One of my biggest goals with the homeschooling, aside from giving my children the education they need to excel in life, is to give them a life long love of learning. With this in mind I don’t shy away from exposing them to things that they might not fully understand. I believe showing them the exciting things that science and nature has to offer will spark the desire to explore, even if they don’t totally understand the science behind it. That is why I decided that I wanted to expose Big B to the Northern Lights during our Arctic Unit. The science behind the Northern Lights might be too far advanced for Big B to understand, but that doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy them…
I found this great article that explains the Northern lights (Aurora Borealis) in simple terms.
I started by giving Big B a very simple explanation of what the Northern Lights are, then showed him this National Geographic video:
After watching the video we did a fun project where Big B got to create his own Northern Lights…
- A tray or large container
- Milk (I know it bothers many when people use food for play. It’s not something I like to do often, but this milk was “off” when we opened it, and I didn’t want it to go to waste. If it bothers you, you can use water. The milk just shows the colors nicely)
- Food coloring
- A dropper
Pour the milk into the tray or container and make a bowl for each Northern Light color. I can never seem to find liquid food coloring anymore. Our grocery store only seems to carry the gel. So I had to mix the gel with a little warm water.
Demonstrate for your child how to collect the food coloring in the dropper and drip the color into the milk. The color will move and swirl around within the milk.
I allowed Big B to play with this for a while because he seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. He transferred the color into the milk, the mixture back into the individual bowls, and back again. He made quite a mess.