Friends, Fossils and Wonky Wheels

Tuesday is now an extremely busy day.  We’ve started a new Home Ed Coding Club that requires us to be in far end of Portsmouth for 10.30.  With not knowing how long it would take to get there and wanting to pick up some supplies for the afternoon activity in the city centre we left home before 9!  Think we will probably do that every week as that bus is usually on time (next one is very unreliable) and 2 ferries are running so the trip is smooth.  Will get us to library rather early but we’ll take our Maths and English to do there.

Sam really enjoyed the club, not sure he followed the instructions but it was comfortably within his abilities.

We had some drama when, at the furthest point from home I have ever taken it, the wheel fell off my (admittedly overloaded) granny trolley.    Had visions of being stranded at the library for ever ;).  But nice friend who knew the area better went out and bought me a new one while I grated soap for the afternoon’s activity and ‘supervised’ the boys.

On to the afternoon and since we’re over in Portsmouth and a short walk away from it makes sense to go to the Adventure Playground meet.  Not sure we’ll go every week, might opt for Victoria Park sometimes for a change as far prefer the place  (I don’t know what it is about this playground it is perfect on paper but gives me the heebie jeebies) but we’ll see. It was nice to sit in the sunshine and chat over lunch while the kids played.

I took some of the activities I’d planned to do with Sam for our ‘How the Earth Works’ science project to the group.  We started off looking at some fossils and then ‘making’ them.

The one from the book might be a fail long term, but worked quite well there.  We cut sponges into bone shapes.  This is Sam’s skull, others were more bone shaped and then there were random bits of sponge.

I made up a saturated solution of Epsom salts and the children soaked their sponges before taking them home to see what happens as they dry out.

The idea is that as the water evaporates the salt in the holes in the sponge will crystallize and the sponge will feel hard.  Mimicking how minerals get into the holes in bones under the ground and harden so when the bone itself has decomposed there is still a hard bone shape.

Will have to see.  Epsom salt experiments are not working well for me lately.

The other activity had a far more impressive outcome but was not such a good activity for a group of kids.  Should have tested it as was making it up but got it to work with help.

We looked at amber and talked about what it was and how it formed.

Then we took plastic flies (any plastic bugs would do 😉 ) and popped them into a silicon ice cube tray.  Think this would work with non silicon if you greased the holes with vaseline.

We then melted our soap.  I’d grated it first to speed up melting.  We used Pears for the colour.  Found one bar made 3 ‘amber soaps’.

20160224_1 Having failed with doing it over a pan of water we resorted to microwave. Short 10 second bursts and stir.  It was setting almost immediately it came out so rather than each child spooning their own cube it was a quick adult tip it over job.  Would benefit from a shake at this point to get the bugs further into the soap.

20160224_4 Doesn’t look good at this point as all the bubbles rise but when you break off the loose bits of soap from the pouring and turn over the soap.  Voila!


Really pleased with result!

We managed Cubs and yoga after we got home.  Very full day.



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1 thought on “Friends, Fossils and Wonky Wheels”

  1. What great ideas! I’ve never thought about melting soap to re-make your own soap. I tried to recreate insects trapped in amber with ice once but it didn’t work very well as they kept floating up, and when I froze in layers it didn’t look right. Soap sounds like it would work much better.

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