Our Egg Drop Inspired By Daredevil, Annie Edson Taylor: Queen of the Falls




At Lin Learning Center, we like to explore scientific concepts through picture books such as Barreling Over Niagara Falls by Nancy Kelly Allen. Through beautiful illustrations the book told the fantastic adventure of the Queen of the Falls, Annie Edson Taylor, who in 1901 was the first daredevil to barrel down Niagara Falls and survive. This concept really captured the class’s interest and they began asking where Niagara Falls is, how high it is, and so forth.

To further explore this event and expand the children’s knowledge of different materials from previous project, gravity, impact, and air resistance, we decided to do an egg drop. Each child had to design a container using open-ended materials to prevent their egg from cracking after dropped from a two-story building.

What made Annie Edson Taylor successful?

While reading Ms. Allen’s story, the children pointed out that they key reason for her survival was a well-planned design for her barrel. Thus the children observed that they would need to design the containers for their eggs with as much care, so each of them got to work drawing their plans while the teachers discussed their ideas with them throughout the process.

For our research, we examined four other daredevils who attempted the fall and made predictions whether or not they would be successful. These daredevils used a kayak, a tin barrel, water scooter, and an air-filled container. Many of the children agreed that the kayak and water scooter would not be good choices for the task. Sure enough those two daredevils didn’t make it. When we discussed why Paul commented that the kayak and water scooter were open verses the tin barrel and air-filled container provided better protection since they were closed.

Gravity, Impact, and Air Resistance

The class also discussed gravity, impact, and air resistance. While studying gravity, the children gathered that it’s what makes things fall, though Jonathan added that gravity is an invisible force that makes things fall. To further demonstrate, one of the teachers dropped an egg with no protection from the two-story building, letting the children witness it smash. Spencer noted that this was because the height of the building is about 100 times the egg.

The teachers presented the children with four different containers to use for protecting their eggs made of flexible plastic, hard plastic, tin, and glass. Then we decided to drop each of the containers from ceiling-height to observe the result. The majority of the children hypothesized that the glass container would shatter, but the others wouldn’t be damaged. During the experiment, the glass container broke, the tin can dented, and the two plastic containers had no evidence of damage. Paul stated that hard materials break while flexible ones don’t when dropped from a great height.

While researching resistance, the children learned that a parachute can slowly lower objects down to the ground, thus we performed an experiment where we dropped two papers of the exact same size from the same height. We dropped one paper vertically and the other horizontally. Jonathan and Felice pointed out that when the paper is dropped horizontally more air is touching the paper thus creating more resistance. Some of the children use this information to build a container with a parachute to minimize the impact of their egg.


Following pictures are children working on their parachutes. They were testing out their designs, giving feedback to one another and supporting each others success.

              Andrea closely looking at the parachute design to make sure air passes through.



Following pictures are children working on minimizing impact when the container hits the ground. Also some of children were thinking about creating a design that allows proper landing to guide where the impact should be when the container hits the ground.



Outcome Of The Egg Drop

After weeks of planning, building, and modifying containers, the teachers gave each of the nine children that participated two chances to perform the egg drop experiment. Some of the children focused on minimizing the impact using a parachute. Each child dropped their egg then we all went to the bottom to open the containers one by one. When we found an egg that survived, the children cheered and all of them were very happy with each other’s successes.


Following pictures are children getting ready and sharing their container design ready for egg drop. Children were allow to perform 2 trials for this challenge hoping that they learn from mistake and modify their design for another challenge.




Following pictures are children opening their containers to see whether their eggs have survived. Everyone were very supportive one another for their success as well as their failure.


Open Ended Materials



These pictures were taken on one Friday. Entire Lin Learning Center crew got involve making ice igloo. With Anna’s guide, Vera and Weiam were harvesting ice. Paul and Louis were cutting or shaving ice into shapes. Felice and Spencer mend or patched any wholes. Jonathan and Andrea pinpointing the area that needed patching. Michelle were finding the decoration for igloo.


