Friday, January 7, 2011

Science Friday

Did you know the kindergarten class is invited to participate in the science fair right along with everyone else?

I did not.

After reading articles about helicopter parenting and parents co-opting student homework, I've vowed not to do my child's projects. But let's face it. She's five. She'll need some help on this one.

It took some thinking and some prompting, but we've finally settled on an experiment. As I've been tackling the art of bread making lately, thanks to the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, Maya has been asking lots of questions about yeast.

This leads to a simple science project. Is yeast alive? We'll blow up balloons with a yeast concoction. We'll feed yeast. And, if we get remarkably lucky during a Minnesota winter, we'll try to capture wild yeast.

Science isn't something new to Maya. We experiment weekly, if not daily. Small kitchen experiments are a winter staple to ward off cabin fever. Chemistry projects involving baking soda or food coloring or vinegar or corn starch fill up many lazy afternoons. In the summer, the backyard sets the stage for hundreds of natural experiments, intentional as well as incidental.

This week, we worked hard to construct a tornado. It took several attempts to perfect the project. At first we used instructions that suggested spinning a single bottle would do the trick. It worked, but it was underwhelming. So out came the drill, an extra bottle, special glue, and Joe. Together, we made a fascinating tornado that has entertained us on a daily basis.

Joe and I like to blame our enthusiasm for elementary science on our profound lack of science education in the small rural school we attended. Perhaps if we keep learning along with our children, we'll acquire a basic foundation of science knowledge.

And just look at how cool that tornado is! Well, off to listen to Science Friday. Yea for Ira!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love those. i made them when i was maya's age. u should try the backing soda and pop volcano next!


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