Dragons, Chinese Lanterns and Flying Teabags

The Chinese New Year begins on February 1st this year.  It will be the year of the tiger.

Dragons and Chinese lanterns are part of the festival of the Chinese New Year.

We painted some spiral dragons, then cut them out and hung them in different places in the classroom.

The dragons that hang near the window move more than the dragons in the middle of the room.  Can you tell why? (Hint: it has nothing to do with the windows being open or closed.)

After an interesting discussion, we decided that the reason that the dragons near the window move more is because these are the dragons that are nearest to the radiators.  The radiators heat the air above (and around) them.  Warm air likes to go up, while cold air falls down.

This is why you should crawl on the floor if the room is on fire.  Hot smoky air rises while the air near the floor is colder and less smoky!

We loved making the dragons, and now we will keep a close eye on them to see if the ones nearest the radiators will move the most.

On Chinese New Year, lots of lanterns are to be seen.  People light these lanterns are release them into the sky at night (Teacher doesn’t like them because the wire in them can end up anywhere at all when the lantern comes back to the ground.)

Instead we saw teacher light an empty teabag.  That flies in exactly the same way as the Chinese lantern does.  When the teabag burns, the air inside the teabag heats up.  When the teabag is very small the hot air is able to lift the teabag into the air and make it fly.  When the teabag is fully burned, the hot air inside it is gone and the ashes of the teabag float back down to the ground.  When the ashes land on your hand, they are so light that you can’t feel these ashes at all.

Here’s an interesting story about the animals from the Chinese New Year cycle:

We talked a lot about how to stay safe in a fire. “Stop, Drop and Roll” is important because when you roll on the ground (or cover the fire with a fireblanket) then the fire has no air around it, and all fires need air to burn.  We also know that we should crawl on the ground if we are in a room where there is a fire.  These tips might save our lives some day.