Science Club: Smoothies and Healthy Eating

Our second science club was all about healthy eating and the children made smoothies.

Smoothie Week

Arrival Craft:

Balanced diet mobiles. 

I drew pictures of dairy foods, fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, and cereals and potatoes. I gave the children some pictures to colour and plates to make simple mobiles.

I gave the younger children one picture from each food group. I gave the older chlidren three pictures from each food group and asked them to sort the pictures into food groups.

The children hung the foods that belonged to the same type together on wool from their paper plates to create a model of a balanced diet (tip: a metal skewer is a really quick and easy way to poke holes in paper plates).



What food groups do we need to eat in order to have a balanced diet? (fruit and veg., meat and fish, dairy, bread and cereals and potatoes, fatty and sugary)

How much fruit should we eat? (UK gov. recommend five portions of fruit and veg. a day, of which a maximum of 1 can be juice, and at least 3 should be veg.)

What is a portion? (for adults 80g fresh or 30g dried; for kids, suggested rule is one handful equals one portion)

Why is fruit good for you? (contains sugar, fibre, vitamins and minerals)

Guess which vitamins each of our fruits contains: stick the vitamins onto the right parts of the body. A (hair and teeth)- Carrot, B1 (heart) – Orange & Pineapple, B2 (growing) – Banana, B5 (digestive system) – Raspberries, B6 (immune system)- Banana & Pineapple, B9 (brain) – Orange, Pineapple & Raspberries, C (bones & teeth) – Orange & Pineapple, E (skin) – Raspberries, K (blood and bones) – Raspberries & Carrots.
Middly helped me draw a picture of a person for this. Then I drew pictures of raspberries, carrots, pineapple, orange and banana on post it notes. As I told the children different parts of the body that these fruits and vegetable were used in, they took it in turns to stick the post its onto the big picture.

Individual Task:

Plan and make your own smoothie.

Bigger children colour fruit pictures, or write words to make their recipe. Here are the recipe sheets for the children to fill in: YourSmoothieRecipe

Biggest children work out the percentages of each fruit in their smoothie to write an accurate recipe.

Gather Together for the Conclusion:

How does your smoothie taste?

Did you look at the fruits as you were mixing them up?

How are they different from each other? (colours, sizes, shapes)

What do all the fruits have in common? (all have seeds, many have skin or rind, all have a fleshy part that can be eaten)

Taste some unusual fruits (just see what we can get hold of); vote on favourites and make a bar chart on the whiteboard.

Break for drink and snack

Optional Extension:

Fruit and parts of fruit colouring sheets.

Cut and stick food pyramids.

Look at a selection of smoothie adverts (I collected catalogues and advertising leaflets to take along, and asked other parents to bring some too) and make an advert for your own smoothie. MakingaPersuasiveSmoothieAdvert


Science Club – Buoyancy


With a couple of friends, I’ve started to run a weekly Science Club for home educated children. Our children range from one to eleven, so I try to put together activities that are interesting and challenging for all ages.

We’ve been running for ten weeks now, and I’ve finally got around to putting together a post about it. I thought it might be worth making available the plans that I’ve made and some of the visual aids I’ve been using, in case someone else could make some use of them.

I’m having a lot of fun running the group and preparing the sessions, and I think that I’m getting better at it!

Our first week was all about floating and sinking.

Here’s the plan I was working from:


Floatation Experiment: what will float?

First we make predictions: look at the sheet, tick the items that you think will float.

I made a sheet with drawings of the objects we were testing, so that pre-readers could also join in (you can see the sheets here: BuoyancySheets).

Then we test our predictions, and record our results: put each item in the water, see if they float, circle the items that float, on your sheet.

Finally we make our conclusion: did any items surprise us? What do all the floating items have in common?

Things float because they weigh less than the water that they displace. We can work out in advance whether or not something will float by calculating its density. A ball of plasticine will sink. But a plasticine boat will float.

Individual Task:

Each child can make their own boat out of plasticine.

Bigger children can draw their boat and predict how many pennies it will hold before it sinks.

Biggest children can calculate the density of their boat, then predict how many pennies it will hold before it sinks.

Gather Together for the Conclusion:

We can test all the boats and see how many pennies they hold before they sink.

We’ve looked at solid objects, so far, but what happens when you pour a liquid on top of water? Some liquids sink and some liquids float.

Density tower demonstration.

This was the most unsuccessful part of the session. The children got bored as I slowly added washing-up liquid to water and milk to that. They weren’t as impressed by the visual effect as I had hoped. In later weeks I’ve cut down on demonstrations!

Paper clips sink, but they can ‘sit’ on top of the water using surface tension. Some small animals can exploit surface tension to run across water, like pond skaters. If you like, you can try and make a pond skater after snack time.

Break for drink and snack

Optional Extensions:

  • Boats colouring sheets – no supervision required.
  • Making 3-d shapes from nets – smaller children will need help.
  • Sorting 3-d shapes – supervision needed to ensure nothing gets lost.
  • Make a captain’s hat – smaller children will need help.

The manners that maketh a man

We’ve been working hard on managing aggressive behaviour in our house (which I’ve blogged about before) and we are making some progress. A year or so ago, I was boring everyone with how brilliant Love Bombing is, but I have now moved on to raving about NVR at any and every opportunity. These two things, more than any therapy we’ve tried, have helped our boys enormously. Of course, they won’t work for everyone, but I find it hard to stop recommending the two techniques that have really helped us.
There’s a lot less violence in our house, which is amazing. It feels like the future is looking much brighter and more hopeful.
But, of course, as one problem shrinks down, another becomes far more obvious. Apparently this is called the Diderot Effect (I read about it in the paper recently). As aggression occupies less and less of my worries, I’m finding new things to worry about!
Right now, I’m worrying about rudeness.
We’ve been getting a lot of rudeness recently. Not just horrible rants mid-tantrum, but also a lot of low-key stuff. A lot of:
“We’re leaving in ten minutes, it’s time to put your shoes on.”
“Shut up. I was already going to put my shoes on. Idiot.”
“Could you shut the back door, please?”
“Why should I?”
None of it’s awful or unmanageable. But it is getting rather irritating. And, when things do kick off, this is how they seem to start.
I say something that sounds reasonable to me, child responds with abuse, I object, massive tantrum erupts. Rudeness is the gateway to violence.
So, we want to do something about it.
A year ago, I thought that a house where people don’t punch me was an impossible dream. But, we are tantalisingly close to realising that dream.
So, I have hopes (small hopes, hemmed in by disclaimers, obviously) that one day I might live in a house where people don’t respond to my requests with verbal abuse.
At this moment in time, all I have is hope. The next thing I need is a plan.