Open Ended Materials

Children develop power when they build individual relationships with materials. When children have the chance to notice, collect, and sort materials, and when teachers respond to their ideas, the children become artists, designers, and engineers.” Weismann Topal, coauthor with Lella Gandini of Beautiful Staff


We presented to the children many different natural or manufactured material found in the home or outside, such as sea shells, pine cones, bubble wrap, pipe cleaners, and toilet paper rolls. To help the children in sorting these items, we read the book Sort It Out by Barbara Mariconda to see how Packy the Packrat organized her things into so many different categories. For example, in the story Packy discovered a string bean couldn’t be sorted in a green, nature, food, flexible, or long category.

The children were very excited about this activity! They were familiar with some of the materials, but many they had never seen before. This activity promotes literacy as we prompted the children to describe the objects and express their observations. What do you think these materials are used for? Is this item flexible or rigid? Is this thing found it nature or is it manmade? Is this plastic or metal?


Uncertainty of these materials provide children with freedom or unlimited possibility of building things. And because of these uncertainty, children really have to play with materials and understand what each materials can be used. Playing around with these materials, children becomes like scientists who are constantly conducting experiments, testing ideas, and building their understanding of the world according to National Creative Center for Aging.

Knowing your materials is the absolute basis for both science and art. You have to use your hands and your eyes and your whole body to make judgements and see potential.” The Having of Wonderful Ideas: And Other Essays on Teaching and Learning by Eleanor Duckworth

Many of the children came up with various creations, some fashioned individually and others in groups. Often the students’ creations inspired each other and they would copy each other or come up with something that worked even better. Also, they discussed among each other how to improve their creations.


Andrea has created spider, over the cradle hanging toy for the baby and a person.

Omar has created dumb bell.

Louis has created sea monster.

Paul has created pirate ship.


Sophia has created miniature animals and their stage.

Spencer has created a sling shot


Vera has created a bow and arrow.


Feliche, Omar and Spencer together they have created a marble run. A lot of discussion, trial error and also input from Paul helped to make a run where marble doesn’t fall off and stay on the track.

Andrea and Spencer together, they created a basket ball court.

Feliche was trying to create a car that moves on life saver candy wheel.

Julia was trying to create a hot air ballon.


Weiam and Vera together, they created artificial a snow machine.

As teachers, we made an observation that when one child stated his frustrations about not being able to create what he wanted, many of the children encouraged him with comments such as, “New inventions are made that way. It takes trial and error. You just have to keep going.” They understood their peer’s troubles and supported him. Together they recognized persistence is the key ingredient for creation.


  1. Sort It Out by Barbara Mariconda
  2. Beautiful Stuff by Weismann Topal and Lella Gandini
  3. Ashley Bryan’s Puppets: Making Something from Everything
  4. The having of Wonderful Ideas: And Other Essays on Teaching and Learning by Eleanor Duckworth

Shoe Lace Tying



Shoe Lace Tying

During pick-up, the Center’s teachers noticed many of the children’s shoe laces were untied. We explained to the children that it isn’t safe to walk around with untied shoes and it’s a very important life skill that they should begin learning in Kindergarten. At the start of school, we believe they need to begin to be more in charge of their own care.

Shoelace tying can be a difficult skill for a child to learn. It requires a good level of dexterity and motor planning. Thus we presented the children with three different shoe lacing techniques in the hope they would pick up at least one of these methods. We named these techniques: Two bunny, one bunny, and loop around. We turned this into a challenge where first a child had to master at least one technique. Then the child would have to perform it in under thirty seconds to promote efficiency.

Many of the children grew excited about this challenge. A few already knew one of the techniques and helped the other children. However, several were frustrated with the endeavor. First we demonstrated how to make a knot. The next several days, the children spent time learning how to do each method on and off their feet.


Some mastered all three techniques while others just one. Once they felt confident in their skill, they did the timed challenge. They got very fired up about their efficiency and pleaded us to time them over and over again while they demonstrated. On the day of the final challenge, we asked the children to record their times on a chart. Some children mastered all three methods under thirty seconds. Andrea’s time was the fastest. Only eleven seconds!

Now the children can tie their own shoelaces and we are very proud of them.







Fruits versus Vegetables




Fruits versus Vegetables

At the Lin Learning Center, preparing a variety of snacks is a very important part of our daily activities. Every day the children ask, “What are we eating today?” They learn about good eating habits due to their exposure to a healthy medley of foods. This has spurred curiosity in the children. Eventually they began to ask, “Are we eating fruits or vegetables?” They made observations such as “Fruits are sweet and vegetables are not. Vegetables are green. Fruits have seeds and are colorful.” All of this led us to looking at the differences between these two food groups.

