess is inevitable.)

Push the baking soda down so that it's resting on the bottom of the uninflated balloon.

Carefully stretch the neck of the balloon over the top of the bottle without spilling any baking soda inside.

Now hand the bottle over to your child and instruct them to shake and swirl the bottle until the baking soda is emptied from the balloon.

Watch what happens. The balloon inflates!

How it Works
When the baking soda and vinegar combine, a chemical reaction occurs. Carbon dioxide gas is created and, without anywhere to go, pushes up through the neck of the bottle, inflating the balloon.

Monday, August 24, 2015

After School Linky (8-24)

Welcome to the party!

Loads of great ideas are shared here every week. If you're a blogger, I hope you'll link up. If you're not, keep stopping by every Monday for a healthy dose of inspiration!

Here are a few of my favorites from last week's party.

Apple-Themed Skip Counting Activity at There's Just One Mommy

How to Make a Reknek at Boy Mama Teacher Mama

Play the Thrift Store Game at Grandma Ideas

5 Trampoline Games from The Chaos and the Clutter

The After School Linky is cohosted by
Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
We would love to have you link up your School-Age Post (Ages 5 and up) about your learning week after school including Crafts, Activities, Playtime and Adventures that you are doing to enrich your children's lives after their day at school, home school, or on the weekend!
When linking up, please take a moment to comment on at least one post linked up before yours and grab our after school button to include a link on your post or site! By linking up, you're giving permission for us to share on our After School Pinterest Board and feature an image on our After School Party in the upcoming weeks!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Swimming Fish (A Science Experiment)

Four supplies - five if your kids are artistic - are all it takes to make artificial fish swim. This was loads of fun, which is my favorite way to teach science concepts.

What You Need
White craft foam
Baking dish of water (either jelly roll or 9- x 13-inch casserole dish)
Liquid dish detergent
Permanent markers

What to Do
Cut fish shapes approximately 2 inches long from the white craft foam. Decorate your fish with permanent markers if you want.

Cut a small rectangle out of the tail fin of each fish.

Fill a pan with about an inch of water.

Place your fish in the water, pointed in the direction you want it to swim.

Carefully drop a drip of dish detergent in the fish's tail fin notch.

Watch your fishy zoom forward!


To repeat, you'll need to dump the now soap-filled water and refill with plain water.

Note: We wanted to race two fish but found that it was tough to get the drips of soap in two fish so quickly. As soon as the soap disperses in the water, the fish won't swim.

How Does it Work
The detergent breaks the surface tension of the water, forcing the fish forward as the water molecules break apart because of the soap.

The awesome activity came from a collection of everyday at-home science experiments. I highly recommend Kitchen Science Lab for homeschoolers, supplemental after school science lessons, mad science-themed birthday activities, etc.

Why not teach your kids about fish along with this activity? We read the following books, which inspired the designs of our fish and our REAL understanding of how they swim in the wild.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Four Before Three (Free Printable Exponents Game)

Our 10-year old participated in a summer camp for kids who love math. What I love about this camp is that they care less about what grade level each child is at, and more about where their abilities are. This enabled my soon-to-be fifth grader to complete some sixth grade math concepts, like exponents.

He's a whiz at multiplication so it's no surprise that he found base numbers and their powers to be a fun challenge!

I devised a fun game for us to play together.

I made two dice - one with base numbers and the others with powers. Printed on heavyweight cardstock, folded, and glued, these two dice will be rolled with each turn.

Players roll the dice and calculate the exponent (e.g. If you roll a base number of 3 and a power of 4, determine what three to the fourth power is. Cover "81" on your card if you have it). If a player rolls a six, they place a game piece on one of the grey circles at the bottom of the card. 

The goal is to get four in a row in the colored grid before all three grey circles are covered at the bottom of the card.

Need help with the calculations, use scratch paper, a calculator, or this handy grid.

This game can be played with multiple players or just one. It's a game of luck so it can be played over and over without becoming boring.

Download this game for free from Google Drive here.