20 April 2009

Difficulty With Science.

I tried and tried to do the "make static sparks in your hair" science experiment. Sure, I got my scalp all hot and probably burnt some hair in the process, but there were no crackly sparks like we were supposed to see. Bummer.

I tried and tried to do the "make the paper jump" experiment we were supposed to do with food wrap, paper and a box. We did it with two different boxes and wrappers, two different kinds of paper... nothing. Well, except for hurt hands and wasted time. Friction is supposed to make the paper jump... but... it didn't.

I really, really stink at the practical experiments. We were somewhat successful at the "put the lit candle under a jar and see what happens" experiment. It's supposed to make the candle go out, and then we're going to remove the jar and record how long it took to burn out in our notebooks. But upon removing the jar, WHOOOOOSH! the candle about burns down half the kitchen with its vehement spontaneous re-ignition. Um... ok, Mom stinks at science, but hopefully this teaches the children to make sure that candles are completely extinguished before leaving the room.

But wait! Emperor wants to see if putting water on a candle will still keep it lit.

Of course it won't, silly Emperor.

Yes, it will, Emperor counters. Didn't you tell me that water is made with oxygen? ANNNND, didn't the LIFEPAC explain that the flame needs oxygen? We have to try this experry-ment and see if it works. I suggest it will.

Well, of course it didn't but I can't explain why. He's disappointed but thinks the strange new wax formations are cool. Elf says that the experiment proves that the water has no oxygen. And besides, if it DID have oxygen, we would be able to breathe in it.

Ok, now what would you say to that? I told him that we could breathe just fine underwater if we had gills. Thankfully he did not ask me how gills worked. *whew that was close*

Elf thinks that if we devised our own experiments, they would work better than the ones in our workbook. LOOK! I see that "butane" and "oil" are fuels. Let's get a big bunch of them together in a tube, and light a match and see if it's electric!


Um... Well, there's a reason this eight-year-old doesn't write your science curriculum.

I've taken a picture of his "trying to convince Mom" frownie face and posted it to the blog. Would that picture convince you to try this at home? How getting butane, oil and matches together proves "electricity" is an interesting concept, though. Elf counters that Mom has not proven that coal makes electricity at the power plant, either.

Arg. It just *does,* ok? Don't ask Mom how. We will consult with "Wikipedia" on this issue later.


  1. *snigger snigger* Sounds like my house. I refuse to do the silly experiments any more. Just read about it dear & take it on faith that this is how it works for the experts because for sure if we try it it won't!

  2. I have missed reading your blogs (Bonnie from NZL). I think I just caught a glimpse of what I have in store for me in a few years. I already have a toddler who is smarter than I am. God bless you for trying the experiments! Hee Hee

  3. LOL Bonnie, I am so glad you're "back"! No more meetings of the "itty bitty pity committee!"

    I wanted to leave a comment on your last post but was unable to. Hopefully you don't have a troll infection but have just turned comments off.

  4. Ganeida, I am absolutely convinced that somehow the laws of nature and science do not work for me. :]

  5. Me too. They get suspended for my comfuzzlement. Oh well, I don't worry unless things that should hang in the sky start falling down ;P

  6. I stick at experiments. That is why I have a black thumb in the kitchen!

  7. Discover & Do... where we do the experiments on camera so you can follow along [smile].

    And, honestly, some of them simply didn't work for us at all. ...I remember one particular series where the plants simply refused to grow. And we include lots of Outtakes at the end too to show that it's not all perfect and nice.

    As for water and breathing, I just found this really helpful article. To put it in Lego terms: You can use the same pieces to make a car, or a truck, or a plane... but each one does different things.

    Keep up the good work, even if it is frustrating at times.


  8. Your good mom for doing the experiments. I'm a geek, but I can't/won't find the time to do science stuff with my kids.

  9. I just wanted to let you know that many science experiments in text books at regular schools don't always work either!

    I tried to do Redi's experiment on Spontaneous Generation with my kids only to run into many unexpected complications (including a bird stealing our rotting meat)!

    I discussed our difficulties with a couple of scientists, who told me that even for scientists, experiments that others have done don't always work, and that doesn't mean you can't learn something valuable from repeating the experiment a few times to see if you can get it to work as it has for others (just what scientists have to do).

    This is one of the values of the scientific method, experiments MUST be replicatable by other scientists (perhaps after several tries).

    After all this, I discovered that we HAD in fact (unintentionally) changed a couple of variables in Redi's experiment and I had a clear idea of what I would change next time to perform it correctly and get it to work.

    Unfortunately, we then had neither the time nor the materials to do so.

    Best regards,
    Dedicated Elementary Teacher Overseas


Non-troll comments always welcome! :)