"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

more summer science fun...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: If you're not reading The Artful Parent, you should be. I found out about this gem from the comments on one of her posts. EVEN THE COMMENTS ARE WORTH READING. I'd seen this experiment on Mr. Wizard, I think, in the 80s. I tried it, I'm sure, but then promptly forgot about just how cool it is. Thank goodness for blog-memory-joggers.

It takes no time at all to set up, uses materials you already have at home, and perfectly illustrates the very difficult-to-imagine scientific concept of change in matter.

So find an empty, plastic bottle, a balloon, and two large bowls. Place the balloon over the opening of the bottle. Fill one of the large bowls with warm water and the other with ice water. Put the bottle in the hot water...

...and watch the balloon inflate! (The science is that, when air is heated...it takes up more space.)

Then place the bottle in the ice water and watch the balloon return to it's deflated state.


Annnnnnnndddd.....REPEAT AGAIN!

And....again? Yup. This kid was happily occupied for more than 15 minutes. Which is about 5x longer than the activity took to set up. So....yes....a very successful spur-of-the-moment science lesson.

Max spent the majority of those 15 minutes stealing and eating ice cubes out of the cold bowl.

Lesson Learned:
I need to find a science experiments-for-kids book at our library. Too bad I can't find Mr. Wizard on syndication. Do you guys remember the one where he peeled a banana and revealed that it was already, MAGICALLY, sliced into rounds? When he explained the "magic," he showed how he took a threaded-needle and put it through the banana...with the thread still through the fruit, he wriggled it back and forth until the fruit was sliced through but the peel just had one little pin prick on either side of the fruit...he repeated this eight or so more times down the length of the banana until it was completely sliced....

Anyway....doing this balloon-bottle experiment reminded me of the banana trick and I TOTALLY want to surprise the kids with it one morning.

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