October Meteor Showers

When and how to watch October meteor showers. Both the Draconid and Orionid meteor showers are in view during October. Found at The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Marci

There is something about gazing up at the night sky. It’s so peaceful, serene, and awe-inspiring. Fall is the perfect time of year for star-gazing. The cool, crisp nights make for clear skies and great views of some summer and winter constellations.

October night skies have more than just constellations to find. Both the Draconid and Orionid meteor showers are in view during October, which is exciting for me. I just love a good meteor shower!

I bundle up the kids, pack some hot chocolate and a blanket, and head out to our meteor watching spot. It makes for good science and great family memories.

Draconid Meteor Shower

The Draconid meteor shower occurs each October.  It will peak this year on October 9th although the dark skies caused by the new moon on October 13th may make for some good meteor viewing.

This meteor shower is created when the Earth passes through the dust debris left by Comet 21 P/ Giacobini-Zinner. The resulting meteor shower seems to radiate from the constellation Draco the Dragon, hence the name Draconid.

This year, the Draconid meteor shower may not be as spectacular as it has been in the past. Astronomers are only expecting 5 or 6 per hour, but you never know. Things may change. This shower has been unpredictably active in the past.

When and how to watch October meteor showers. Both the Draconid and Orionid meteor showers are in view during October. Found at The Happy Housewife

The special thing about the Draconid meteor shower is the fact that you don’t have to get out in the middle of the night to see it. Unlike many meteor showers that peak in the wee hours of the morning, the Draconid meteor shower is an evening event.

The best time to view the Draconid meteor shower is just at dusk. This is because the Draconids’ radiant point, the point in the sky where the meteor shower seems to come from, is highest in the sky just before nightfall.

Orionid Meteor Shower

The Orionid Meteor Shower is the second meteor shower that can be seen in October, peaking on the night of October 20th. This shower is caused by the Earth passing through the tail of Halley’s Comet. As the name suggests, the Orionids seem to radiate from the constellation Orion.

This year you can see the Orionid meteor shower the best from midnight to dawn (October 21). Astronomers project 20 meteors per hour.

When and how to watch October meteor showers. Both the Draconid and Orionid meteor showers are in view during October. Found at The Happy Housewife

How To View A Meteor Shower

For the best opportunity to see a meteor shower, follow these simple tips:

  • Find a spot with a view of as much of the sky as possible. Fields, rural roads, and state parks are great options.
  • Get away from city lights. The darker the location the better.
  • Know the peak times for the shower that you are trying to view.
  • Get the weather forecast and check the local satellite images. You can’t see meteors through cloud cover!
  • Dress appropriately. To get the most from your meteor watching, you will probably spend a chunk of time outdoors. It can get pretty chilly. Dress warm. Hot chocolate or coffee might make the experience warmer and even more enjoyable.
  • Take a blanket. We like to lie on the ground when viewing meteor showers. It lets us see most of the sky and saves us from sore necks.

Head outside this October for some quality family time watching nature’s own fireworks!

You might also like…

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Preschool Science with Flowers

Preschool Science with Flowers at The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Marci

Preschoolers are like little sponges. Everything is new and interesting, and they absorb so much from the world around them. These little learners are great at observing, testing, and figuring out how things work. Preschoolers are natural born scientists!

Flowers seem to draw preschoolers in. When our kids were little, I’d always find them at the edges of the lawn looking at, touching, and sometimes picking flowers from the flower beds. They were amazed by the different colors and shapes of the flowers and the leaves.

Teaching preschool science with flowers is natural learning that doesn’t have to be forced. This natural interest makes flowers a great tool for teaching preschoolers new skills and concepts. 

Teaching Colors

Take your preschooler on a walk in your backyard, if you have flowers, or in a park or botanical garden. Give the child a crayon or paint chip card in a color that you know will match a flower on your walk. Tell the child their job is to match the color of their object to a flower.

Preschool Science With Flowers

When they have matched their color, give them another crayon or color card. Depending on the child, you may want to give them two colors to look for.

Counting

Flower petals are so fun for little ones to count. Let your child count the petals from multiple flowers and see if they notice a difference.

Compare and Contrast

Introduce your child to the concept of similar but not the same. Look at two different flowers and work with your child to find how the flowers are same and how they are different. Start with color, petal shape, leaf shape, main parts of the flower, and scent.

Preschool Science With Flowers

Learn Flower Parts

As your preschooler is observing a flower or flowering plant, tell them the main parts: flower, stem, leaves. Then, you can add roots and petals.

Use a Magnifying Glass

Flower parts are so interesting to look at under a magnifying glass. Children can see the texture of the petals, leaves, and stems. They can even see pollen and smaller flower structures.
Preschool Science With Flowers

Flower Art

What child doesn’t like to draw flowers? Flowers are one of the first things children learn to draw. The simple shapes that make up flowers make them easy for children to draw or to create with other objects. Their colors make them interesting and fun.

