If youâ€™ve seen â€œSid the Science Kidâ€ on PBS, youâ€™ll get the title.
My boys love science. I love that they love it. I love that Henry dreams up science projects to do almost every waking moment. Itâ€™s so much fun to feel like the world is our oyster and we can discover as much as we want to whenever we want to.
Weâ€™ve had some fun experiments as of late.
One night, Henry wanted to take one of his Lego concoctions in the form of a boat into the bathtub with him. Dad said, â€œNo.â€ So Henry hit Mom up with the request, only he billed it as a â€œscience project.â€ I conceded to the idea of playing â€œWill it Floatâ€ for science, but with the condition it had to be during our school time, not bath time. Henry was cool with that.
By the time science time rolled around, he and Samuel had built SIX Lego boats for science. So we filled up a little dishwashing tub, gave each of the boats a name, and made predictions about whether or not they would float.
Surprisingly, only 3 of the 6 Lego boats floated. As the sinkers would hit the bottom of the tub, Henry nailed the reason for the fails: â€œOh, I used too many bricks on that one side,â€ or â€œThatâ€™s because I left a hole in the bottom.â€ I was impressed. Our experiment led us to the conclusion that buoyancy has more to do with construction than the materials.
I think half of the fun of doing some of these science projects is hyping them up. We did â€œThe Dunking Raisinsâ€ (Mudpies to Magnets, pg. 92) which was a definite â€œWOWâ€ project. We talked a little bit about acids and bases and before I let the boys discover what happens when you mix the two together, I had them don eye protection (their goggles from the free Home Depot workshops). Of course, their curiosity was in peak form.
The project has you add vinegar (acid) to water, and then put a couple of raisins in before adding baking soda (base). So Wow #1 was the â€œka-plosionâ€ when the soda hit the vinegar/water mixture, and Wow #2 was watching the effect of the carbon dioxide on the raisins. You could see all of these little bubbles forming on the surface of the raisin, and when the raisin had enough bubbles, it would rise and sink and rise and sink. It was pretty cool. But Wow #1 won out and we had to do the â€œka-plosionsâ€ four times before they were ready to clean up and record their observations.
I wonder if real scientists get excited about ka-plosions and making them happen again and again. I think I would.
(Sorry for these terrible photos. I didnâ€™t take the time to mess with the settings on my camera. Ugh.)
We did have some trial and error before we could get this experiment to work correctly, though. In the book, it simply says, â€œFill a large clear container with water.â€ A few sentences later, it tells you to add a couple of scoops of baking soda, but that â€œmeasurements need not be exact.â€ Suffice it to say, we got better results using 8 oz. of water in a juice glass than we did with a gallon of water in a large clear container. I did make a note in the margin for when we do this experiment again.
Today, we started an experiment that will take some time to reach fruition: growing sugar crystals (â€œGrow a Rock,â€Â Mudpies to Magnets, pg. 100). At the mention of crystals, both boys practically started hyperventilating. One of their favorite Lego series, the Power Miners, are in a never-ending struggle against the Rock Monsters over the valuable crystals deep in the center of the earth. So when the boys heard they would be able to make their very own crystals, there was great joy and rejoicing. Again, fun to hype the project up!
They were very patient to stir and add sugar and stir and add sugar before we created a saturated solution suitable for continuing the experiment. We did have quite the sugar mess on the table but they executed the experiment independently, which was awesome. Now we wait for 8 oz. of water to evaporate. Any guesses on how long that will take? Stay tuned.