Over the next couple of months, we read many books about plants including, Edible Colors by Jennifer Bogel Bass and From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons. We also examined on the observation table many different parts of plants such as melons, mint leaves, edamame, cucumbers, and strawberries. One day, we sent the children to discover different plant parts from the playground such as acorns, dandelions, milkweed seeds, and Japanese maple seeds to dissect as well.

The children also observed entire uprooted tomato and cucumber plants. They noted that unripe cucumbers look like cacti, that the leaves and stems are rough, and that unripe cucumber and tomatoes foam where the flower is dying. At closer examination, the children discovered the flowers are sticky at the bottom from the nectar and that the brown powder around the inside is the pollen. 

“The pollen feels like sand,” Spencer said.





This brought up the topic of pollination. Several children mentioned how bees and butterflies assisted in pollinating, but didn’t have a full understanding as to how this helps the fruit grow. Dissecting the flower and identifying the stigma and ovules clarified this. The children even drew their discoveries to help with this learning process.



To conclude this project, the children organized over two hundred pictures of food into categories. As they did this, they revisited their original claims on the differences between fruits and vegetables. They learned that not all vegetables are green and fruit doesn’t have to be sweet but it must have seeds.



  • Edible Colors by Jennifer Vogel Bass
  • Plant Secrets by Emily Goodman
  • A Seed Is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long
  • From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
  • How Does A Seed Sprout? and Other Questions About Plants by Melissa Stewart


The Standard of Measurement and Brookline Day

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Measurements are found everywhere in our daily lives from telling the temperature of a child to the ingredients in a recipe to science engineering. This month we taught the children how to use various measuring tools. It was a chance for them to learn mathematical accuracy to put numerical value to quantify what they see instead of using vague terms such as small, big, short, tall, and so forth.

At Lin Learning Center, we encourage our students to think about measurements in their snack preparation such as the amount of cream cheese in a packet and how much of it each child needs for their bagels with strawberries. We also had the children participate in various challenge activities. Throughout these exercises, the children had fun engaging and learning about the subject of measurement.

Challenge One: The Story of the King’s Gift

Once upon a time a king wanted to give a bed to his queen for a birthday gift. To make sure it fit her, he measured her by his feet and instructed a carpenter to make the bed by that length. However, when the carpenter delivered the bed it was too short, so the king threw the carpenter in jail. The carpenter didn’t understand why the bed had come up short since he measured it as requested.

We asked the children, “What do you think happened and how can you save the carpenter?”

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Using writing and/or drawings, Andrea, Jonathan, Spencer, and Saki participated in the challenge.

Andrea pointed at her picture. “This is the king’s foot and this is the carpenter’s foot. The king’s foot is bigger than the carpenter’s foot, so the carpenter should measure the king’s foot to make the bed.”


I think the carpenter is younger than the king,” Jonathan said. “So he must have smaller feet. That means ten king’s feet are not the same as ten carpenter feet. They should cast a mold of the king’s feet and use that to measure the bed.”


If the queen takes off her crown then the bed will fit her,” Spencer remarked.


Saki said, “The king’s feet are bigger than the carpenter’s feet, so that’s why the bed came out small.If they trace the king’s foot, they could use that to remake the bed.”


Challenge Two: How many ounces of liquid can each cup hold?

We gave the children different tablespoons and teaspoons to look at. They noticed the utensils were not all shaped the same, thus it would be difficult to make a generalization without a specific measurement. The children explored the various measuring tools with colored water and flour. At first, it was simple fun, but over time the children began to identify the numbers, symbols, and lines on the measuring tools. Spencer demonstrated leveling out flour in his spoon to be exact. Saki noticed that four ¼ teaspoons makes one teaspoon.

After weeks of exploration, we asked the children to guess how many ounces can fit into two presented cups. To help with this, we had a chart to collect the guesses and we also allowed the children to change their guess after the actual trial. Then we had a final chart where the children put their answers after using their best techniques to measure. Most of the children were very close or exact with their measurements.

