Thursday, July 8, 2010

Science Time

If you looked at the family calendar for July you would see that we picked tomorrow to be Family Science Night.

Here are some experiments to get you started. As you go about the experiments be sure you are asking the important questions: What, Why, Where and How. This is how kids learn to think independently and analytically. When dealing with science it is always vital that the kids come to a conclusion on their own and this can only be done if you ask them questions. I have put a sampling of questions in italics for each experiment but do not limit yourself to just the questions I thought of. Let your imagination run wild and so will your childs.

A straw that doesn't work:

Cup of water

Put a straw in a cup of water and sip up some of the water to drink. (Was it easy to get the water?) Now use the pin to poke a small hole in the side of the straw (near your mouth). (What do you think will happen now?) Try to sip some water now, you will see that the straw will no longer work, all you can get now is a drink of air. (Why do you think you can no longer sip water through the straw?) A straw works by Air Pressure. When you sip at the straw, you are essentially drawing air out of the straw. This decreases air pressure which was in the straw right above the level of the water. When there is a hole in the straw, this allows the air pressure to build, thus not allowing water to move through the straw. (Do you think there is a way to repair the straw to make it work again?)

Breaking a water drop:

Wax Paper
Soap (bar)

Put a medium size drop of water on a piece of wax paper that is sitting on a counter. (What do you think will happen if we put soap in that water?) Rub your finger across a bar of soap and then put the finger in the water drop. Like magic the water drop will separate. (Why do you think the water seperated like that?) The reason for this is that the water has surface tension. The soap is designed to contain both hydrophobic (water repelling) parts and hydrophilic (water attracting) parts. This is what allows the soap to clean.

Pour water with a broom:

Cup of water

Hold the broom with the brush/bristle side to you and the end of the handle extended a few inches into the pail. The brush/bristle side will need to be a little higher than the end of the handle. (What do you think the water will do?) Slowly pour some of the water onto the handle near the bristles. Some of the water will fall off of the handle but some of it will travel down the handle and fall into the pail. (How does this work?) Water is sticky and it will stick together and to the broom handle. The same way that it sticks to your hands when you wash your hands.

How can I get enough water?


Find a potato that sits fairly level. Let the parents scoop a hole in the potato, about an inch or two deep. Put a spoonful of salt in the depression and leave it overnight. (What do you think will happen to the salt?)Tomorrow you will see that the depression is now filled with water. The reason for this is that the potato contains lots of water, as do most other fruits and vegetables. (What other vegetables are full of water?) The salt draws the moisture out of the potatoes. This is not an excuse for not drinking water, just a scientific fact to keep in mind.

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