Add Some Math to Your Valentine’s Day Festivities

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that involves expressing feelings from your heart, but that does not mean you cannot integrate some mental math into your activities while you’re at it. With all the cards, candy, and heart-shaped items, you have plenty to work from to make your Valentine’s Day filled with math and science! Here are some ideas you can work on to make your February 14th a day filled with some extra love for arithmetic:

Photo by Johntex, ©2007 Some rights reserved. Licensed by Creative Commons Public Works License

Photo by Johntex, ©2007 Some rights reserved. Licensed by Creative Commons Public Works License

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Maracas for Cinco De Mayo

Cinco De Mayo gives us a chance to celebrate Mexican culture, and a part of that culture is music. Maracas are simple percussion instruments that are used instead of the common drum. You can have a set of this rhythmic and rattling sounding pair of your own at home as a result of perfect craft opportunity that will have your little ones shakin’-it to the sounds of your May 5th festivities! Here is how you can make maracas with your kids for Cinco De Mayo.

Photo by Steven Depolo

Photo by Steven Depolo

Decoupage Maracas for Cinco De Mayo

 What you will need:

    • Empty plastic bottles (Empty Salad dressing bottles are perfect since they have a long enough neck for the handle)
    • Modge Podge
    • Brightly colored tissue paper (Try sticking to traditional Cinco De Mayo colors like red, orange, green, and yellow)
    • Paint brush
    • dried beans

Steps:

Start by having your little ones tear the colored tissue paper into pieces while you take an empty plastic bottle and coat it in Modge Podge using the paint brush.

Once the bottle has been generously Modge Podged, have your kids place torn tissue paper all over the bottle. Have them layer the tissue paper to cover the bottle as you go over the pieces with the paint brush and Modge Podge.

Once one bottle is covered in tissue paper, set it aside and repeat the process with your second bottle.

Let both bottles dry completely

Once the bottles are dry, fill them with your dried beans and place glue on the cap of the bottle before you replace it for a tight seal.

Creating a set of your own maracas is a great craft that’s suitable for children to enjoy as you celebrate the Mexican culture in an upbeat way! Challenge your kids to try and keep time with a beat, counting down in between shakes to keep a steady rhythm. Make these maracas and enjoy your Cinco De Mayo fiesta with your kids!

 

Plants Evolved to Survive Cold Weather

Have you ever wondered why some trees lose their leaves in the winter? It’s actually how these trees cope with the cold weather. But what about other plants that seem to disappear during the chilly winter months? Scientists have learned that plants have evolved in different ways to deal with frosty temperatures.

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Photo by Jason Hollinger

Fossil evidence and records of past climate conditions tip-off that early flowering plants grew in warm tropical regions. As plants continued to grow and spread to different areas, they eventually reached higher elevations where temperatures were cooler. With the cold came challenges for survival so plants evolved in ways to combat the wintry weather.

Plants can’t move to escape the cold and they can’t make heat like humans do to keep warm. But it’s not really the cold that’s the biggest threat to plants—it’s the ice. Freezing and thawing can create air bubbles that can block their internal water flow. So plants that live in colder climates need to protect themselves from the ice.

Photo by muffinn

Photo by muffinn

Here are some ways that plants have evolved to cope with the cold:

Oak trees evolved to avoid freezing by shutting off its water flow from the roots   to its leaves. This is why oak trees lose their leaves during the winter chill. When the warmer weather returns, the flow of water is turned back on and new leaves grow.

Birch trees grow with narrow water transport system which is less prone to blockage during freezing temperatures.

Other plants have the ability to die and come back when the weather becomes warmer. They re-sprout from their roots or grow as new plants from seeds when the weather is right.

Worksheet of the Week

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Memorial Day Activity: Math and Measurements

While celebrating national holidays like Memorial Day, you might find yourself searching for activities to share with your kids that are exciting and interactive, yet still commemorative of the true meaning behind the day. After all, just because the kids are out of the classroom for the day doesn’t mean that their learning needs to stop. Get festive and show your patriotism by working on activities with your little learners that are not only fun but also utilize their math skills. For example, you might have your kids help you in the kitchen by preparing some delicious Memorial Day inspired treats in the kitchen like these patriotic ice cream sundaes.

All you’ll need are a few simple ingredients. Have your kids prepare each of the ingredients to practice measuring various quantities. If you are doubling the recipe you might even have them do the math to determine how much of each item they might need. Basic math skills can go a long way when in the kitchen.

What you’ll need:

  • One gallon of vanilla ice cream
  • A set of food dye (with the primary colors)
  • Measuring cups.
  • Spoons for mixing.
  • Bowls for mixing.
  • Clear cups for serving.

Directions:

  • Divide the gallon of ice cream into the three bowls, creating equal servings in each bowl.
  • In the first bowl of ice cream, add one teaspoon of red dye to every two cups of vanilla ice cream. Mix well and set aside.
  • In the second bowl, add one teaspoon of blue dye to every two cups of vanilla ice cream. Mix well and set aside.
  • With one bowl of red ice crean, another of blue and a third bowl of vanilla, prepare the clear bowls for serving.
  • To each clear serving dish, first add vanilla to a clear serving dish, and then add equal parts of red and blue. The layered colors will create a fun visual appeal to this vanilla sundae that is reminiscent of an American flag.
  • Top with whip cream and a cherry, then enjoy!

Memorial Day Weekend Fun

Happy Memorial Day weekend, Blasters! Many may think of this weekend as the unofficial kickoff to summer, however it is important that we remember what this day is all about. Like many of you brave Blasters, the men and women in our armed forces show great courage and dedication when fighting off enemy forces. Be sure to take a moment to honor these great soldiers when enjoying this holiday weekend.

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This weekend is a great time to break out the swimsuits and barbeques and enjoy those warm nights with good friends and family! What are you are your family doing for the holiday? This weekend could be a great chance to spend time with old friends or find new a B.F.F on Math Blaster! Whether you are staying home and spending time with family or enjoying a day at the beach with friends, we hope this weekend will be a great start to your summer!

If you are looking for some fun activities to do, try out some of our exciting worksheets or engaging activities. Doing experiments is a great way to pass the time and learn something new and cool, in the process.

Merry Christmas, Blasters!

How are you celebrating this joyous day? Let us know all about your favorite holiday traditions. Whether you’ve been busy unwrapping gifts or eating sweet treats, we hope that you get the chance to spend some of the day enjoying the company of your family and friends. After all, there is no better time than now to celebrate the season with the ones you love most.

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And, if you have some time to spare during all your family festivities, don’t forget to stop by Math Blaster to wish your blaster pals the happiest of holidays! You might even want to take the time to throw a Pod party or send a few gifts to your B.F.F.s