Wait for it…

Want to try it? You’ll need:

a Mini M&Ms canister – cut the lid off the body
a little bit of clay or gum
Alka-Seltzer tablets – break into quarters
decorations if you want them (washi tape, stickers, Sharpie markers, foil for a shiny nose cone)

Decorate your canister (I didn’t because I was just trying to make sure it worked first). My nose cone is a semi-circle of card stock taped together to make a cone and hot glued in place. Stick the little bit of clay in the lid. This is to delay the reaction of the Alka-Seltzer so that you can take your time. I wish I could remember where I saw about the clay. Thank you, Mysterious Blogger who is probably also a Homeschooler!

Ready to go, Alka-Seltzer in place.

Ready to go, Alka-Seltzer in place.

When you are ready to launch, stick 1/4 of an Alka-Selzer tablet into the clay, put about a tablespoon of water into the canister, and put the lid on top. DON’T FLIP THE ROCKET OVER until you are ready to start the reaction!


Flip it over, set it on the ground (top down) and move away. Pop!

Troubleshooting: Go easy on the water. Too much and it just leaks out as the pressure builds – you need space inside the canister for the CO2 to build up.

Film canisters also work (the Fuji kind especially since the lids sink into the canister) but Mini M&Ms are much easier to come by these days.

Science Camp

My friend April and I are hosting a science camp at the end of June (through our local education enrichment coalition). I’m researching my half (chemistry and electricity) and trying to make the experiments and concepts flow. Because you know how I like it when things match.

I feel like a segue from a discussion of acid v. base to alkaseltzer rockets is totally within reason.

I’m not sure where polymers fit in though. Gotta make bouncy balls.

So many projects, so little time.

Full Day

School may be out but this is another entirely too busy week.


Story time at the library! The Children’s Librarian is out of town and asked if Ellie and I would host while she was gone. Ellie read the last book and planned a craft for the kids.

Have you heard the story of the Baby Blue Cat?

“Have you heard the story of the Baby Blue Cat and the Smiley Worm Doll”?

It was also our last Girl Scout meeting of the year! Which means that our 3rd Grade Brownies ‘flew up’ to become Girl Scout Juniors and the 2nd grade Daisies bridged to be Girl Scout Brownies. There were ice cream sundaes.

They are getting ready to sing the squirrel song.

They are getting ready to sing the squirrel song for all the families.

I’m worn out. And it’s not even Wednesday.

Oak Meadow Grade 2 (the handy stuff)

Emily’s Hot Tips for Oak Meadow Grade 2

  • Go ahead and get both a big wall map and a globe. They are equally important to an understanding of geography.
  • If you don’t like to be outside or if nature makes you feel creepy, Oak Meadow Grade 2 is not for you. An enormous chunk of the Science coursework involves the out-of-doors. It’s a good idea to find some local nature spaces ahead of starting school, you’re going to visit them a lot.
  • Start saving those Ranger Ricks and All Animals now. You’ll need them for collages. Your library may have old issues of animal-filled magazines in their freebie stack. The Best Friends Animal Society publication was also a great critter picture resource.
  • Your local public library will be hugely helpful. I’m sure this is true for any curriculum. There are many opportunities and suggestions for enrichment so making friends with your librarian (and getting library card upgraded to ‘educator’) is a really good thing. If your library system has an on-line catalog that allows you to place items on hold, you’re ahead of the game.
  • My one ‘I wish I had done that differently’ is not giving Social Studies its own Main Lesson Book. The recommendation is that Social Studies and Language Arts be combined while Math and Science each get their own book. Between the enormous volume of work associated with Language Arts and my personal dislike of having Ellie’s writing and illustration juxtaposed with the occasional map of ancient Mali, the combined Main Lesson Book has been a little bit of an angst-maker. By the time I figured out how much this would bug me, it was too late. This is obviously a personal preference and your mileage may vary.
  • Speaking of Main Lesson Books, I switched from the beautiful (and expensive) Waldorf-style books to hard-backed, artist’s sketch books after four lessons. Language Arts had already filled up one book and I did the price tag and storage difficulty math. One decided advantage of the traditional Main Lesson Books is that they are slim, allowing wrists and arms to rest easily on the table. This is a great thing for beginning writers, but Ellie did fine with the thicker sketchbooks. Again, it’s a personal preference.
  • Don’t be afraid to use your little plastic animal collection. For everything.
  • Several of the Lessons could have been tied into Girl Scout Brownie Skill-Building Badges if I had been paying attention (First Aid, Hiking, Painting, and Bugs come to mind). Keep your eye out if you have a Girl Scout.

Things That I Paid Money To Have That I didn’t Really NEED Need
But Ultimately Made Everything Nicer

  • Amazon Prime
  • White board – We use it everyday. It saved paper, helped with gross motor skills, and was all around great. Much less messy than a chalk board and extra nice if you or your child (or both) have a skin condition like eczema (chalk dust can wreck your skin).
  • Project Trays – Oak Meadow prefers a wet paper watercolor technique, so these are great for that. They are also wonderful for storing clay projects to let them dry, collage bits, nature table stuff that likes to shed, you get the idea. Ours came from here.
  • Command Clips!! They hold all the things! Including things you want to hang from the ceiling! I like our curtain wire set-up from IKEA a lot, but I probably would have been OK with a couple rows of command clips.
  • If you are considering a Walt Disney World vacation, this is the year. The Animal Kingdom is the ultimate Oak Meadow Grade 2 field trip – everything we studied in science this year as well as a good bit of Social Studies was reinforced on this trip. Also roller coasters.

Ellie’s Suggestions

  • Having cats is great because they can come to school with you and you can observe them for Science.
  • Having a white board is really cool.
  • Get good colored pencils! It’s nice to draw with really really good ones. (she used my Prismacolor collection)
  • Take all the chances to go outside.
  • Fred
  • Oak Meadow (which I think means that she enjoyed the coursework)

Welcome to Summer Vacation

Oak Meadow Grade 2 is a wrap. We had 172 school days and nine billion happy memories.

The first event of summer? Brownie Hiking Badge!

She made GORP,

It's her own recipe.

It’s her own recipe.

researched hiking gear (visit to the Bass Pro camping and hiking section), practiced her observation skills (counted bugs), picked a route, and kept track on the map.

Matching actual location to map location.

Matching actual location to map location.

Between camps and badges (and finishing this Mermaid pattern arrrrggghhhh), there’s plenty to keep us busy all summer.