Science - Ants, Volcanoes, and Butterflies, oh my!

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Science - Ants, Volcanoes, and Butterflies, oh my!

Unread post by cbollin »

Ds asks when do we get to erupt a volcano?!
Julie L. wrote:My ds is interested in a volcano experiment and I was wondering if erupting a volcano is included in one of the years? My ds is 8 and I was thinking of doing Adventures next year.

Julie L.
There were some in 1st grade and some in RTR (in the astronomy book of all places) No need to wait that long.... take some vinegar and baking soda and have fun today. food coloring is fun with it too.

My kids love doing this all the time. We use a small empty spice jar (glass), put it on a baking pan.

vary the experiment a bit.... try it with orange juice, or lemon juice, instead of vinegar.

check out some of the other variations on the PBSKids website under Zoom.

kidsdomain dot com/craft/volcano1.html

has some easy to do volcano stuff
enjoy it! (why am I singing the Brady Bunch theme song?)

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Unread post by JenniferF »

Volcanoes are scheduled in a couple of the years. In K with the Rocks lesson it is suggested. And in 1st grade it is scheduled. I am currently doing adventures and while it isn't scheduled in here, there are two perfect times to do a volcano.

1-- In the study of Solid, Liquid and Gases-- molten rock, solid rock....and using baking soda and vinegar to make a volcano shows the gas of CO2 being made. (can you guess it happened to fall of my dd's doing this week of adventures along with the week of Kdg Rocks at the same time-- great timing!!)

2-- The other time it would be perfect study is the last week of adventures when learning about the states of Hawaii and Alaska. That would be great to add it in then.

There is also a volcano experiment how to on youtube . com Just search for Cullen's ABC volcano experiment and you should find it.

We have really enjoyed adventures this year. Welcome along!

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Unread post by Joy1139 »

My boys love to make a volcano. We take a plastic bottle, place it in a baking dish, cover it with dirt/sand, until just the tip is poking out. We color the vinegar red with food coloring. Then, we use a funnel to get the baking soda down into the bottle. Then, you pour the red vinegar into the bottle. It's also fun to put the baking soda into a balloon and place the balloon onto a bottle that has had vinegar poured into it. Shake it up alittle (be sure it is pointed away from you) until the baking soda falls down into the bottle. The balloon will shoot through the air. They love that one.
Julie in MN
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Unread post by Julie in MN »

There's also a volcano in ECC! I remember that one of the options used a tube of toothpaste :o)

[edited to add: RTR's Astronomy also!]

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Unread post by lyntley »

I remember 7th grade earth science well as my teacher made a volcano with bread, PButter and jelly on a styro foam plate he had cut a whole in the bottom. He inconspicuously put a can of spray whipped creme under it and sprayed it up through the volcano. Don't wait have fun and eat it when your done!
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Unread post by kellybell »

I'm glad other moms posted because I forgot what year they were. Probably because once I showed them the volcano, it became a several-times-a-year thing. They do it in the sandbox that surrounds our swingset. They build up a hill, put in a Dixie cup and then ka-boom.

They also love to "make a river" in the same sandbox. That's from ECC too.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
Julie L.
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Unread post by Julie L. »

Thanks for all your suggestions! I guess we are the minority here never having done a volcano!

Julie L.
Julie in MN
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Anyone use the Butterfly Garden or Ant Hill in other years?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

jhusted wrote:I wanted to do these this year since we missed MFW K. I was just wondering if anyone has done this before and could tell me when would be a good time to schedule it in. I'm sure I could do it at anytime, just wanted to get some advice if you had done it before. Thanks.

We'll be starting Adventures next week. I'm really excited, but also a little nervous. I just want everything to go smoothly.
Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:03 pm
Hi Joanne,
You might be happy to know that in EX1850, both the ant farm and butterfly garden are optional extras in the animal study, as well as a few other animal kits. We're looking forward to those this year!
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Unread post by Lucy »

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 6:10 pm

I think we have done butterflies 3 times since my kids were little. I remember the last time we did it over a year ago I felt this would probably be the last time. It was a bit sad!

Anyway, you could do it at anytime during the year but spring or when your weather is going to warmer is probably a good time since when you release them they will live a bit longer than if it were winter.

We have never stopped being amazed at the transformation of the butterfly. Enjoy the wonder!
Julie L.
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Unread post by Julie L. »

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 6:56 pm

We've done an ant farm two times. The second time this summer using MFW's ant hill. I forget when is the best time to do the ant farm. I love the ant farms because they are so low maintenance.:) Just a few drops of water every other day and a bite of food every 3 days. Ours lived longer than they said they would (1 1/2 mos). Very cool to see what grand workers they are- good lesson for dc too.:) We need to do the butterfly garden, but we will have to wait.

