This week math and science was all about money. I brought our loose change jar over to the kitchen, and we talked about various coins. Smarty happily sorted them into four plastic boxes based on their denomination. Nickels were the hardest for her – hey, even I sometimes cannot distinguish them from quarters. We also had a few foreign coins mixed in, so we talked a little how different countries use different money.
We took the pennies and we looked at them more closely. We talked about how some of them are shiny and new and some are looking very dark. Then I explained Smarty that pennies can be cleaned in different ways. We set up three bowls – one with clean water, one with soapy water and one with the solution of salt and vinegar. Smarty had a lot of fun scrubbing her pennies in the soapy water and then compared them to those that just lay quietly in salt-vinegar solution. We agreed that salt-vinegar cleans best, but I actually expected it to work better than it did. I probably didn’t use the right mix. Smarty also wrinkled her nose at the smell of salt-vinegar bowl, and I explained to her that the coins there are being cleaned by a very sour liquid called an acid.
After the coin cleaning turned into trying to splash water from the first bowl all the way into the third bowl we wrapped up our science project and played shopping. Smarty was delighted to play shopping “with real money”. By the end of the game she could kind of connect to the idea that a nickel is the same as five pennies, and that was about as far as I thought she could go at the moment. She still can’t grasp the idea that 8 cents can be made with a nickel and 3 cents, but it’s OK. We had a fun time learning and doing, and that’s what really matters.
For more science ideas, visit Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom