Saint Patrick's Day Unit Study - Science
Science for the Springtime!
Learning and fun should go hand in hand! Children love to apply their learning to something they relate to, something enjoyable, something that will stick long after the lessons are done. Why not connect a holiday which comes every year to everyday learning objectives? Since I enjoy holidays, I like to create lesson plans related to them! These science suggestions are ones I thought would be exciting during March, near Saint Patrick's Day! They focus around rainbows, color, light, plants, shamrocks, potatoes, and states of matter. I hope they make the entire learning process memorable for your children!
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
This page is a part of a larger unit study for March - check below for other curricular subjects.
Rainbows, Colors, & Light!
Experiment with mirrors, light and water to create rainbows! Explore color theory and mixing for a great art - science combination project! (Just click where you want to go!)
*God's Rainbow from Annie talks about the Biblical meaning of rainbows.
Rainbow Information at Wikipedia
How are rainbows formed? from Science Kids has a wonderful description of how rainbows come into being. :)
Curious Colors Experiments ~ Make a Water Hose Rainbow, Magic Color Breakdown, Making a Rainbow in the Sun or a Dark Room!
Rainbow Themed Activities from DLTK include coloring pages, crafts, and recipes.
Light, Color, & Heat Experiment from Science Kids.
Physics of Light from Wikipedia - high school plus.
Light & Refraction Information from Creative Kids at Home.
What is your favorite color of the rainbow?
(Click above to find out more about chemistry at Chemistry4Kids!)
Make some green jello as a St. Patty's Day snack while learning about chemistry! Discuss how states of matter can change with temperature.
Since you will need boiling water to make the jello anyway, why not start by doing something a little different as a demonstration? Fill your pan with ice cubes! Have children identify them as solids. Remind them that water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit / 0 degrees Celsius. As you apply heat, talk about how the solid matter changes into liquid matter. Finally, demonstrate how the liquid matter changes to a gas matter when it is heated 212 degrees F / 100 degrees C or more.
Next, follow the directions on the package of jello. As you do, show the powder (solid), measure and add your heated water (liquid), and mix them together thoroughly (concept of diffusion - "To spread over or through as in air, water, or other matter, especially by fluid motion or passive means."). What happened to the powder? Did it change forms? Add the cool water and mix. Chill in the refrigerator for the designated time. Ask what will happen to the liquid when it is place into a colder place (changes to a solid).
While waiting, review how you went from a solid, to liquid, to gas when adding heat, and changed from liquid to solid when cooling. Can they think of other things that are able to go through this process? Remind them that an energy change such as a temperature change is necessary to create the chemical reaction. Enjoy your jello! :D
Biology ~ Botany ~ Plants
Biology4Kids website has a fantastic section for botany studies!
Shamrocks ~ Green Fields & Land!
Ireland is a very green place full of many plants. A favorite one is called a shamrock. A shamrock is green and has three leaves and looks a little like three hearts put together with a stem. Shamrocks close their leaves in the evening but open every morning. Many people think a shamrock or clover (especially a 4 leaf clover) will bring them good luck. It is said that Saint Patrick used the shamrock as a symbol of the Trinity. The shamrock is a national symbol for Ireland.
Clover Facts & Fun! ~ Find some interesting information about clover at Clovers Online! ~ Facts about Four-leaf Clovers, A Clover Song, A True Clover Story, A Clover Crossword Puzzle, How to grow White Clover, How to preserve Clovers, Facts about Shamrocks, Facts about Five-leaf Clovers, A Clover Poem, Clover Trivia, and How to grow the Good Luck Plant!
Shamrocks / White Clover ~ Find out what a "Shamrock" is and the story behind it.
Hands-On Activity ~ Plant something like clover or alfalfa seeds that will grow quickly into something green and beautiful! Easy Fun School has detailed directions on how to grow "Shamrocks" by seed or transplanting along with care directions.
Growing Shamrocks ~ cut a shamrock shape out of a piece of cloth (preferably terry cloth). Wet the cloth and wring out. Spread out onto a tray or dish. Sprinkle alfalfa seed on the top and check for moistness. Place in a dark area for the first few days, always checking that it remains damp. Place in sunlight to change to a green color.
4 Leaf Clovers - Lucky or not?
I wonder ~ Do you think 4 leaf clovers are really lucky? / Have you ever found one?
Plants: "Wow!" "Why did that happen?" "Can we do more?" These are the kinds of comments teachers hear when they use exciting adventures to introduce their students to the "magic" of science. All the activities are based on sound scientific principles that help youngsters develop scientific awareness and appreciation. Complete lessons and objectives are included in each book."
Plants Thematic Unit: "Plants Thematic Unit is based on the following pieces of literature: How a Seed Grows, Flowers Fruits Seeds, Planting a Rainbow, and A Tree Is Nice. This reproducible resource is filled with ready-to-use lessons and cross-curricular activities. Also included are management ideas, creative suggestions for the classroom, and a bibliography."
Study more about botany and plants!
Irish Potatoes ~ Potato Famine
*The Potato Story is an online story about the plant life cycle, healthy potatoes, growing plants, and balanced meals from McCain Foods. Teacher and parent sections are included with teaching suggestions, recipes, and growing instructions.
Join Spuddy Buddy from Idaho Potatoes for online lessons, games, and video about spuds! A fun coloring book, maze, word search, and quiz are available for free download for kids. Find information about potatoes and nutrition, or try some delicious recipes.
*Potato Kids has fun stuff and learning that kids will enjoy! Read about the history of potatoes (including the Irish potato famine), "Tater Trivia" Fun Facts, Free Publications to Download: Kids are Cooking Potatoes! and The Amazing Washington Potato full of enjoyable activities kids will learn from, Potato Nutrition Facts, the Potato Canon Game, Cool Projects with Potatoes, Recipes for Kids, and future sections for growing activities and teachers.
*Potato Goodness has some excellent teaching activities for teachers and parents including nutrition information, reading labels, recipes, and videos. Check out the posters, worksheets, and other downloads!
Make a Potato Battery with these directions from PBS's Zoom!
Peel a few potatoes and examine the color of the potato flesh. Set one potato on a plate in a warm spot, and one on a plate in a refrigerator. Check every hour. Does the color change? How did it change? Why did it happen? What would happen if it stayed there for a week or month?
Kids will enjoying creating some Potato Prints on paper or t-shirts with Martha Stewart.
Loving Potatoes! has some fun ideas for potatoes! (The dino baked potato is adorable!)
Have you been enlightened by your rainbow of colorful knowledge in the green, shamrock filled pastures above?