Julie L.
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Unread post by jhusted »

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 11:37 pm

Thanks for the responses. I hadn't thought about waiting for the warmer weather to do butterflies. Thanks for the heads up Lucy. I guess we'll do Ants first and wait until Spring to do butterflies.

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:32 am

The garden used in MFW K is made by InsectLore dot com
I think that's where you can order additional ants for the ant hill and caterpillars for butterfly garden.

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Location: United States

Questions about Ant Hill & Butterfly Garden

Unread post by KimberlyND »

JessicaInMichigan wrote:Our daughter, Abigail, is starting kindergarten this fall and our son, Elijah, is 3. MFW seems perfect for us and we are all very excited to dive in. I did have one question though. How is the quality of the Ant Hill and Butterfly Garden?

I've heard bad things about the ones you get from Toys R Us and other places...the bugs arrive mostly dead. If someone could let me know if it's worth the money, that would be great! Thanks alot!
Welcome to homeschooling and to MFW!! We love both!

We did both the Ant Hill and the Butterfly Garden even though we haven't done MFW-K yet. We had great success with both. Last summer we ordered the frog eggs from Insect Lore also with great success. We didn't loose a frog!

Have a great time learning.
Kimberly in ND
MFW user since 2007, gone through K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CtG, RtR, Exp. to 1850, & 1850 to Modern Times
Using ECC 2014-2015 with an 8th grade son and 4th grade daughter
Have been HS for 19 years and graduated 3 dc.
Julie in MN
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Re: Questions about Ant Hill & Butterfly Garden

Unread post by Julie in MN »

We used the ant hill in 6th grade as part of the animal study in Exploration to 1850. We found the one MFW sells to be a quality kit -- sturdy container, set up so that you can easily see the ants, with all the things you need from "sand" to a stick for starting out. The instructions are very clear on what to do once you get your ants (refrigerate for a bit to make them sleepy etc), how to feed them, and even how to get a replacement set if they arrive dead or die soon thereafter. Ours lived quite a bit longer than the booklet said. They were quite popular around here, with the whole neighborhood checking in on them daily :)
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Amy in NC
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Re: Questions about Ant Hill & Butterfly Garden

Unread post by Amy in NC »

We had a great time with both. No dead ants or caterpillars. A friend who was a classroom teacher did complain about hers coming dead. I commented that they will replace them, to which she replied, "Yeah, they came after school was out." So you might inquire as to the circumstances. As hs'ers we don't have those types of constraints. My other thought would be - did they not attend to the insects in a timely fashion after arriving, like in a school where they might sit in the box over the weekend.

We enjoyed the ants too. They lived forever. I remember wondering if they would ever die !! Sad, but true. And we never had anything escape, even with a toddler in the house.

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Rob♥ for 18 yrs
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Re: Questions about Ant Hill & Butterfly Garden

Unread post by courthart246 »

We've also had great success with both the ant hill and butterfly garden. Our ants seemed to live forever, but they were always a wonderful topic for discussion when we had other families over. We are currently using our butterfly garden, and as a matter of fact our first butterfly came out of its chrysalid today while we were at violin lessons. My kids were overjoyed and couldn't wait to show Daddy at lunch. Both of these sets are quality items, and we have loved the experiences they have provided for our family.
Married 20 Years to Jamie
Loving MFW along with my three kids:
ds - 16 (World History and Literature)
ds - 13 (Exploration to 1850)
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Cyndi (AZ)
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Re: Questions about Ant Hill & Butterfly Garden

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

All of our caterpillars became beautiful butterflies that we were able to keep inside and feed for a week. They were all gorgeous as we released them and watched them fly around the yard.

The ants just wouldn't die. My dh had to dispose of the whole kit because he just didn't want it in his office anymore. We're bad - I blame him.

Very cool, definitely worthwhile experiences.
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Re: Questions about Ant Hill & Butterfly Garden

Unread post by kellybell »

Okay, our ants didn't last long, but thankfully the kids never were really "into" them.

We've had great luck with our butterflies. Every single one of them turned into a butterfly except one. Anyway, when we get the new caterpillars I will be sure to wear my reading glasses when it comes time to pin the chrysallis circle into the butterfly hut. After a few days of waiting, I took a good look at the non-hatcher and discovered I had pinned through him. Just grazed him, but enough to do him in. The kids were sad but accepting and I was the one that bawled like a baby.

So, soon our new caterpillars will arrive and when it's time to attach the circle/disk to the meshy cage, I will either use really stong tape or reading glasses if I use a pin.


So, yes, the butterfly garden works. Don't know what we did to ruin the ant farm, but no sad feelings there, really.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).

