Sunday, 26 July 2015

Batmobiles and a debarcle!

Although quiet, as always, most of our mornings have been filled with learning.  I am quite gutted that I am not blogging as much at the moment.  I have been busy with work and the girls, it's non-stop but we have been having a lot of fun too.

All these Summer nights have been lovely, filled with sitting outside cafes and walks along the waterfront - apart from the last two days of rain...

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Science crazy summer club

Live in Ipswich? 
Have Science Crazy kids aged 5-12 years?
Looking for something a bit different to do this summer? 

Why not come along to Science Crazy's Summer Club!


29 July 2pm to 4pm IPSWICH

A one off 2 hour session jam packed with SCIENCE that will have the kids in awe!

Learn more here...

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Science experiment: Diffusion

In short, diffusion, involves molecules moving from higher concentration to lower concentration.  This movement is known as the concentration gradient.

This happens with liquids and in gases.  As gases are more difficult in an experiment to show children how diffusion works I will use this experiment which involves liquid, in this case water.

We will also experiment with temperatures in the experiment and talk about how temperature effects the rate of diffusion. 

First the experiment...

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Summer snow and how to experiment with it!

I call it summer snow, simply because it's a perfect activity for summer. This is a great bit of sensory play and one that's super for the summer because it cools you down; the chemistry between the water and sodium polyacrylate creates an endothermic reaction!

Also watching it grow stirs up excitement and then, due to the fact that it's non toxic properties kids can play for hours with it! 

It's a great way to cool them down on a warm summer's day!  And when you're finished, experiment more or give it to the plants: it's great for plants as when the soil dries out they soak up the water in the sodium polyacrylate.  It's often used in gardening.

It can also be found inside baby nappies! 


I know, but this stuff is clean, so there'll be no wee!!!  And the reason why it's used like this is sodium polyacrylate is able to soak up as much as 200 to 300 times it's original volume in water!  The chemical reaction that occurs when this happens is an endothermic one which is what gives it the cool snow effect.

It feels awesome!  Give it a go!  Here's how to do it...

Friday, 3 July 2015

Review: EdPlace

I don't know if you've noticed but there's an online resource out there called EDplace and I have some great news for you: you can try it absolutely free for 7 days to see if it's the tool for you, just click the EdPlace link below and click on Start Learning!

The people at  EDplace gave my girls the chance to try out their site for a couple of months and we found it a very positive experience.  My youngest enjoyed working with me when she had a go, as she doesn't read all that much at the moment, and my other children enjoyed the independence it gave them.
EDplace is filled with lots of worksheets, covering English, Maths and Science from Keystage 1 to 4, that can be completed on line but parents and teachers can control and see what the children are learning.  The more a child uses EDplace the more the programme becomes personalised and recommends certain lessons to engage and help the child in the areas where there could be improvement.

My eldest really enjoyed using their site, she said:

'There's just something about the way it is that makes me remember how to do things and remember the facts.' 

My eldest is very academically minded, she's not always so impressed by online resources but this one she does enjoy; she loved using this as an extra tool, because lets face it, learning is more fun when there's many ways of doing it.

My 10 year old and 12 year old loved the rewards setting.  As the parent you can decide what these rewards can be, whether that is earning extra time on the games console or the telly or extra pocket money, you decide or agree with a reward suitable for you and your child.  All this is optional however.

The worksheets are for all grade, from Primary years up to GCSE. I liked the fact that the worksheets were designed by experienced teachers and the fact that I was able to choose what they should cover that week.  I also got reports of how well they were doing and then, when they had been on it for a while, worksheets were suggested to help with their progress.

I would say it's definitely worth the free 7 day trial and see what you think. 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Hot Summer Snow Storms!

Can you believe it!  I forgot Harmonie's swimming lesson Tuesday! I felt awful! 

I was thinking it's really hot, I'll go out a bit later, maybe to the park, maybe a walk along the waterfront.  I completely forgot about our Tuesday afternoon routine.  Completely. Then, all of a sudden, Honi burst in to the room and asked:

Friday, 26 June 2015

When the panic is over...

Oh, oh, oh!  I have so much to tell you...

Do you remember in my post: A bit of drama! Well, I take it back about Ernie the swimming instructor.  I think he's actually really great...

Monday, 22 June 2015


There isn't actually a genie in the bottle it's science but it's very magical to watch!  This is a great one to do with older kids or as a demonstration for younger children.


Manganese dioxide (MnO2) is a catalyst that will decompose hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen gas.
2H2O2 + MnO2 --> 2H2O + O2 + MnO2 where MnO2 is the catalyst.


We can make this look rather spectacular but you will need to take safety precautions: Goggles, gloves, protective clothing and closed toed shoes.  Also, it’s best to do this in a well ventilated area. 

Although the products produced in this experiment are oxygen and water, it produces a lot of oxygen and oxygen is highly flammable, so take care. 

The catalyst used in this experiment is called manganese dioxide which is dangerous to touch so use gloves, it is extremely dangerous to consume, if eaten ring immediately for medical advice, if the dust is inhaled and the person who inhaled the dust struggles to breathe provide oxygen and call for medical advice.

The hydrogen peroxide in this experiment is much stronger than the sort you buy from the chemist, this strength would quickly burn your skin or eyes so be very careful when handling it.

This is also an exothermic reaction.  This means that during the experiment heat it produced.  Do not touch the bottle!!!!

Now for the fun…


Equipment and chemicals required to do this yourself:

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Science, Maths and Website design...

I have recently been asked to write a post about these three subjects and it’s made me think…  There is a lot to be learnt when designing your own website.  My eldest has just started and really it has been very educational.