You might also like…

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Properties of Water Experiments

Properties of Water Experiments at The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Marci

Water. It’s one of the basic elements of life. Living things need it every day to survive. It seems that water is everywhere and in all facets of life. We drink it. We bathe in it. We play in it. We often take it for granted.

Since water is everywhere, let’s learn more about the properties of water and test them with a few simple experiments.

The Water Molecule

Scientifically speaking, water is a cool molecule to study.

Properties of Water Experiments at The Happy Housewife

Water is a polar molecule. Even though water is a neutral molecule in that it has an equal number of protons and electrons, there is an uneven electron distribution within each water molecule that makes it polar.

The oxygen atom in a water molecule attracts electrons more strongly than hydrogen does. This means that electrons tend to be at the oxygen end of the molecule. This makes the oxygen end of the molecule slightly negative. Thus, the hydrogen end of the molecule is slightly positive.

This polarity of water gives it some special properties, like cohesion and adhesion, that you can easily demonstrate right in your kitchen.

Cohesion Properties of Water

Cohesion simply means that water molecules like to stick to each other. This is caused by the slightly negative charge of the oxygen atom of one water molecule being attracted to the slightly positive charge of the hydrogen atoms of another water molecule.

Properties of Water Experiments at The Happy Housewife

Surface tension is a good example of cohesion at work. Have you ever seen a water skipper “skate” across the water of a pond? This insect literally walks on water because it takes advantage of the surface tension of water. Water molecules hold together tight enough to let these insects stay on top of the water.

Properties of Water Experiments at The Happy Housewife

You can test surface tension by filling a glass with water and gently laying a needle on the surface of the water using a fork. Since the needle has a higher density than water, it will sink if just dropped in the water. However, if the surface tension is not broken, the needle can be placed on the water in such a way that the surface tension of the water holds the needle on the surface.

Properties of Water Experiments at The Happy Housewife

Cohesion can also be tested by filling that same glass of water to the top and then gently adding more and more water until the water is actually forming an arc of water slightly over the top of the glass. The cohesive properties of the water are holding the molecules together so that they will not spill over the top of the glass. The weak hydrogen bonds between the water molecules will eventually give way.

Adhesion Properties of Water

Water molecules are attracted to each other (cohesion). They are also attracted to other charged molecules. This is adhesion. You can see this when it rains and water drops form on windows. These drops should be pulled to earth by gravity, but the force of the adhesion of water to that surface is stronger.

Properties of Water Experiments at The Happy Housewife

You can test adhesion by dipping a paper towel into a small bowl of water and food coloring. Watch the colored water as it climbs up the towel against gravity. Once again, the water molecules are drawn to other molecules and overcome the force of gravity.

What ways can you and your kids think of to test cohesion and adhesion?

You might also like…

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Firefly Facts and Craft

Firefly Facts and Craft at The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Marci

Fireflies, lightning bugs, whatever you call them, they have fascinated me since I was little. Those little dots of light slowly rising and then disappearing in the low light of dusk. It is like magic sprinkled with fairy dust for a young child.

Firefly Facts and Craft at The Happy Housewife

We used to run through the yard capturing lightning bugs in quart jars. In my young mind, the bigger the jar, the better. My mom would poke holes in the top of the jar so our little guests would have some air. I always put my jar of light on my bedside table so I could watch the light show as I fell asleep.

Whether your kids are like I was or not, you can help them learn more about fireflies with these interesting firefly facts and a fun firefly craft that even older kids enjoy.

Where to Find Fireflies

There are 2000 species of lightning bugs on all continents except Antarctica.  Chances are, you have lightning bugs where you live.

Firefly Facts and Craft at The Happy Housewife

Firefly Larvae

These bugs like warm, humid areas. Their larvae live on rotting wood and plant matter near the water’s edge. The adults only live a few weeks and can be found in the forest as well as in tall grass where they can hide during the day.

Firefly Facts

  • Fireflies use their light to attract mates and to communicate with other fireflies
  • The light of the firefly is the most efficient light in the world. 100% of the energy involved is emitted as light. Compare this to an incandescent light bulb that emits only 10% of its energy as light and the rest as heat. Fluorescent bulbs are us 90% of their energy as light.
  • Firefly larvae eat snails, worms, and other insects. The adults may eat nothing because of their short lifespan.
  • Adults live a few weeks. It’s just long enough to mate and lay eggs. Larvae live one year.
  • The glow of a firefly is a bioluminescent chemical reaction.
  • Fireflies can be poisonous.

Firefly Craft

Firefly Facts and Craft at The Happy Housewife

Even my 10 and 14 year old had fun creating their own bugs with this firefly craft.

Supplies Needed

Instructions

1. Cut the chenille into lengths for the antennae and 6 legs.

2. Poke small holes into the eggs where the antennae and legs should go. We used a thumbtack for this. Insert the wires into the holes.

3. Glue eyes and wings onto your firefly.

4. Open up the egg and place the battery operated tea light inside.

You’ve got a firefly!

Firefly Facts and Craft at The Happy Housewife

You might also like…

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.