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Challenge Three: How to place a hook on the wall

We had the children participate in placing eight hooks on the wall. Using string, they measured the space they wanted to cover. Then they placed the string on the floor to arrange the hooks on, and we discussed how far apart each hook should be. Initially, the children placed the hooks along the length of string at random, but they noted the hooks were not evenly placed.

Saki came up with the idea to use her hand length to place each hook equally apart. Using this technique we placed each hook evenly along the string, but that had too much string left over. Jonathan suggested that Saki’s hand was not long enough and that we needed something longer. Thus he came up with using his forearm length. With this method, we were able to place each hook equally along the entire length of string. To quantify the actual distance, we also measured it with the ruler. Thanks to our children, we have hooks placed on the wall to hang things.

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Brookline Day

To end the month with a bang, Lin Learning Center participated in Brookline Day this year. We presented two activities: create something out of open-ended materials and make yourself sparkling punch. These two stations reflected our center’s philosophy and the type of activities we do on a regular basis. Many parents and their children enjoyed participating in them.

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Design and Engineering

The children of the Lin Learning Center have shown a great interest in drawing, coloring, and paper crafts, so we wanted to turn this creativity into the study of a common invention: the paper bag.

“Creativity, as has been said, consists largely of rearranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know. Hence, to think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted.”

George Kneller

As we introduced the paper bag to the children we informed them that it was invented two centuries ago and started reading In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps It Up by Monica Kulling. The children were surprised that inventing the simple design of the bag took Margaret Knight two years. After finishing the book, we examined paper bags from Trader Joe’s, Stop and Shop, and other places. We dissected each one to identify the different segments or parts of each bag, observing that there are four parts to each one.

Many of the children quickly grabbed some grid paper and got to work recreating the paper bag. Julia claimed she could do it in two days. Several of the children came up with a two-sided flat bag with an opening. When we asked them if theirs could stand on its own, they replied no, except Josie who said yes as she wrinkled the bottom of her bag so it was flat.

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What made Margaret’s paper bag stand on its own and not theirs?

At this point, the children revisited the Stop and Shop paper bag to take a closer look. Julia noted that the bottom of Margaret’s had a rectangular shape then Julia began to reconstruct hers to copy that design. Tianyi did the same and constructed a four-sided paper bag out of one piece of paper while making its bottom from a separate rectangular piece.

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Is Margaret’s paper bag made out of many pieces pasted together?

After another close look at the bags, the children discovered that they’re made out of only one piece of paper and that it is folded to make the bag. They grew confused as they tried to refold the dismantled paper. Three weeks later, the children completed the paper bag project. Some took three or more tries to mimic Margaret Knight’s design. When Tianyi and Josie figured out the V-shaped flat bottom, they were overjoyed.

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Once the children constructed their paper bags, the bags were put to the test to see how much weight they could hold. Together, we loaded each one with pebbles, one stone at a time. As we counted each pebble that went in, the children grew excited to see how many their bags could hold. To their surprise, the paper bag constructed with thin graphic paper could hold over 250 pebbles.

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All of the children were persistent throughout the challenge. We’re proud of their diligent observations as they strove to truly understand the design of paper bags. They certainly exhibited the determination of great minds.


Different Like Coco by Elizabeth Matthews

The Trojan Horse by Warwick Hutton

Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor by Emily Arnold McCully

It’s a Snap!: George Eastman’s First Photograph by Monica Kulling

Building Our House by Jonathan Bean

The Boy Who Invented TV: The Story of Philo Farnsworth by Kathleen Krull

Continuation of Germ Inquiry

As we continued the germ inquiry, we explored how washing will affect germ growth. To do this, we took three pumpkin specimens with evitable germ growth and washed with water alone, soap alone, and then left one specimen unwashed as the control group. Anna, Vera, and Tianyi took observation notes, measured the area of germ growth in each specimen, and proceeded to wash two pumpkin specimens. While Anna timed the wash to thirty seconds, Vera and Tianyi washed the specimens. Immediately after the procedure, we noted that some of the spots continued to have germ growth in Tianyi’s specimen.

Tianyi didn’t wash this spot well,” Vera said.

Over the next few days, we kept the specimens under observation. The control specimen continued to grow a lot of germs. The washed specimens had a delay in germ growth. However, there wasn’t a difference in terms of growth between the soap and water specimens. Thus we concluded that it’s a matter washing thoroughly or not to decrease the growth of bacteria.


