Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

One of our favorite stories is Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, by William Steig.  It is a great, classic story about a little donkey who find a magic pebble and ends up accidentally turning himself into a rock.  The story is a bit sad while his parents are looking for him and he is giving up hope of ever becoming a donkey again.  It all ends well, however, and my kids really liked the story.

We decided that it would be fun to do an experiment with some "magic" pebbles of our own, so we brought out the water beads again (and yes, I still have my love-hate relationship with these monsters).  We filled a pan with them, and then left them out on the counter for four days.  We watched them shrink down to tiny pebbles as the water evaporated.

After they had completely shrunk and dried, we decided to see what would happen if we rehydrated them.  Instead of using plain water, we soaked them in Tonic Water, which glows under black lights.

The beads rehydrated well, and the rehydration is much more spectacular to watch than the dehydration because it happens much faster.  They looked really neat under the black lights as well!  Overall, it was a very successful experiment, and the kids got really into checking the beads to look for change.  And the beads did NOT end up all over the house this time (woot!)

As with most of our stories and experiments, I encourage the children to write about them in their journals.  I blogged here about how we use journals.  The journal not only offers great practice at writing and expressing themselves on paper, but it also allows us to easily look back over what we have learned and review and reminisce about our year.

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