I love doing science experiments with kids. That’s part of the reason why I do that as my job, but also, I love doing them with Alyssa. She is so eager to learn and to try new things. It is so fun to watch her learn about the world around her. Tonight we spent a good part of the evening playing with one of those popper toys…you know, the kind that is like a half-sphere that you turn inside out so it can pop up in the air. She got one at a birthday party, and she knew it did something great, but wasn’t quite sure how to do it. We stepped in and showed her. You would have thought that was the greatest thing ever. We could have saved a couple of bucks on Christmas and birthday presents and bought this kid a pack of poppers and she would be happy.
Once the fun of the popper wore off, I suggested we do a science experiment. We took a bowl of milk and put a few drops of food coloring in it. I asked her what she thought would happen if we put a cotton swab into the bowl (the hypothesis). She predicted some of the color would come off onto the cotton. We tested it and she was correct. It was hard to get her to realize that this was not actually the experiment, but the pre-experiment. Then she wanted to just stir it all together. I had to stop her because the second part was to dip the cotton swab into dish soap and then to put it into the milk bowl. I asked her to make a hypothesis here, and it was a struggle. She just said, “I don’t know…” and was ready to jump in. Once she realized that we weren’t going to do it if she didn’t say something, she just said something like “I think it will swirl around,” just to get me off her back. When she tried it, the milk swirled around a lot, even after the cotton swab was out of the milk. I thought it was pretty neat looking, and she sort of did, but all she wanted to do was swirl it around. I tried to get her to discuss what was happening, but it was not going very far. Then she asked if we could see if it would happen with water instead of milk, so we tried that. She was equally uninterested in hypothesizing, but I made her anyway. Just like the other experiment, she just wanted to stir it up instead of noticing how the swirly thing did not work with the water like it did with the milk. Last, I filled a bowl with pepper and showed her how soap makes the pepper spread to the outside of the bowl. She thought that was really neat, but the project didn’t last long. Once you did that once, you had to start over. We started over 1 extra time, and she stirred it all around and played with the soap and the cotton swabs and then we cleaned it up.
Perhaps she is a little too young for actually discussing something like this…perhaps I caught her on a day where her mind was particularly busy and she was disappointed in this science experiment. We have done some pretty fun stuff this summer, so maybe this did not measure up. Whatever it was, she seemed to have a bit of a good time with it.
I really like the website where this experiment came from. It explains the science behind why the results happen. There are probably some other neat experiments that I can use in my classroom on here. I can threaten those kids with a quiz to get them to pay attention to me. I am too nice to Alyssa to do that to her. J
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