Flying Sheet of Paper

The next time you plan to make paper airplanes with the kids, throw in this little STEM exercise, first!

The idea is to hold a piece of paper (loosely from the top two corners) at about level with your chin, curling the paper slightly toward you at the top. Then blow down as hard as you can. Before we actually did the exercise, I challenged Travis to write down his hypothesis (fancy word!): Would his breath blow the paper down toward his chest, or up toward his nose?

His guess, surprising me because it is counter to logic, was… Up!

Well, it turns out he was right ,and the answer is thanks to some neat science. When the molecules above the paper move faster from your breath, the air pressure is becomes lower. That means the higher pressure air under the paper pushes it upward. So the paper billows up instead of down!

The same principal can be applied to the wing of an airplane, hence all this science before we got around to making our paper planes. Of course the next thing we did was to fold up lots of paper planes to soar all around the house!


Weather Sensory Bottles

The first official day of summer was a hot one in our area, with abundant sunshine. I used the sunny day as a jumping off point to discuss all kinds of different weather with Veronika, and then to make it hands-on with these fun weather bottles.

I only put together three bottles: Sunny, Rainy, and Cloudy. But if you want, you can expand and include all 7 from this link (or heck, even more!). We plan to try a sparkly Snowy one with silver glitter or confetti, next time.

For our Sunny bottle, I placed a yellow pom pom into a clean empty water bottle, then filled with water and added only one drop of blue food coloring for the sky. The pom pom will float at the top as the perfect round sun.

For the Cloudy bottle, insert cotton balls or folded cotton pads, and then fill with water. Don’t add any blue, since the cotton gives the water a perfect grayish cast.

For the Rainy bottle, I filled with water and added about five drops of blue food coloring, then filled with blue sequins as the rain drops. This one was fun because the rain “pours” down every time you shake the bottle!

For each version you make, I recommend using hot glue to attach the cap securely. Veronika marveled out our mini weather systems. The rain was by far her favorite, but she enjoyed checking out the others and talking about what she saw.

She was easily able to point out “cloudy” when asked, or which one had a bright yellow sun.

If you like, you can make labels for each jar, but rather than tape the labels on we had fun pairing them with our weather fridge magnets!