Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Frozen Pistachio Shells

This is the activity I talked about in my last post.  I froze pistachio shells in water to sensory play with the ice, talk about how cold it is and collect the shells.  We talked about animals that live in places where it freezes and how they have to collect food for the winter before all their food freezes. 
He tried hitting the ice while it was on the metal cookie sheet but ice is slippery, another lesson learned.  So he moved them back to the mold. 
Then he tried some more.  Turns out plastic tools aren't very durable and don't work very well but we did get one shell out before it broke.  Then I thought of a rock, they are hard but blunt and could do the job.  Besides, don't some animals use them to crack nuts? 
So we went outside and picked out a rock.  This is his choice.  I picked out one slightly bigger with a point on one end for variety.
 Lachlan wanted to move them back to the tray but they were really cold, so he grabbed the wash cloth that I had there to put them in.  At this point we talked about the thick fur or blubber animals use as protection against the cold.
 We left the ice on the tray in the living room and went to the front bedroom to play with puzzles.  Grant arrived for the day and joined us with the puzzles.  We came back out to the living room and discovered the ice was really melting.  Grant was really excited about breaking the ice with the rocks, but Peter and Lachlan were kind of over it at this point.
Grant got quite a few of the shells out and was pretty proud to show them off.
Almost all gone.  I think we might have to try this again over the summer.  Maybe play with them in the kiddie pool and put fun toys inside.  See if the ice will float or sink.

I had the idea of putting different numbers of shells in each chunk of ice but there was no real way of incorporating the counting into the activity.  You couldn't see through the ice in order to count and when they were melting and hitting the ice to break it up shells were coming out of multiple pieces if ice at once.  If I wanted to make it an all day project I could give him one chunk at a time and maybe come up with different ways to melt it: salt, warm water, hot water and just sitting out.  I could have him count how many shells a lot easier that way.  Hmm, as I am thinking this through here I think I just came up with another activity! 

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