Monday, December 9, 2013

Solar System Studies - Saturn's Rings - Fall 2013

This science experiment was recommended by Classical Conversations and comes from the book "Janice VanCleave's 201 Awesome, Magical, Bizarre & Incredible Experiments." This is such a great book for experiments and provides great explanations as well to help the kids (and mom and dad) understand what's going on. :)
The stated purpose of this experiment was "To determine how Saturn can be seen through its rings." It's relatively simple in that you only need three equal strips of paper with two equally measured lines on each sheet (tip: draw the lines before cutting the piece of cardstock into three strips). You then use a push pin to connect the three pieces to a pencil.
 Next you spin the cardstock and as you can see the rings are visible as well as the object(s) behind the rings.
 Another view, see Missy Reagan's eye?
 Notice that you can see the rings but also still see through them to our map of the world on the wall behind!
The reason this works is because "your eyes blend the color on the paper strips as they spin, producing what appears to be solid rings." The same is true for the rings of Saturn which are made up of many pieces of rock and ice. Pretty cool, huh?
One of the best parts of Classical Conversations this fall has been all the additional fabulous Science Experiments the kids have done using the Janice VanCleave book. I didn't redo all of them at home, but they were all great experiments the kids could do to help understand why and how the forces in our solar system work together. I don't know how many science experiment books I have purchased over the years, but this is the one I would recommend hands down to anyone who asked!

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