If you have thought about building a website for your child, or letting them have a go, here are some of my thoughts…

Firstly, there is a lot of maths behind web design.  There’s the calculations of the layouts, shapes, working out ratios – Golden Ratio and Golden Rectangle being one of those.

It’s quite fascinating and I think maths is beautiful, through maths we can create the most beautiful of images and beautiful images are key to a good web design after all.

Most of us think of maths as the opposite of creative, due to the fact that it’s precise and requires logic perhaps.  However, it is because its geometrical shapes, that are so perfectly and precisely measured and created in maths, what we achieve is truly beautiful – that is my opinion anyway.

Using websites to teach science, or present an idea to show how something works is an incredibly important resource.  Science is a very practical subject and websites allow us to see things in 3D.  They allow the user to interact and see science in a way that can be difficult in the real world, making diagrams come to life, something that just cannot be done in a book. 

If you want to know a bit more about webpages and how they are made check out the BBC’s page: How are web pages made?

But who has the time to create these wonderful websites, learn all the html and come up with designs that will impress your audience quickly?  Well, unless you are a whizz at computer programming with an artistic eye this might be very difficult or time consuming.  There is a lot of maths in programming in general. 

Websites use html mostly, unless you a whizz at it, it can be a slow process which is where WYSIWYG editors, otherwise known as website builders, help.  Here are 10 of the best that you can check out here: 
I'm not saying that learning to code, learning computer programming, is pointless.  I think it's really important for kids to learn, my girls love using Scratch and my eldest has taken an interest in HTML very recently too.  Saying that, it's still good to know all your options too and, if you are in a hurry, or you're not ready to do all that coding yet - it's definitely worth looking into Website builders.  

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

GIVEAWAY for this Father's Day! A Smartphone projector!

Father's day is close, Sunday 21 June! Have you got him a present yet?
Every year it's difficult thinking of what to buy, my girls are looking for presents to get their dad at the moment, when I was asked if I'd like to give away one of these Smart phone projectors. They are made by Qwerkity and don't just to these but loads of unusual gifts for father’s day!    It gave me so many ideas!

This smartphone projector particularly stood out for me (I wouldn't mind one myself) it just looks so fun and guess what!  I have one to give away to one of my readers! 

How cool would it be having your own mini cinema in your own home! It seems simple to use from what I can see, something that anyone could use.  It's compatible with all smartphones so now you can watch your YouTube films and Netflix on a big screen instead of small!

So how can you enter this give away?

All you have to do is:

  • Comment on this blog post with your idea for the best Father's day present
  • Click on the Rafflecopter link below and complete as many entries as you like. 

  • Please tweet and share this competition with your friends and visit An Ordinary Life?'s Facebook Page!

This competition will run until Friday 19th June 12am.

Good luck!
Lisa x

Competition Terms & Conditions:
  • The giveaway will run from 12am on 17th June 2015 and run until 12am on 19th June 2015, GMT.
  • The prize is for one Smartphone Projector from Qwerkity.
  • Open to UK residents aged 18 and over.
  • Entries can only be completed through the Rafflepcopter widget.
  • All entries will be checked and verified.
  • The winner is chosen at random from all valid entries.
  • The winner will be announced 20th June 2015 and the winner will be emailed, as well as announced through An Ordinary Life's social media pages.
  • The winner will have 48 hours to respond with their details, otherwise a new winner will be picked, following the same procedure.
  • The prize will be sent out to the winner direct from Qwerkity.
  • All efforts will be made so that it is received in time for Father’s Day but it cannot be guaranteed.
Find more information about the Smart Phone Projector here

Monday, 15 June 2015

Science: Fizzy fun!


This is a great experiment to play with the kids inside the house or in the garden on a warm day.


Chemicals and equipment needed:

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Science: Neutralisation reactions


Chemicals are made up of atoms, atoms contain ions – ions are electrically charged particles, they are formed when atoms loose or gain electrons.  Ions of alike repel and opposites attract, much like magnets!

Electrons are particles of negative change. 

In an atom, electrons form a negative charge that balances out the positive charge of the protons in the atomic nucleus.

Electrons are extremely small, they are about 1000 times smaller than a proton.

If you truly want to understand what is happening in this experiment you need to know which ions are produced by alkalis and which ones are produced by acids.  You will also need to know the ionic equation for neutralisation which I have included at the end.

One of the safest experiment you can perform which will give you the result you need is Citric acid and Bicarbonate of Soda and this is how to perform your experiment...

Dinosaurs for maths and experimenting with...

Learning styles! 

I have written a lot about learning styles on this blog and now my youngest is beginning to take an interest in the more academic subjects I am thinking more about them again!
We did study a bit about flying insects this week due to Harmonie, my five year old, and her fear of flies.  It didn't help much but it was worth a try.  It has taken the edge off her fear so we'll play more with that idea.  We did find a dead bee on our travels and so had a look at it more closely.  She was most intrigued.

However, mostly this week, as a family, we have been drawing - the girls have even got me into drawing a bit too...

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Juggling home education with four children!

I have just realised, it has been a long time since I wrote a 'how our journey of home education is going'.  Well, here's an update for those who love to read about it...

How busy I am these days!  I'm not complaining, however, fitting everything in is exhausting at the moment but I am hopeful that it will all be worth it.  The buzz from seeing kids experience the wonders of science for the first time certainly keeps me going!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Science: Step by Step how to make a working Model heart

This model isn't a perfect model of a heart but it is a simple but fun way of demonstrating how the heat pumps blood and to learn a few of the names of the part of the heart.  

As you make your own model, I will take you through the steps there are some interesting facts to learn along the way.

Here's how I made it.

You will need: