Friday, March 25, 2011

Jello Cells...Yum!

To begin our study of the human body, we are learning about cells, the building blocks of, well, everything. We're using:
The Kingfisher First Human Body Encyclopedia (Kingfisher First Reference)
and also Body systems and organs: Covering system, skeletal system, muscular system, circulatory system, respiratory system, digestive system, excretory system, ... system (Step-by-step science series) Really long title for a little paperback workbook!

 We studied pictures of cells and their labeled parts, then decided to make an edible cell. Cuz every lesson is better when you eat it at the end.
 After raiding the refrigerator and cabinets, we came up with stawberry nuclei, gumdrop mitochondria, ribosome sprinkles, and tootsie rolls flattened and curled to look like rough ER. I wouldn't recommend the tootsie rolls - they melted in the jello. We could still see bits of them in there. The ooze wasn't pretty, though.

KID 1 adds ribosome sprinkles

KID 2 drops in mitochondria gumdrops

Our cells are ready for cryofreezing...or cryofrigerating in our case.


We put a cell on a glass plate and held a light under, huh?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Phoenician Purple Dye - The Color of Kings

We're making purple dye this week as we study the Phoenicians (The Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times), a continuation of our classical study of history. The Phoenicians were well-known for their purple dyes, extracted from a type of sea snail and boiled for over a week. Cloth dyed with this purple hue was so expensive, only the very wealthy could afford it, making purple the "color of kings."

I got some helpful tips from this site:

We'll need:

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 8 cups water
  • large pot
  • blueberries (we used 4 cups)
  • water
  • colander/strainer
  • cotton t-shirts 
  • rubber bands, if tie-dying
Band your fabric if tie-dying. Simmer the fabric for one hour in the salt fixative: 1/2 cup salt dissolved in 8 cups cold water. Rinse and squeeze excess.

In the meantime, boil blueberries in water (water is double the amount of blueberries). Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for one hour. Strain the liquid into a large pot.
Place fabric into dye bath and simmer until desired color is achieved.
KID 1 banded his own shirt (far left). I banded KID 2's shirt as per her instructions on placement (far right). We even made a shirt for Mommy...won't I just feel like royalty in my purple?