English Club : Geodes

What is a geode? A geode is a rock which has holes in, through which minerals have flowed through in water, and thus formed crystals inside. A process that can take millions of years.

The kids observed some geodes…

…before opening their own (a process that took 2 minutes with one geode, and 40 minutes – and a lot of teamwork, with the other!)….

We then went on to start our egg geode experiment, using alum, which we would continue the next week..

English Club : Clay

The younger english club group (10 – 12 year olds) have now moved on from ‘fire’ to ‘earth’, in their topic of ‘The elements’.

I asked them – what do we find in our soil in the garden? The answers varied, from water, to dirt, to clay, to sand, and to insects.

So we started with clay. To feel it, play with it, describe it….

The kids loved this! πŸ˜„

English Club : Igneous Rocks

What is an igneous rock? That was the question that was asked .

I explained that an igneous rock was essentially  a volcanic rock, either having cooled under water, or in the air.

After observing such rocks, we did an experiment  with sugar dissolved in water, to see how differently a mineral will cool in air and in water.

One mixture we put in a tray in the freezer (water), and left for fifteen minutes – and it came out flat and shiny, like obsidian rock, and those volcanic rocks that are cooled under water.

The other mixture we left to cool in the air, to observe the following week. As expected, in hardened in a bumpy ‘rocky’ fashion, with air holes, not unlike basalt, a volcanic rock cooled in the air, which we had also observed (above).

The kids then drew their own versions of the volcanic flow and rock reaction…

English Club : Our Amazing Earth & It’s Elements…

The older group in English Club (12 – 14 year olds) have now started a new topic : Our Amazing Earth – which is essentially about rocks and stones.

We started the topic by asking the question “What is Obsidian?” – a word that this age of boys often hear from the computer game ‘Minecraft’.

Obsidian is a volcanic rock, that has been cooled under water, and thus gives it a flat shiny look…

After observing this rock, I asked the kids if they knew what our earth was made up of. 

I then asked them to think about this, and make me our earth and it’s layers, from playdough….before explaining to me what these layers were….

I told them we were going to do the topic of geology, and where the word came from…

…and we then went on to discuss our earth’s treasures. What materials come from the earth, and how we use them in every day life…..

But how do we get these treasures?

By mining!

Then the kids ‘mined’ chocolate chips out of their cookies! The chocolate chips were the treasures, the cookies were the caves. For every whole chocolate chip they managed to mine out, they recieved 5000kr, but each time they damaged the cave, they were fined 2000kr…. πŸ˜‰

We are using this book as our basis for explaining about the rock cycle…

English Club : Candle Lit Carousels

As we moved on from fire, in our study of ‘The Elements’, our last project in this area was to experience the power of heat energy.

We observed a candle powered carousel…

…we tried to invent our own..

Well, this was a tricky project indeed!

And unfortunately we didn’t manage to get any of the carousels to work – but the kids worked hard trying! 

English Group : Rockets

We had our last lesson on astronomy last night. I decided to end with a fun experiment – vinegar and bicarbonate-of-soda rockets!

The mission was to build a great looking rocket that flies…



When the rockets were made we filled them with vinegar, corked them, made pouches of bicarbonate-of-soda, and took them outside. 

We then attempted, one at a time, to push the bicarbonate-of-soda in to the rocket, and recork it to get it to fly! Well, it’s a struggle to recork a bottle when there’s bubbling vinegar splurting everywhere! Our first rocket kind of worked, but the second two didn’t (a variety of guessable reasons such as a different type of vinegar, a rather too well fitted cork and the stress to get the cork in)!

But we had a lot of fun trying! πŸ‘πŸ˜„

English Group : Shadows

On Thursday we talked about what we had learnt from fire – that we had learnt how to light a fire, and how to put one out. That fire can be used for cooking, for warmth and for light. 

We then took a lit candle each, and I asked the kids to look at the flames carefully, and to see what they did. Eventually they figured out, that in the darkness, the flames made shadows.

We then played a game, which I had made myself (using cardboard for trees, paper for the game board, and wooden gnomes from another game for the counters), but which I had read about, and that you can buy.

It is called ‘Shadows in the woods’. There are variations of the game, but we played it so that everyone hid their gnome in the trees while the light bearer hid their eyes. When hidden, the light bearer lights the candle, turns off the main light, and using a dice, moves the candle around the game board.

The idea is that the shadows move according to where the candle is, and when the light creates a shadow of the gnome, or lights up the gnome, and the light bearer sees him, that gnome is out.

We took turns being the light bearer.


The kids really enjoyed this game – it took up pretty much the whole lesson! πŸ˜‰


English Group : The Observatorium

I took the Monday group to an open evening at the Observatorium in Stockholm.

We went by bus and train, found our way fairly easily, climbed the steep and muddy hill up to the top, and found ourselves at the Observatorium.

A winding wooden staircase to the top. The chance to see and use a real telescope (50 times stronger than a normal one!), to see how they use co-ordinates to point the telescope at the correct place in the sky, and to see how the roof of the Observatorium turns and opens. 

Unfortunately it was very cloudy – but at one point we were able to see the moon – and then it was so clear, we could actually see the craters on the moon! Actually truly incredible!    

I just took the one photo – I didn’t want to be clicking and flashing around in the Observatorium too much! πŸ˜‚

A fabulous evening!

English Group : Experiencing Fire

Last week our english group had a fantastic time, quite simply ‘experiencing’ fire!

We walked down to the lake, and started by learning how to build a fire. Start with a ‘grandmother’s cottage’ of wood logs, and then put small dry kindling, bark and newspaper in the middle and in the sides…

It is very obvious to me which children are in the scouts – those who are not afraid, and feel safe around fire. 😊

I tried to encourage the children who were not in the scouts to light the fire. It didn’t always work…

….but sometimes I managed to crack them πŸ˜‚….

We had an amazing time.

Cooking sausages wrapped in strips of dough (‘pinn-brΓΆd’) on sticks…

  Experimenting with ‘torches’ and making fire patterns in the sky…   

  ….oh so wonderful when you finally ‘crack’ the nervous ones….😊…    

Experimenting as to whether they can make a fire on (and burn a hole in!) the ice….

…and just generally enjoying eachother’s company by the warmth of the fire, and learning to work as a ‘team’….   

We talked about what fire gives us – the heat to cook our food, the heat for warmth, and light. We also talked about having respect for fire, and how to be safe around fire – and of course, to always be sure to put a fire out (and how!)….  

A truly wonderful evening with truly wonderful kids! 😘


English Club : The Phases Of The Moon

Last night we learnt about the phases of the moon. 

We started with an experiment using a foil covered ball (the moon!), and a torch, in darkness. Shining the torch on the ball and getting the kids to walk around looking at how bright the ball shone, or not, gave the idea of how the moon looks at its different phases, and how the sun affects it.

We then talked about the different phases of the moon – how long it took for the moon to rotate the earth, how long it took between each stage, what each stage looked like and what it was called.

I then challenged the kids to make the moon phases using Oreo cookies…(which they thought was great of course! πŸ˜†)….

We then read about the moon and how it affects the sea, plant growth, rainfall, people – and about an African myth about ‘the hare in the moon’…

…before starting to watch the beginning of a film ‘Moon’. πŸ˜ƒ