Friday, March 5, 2010

The Good [Kids'] Stuff: First Science Experiment

As much as I try to help Peter explore his artistic side, there is no denying that Pete has his dad's interests at heart: he really likes learning about the world around him. He will dabble with paints and crayons, but it is watching how things go (physics) and watching how things grow (biology) that make his eyes sparkle. Because coloring and crafting are most natural for me, it has been a good experience to stretch into this unfamiliar realm. Who knew that the awful intro to physical science class and biology 101 might actually come in handy in the coming years? (*Note* I did enjoy my high school physics class immensely, thanks to a certain Dr. Atiya.)
While we may already have one or two science experiments at work in our fridge (that blue cheese is looking extra blue today), I wanted an official place to observe how several vegetables change over time. I thought I'd introduce some good lab etiquette to begin with. We created our sterile environment by cleaning our jars in the dishwasher and laid a newly washed dishcloth in our "observation deck" (tray). We put set the onion on top of a water-filled jar, sliced the bottom off of four radishes and set them in a pie dish filled with water and pie weights, and put some great northern beans on top of damp toilet paper inside of a jar with the lid on. I made a very simple observation notebook by stapling some paper together, and voila! Our scientific experiment had commenced.
It took a few days for anything to happen and I almost gave up. Shane said that if the experiment didn't work, it would be a good real-life lesson to know that science experiments don't work most of the time. That was a low point in our experiment.
And then, one day, we woke up and found this! Our radishes had changed! The onion continues to be a dud, but our beans, too, began to look very cool.
I'll post a few of Peter's observations (dictated by me):
About the onion:
"The onion is turning RED!"
"The onion is peeling by itself!"
"I peeled the onion a little bit"
"I saw some yellow stuff on the onion"

About the radishes:
"The radishes are turning into gray!"
"The radishes have a little green on top"
"The radishes are peeling"
"The pick-ups are coming out!" (Pick-ups are the stems, because that's where you "pick them up")
"The radishes are getting holes"

And the beans:
"The beans are turning into black beans"
"The toilet paper is flushing" ?
"The beans broke and beans came out!"
"The beans are turning into beans!"
"The beans look like spiders"

In the words of my seventh-grade Life Science teacher, I have to say "Is this data real?" to some of these comments (My teacher was questioning my awesome experiment of when I made my cat listen to blaring music and wrote down his responses. And the data was real.) But, some of Peter's observations are pretty great.

So, friends, do you have any other scientific activities you like to do with your kids?

1 comment:

Jill said...

This is so great! Love the observation notebook, too. We did something similar just last week actually, we grew green onions or scallions that we had bought at the grocery store and used for cooking. Just save the roots and plant. They grew really quickly--instant gratification! It took us a few tries because the first time around Kate tried to water them with the hose on full pressure when I wasn't looking and washed them out of the pot. Round 2 has been a bit more supervised and successful. It's getting me excited to get a little garden going, although I have no clue what I am doing!