Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Fear and lothing

It’s time for those two little words that bring dread, fear and loathing into the hearts of parents across the nation.

Science Fair.

Yes, yes, science fair. The time when your kitchen becomes the site of many a great experiment. I was blessed with two very scientific young minds in the form of children. DS-11 has been fascinated with the natural world almost from the moment of birth. He and his daddy watched televised documentaries on volcanoes together before he was able to form complete sentences.
The boy is now proud to be a science nerd, complete with glasses. The other day he spent six hours watching “Myth Busters” and pouted all through dinner when we dragged him away during the seventh hour to go to an ice cream parlor / eatery.
My younger son is a chemist. He loves to mix things together and make things explode.
So last night we spent a good part of the evening purchasing equipment and setting up experiments.
DS-7 is doing the classic dying flowers with colored water experiment. Since he has a set of beakers and test tubes, we put the flowers in his chemistry set to make it more official.
DS-11 is expanding upon his first grade experiment with ice and rocks. The first grade experiment garnered a visit to the district science fair. Basically, we took a piece of sandstone, put it in water, then froze and baked it continually to see if the ice would break the rock.
Our conclusion of this first experiment is sandstone erodes instead of breaking. This time we have three different kinds of rocks, sandstone, volcanic and igneous, to see how each kind of rock will react to the freezing, heating process.
I have agreed to sacrifice my vegetable steamer in the name of science. It’s okay, we received a new one for Christmas a few years ago.
While the science fair is a pain, I love to see my elementary school teacher husband and my children interact as they decide on the projects and work on them together. My job is to do the documentation, as in photographs and typing their findings.


Amy Soren said...

I am SOOOO dreading science experiments! (My oldest is in fifth grade and we have yet to do one. DOn't get me started about this school district...) I love the projects you are doing with your kids. Great ideas!

Wyo sis said...

Let me know in detail the results. I am in the middle of a 6 week unit on changes on the earth featuring volcanoes, earthquakes and erosion. We are at the lesson about magma and the properties is has that cause plate tectonics. We are making cornstarch magma. A lovely messy project with minimal consequences to clothing and carpet as it dries up and brushes off easily. I have decided against dying it red for obvious reasons. Of course by the time I have taught the lesson the 9 required times I will have a different opinion of its messiness and also about whether I will ever do it again. Fortunately a year makes about the perfect forgetting time for such projects.