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Next, we took a hand culture from each student using potato skin by rubbing a slice on the dorsal and palmer surface of the hand ten times and in between the fingers one time. We left one potato skin untouched as the control. Each student recorded their observations and made predictions before putting the skins inside a box for the germs to grow. A week later, we removed the cultures. Just as the children predicted, each skin had evident germ growth, except the control. Vera’s culture had the most growth.

It’s not fair,” she said. “I don’t think I washed my hand while others washed theirs.”

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Germs are not always related to sickness. The center explored this by including foods made by germs in the snack menu: yogurt, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, mushroom pizza, baked bread, and fried Korean Ho Dduck which uses yeast to rise rice flour dough. The children showed interest in trying out the blue cheese.

“Is that germs?” Tianyi asked as he pointed at the greenish blue area of blue cheese.

But trying blue cheese was enough to convince the children they didn’t like it and to stick to cheddar cheese. They also showed a particular interest to how yeast affects food

“The dough is puffy now,” Vera commented after seeing risen bread.               IMG_0631               IMG_0649


We further explored yeast with two experiments. With one we put yeast into a bottle with warm water and sugar and put a balloon over the end. At the end of the day, the children noted that the balloon was “squishy.”

“What makes the balloon squishy?” we asked.

“It has air inside,” Josie replied.

For the second experiment, we put yeast into a small plastic bag with sugar and warm water. As we poured the warm water in, Josie and Tianyi observed instant bubbling.

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Finally, we went on a germ hunt. We put glow power on each child’s hand and let them run around the classroom and touch anything they wanted. After thirty minutes, we used an ultraviolet light to observe any trace of glow powder around the classroom. This activity simulated how germs can spread quickly even with a very small amount of powder on their hands. The children were very excited to see the glow powder/germs around the room.

As the children put it, “It’s everywhere!”

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Maps and Our Neighborhood

Numerous amounts of research support the fact that it is critical to teach a child how to think spatially. Spatial thinking has been positively correlated with success in math and science [Mohan & Mohan 2013].

A map can be explored in many ways. At the Center, we decided to start small with our students and then expand. We focused on a neighborhood to a city to a state to a country to a continent, and ending with the entire globe. Along the way we described the map features at different scales, talked about the purpose of a map, used a map scale to measure distance between places, and discussed cardinal directions.

Our children have some background knowledge of what a map is. When asked where his home was, Tianyi pointed to a major coastal city in China on the globe. Other children found their home by locating their streets on the Brookline map.

They made many interesting comments such as, “You live closer to Devotion school and yet why do you go to Lawrence? I live along the buffer zone. I didn’t know how far Runkle school was from all of the other schools.”

During the next two weeks, we examined many different Brookline and nearby maps drawn at different scales. We talked about how mapmakers or cartographers shrink the actual size into a small piece of paper and how can we tell the distance from one point to the other point by looking at the map. The process wasn’t an easy or familiar concept for most of the children.


Along the way, we showed the kids how to expand or shrink geometrical shapes proportionally using grid paper and how to draw a map of the classroom to scale. The understanding of scale directly relates to the distance on the map and how we use this information to calculate actual distance between places on the map.

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One of the most important lessons we covered was when we had the children think about how we find Brookline Town Hall for our Center’s evacuation procedure. This involved locating our classroom within the Korean Church, and in turn, locating the exact location of the Korean Church in comparison to the Town Hall on the map.

The teachers accompanied the students around the church as they all sketched and identified the parameters by looking at street signs and adjacent structures to pinpoint the front, back, right or left in reference to where we are in the church. After we returned from outside, the children had to use their visual memory as well to interpret what they saw on the town map.

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Some of their discussions and comments included, “I noticed two entryways to the church along the Pierce Street side. I saw the church playground along the side of Harvard Avenue, so it must be behind us. There is only one street between Town Hall and the church, so it must be near. I see the Brookline Public behind the Town Hall and I know where the library is.”

Taking the knowledge of the previous scale of map, we were able to measure the distance between the church and the Town Hall which came to about one hundred feet. What does this mean? Since the children had previously measured the classroom length at forty feet, it helped them put into perspective the twice as long distance to the Town Hall.

