Friday, March 12, 2010

Science Experiments

I haven't been cooking alot of food in the kitchen lately, but we have been doing science experiments in the kitchen. Lots of science experiments!! The boys attend a Montessori school and have been the "scientists of the week". I've discovered that boys can be fantastically smelly and slimy and gross!! We did a science experiment out of the book sent home with Trip for the first one. We dissolved egg shells in vinegar! It was AMAZING!!! I'm a nurse, so I took a few science classes in college, and generally enjoy smelly and slimy things. To keep Trip interested, we covered an egg in vinegar every day for five days until it was time for him to show his experiment to his class.

The egg and vinegar experiment was nice because we saw immediate results and then the vinegar kept working on the egg for several days. The vinegar almost immediately makes small bubbles on the egg shell. About twelve hours later, there are larger bubbles on the egg. We put lids on the jars of eggs and vinegar, so after a couple of days when we opened them, the built up carbon dioxide from the chemical reaction caused the lid to have a small pop as the lid was unscrewed. After three days, we noticed the eggs had expanded to the diameter of the jar. (We used canning jars.) When we finally did the presentation in class, we opened the oldest jar and had the lovely aroma of vinegar waft into our noses! Neither Trip nor Logan ever complained about the smell. We drained off the vinegar and had an egg with just the soft membrane encapsulating it! It was wonderfully jiggly! Trip touched it first. I love how brave he is! We passed the egg around and, being a class of 4, 5, and 6 year olds, the membrane was broken from all of the jiggling that had to be done to the egg. Fortunately, we had 8 more!

Because of the success of the egg and vinegar experiment, I decided the boys were ready to start doing science experiments more often. They're 5. Sounds reasonable to me. They should always enjoy the slimy, stinky experients, right? So I bought 3 kids science experiment books.

The books arrived and I was unbelievably excited! I told the boys about the science books. The only thing they wanted to do was make was a volcano! Boring! Everyone does that! I wanted to blow stuff up! So I read the books and found a few easy ones I wanted to do and got no excitement out of the munchkins at all.

Then, it was Logan's turn to be Scientist of the Week. We had a week to prepare, and I worked 5 of those days. Twelve hour, come home exhausted shifts at the hospital. No experiment planning got done. The night before the presentation was due, we experimented at the kitchen sink, trying to find a suitable experiment for Logan's classroom presentation.

First, we added a tablespoon of salt to 1 cup of soda. The soda fizzes up really quickly and there's a nifty explanation that goes along with the experiment, but for a whole presentation, it was kind of boring. I decided to find the "Turning Milk into Rocks" experiment that was in one of our new books. 1 1/2 cups of milk and 4 tsps of white vinegar, microwaved for a minute and my slimy and stinky expectations were met! The boys got one wiff of what was now warm and separated buttermilk and they started heading out of the kitchen! Ewww, gross! and That stinks Momma! were what I heard, not the giggles I expected. I trudged on anyway. I poured the mixture through a colander and separated out the milk curd. It was slimy and nasty! Logan would not touch it. Trip stuck in a finger and then wouldn't go any further. I picked up the whole mess in my hand and squeezed out the rest of the water! Logan assured me there was no microwave at school and that experiment was not a possibility for his presentation.

We settled on one called "Erupting colors". We used cooking oil in a small measuring cup, added in 4 drops each of red, green, and blue food coloring and mixed well. Then we added it to a large bowl of water and watched the colors not mix and then slowly dissipate out of the oil and into the water. It was kind of lame, but that was the experiment we did for Logan's class. Logie got excited with all of his friends and added in too many drops and stirred the oil in the water, so the colors dissipated out of the oil too fast. He ended up doing the experiment twice so all of the kids could see up close what he had done.

My inner child scientist was not appeased. I still wanted to see something explode! So today, we did an experiment called the "Cola Geyser". This one, I'm told, is on youtube. You take a 2 liter of a soda pop. The book said diet sodas work better, but the cheapest store brand of soda did not offer diet today, so we used full octane soda. You add a whole package of mentos to the soda pop and there is supposed to be an explosion. We didn't get the whole package of mentos in before it started working. It was a pretty good explosion. At any rate, my inner child scientist is appeased for a few weeks. It's now time to torture some unsuspecting herbs and vegetables!


  1. I like the creative experiments for young kids to involve them with science.

  2. Thanks! They had a great time!