Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Scientific Saturday

Last week we got a shipment of delicious Kansas City barbeque in the mail. The restaurant over nights the package and ships it in dry ice. Jeff was not home when the package arrived, so I put the dry ice in the freezer, because I knew he had to play with it later. So, later that night when Jeff got home, he got out the dry ice and placed it in a pot with some water. You can see the result below. 

Doug was totally enthralled with this phenomena of cold billowing gas. We began to explain to him that the dry ice was very, very cold, and putting it in the water made it get warm quickly and turn into a gas. Doug looked at me and said, "From the car?". I then explained that the stuff in the car is called gasoline, and is different. I explained a bit about what gasses are, but as to be expected, most of it went over his head. He really did enjoy playing with the dry ice though.

The whole experience began to set wheels in motion in my head. I decided that once a month we'd do a little science experiment or science observation with Doug. We can use these little experiments and observations to increase his knowledge of how the world works and help him develop some critical thinking. And just plain have fun.

Our first experiment involved floating and sinking objects. I took a large bucket and filled it with water. We gathered some objects that we knew would sink or float and would be water proof. We then asked Doug what he thought each object would do before he tossed it in the bucket. He was able to guess a few of them, and just had a blast.

 Floating and sinking was a nice, easy first experiment as he's already seen the concept in action. I'd like to do one of those exploding volcanoes some time. I think in the spring we'll also talk about gravity, using water balloons. We'll probably also do something with shadows too. Doug is very interested in the phases of the moon, so we'll see what we can set up to talk about that. I'm very excited about our new activity!

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