The other day Zachary was cooking with me and I left him to stir the sauce while I took Zoriah to the bathroom for the zillionth time. (lots of Z’s in that sentence… cool) When she finished I went back to check on my son and the sauce. What I found was not a little boy who was stirring the sauce, it was a little boy who was sticking the wooden spoon into the fire under the pot. Yup, now was the perfect time to talk about fire.
Fire safety being foremost on my mind, I realized that Zachary wouldn’t really GET it if I just told him that he shouldn’t touch it or play with it. The BEST way to get my five year old to try something is to tell him not to, but not tell him why. He really needs to UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING about fire if I’m gonna get him to not try that again. (Btw, the spoon was wet, so it didn’t even scorch, so no harm done, but it still prompted this week’s lessons) And so, we have fire week.
SO here’s what we did:
I like to start out the week with something fun. Its a lovely trick I learned in my teaching classes. It gets the kid(s) interested in what they’re going to be studying for the week AND since Monday is our shortest School Day, it makes it fun for me as well to only have to do the one major thing.
We did Sun-catchers. They’re really fun and you can do them in just about any theme. Here’s what you’ll need. (The last two things on the list are only for THIS specific Sun-catcher. You don’t need them for most of the other ones)
- Construction Paper (any dark color)
- Clear Contact Paper (I got a whole roll at the dollar tree, works perfectly for this)
- Tissue Paper (red and yellow)
- Brown Foam
- Fold your construction paper into 4ths and cut or tear to make 4 pieces. (You can do a HUGE one if you want, but my kid tends to get a little bored with big art projects so I did small ones. Sometimes he’ll do more than one, but one big one is just beyond him)
- Cut out a Fire shape. – Fold one of the quarters in half and draw half of a thing that looks like fire, then cut it out. I think I should make a template for all you non-artsy people… I’ll get on that and post it when i’m done
- Cut a piece of contact paper to fit over the space in the construction paper.
- Peel away the contact paper backing and place it on the construction paper so that the sticky side is on the space.
- Tear or cut up red and yellow tissue paper
- Stick the tissue paper to the sticky side of the contact paper, overlapping some so you get some orange when the light shines through. Make sure you cover all the spaces or you’ll get random clear spots in your sun-catcher
- Cut some 1/4 in x 1.5 in strips from your brown foam (can really be any size, but that’s what I went with… made good “sticks”)
- Glue them to the front (the non-sticky side of the contact paper) in the shape of campfire logs.
- Let Everything dry.
- Tape them to a window so the sun shines through!
You can’t really see the “logs” in this pic because of the sun. (Took another pic at night so you can see them better) But the colors were pretty cool. If you wanted to make it more “realistic” you could make the pieces closer to the logs be yellow, then as they went farther out turn red. We just stuck them on willy-nilly and made a pretty fun mess of it.
During this craft we talked about the colors that fire makes and what that says about the temperature of the fire. FYI: Blue Fire is the hottest, then white, yellow, orange, then red. Its the same with stars and he remembered it from that week so it was fun seeing him remember stuff from a couple years ago. All in all, it was a good art/eensy bit of science lesson.
This is actually something I’ve been meaning to do since we moved in….. almost a year ago. But its definitely something EVERYONE should do. You wanna know why? Here’s how it went down!
Zachary and I sat down to make our plan. We discussed how he should get out of the house through the garage (the closest exit to his bedroom) if there is a fire and that we should meet up at the tree by the fire hydrant in our front yard. It was a great plan. THEN we tried it out. Turns out, my kid can’t reach the button to open the garage door. SO, if we hadn’t tried this out, and there actually had BEEN a fire, Zachary would have been standing in the garage, surrounded by gasoline fumes, and would have wasted precious time that should have been spent actually getting OUT of the house.
So, even if you aren’t studying FIRE, you should make an emergency exit plan, THEN TRY IT OUT TO SEE IF IT ACTUALLY WORKS!
What Does Fire Need to Survive
One of the things I thought Zachary needed to know if he were going to be thoroughly informed on fire was what fire needed to survive.
There are 3 things:
- Fuel (seriously difficult word to spell) Just means “something that will burn”
- Oxygen (didn’t know this but it made sense)
- Heat (Yes, fire MAKES heat, but you need some heat to get it started, and it won’t survive if there isn’t any heat in the mix)
If you take any of those away, the fire goes out, or it doesn’t start.
We did this little worksheet to get things cemented into his brain.
Experiment with Oxygen
Then we did a fun experiment I found on mamasmiles.com to show what fire does without oxygen.
- Two Jars (preferably glass) of different sizes (we used a mason jar and a big glass)
- Safety Glasses
Procedure (why do I think that needs more e’s?)
