07 April 2010

Fun With Science for Susan

Every once in a while, the kid gets out of bed and says "let's do science experiments"! What she means by this is "let's mix baking soda and vinegar and see what happens", like we don't already know, but hey! Science!

Sometimes we carefully stand up a pill vial of baking soda in a ziploc, pour some vinegar in the bottom of the bag, zip the bag shut, and dump the baking soda into the vinegar. Ta da! The bag blows up like a balloon. I keep hoping one will really explode, with a bang and a mess, but so far no dice.

One day, I set out three glasses - water, pickle juice, white vinegar. I made her taste all three; peculiarly she decreed the vinegar to taste sweet. (Then again, this is a child who likes salt and vinegar potato chips.) She took notes on taste, color, smell - recording her observations, because if you're going to do science experiments, you need to act like a scientist. Then she dumped a tablespoon of baking soda in each one and we watched how differently they reacted.

Sometimes, she wants to make a volcano, using an erlenmeyer flask - the flask shape pumps the foam up nicely (and doesn't everyone have an erlenmeyer flask in the kitchen cabinets? I used to have a 250ml beaker, too, but it got broken. It was an integral part of beer croquet, along with the kangaroo foot bottle opener and a bamboo tray, but I digress).

Today, as an homage to WhyMommy, a female rocket scientist, we - me and my girl - made a volcano, but I added an experimental fillip: three drops of dish detergent mixed into the white vinegar.

Whoa baby! We made the best volcano ever! The only thing that would have made that volcano better was if it had pointed to a cure for cancer. We'll have to keep experimenting.

In the meantime, and because WhyMommy suggested it in her post about preparing for the surgery that she's having today, because her cancer came back, I joined the Army of Women. I'll be notified when a researcher is looking for people like me - women who are willing to participate, in person or online, with and without cancer, so that scientists can study what causes, and what cures, cancer.

Join the army. Teach your kids to experiment. And fuck cancer.



Also, go check out all of the other Team WhyMommy Virtual Science Fair posts that Stimey instigated.

18 comments:

AnnetteK said...

Detergent made it even better? Oooo. We're doing this right after school. :)

Life As I Know It said...

kitchen "science" experiments are my 8 year old's favorite things to do. I had to buy a gallon of vinegar and one of those industrial size boxes of baking soda for his little projects. Have you done soda and mentos explosion? That's a good one ;)

I joined Army of Women last year when my sister was diagnosed...

Peculiar Whimsy said...

Love this post.

I'll be right over with my beaker.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

This is the type of parenting that netted me a Chemist and a Wildlife Biology major--and I don't even like science particularly.

Mentos and Coke cannot be beat for the wow factor!

Janice Ellen Wright said...

Sounds like excellent worthy science to me, on all fronts. It was nice to meet you last night!

Rabecca Larson said...

Very best wishes to WhyMommy. Never thought anyone would give me a good reason to "join the Army," but off I go!

As for "science," it has become a family tradition to take all the really nasty candy from Halloween (and Easter, Valentine's Day and every other occasion) and perform "experiments" on it. The week after each such candy-generating holidays, their bathroom is full of little "beakers" of brightly colored formulas. Usually it's candies in various household liquids. Sometimes we play with factors such as heat, stirring, or the addition of other substances. Whatever, it's fun, colorful, and most importantly, it keeps those nasty chemical bombs out of their bodies! It's genius! (And I can say this because the kids thought of it, not me!)

We'll do an experiment in honor of WhyMommy today. I happen to be using a 400-degree heat press for work, so maybe we shall flatten something. Maybe some sort of cancer cell replica. I will have to think on this.

de said...

I joined the Army. I didn't have time to look at the openings. I am still involved with Sister Study, which couldn't be simpler: I just complete the surveys periodically.

Heide said...

Add a little food coloring for even more fun.

FreshHell said...

I love any excuse to make volcanos. Also, I've been an Army member for a while now. Glad you're joining, too.

Stimey said...

There is a lot of vinegar and baking soda going on in this science fair. I'm going to need to get my act together and try this out with my kids.

Thanks so much for taking part in the science fair!

Nap Warden said...

Looks like a volcano to me;)

Nadine said...

Oh yes, we are going to try the detergent! Have you tried a baking soda and vinegar rocket? We have many sizes but the first was a small one we saw at Goddard Space Center last summer...which we visited becaue of WhyMommy!

ShallowGal said...

Darnit. My Erlenmeyer Flask is in the shop.

Lynn said...

A friend of mine posted the Army link to Facebook a couple of days ago, and I looked but didn't sign up -- I'm going to now. That post from WhyMommy -- I think my best friend could have written that and I would *really* be sobbing.

I did the Avon Walk last year and plan to do do it again this year.

mayberry said...

awesome volcano! And I love Rabecca's suggestion about using Easter candy for experiments. Very clever!

Kyla said...

Very, very cool!

susan said...

I just had a bang and a mess with a ziploc bag bursting open after I demonstrated the make-the-bag-puff-up for Politica. Should be a fun party activity for tomorrow! Thanks for helping to inspire some of what we're doing at our swanky science hello kitty party tomorrow afternoon.

susan said...

Politica says to tell you that the key to the exploding bag is more baking soda. I put way more than a Tbspoon in--I didn't measure, so not sure how much, but probably close to a 1/4 cup. ("Easily," says Politica next to me.)