International Mud Day is June 29th but around here mud is more of a springtime thing. Once the weather begins to warm, when the ground begins to soften and the rain begins to fall, the muck seems to make its way into everything: the house, the car, little ears. When you have three kids who love to make messes and get dirty, muddy science fits perfectly with spring.
Where does mud come from? A quick science lesson
Mud is made when dirt is mixed with enough water to make it sticky or gooey, slippery or silky. It contains different types of particles: humus, pebbles, clay, silt and sand. Its texture is determined by how these components combine. To find what might be in your mud, conduct an investgation like this one. Humus is what you find in the woods; layers of leaves collect, compact and rot, creating rich soil where lots of bugs like to live. This is the soil you want in your garden. Why? Rich and nutrient dense, plants love it.
What can puddles tell you? I’m sure your kids can help you find some puddles to observe…make sure you locate some on ground-not concrete. Jump. Jump. Jump. Then move on to some experimentation. What can you observe about the puddle? What do you think is making it stay on top of the ground? Why does it sink into the ground? With these hypotheses and some muddy samples, take it inside.
Experiment: Gather samples from different places. We are going to see if different types of mud drain differently (it does) and puzzle out why. With each of your samples on paper plates, make it into a cone shape with a divot in the top. Pour a couple of tablespoons of water in the divot and observe. What happens? Can you guess why? (different components drain differently…sand drains quickly, clay will move more slowly).
Building with the Muck
If you have some aspiring engineers or bakers in your home, this will be right up their alley. Do you know you can bake and build structures? Pack some ice cube trays and bake in the sun. How about making stronger muck? Try different add-ins (dried grass or some clay work well). Did you know that some birds use mud to build their nests? Find a robin’s nest and check it out. Build your own using twigs, straw and dabs of mud.
Art and Literature
How could any deep dive into a subject be complete without art (check out my scope) and literature connections? Here are some of the messiest, muddiest books out there. Enjoy them, but please, don’t get them muddy!
Linking up with the fabulous Amy at Busy Boys Brigade and the Homeschool Nook