Posts Tagged ‘Science’

Dr. Frankenstein, I presume?

So we had to revisit Electrical Safety at our house…

Mark has an ‘Inventing Table’ in our dining room and was having a giant fit because he couldn’t get the Lego minifigure attached to a D battery.  Finally he got frustrated and left.

Yeah, I should have pegged earlier to what he was trying, but I didn’t.

Which is why when I went upstairs, I found an alligator clip wire attached to the wires of an exposed outlet (in an area we’re working on–I KNOW, but they should be old enough to leave such things ALONE), a mini-screwdriver hanging from the other end, and a Lego dude on the floor.

Which is when I figured out what he’d been trying to do:  make the Lego minifigure MOVE by running electricity through it.

Obviously, our next Audiobook for a Captive Audience (what we listen to in the car) needs to be Frankenstein.

AND Brian got cornered into explaining Electrical Safety to him, as well as clarifying why the Lego minifigure wouldn’t have moved even if he had managed to run electricity through it.

Disturbingly, but not surprisingly, the information that the plan was flawed from the beginning was more effective in getting Mark not to try it again than the information that electricity could STOP HIS HEART.

Sid the Science Kid Objects

So it was spring break last week…

I cruelly made each child read and do a couple chores every day before they could play the computer.  I know.  I’m a tyrant.

Then Thursday night I made fish for dinner.  Kate takes some of the skin upstairs to check it out under her microscope.  Which is where I overhear this sequence:

“Not a few big scales…a bunch of little scales…in different colors, so the fish blends in with the shadows in the water…” She gives a disgusted snort.  “I’ve learned more from this fish skin in FIVE MINUTES than I did that stupid history book ALL WEEK.”



Kate Explains the Danger

Breakfast is a decidedly odd time around here.

Overheard this morning:

Mark:  “But why CAN’T people who are related get married?”

Kate:  “They just can’t.  Bad things happen.  Like if you and I got married, and then I got a cut, it would bleed and bleed and never stop.”


Mark Learns about Litmus Paper

So on the second day home from school thanks to Sandy, I figured it was about time for them to do SOMETHING other than play the Wii.  So I got out the Magic School Bus Chemistry Set.

We were up to experiment #18.  Testing things with litmus paper.  You mix up baking soda and water, test it, then test whatever in the household strikes your fancy.

We test lemon juice.  Ketchup.  Soda pop. Milk.

Mark (sighing):  “I wish someone was bleeding.  Then we could test the BLOOD.”

Me:  “We are NOT damaging someone just to get you some blood.”  (thinking, trying to come up with bodily substances he could test without injury.  “Spit.  You could test your spit.”

Mark:  “Awesome!”  (proceeds to begin hacking into a bowl).

“Or,” I hear myself say, “you could test your pee.”

Mark’s eyes are half-dollar huge.  This is, clearly, THE BEST IDEA EVER.

“Okay,” I say.  “Let me get a disposable cup.”  When I turn back, he’s (ahem) ready.  Elastic-waist pants = not always such a good idea.  I lunge and get the cup in place in the nick of time.  The supply vastly outstrips the demand.

That poor litmus paper.

“I pee acid,” he concludes, deeply impressed.


My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pancakes

Kate is my Sid the Science Kid.  Which is why stuff like this happens at breakfast:

Kate is assembling the solar system model.  Which was Paul’s originally, so Pluto makes an appearance.

Kate:  “Pluto shouldn’t really be here.  It’s a dwarf planet now.”

Mark (incredulous):  “A dork planet?”

Kate (ignoring this nonsense–she’s busy doing SCIENCE):  “What’s next…what’s next?  Neptune?”

Brian whips out the mnemonic.  Kate deigns to learn it even though it mentions Pluto.

Me:  “Sounds about right.  Pancakes 10,11, and 12 are in the pan right now.”

Mark:  “Harharhar.”

Kate:  “I can’t find Uranus.”

Me (sniggering, because I have a 10 year old’s sense of humor):  “We have the oddest conversations around here.”

Kate (under the table):  “I found Uranus, Dad.”

Brian snorts yogurt.

Mark and the Science Fair

So Mark and Kate both decided to do projects for the science fair.  Kate had done one before, so she’s an expert this year.  Mark, however, as a kindergartener, is new to it.  Nonetheless, he settled on a project fairly quickly, deciding to plant watermelon, pumpkin, zucchini, squash, and carrot seeds and see which one sprouted first.  The time between when the Science Fair was announced and the date it took place was tight–two weeks–but fortunately the carrots managed to sprout in time, answering Mark’s question.  Whew!

Everything was fine until we actually got to the Science Fair.  The kid next to Mark had a project involving a volcano.  Not a real volcano, of course.  A baking soda and vinegar one.  But he’d turned the vinegar reddish-orange with food coloring and it was pretty impressive.

Commence meltdown.

Mark (literally holding his head in anguish):  “My project is terrible!”

Me:  “It’s plants.  Plants are important.”

Mark:  “Look!  HE has a volcano!  I have plants.”

Me:  “It’s not a real volcano.”

Mark:  “Plants!  PLANTS.  Plants don’t destroy ANYTHING.”

Me:  “But without plants, we couldn’t eat.”

Mark:  “Arrgggh!”

Eventually he calms down enough to realize parents, older children, and the judges are coming around, asking questions about the projects.  The drama dries up, replaced instantly by Future Politician.

Mark:  “Hi.  My name is MarkPatrickNolandButler and my project is about plants.  Plants are important.  We couldn’t eat without plants.”

When the crowd thins he disappears for a bit and returns, tugging one 5th grade girl by the hand, three others following.  He gets them queued up before launching into his spiel.

This was one of those non-competitive, everyone wins kind of science fairs, where every kid gets a medal.  I have some concerns about doing science fair this way.  The next generation’s going to return to the moon and cure cancer by feeling good about themselves?

Maybe, as it turns out.  Mark has worn that medal every day since the science fair, like a decorated war hero.  I rather expect he’ll be interested in doing a project again next year.

The Cat in the Hat is a Dead Man

A bloodcurdling scream from the backseat…

Me (twisting to get a view of the injury):  “What?  What’s wrong?”

Mark:  “Nuffing.”

Me:  “What was that about?”

Mark:  “Echolocation.”

Turns out that The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That on PBS discussed echolocation last week…

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