Re: Questions about Ant Hill & Butterfly Garden

Unread post by cbollin »

Welcome Along!

Insect Lore has a good rep. Even our library uses their stuff each year to order caterpillars. We really liked them :)

I don't remember much problem with the ants either.

tagging onto Kelly... we used taped instead of a pin. well, let me restate that.... The first time we used tape.

The 2nd time (last year).... through a strange set of happenings, we transferred the caterpillar jar to the container before they were ready. And they ate their food like good growing caterpillars and then they crawled to the top of the pavilion on their own. So, we didn't have to tape/pin or anything the circle thingy from the top of the food jar.. They crawled to the top of the pavilion and all 5 hatched.

You see, the youngest wanted to look inside the jar. and then we have a cat. and well... To protect everyone... we put the open jar inside the pavilion and the hung the pavilion on a tension rod in a door way. Out of reach of the cat, but still visible to the kids.

It still worked. God is good.

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Ant Farm Questions

Unread post by lawree »

Busymom wrote:Is the ant farm in the K program the kind where you can see the tunnels from the front AND the back? And did it work out well?

Also, I'm considering getting the kind with the blue gel.--Any feedback from anyone using that kind? I know you don't have to add extra food in that one since the gel is the food. However, does that take away from the experience of "seeing" the ants move/place the food?

Thanks for any help!
We set up our ant farm a few weeks ago and it was a lot of fun. There are two sides to it and the ants made a lot of tunnels on one side and piles of sand on the other. The kids have really enjoyed getting to watch them move the sand around and watching them move their tunnels. Our son, who is in K, really enjoys getting to feed them and help take care of them.

The only problem we had, which was our fault, our first set of ants arrived dead because of the cold weather, and we didn't check our mail box a for a couple days. The company had an email address to let them know and they sent more for free.
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Re: Ant Farm Questions

Unread post by ilovemy4kids »

We've done both sand and gel farms and although the gel ones are pretty cool, I think you get a better experience from the sand farms.....the kids seemed to like them better too!
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Re: Ant Farm Questions

Unread post by cefcdana »

We just finished our sand ant farm. Beware...we fed them carrots as the directions stated. We finally noticed them eating each other :( and realized for some reason they weren't eating the carrots. We switched to bread with syrup on it and that went over a lot better.
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Besides MFW K, are volcanoes discussed again?

Unread post by Yodergoat »

psalm126mama wrote:I don't have clay to make a volcano. If I skip this experiment now, will it get repeated again sometime in the future in another grade? Thanks!
If you don't have clay but DO have play dough of some sort, I have read where others used it successfully. When I was a little girl, I made one out of a jar surrounded by crumpled newspapers that we put papier mache (where is that accent mark?) on and then painted to look like rock. It looked, as I remember saying back in the day, "totally awesome." I remember setting up little plastic farm animals and people on it and watching in mixed fascination and horror as they were swept away by the "lava." I got really elaborate with mine but you certainly wouldn't have to do so. A jar or cup set in amongst a mound of sand and rocks might even do... I recall that I saw that in a video once. They just scooped a hole in the dirt out in the yard, put the cup in it, mounded sand and dirt and rocks around it to look like a mountain, and then added the ingredients. It made a realistic effect.
I'm Shawna...
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... happily wed to William since 1996
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Re: Besides MFW K, are volcanoes discussed again?

Unread post by cbollin »

totally awesome and radical!

in 1850MOD science..... there's a volcano bottle. basically we took construction paper and made a monster or could make it a mountain though..

wrap the bottle with the paper for decoration (it could be a emptied out spice bottle or long necked bottle like with Coke bottle or something like that.

then put in the vinegar
add some food coloring for lava
you could put in a tiny bit of paper towel to "shoot up" from the volcano.
and then baking soda.

I can't remember the exact experiment in Kindy. what about home made play dough just for this? I think there's a recipe in the Kindy manual? flour, water, salt... do the experiment in the kitchen sink.. then toss it.

In 1st will be the next time. I'm thinking there was a cup that was used. Or maybe that was in the Astronomy unit in RTR? hmm...

yes... you'll have lots of time for this.. and variety of ways...
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Re: Besides MFW K, are volcanoes discussed again?

Unread post by gratitude »

We did ours in the yard/property. We had the room so the boys built a 2 foot high mountain, then we stuck a jar in the middle (? on the jar) and watched it explode. From this it became quite elaborate. Months were spent by the boys turning a 20-30 foot by 8-10 foot space into rivers, islands, pipes for dams, etc. with the volcano at one end. All of the islands had names. I think it is the most elaborate and furthest a home schooling project has become for us.
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