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On the first week of November, we conducted a successful evacuation drill thanks to the children putting their knowledge together to figure out our route. Our map exploration isn’t over yet. We still continue to explore cardinal directions and offer fun activities with a compass. We’ll see how the children do!


National Geographic Education Program: Spatial thinking About Maps, Development of Concepts and Skills Across the Early Years reported prepared by Audrey Mohan and Lindsey Mohan.

Book Nook, Free Friend Friday and Germ Inquiries

This month at Lin Learning Center we added a place to read to our building, invited friends on Friday, and started on a germs inquiry.

Book Nook

We had the children look at pictures of other reading areas called Book Nooks and brainstorm about the common things they noticed about them. The students noted that it should have books, pillows, places to sit, and bright light. In addition, we discussed rules of usage for it and came up with five:

1. Reading only

2. Only two people at a time

3. Shoes off

4. Take care of the books

5. Clean the stations after use

Shortly after agreeing on the terms of usage, we opened the Book Nook officially with a tape cutting ceremony. All of the students were very excited, especially Josie and Tianyi. They jumped right in as soon as it opened!

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Free Friend Friday

Having friends over on Friday was another event that children had a great fun preparing. The children took the initiative making invitations for their friends. On the day of the event, they introduced their guests to everyone, showed them where things were, explained routines, and instructed during snack preparation. They were wonderful hosts.

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Germ Inquiry

Good hygiene has been a very important practice at the center, especially during snack preparation. Many children washed their hands more than once because they sneezed or touched their mouth, floor, or random objects besides the items on the snack preparation table. They frequently asked why they had to stay clean.

To answer their question, the germ inquiry began with reading the book, The Value of Believing in Yourself by Spencer Johnson, M.D. It is the story of Louis Pasteur discovering the rabies vaccine. The germ was referred to as an invisible enemy and the vaccination as a magical soldier.

The children realized it is important to pursue your beliefs and be persistent to be a scientist and to lead to an important discovery. They took an interest to germs being called an “invisible enemy.” Tianyi explained using body language that bacteria are very small in the air and they get into your body by breathing. The children said that the magical soldiers were the medicine we take through shots.

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They also asked, “Can we see germs? What do they look like?”

So we brought molding pumpkins and mushrooms into the classroom for observation. The students took a particular interest to the pumpkins. First, they noticed the black spots.

To help the children define what they saw we asked, “What do you think is happening to the pumpkins? What do you think is happening to the mold/germs? How do you think the mold/germs got on the pumpkin?”

Josie mentioned, “The black area is a germ.”

Anna said, “It’s mold.”

Tianyi and Vera said, “It’s bacteria.”

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Next we cut open the pumpkins to see what was happening on the inside. Just as many of the children predicted, the black places on the outside were also black on the inside and a place on the outside where it was still orange was still orange on the inside with no sign of molding.

Then we teachers asked, “What do you think will happen to the pumpkin? Do you think the mold/germs are all over the pumpkin?”

No,” Josie commented, “because some of the pumpkin is still orange.”

Anna said, “No, not yet, but it will go all over the pumpkin.”

To test these hypotheses, we cut two specimens from the pumpkin, one still orange and the other with some mold growth. We marked the boundaries of where the germ growth was and decided to observe the changes happening to these specimens. For the next few days, we watched the germ grow on more areas of the pumpkin.

“There is germ growth beyond the black marker line,” Josie said, “but I still don’t see anything on this one.”

The following week, we realized the germ-free looking pumpkin began to turn black.

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Living, growing and dying appears to be a topic the children have talked about with confidence during the course of the pumpkin observation.

Mold is growing and the pumpkin is dying,” Josie and Tianyi said.

It’s going to die and become dirt,” Josie added.

Vera said, “Only pumpkins are dying.”

For the next several days, the students watched the increased growth of the “white fuzz,” the spreading of the black area, and sprouting seeds. The fact new life still remained in the pumpkins surprised us all. In eagerness to liberate the seeds for further planting, they didn’t mind getting so close to the smelly pumpkin to tease out sprouts with toothpicks. During this process they mentioned their roots, color, darkening of the seed’s shells, and tall versus short lengths of the sprouts.

Tianyi pointed to a green sprout. “Good.” Then he pointed to a brown sprout. “No good.”

Why do you believe that?” the teachers asked.

He pointed at the brown section of the decaying pumpkin.