- Light one candle
- Hypothesize what will happen when you put a jar over the candle
- Put the jar over the candle (spoiler: the flame dies)
- ooo and ahhh over the coolness of the fire going out without someone blowing on it
- Light BOTH candles
- Hypothesize about which candle will go out first when you put both jars over them
- Put one jar over each candle at the same time… very carefully because if you do it too quickly, you might blow out the candle on accident and have to start over. (what, that’s not from experience… i swear.)
(Please disregard the lunch dishes on the table…. experimenting is hungry work )
This started a fun discussion. : What do you think you should do if something you’re cooking catches on fire?
Z: Take away something the fire needs!
M: OK, what do you think we should take away?
Z: The Fuel…. like if you take the thing out of the pot with tongs so you don’t burn yourself!
M: But would that put out the fire? Or would the fire just follow the fuel?
Z: It would follow the fuel…. then set the counter on fire!
M: Yeah, so that wouldn’t be a good idea. What else could we take away?
Z: Heat? We could turn the stove off.
M: Yes, but that would just take off ONE source of heat. The fire would be making its own heat by then
Z: Yeah, that wouldn’t work. I don’t know (my son was JUST about to give up)
M: Well, what else does fire need?
Z: Air! We could put a cup over it!
M: Would a cup be big enough to cover a whole pan?
Z: No (discouraged look)
M: What else do you think you could put over it? Something that’s designed to go over it. (yes, I was prompting, but he looked so discouraged)
Z: (Lights up, runs to the cabinet and brings me a lid)
Ten minutes later review time: SO what do we do if something we’re cooking catches on fire?
Z: Put the lid on it, it will take away all the oxygen and the fire will go out!
Today I felt like the best teacher in the whole wide world.
Life Hack Test
“A crayon will burn for 30 minutes if you don’t have a candle”
That’s what that strange “Extra” candle is in the Oxygen Deprevation Experiment.
We stuck it in play-dough so it wouldn’t just fall over and lit it up… after like a minute or so of letting the top of the crayon melt enough that the paper could catch fire. It worked like a Reverse Candle with the wax in the middle keeping the paper from just burning up.
We didn’t time it, but it probably wouldn’t have lasted 30 minutes.
Its a much bigger flame than my little tea lights so when Zachary put the big cup over it, it went out faster than the little jar over the tea light. Zachary was ASTONISHED by this new development, so we discussed that the bigger the fire is, the more fuel, air, etc. it needs to stay alive.
Life Hack Assessment: Yes it worked It made a lot of smoke, and was completely unstable, but it functioned. meh… marginal pass?
Letter F Worksheet
F is for Fire is one of the books we read this week. So, to go along with it, I did a Letter F worksheet. This time I decided to add “what starts with the letter F” pictures to the bottom. The directions say to circle them, but you can have your kids color them if you want. (I’ll change that and put both forms of the PDF in the so you can use whichever you think your kids would like better.)
Just warning. There is one that is debatable. F could be for Fungus, but I planned on that being seen as a Mushroom. Either way is correct, as long as the kid can explain himself.
Zachary was quite content circling the things that started with F … and drawing big giant lines all over everything.
Will it BURN?
Fun little Experiment we did. AFTER all the fire safety talk, we studied all the different things that could be fuel for fire (why is that word so friggin hard to spell? F-U-E-L…. my brain swears its supposed to be F-E-U-L… grrrrr)
I started with THIS WORKSHEET that I made in pages.
We gathered all the things that are on the worksheet and made a hypothesis about each of them, then lit a candle and tried to set them all on fire. All in all, it was an awesome experiment. (the cotton ball was really cool to watch). Make sure whatever room you do it in is VERY WELL VENTILATED! And don’t do it right under a smoke detector. I’d recommend doing it outside if you live in a state that hasn’t been in a 10-year-drought.
- Tongs or Flame retardant gloves
- Safety Goggles
- Cookie Sheet (or Some other Flame Retardant Thing to put the burning things and watch them burn)
- Collect materials
- Don Safety Goggles
- Light Candle
- Hypothesize about The Thing you’re about to Burn
- Stick something in the fire with the tongs or flame retardant gloves
- Record whether or not it burned
- Repeat Steps 4-6
I put plenty of blank spaces at the bottom so you could think of your own things to try to burn. Ours were: A puff ball (one of those that you get from a craft store), A plastic slinky toy, a button, a plastic Triangle from our math supplies. The last one caught on fire and melted in fun designs all over everything. It was pretty awesome.
This was the aftermath of our experimentation.
So, yeah, we kinda went from Fire SAFETY to LETS PLAY WITH THE FIRE!!!! But we had fun. We also did a bunch of worksheets that don’t relate to fire whatsoever. Addition , Subtraction , the Silent K, and Place Values. We had a ton of fun and I hope you guys have fun with it too.
