Wicked Pickles

Weather: Clouds 12/27/2007

We have finally finished up with clouds. We have talked about, looked at, researched and read about clouds till they are coming out our ears. OMG...as pretty as I think the sky is, and I am a sky person, I am tired of learning about clouds. BUT...here is the rest of what we have done.

The picklets have made a cloud lapbook. We took color copies of different clouds, printed out the cloud meanings, matched them up and glued them on. They aren't fancy nor pretty to look at, but will be a help when the picklets want to identify different clouds in the future.

Out of cottonballs and blue construction paper different cloud formations were made. Each picklet picked four of their favorite clouds and thus the cloud formation poster were made.

Talked about why the sky is blue. Did an experiment (can't remember the name of it) with a glass of water, a drop of milk and a flashlight. With the light shining through the milky water we could actually see the bluish tint.

Did an experiemnet with cottonballs to see if all clouds held the same amount of raindrops. In this experiment the picklets took 5 cottonballs. While one held the cotton ball, another one dripped water onto 1 by 1 and the other counted. We found that all clouds (at least all cotton balls) are NOT alike.

We also "made" a cloud. We took a jar of water, topped it with saran wrap and put ice cubes on the saran wrap. The outcome was condensation on the inside of the jar thus making it look like there was a cloud.


by the Wicked Picklets


Today we studied precipitation and the weather cycle.

I read Why Do We Have? Wind and Rain, Weather Patterns , On the Same Day in March: A Tour of the World's Weather, Can It Rain Cats and Dogs?: Questions and Answers About Weather (Question and Answer), and Weather Words and What They Mean aloud. There is nothing like snuggling together and reading.

Read pages 16-23 in Eyewitness Weather. Talked about the water cycle. Picklets worked on some vocabulary words pertaining to weather such as condensation and precipitation together. (They actually got along!)

Picklets made raindrops by taking mirrors that were in the freezer for an hour and breathing on them hard. The outcome was condensation that eventually became thick enough it dripped like a raindrop.

We made freezing rain. This was one of the favorites. Sweet picked a round rock from the rock garden and stuck it in the freezer. About an hour later we put it on a piece of waxed paper and the picklets took turns putting drops of water on the rock. The result: FREEZING RAIN!

We made a stove top water cycle. Freaken cool and just seeing what we have been talking about clicked for all three of them...it was awesome! We took 2 sauce pans, put one in the freezer and boiled water in the other. When the water was boiling the picklets took the frozen pot and held it over the boiling water and demonstrated the water cycle. Nothing like a fabricated cloud to explain the water cycle!

We saw how raindrops form. On a piece of waxed paper, the picklets dropped drops of water all over it. Then they picked up the waxed paper and tilted it to "form" bigger drops. This showed the difference in the size between the "drips" that are in the clouds and the "drops" that touch the ground.

Attempted to make a rainbow with the sun and a jar of water. It didn't work too well, though you can see some kind of color there.

We found the dew point by putting a thermometer in a glass of room temperature water. Ice cubes were added and stirred. We watched the glass until beads of water formed on the outside of the glass. We then read the thermometer and found the dew point was 40º.

We found the relative humidity with a homemade Psychrometer. We taped two thermometers to a cardboard box. One of the bulbs of the thermometer was wrapped with wet gauze. The picklets then pointed a fan on high to the thermometers. When the thermometers stopped dropping in temperature both thermometers were read. They then subtracted the wet on from the dry one and found the relative humidity on a chart. The relative humidity was: 62 .

While the fan was running and we were waiting for the temperature to stop falling it proved to be the perfect time to practice Darth Vader voices. Nothing like a good "Luke, I am your faaaather" to make learning fun!


This is soooo cool. This was sent in an e-mail to me by one of my dearest friends. She checked it out on Snopes.com and it is true. The whole story is at Snopes. It is a great story and WHAT a learning experience this is when you explain to your picklets! Enjoy!

August 2006, the yacht 'Maiken' was traveling in the south Pacific when they came across a weird sight... It appeared to be sand in the water, and floating ON TOP of the waves...

Sand on the water.

The tiller trail.

Note: These are NOT my pictures, I just wanted to share since they were so cool.


Yesterday was Polar Bear Day! I found this great blog. She lists mini units each day with links and activities. I have really enjoyed looking at all the mini units and making notes about them. Yesterday, since it was science day, I decided we would use the polar bear study since it kinda ties into the weather unit. (They do live in extreme conditions ;-))
The picklets started off with a KWL chart. They listed what they knew about polar bears and what they wanted to learn about polar bears. We then read about the polar bears at the San Diego Zoo. We then discussed zoos vs natural habitats and how zoos have changed over the years.
Next we watched the polar bears on the polar bear cam. The picklets liked seeing them walk around. (though the panda and elephant cam was better they say) After watching the different cams we watched Mammals:Polar Bears on UnitedStreaming. The video showed pandas being introduced to their new "habitat" at the Washington Zoo.
Journaling came next. In their journals they were to make their own lair. Sweet designed her lair and drew it out labeling it. Chip and Spear's work was a bit more intense. They figured out what they needed vs what they wanted. They then made a bludprint of their lair. I had to LOL when Spear, barely in the double digits, put a coffee maker on his essential list. (I had to remind him he would need a toilet.) When I mentioned the toilet Chip said it wasn't a problem, he could just poop on the floor and someone would come in and clean up after him. (roll eyes)
Sweet did a math problem where she learned that baby polar bears only weigh a pound at birth.


A couple of hands on experiments helped to teach how polar bears stay warm. The first showed that black absorbs heat. They took three thermometers, 2 peices of construction paper, two lights and a timer to show this. One thermometer went on the black construction paper, one thermometer was on the white and one thermometer was the control. They each had a station and every thirty seconds they wrote down the temperature on the their thermometer. The result was the thermometer on the black paper went up 6 degrees where the thermometer on the white went up 1. The control thermometer stayed the same.


Paragraph.The picklets learned that polar bears can have up to 4 inches of blubber. So we did a blubber experiment. The picklets put shortning in a sandwich bag, put another one inside it and duct taped them together. They put their hand in the "mitten" and stuck their hand in a bowl of ice water. The conclusion was the side of the hand that was insultated with the "blubber" stayed warmer than the side of the hand with no blubber.

The picklets took turns reading The Polar Bear in Underwear by Bonnie Kilburn outloud and then colored the coloring sheet.
To add a little fun to the lesson we did this polar bear activity. None of us liked the way the polar bear was supposed to look, so the picklets cut out the shapes and using their imagination came up with their own version. My Chip and his imagination. I would never had thought of making a polar bear paw!


When we finished with that experiment and cleaned up the picklets finished their KWL charts. They filled in what they learned:
1. polar bears favorite meat is seal 2. We are polar bear enemies 3. female polar bears are smaller 4. the females can give birth to between 1-3 cubs a year 5. the average number of cubs is 2 6. they have black skin to help keep them warm 7. the females can give birth and nuse when they are in their winter sleep 8. cubs are born the size of a rat and weigh about 1 pound 9. the cubs leave their mom at the age of 2 10. their fur is not white...it is actually clear tubes filled with air ©2007WickedPicklesHomeshool

Clouds (2-07) 12/16/2007

Read pages 8-15 in Eyewitness Explorers Weather aloud. Talked about different cloud types and different layers of the atmosphere. Used Earth's Atmosphere to find temperatures in all the different layers from troposphere to exosphere. I read Weather Forcasting by Gail Gibbons aloud. We talked about making weather stations and how they are used.
Made a thermometer from alcohol and water. Tested different temperatures to see what difference it made.


Did experiment #149 in 200 Gooey, Slippery, Slimy, Weird and Fun Experiements by Janice VanCleave.. The nephoscope helped teach the picklets how meterologists determine wind direction in the upper air.


When we got back inside I gave the picklets a list of the cloud names and they looked up the definitions of the clouds and wrote them down. (Will make lapbook on clouds) ©2007WickedPicklesHomeschool


That should read, "If you freeze your butt off long enough looking for birds in the middle of winter, eventually they will get hungry and fly to the feeder." The Wicked Pickle participated in the Backyard Bird Count on Saturday afternoon. Yep, we are one of those red dots!

When we first went to the backyard we noticed several bird prints around the lilac bushes. They seemed to go around in endless circles when we tried to follow them. We also noticed what we think are rabbit prints. (wish the picture showed up better for you)

After searching the lilac bushes for signs of feathered life, we turned our brow upward to find 2 mourning doves perched in the tree that shades our patio. I don't know the exact name of the tree but it distributes those nasty little airplanes each fall. These birds did look like they were a couple but I don't know the mating habits of mourning birds.

We then looked at our neighbors bird feeder to see a couple of dark-eyed Juncos feeding. When I made the move for my camera they flew to the lilac bush. Then a whole flock of them flew out of the bush. OK, I say a whole flock, I mean like 8 or so. May as well have been a flock! (the little blobs inside the yellow circles are the birds) We only spent 15-20 minutes outside. I was freezing my butt off! Before we went in, we hung a suet ball with birdseed on a hook our front. Maybe we will be able to spot some without leaving the comfort our our 65º livingroom. While we tried to warm up, we spent some time looking for the "real" name of the dark-eyed junco. My dad grew up calling them snow birds. I dare you to do a search on google or ask with "snow bird" and your region in the search line. You woulnd't believe some of the stuff that comes up! It ended up that the bird watch website had great pictures of birds for our area. With that and the help my my mother-in-laws bird book we were in business! We received our confirmation in an email shortly after sumitting the results. The picklets are all excited that we are official!

Seasons (2-07) 12/16/2007

Let's face it. We all should learn about weather. We should learn about the atmosphere, the hemispheres, the tilt of the earth in relation to the sun, the different clouds, and precipitation. We should learn it all. What better way to learn about it than hands on activities?

Today's topic: Seasons

Why do the season's happen? What causes the change? Do all areas of the world experience the same kind of weather all the time? All good questions. What did we do to find out?

First, we watched a movie entitled The Reasons for the Seasons. (Description:Students are shown, through the use of computer animation, the scientific principles responsible for our planet's yearly cycle of seasons. The tilt of the earth's axis and the planet's orbit around the sun are discussed. Other planets in our solar system are compared to earth, as terms such as revolution and rotation are defined. In addition to exploring the seasons, topics covered include: the role leaves play in the survival of trees and plants, photosynthesis, the reasons for changing autumn colors as trees prepare for the winter, and the explanation for day and night.) This particular movie is from a pay site that is rather costly but you might want to check with them because they offer free access to homeschoolers in some states. \o/ \o/ http://www.unitedstreaming.com/ This particular movie had a quiz at the end of it. The picklets LOVE it when there is a quiz. They yell loud to be the first one to blurt out the right answer! Gotta love that.

Second, we read The Reasons for the Seasons by Gail Gibbons. We love Gail Gibbons books. They are so well written. We stopped on each page and talked about the tilt of the earth, the rotation around the sun and using a globe and light demonstrated how the earth moves. It greatly helped the learning process. Hands on is great!

Thirdly, after watching the movie and reading the book, the picklets wrote a script (based closely on the book) and demonstrated the revolution of the earth and the tilt to show the 4 seasons.