The children also mentioned that the area of the pumpkin where it’s dry had no sprouts coming from the seeds, but there are many sprouting seeds in the black area where the pumpkin is still wet.

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All of them were wonderful scientists, asking questions, recording their observations through illustrations, making predictions, making wonderful observations, and this is only the beginning of our germ inquiry!

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1. Kidhaven Science Library, “Germs,” by Don Nardo.

2. “Germs!,” by Dorothy Henshaw Patent.

3. “Rotten Pumpkins,” by David M. Schwartz, photo by Dwight Kuhn.

4. “Germs,” by Ross Collins.

5. “Cell Wars,” by Dr. Fran Balkwill.

6. “Germs,” by Judy Oetting.

Apple Taste Testing

At Lin Learning Center, we provide safe and high quality nurturing after school care for children from grades 1 to 5. We believe in giving children the practical knowledge of what they already studied in schools right here in Brookline. Topics are students initiated and subjects matter are explored through experiments, cooking, art work etc.

We are pleased to present you this month in pictures. Our point of interest this month was apple taste testing. We already know, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away”
Our little scientists did not stop at just one, but two tests! Yes, they loved apples so much that all test subjects were eaten.
You’ll be interested to learn the methodology and result. As usual, remember to check out joyful pictures of children hands-on making and eating daily snacks.

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As Fall rolls around, apple is the seasonal fruit with many varieties available for us to eat. It also has its wide range of benefits. Since at Lin Learning Center, we spend a lot of time preparing snack and eating daily and healthy, it is one of our interest to know which apple is our favorite. We decided to make it fun for children and take on the project of answering question how do we decide on which apple to use for our snack.

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We began with listing apples that kids were familiar and which they like to eat. They were able to name some of apples but really didn’t have the idea which apple is their favorite. They were curious as they wanted to know about the rest of apples. Thus we started off by looking and eating 8 different apples:

Fuji, Macintosh, Ambrosia, Granny Smith, Braeburn, Red Delicious, Gala, and Honey Crisp, which are commonly sold at the local market.

Anna mentioned that Ambrosia, Gala, and Fuji have soft pinkish red color and stripped look to them. Vera said, “I know this is Gala because it’s the only apple with dots”. Josie mentioned that the Red Delicious and Macintosh had the most intense red. Just as apples come in many different shapes and colors, children also noted that inside of the apple does not have the same yellow color tone.

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This is when we bring math and statistics into play. We all know, how bored children get with the typical math word problems in their school books. But with this technique, it was all fun and game. And the best part? They learned it with just happiness on their faces.

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So what did we do? First, we collected taste testing data by grading which apple is children’s favorite to least favorite. The highest score of 8 being the most favorite apple and 1 being the least. Each child carefully tasted apple and sometimes with repeated trial. Once each child scored the apples, we looked at the chart together to see which apple got the highest score.
One child suggested, “… add all the score to get the
total score for the each apple”. Everyone took part in adding the total scores to see which apple was voted the most favorite. Children were so interested in finding out whether their favorite was the voted the most favorite. They even chanted for their favorite apple. According to our vote result, the winner of this round was Honey Crisp.

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To explore further, this data was drawn out to make graph to visually show the most favorite to least favorite. However, as the total score was plotted on the graph and examined, we realized that this information did not give more than what’s our favorite or least favorite.

So, we decided to find out the reason of what characteristic makes apple one’s favorite apple. Children agreed on sweetness, sourness, juiciness, crunchiness and smell. We performed another apple taste testing with four characteristics. They were over-joyous.

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Additional data and graphs gave us more insights. Tianyi said “look” pointing at the Granny Smith sweetness and sourness result. Granny Smith sweetness was scored one, one, and one, total score of 3. While the sourness was scored three, three and three, total score of 24. Everyone laughed. In addition, children realized that sweetness and sourness scores have opposite relationship.

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Conclusion: We found that Honey Crisp has well balanced sweetness and sourness while having superior juiciness and crunchiness compared to other apples.

Despite many weeks of eating, analyzing the taste and grading the taste and generating charts and graphs, children were very happy to engage in the project. Except for Macintosh and Granny Smith, we always run out of apple at the end of the day. After three weeks, we are able to find our favorite apple and conclude our reason for picking it.

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