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  • Melanie Patric

Celebrating President's Day With Facts, Math, and Science!

Today we celebrated President's Day with some fun stories during our circle time. We looked at pictures of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and discussed what we thought was interesting about them. We noted that Washington had white hair, a pigtail with a ribbon in it, and that he looked like he was wearing "a tuxedo." We noticed that Abraham Lincoln had a beard and a tall hat and that he looked "serious." We talked about how both of them had been president of the United States and asked the children to tell me what they knew about presidents.

One child mentioned that they "important." One said they "made rules everyone has to follow." One said "Obama is president!" That was good knowledge! I told the children that Washington and Lincoln were some of the most well-known presidents and had made some of the most important rules to keep everyone safe and happy. We talked a little about how sometimes people tell stories about famous people and then I told them the story of George Washington and the cherry tree. It's not a fact, but it did point us toward the conclusion that a president must be very honest even when it is scary. I then told them a little about Abraham Lincoln's upbringing and how he learned to read, write, and do math even though he didn't go to school in the way kids do now. We thought it would be important for a president to be very smart. I told them the story of how Lincoln helped a little girl who was lost and crying find her train. We decided that presidents should be nice, too.

After that, we looked at some money. We recognized the picture of George Washington on the dollar bill and quarter, but the children needed help recognizing Lincoln on the penny... it is awfully small.

We talked about how you must have to be very important to have your face on money!

We moved on from this activity to a sorting an counting activity. The children sorted out one dollar's worth of coins in a range of values- a silver dollar, fifty cent pieces, quarters, dimes, and nickels.

They took turns placing the coins on a "shadowboard" so they could figure out if they had the coins in the right places. When all the coins were placed, we counted out how many of each type of coin made one dollar. It was good counting practice.

When our counting activty was over, we moved on to do a fun science experiment. We looked at pennies. We described them as "small," "round," and "brown."

I showed the children a relatively new penny that was still bright and they said it was "golden!" We brainstormed ways to clean pennies and make them new again. We thought that soap and water was probably best. I then brought out other cleaning materials- baking soda, vinegar, and soapy water along with something less expected- hot sauce!

One of the children wrote out labels and stuck them to the jars.

The children then added the ingredients to identical jars (great pouring practice!) and dropped one penny each into the jars.

We set a timer for 30 minutes and set the jars in a safe but visible location. After about 15 minutes, we checked on the pennies and we could see that the vinegar was definitely making the penny look different.

After a full 30 minutes, we poured out the liquids and checked out our pennies. Clearly, the vinegar worked best! Hot sauce came in a close second, while water and baking soda made little difference at all.

Interesting! We talked a little about why that might be and decided that it was because vinegar has a strong smell so it must be a strong cleaner... but that's a topic for another day!

All too soon, it was time for lunch and naps.

Later in the day, we read some facts about each president and reviewed what qualities we said made Washington and Lincoln good presidents- honesty, intelligence, and "niceness" or kindness.

See you tomorrow!

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