Books We Read This Week
This book is a GREAT introduction to firefighters and the work they do. It has amazing pictures and HUGE words that beginning readers like to see. Zachary always gets upset if the words are too small (even though he can totally read them still). It even has a little quiz in the back that Zachary aced. That either indicates that the quiz is really easy or the book is highly informative. Either way, I liked this book and it was fun to see all the awesome pictures.
One of the things I LOVED about this book is that it showed all the different types of trucks they use. There is the iconic firetruck with all the bells and whistles (actually called a “quint” truck) but then there are like, 12 other types of trucks they use, including a loaded down pickup for fighting brush fires and other types of fires where they would need to go off-road.
It talks about the bucket brigade and dalmations which adds an aspect of history to our lessons. We got to study how people used to work together to help each other out when there was a fire. We also got to discuss WHY they would have used dogs in a fire house. They’re really no longer applicable today, but they are still the fire-man’s mascot which I think is really cool.
I think this would be a great gift to any fire-man out there who has kids, or any kid who’s all Fire-man obsessed.
This is a very cute little book that rhymes. Its the story of ‘the only firefighter this side of the bay’ He’s apparently the only human too… not sure why that is. It’s the PERFECT bedtime story too because the fireman goes to sleep at the end. He tries to go to sleep a lot, but finally succeeds in the end. It explores some of the other things firefighters do. They pretty much show up at EVERY emergency so a book that tells that is quite nice.
It also has the classic “fairy tale” trope of repeating itself 3 times. I don’t know why 3 is such a magic number in fairy-tales, but it just makes the story feel complete. All in all, this is a very well written children’s story.
We did a ton of science experiments this week. But no week about fire could possibly be complete without a book about fireworks! It explores the science behind making fires and fireworks. Really cool book that we read over several days. I didn’t want to overwhelm him with the science and terms.
It explained why some of the things we burned in the “will it burn” experiment turned black. Turns out, fire deposits carbon onto things it doesn’t burn. Has to do with the chemical reaction between the carbon-based fuel (which is pretty much every type of fuel) and the heat. Great book.
I AM TOTALLY BUYING THIS BOOK!!!!! I love Steve Spangler’s science. Though we didn’t end up doing the methane bubble experiment that is shown on the cover, I’m totally going to get some balloons and do the “Fire-Proof Balloon” thing on page 97. So friggin awesome. I’ll take pictures and add it to this post. There are also a lot of Water experiments I’ll use when we study the properties of water again. You can visit his website here He’s really fun and likes to make science experiments BIG. If you haven’t already looked him up on youtube, you totally should.
Things I learned this week
- Fire … all fire, is the result of a chemical reaction. I mean, now that I think about it, it totally makes sense. But I guess I just hadn’t really studied fire before.
- Fire continues to MAKE one of the things it needs to start. Heat. didn’t realize that “heat” was technically one of the things fire needs to survive. I’d always just thought of fuel (haha, spelled it right the first time) and oxygen.
- My son can’t get out through the garage. He’s short.
- The black soot that shows up on things that don’t burn is carbon.
We got to go see the FIREMEN this week. It was SUPER fun! I didn’t think it would be so easy, but you want know the procedure for getting a tour of the fire station. Now I don’t know if this will work for larger cities, but our little fire department, it was super easy.
- Find the Number (If you’re awesome, you’ll have it on the fridge, if you’re like me, you’ll have to google it).
- Call the Number (Biggest step for me)
- Talk to the fire chief (Our guy’s name was Don…. He was the one who picked up the phone.)
- Schedule a Tour…. Seriously that easy. The fire guys LOVE working with kids and teaching about fire safety.
They Showed us the Barracks first. That was really fun. We got to see where they cooked their food and slept and got to see their lockers. It was a really small fire station so it was basically a bit like a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom house with a REALLY big garage.
THEN We got to see the REALLY cool part. THE FIRE ENGINE! They had a Triple-combination-pumper. That means they had ladders, a small tank…. and something else that I’ve now forgotten! But its a Triple-Combination-Pumper. I sound like an expert saying that right?
Zachary was impressed with how large the truck was. Had to take a picture next to the wheel… Because “ITS AS BIG AS ME!”
Zoriah was very very happy with the seats. I’m not sure why. But the seats were the coolest part.
They let Zachary and Zoriah climb all over the truck. Zachary even got to turn on the lights. I think that might have been his favorite part of the whole trip.
When we got home we wrote them a Thank you Letter using THIS WEBSITE’S PDF “American Heros” worksheet packet. It was fun. We brought them some home-made cookies and the letter. Its a great freebie that has Thank You notes for Soldiers, Firemen, and Police Men. Its pretty cool.
Hope you guys have fun!