Thursday, 9 December 2010

EXPERIMENT - Michelangelo's Surprise

Based on this book
Alisdair has been busy working on some lapbook projects.  We were pleased to find a website that links various books with free lapbook templates/activities.  One we have been working on is called Michelangelo's Surprise. It is based on a true story that took place in 1494, "after an unusual snowfall" when "Piero de' Medici, the ruler of Florence at that time, summoned Michelangelo to his palazzo to make a snowman."  Instead of the usual snowman (constructed from three large snowballs), Michelangelo made lifelike sculptures.  The colourful book, written by Tony Parillo, and published by Farrar Straus Giroux, is based on this event.

We ordered the book through inter-library loans.  We then downloaded all the templates from the Homeschoolshare website.  (See link above).  There are vocabulary words taken from the book, an experiment and other activities.  Once the mini-books are completed, they are added to a lapbook which is a record of the pupil's work and also a great keepsake and can help the student recall what they have learned.

Alisdair enjoyed completing the snow experiment.  He filled a jar with packed snow and then brought it inside and put it on his desk.  We measured how much snow was in the jar (about 6 inches) and recorded the information on a graph.

Packed snow

Then he guessed how much water there would be in the jar once the snow melted.  That was recorded on the graph in another colour of crayon.  Then the boring part began.  Alisdair wanted to put the jar on top of the hot-air register to try to get it to melt faster!  He also attempted to get it to melt more quickly by putting the snow under his desk lamp!  He even tried melting the snow with the help of a hair dryer.  However, none of these "rapid methods" were very satisfactory, and he just had to wait until the snow liquified in its own time!

Resulting Water
  The final results:

Final Results
Alisdair guessed there would be about three inches of water in the bottom of the jar when the approximately six inches worth of snow melted.  In actuality, only about two and a half inches of water was created by the melting the snow.  As we were doing the experiment, Alisdair laughed and wondered aloud what a child would do if they lived in Florida (or somewhere else) where snow was not common!  But thanks to our Canadian winters, this was an easy experiment for us to try -- and something I'd never done despite being exposed to snow throughout my life. 

When our "Michelangelo's Surprise" lapbook is eventually completed, we will post more photos of the project.

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