As I sent my dear husband to the tackle and bait shop for crickets, now for the third time (at least) in this season of home education, I couldn’t help but laugh at the hilarious places that science education has taken us over the years. These crickets, while still alive, will go into the refrigerator. That leads us into a great real-time discussion about what it means to be literally cold-blooded. Crickets are also one of the few insects that the kids handle well looking at them up close under the magnifying lens (although the dramatic 8-year-old freaked this round, declaring that she would only look if she could squint).
We’ve also kept mealworms cool. That was so that the spotted gecko would be well fed. (‘Course, the gecko enjoyed his share of crickets, too). We’ll probably see more mealworms once we get the butterfly village.
Other items in our fridge? Play-doh (in the freezer to show the effects of weather on rocks), and eggs, which have endured all kinds of hardships, and of course the standard baking soda and vinegar. Explosions never get old.
Speaking of explosions, I’ve blown Coca-Cola sky-high with a packet of Mentos candy. I’ve spent relative boatloads of dollars on candy that didn’t get eaten, but instead was committed to the making of a cell. I’ve made ice cream (can’t remember how that tied into Astronomy, but it was good). Grapes, ice, corn syrup, and canola oil were excellent teachers of density. Onions were donated to the cause of teaching chemical reactions and human anatomy (but learning to cut them under running water for sensitive eyes was well worth the donation). Peanut butter and raisins were all too generously fed to the birds as primary ingredients of our suet mix.
I’ve burned myself turning a battery, nail, tape and wires into a magnet. I’ve almost thrown out my back making a vegetable garden. Indoors, I’ve grown sweet potatoes and vines in all kinds of water–polluted, slightly acidic, very basic, etc.
I’m sure I could think of more if I had more time and reeeeaaaalllllly put my mind to it. However, time flies, whether you’re having fun or not, and this has been one of those weeks (hence the lack of posts). Science has taken our school to some strange and interesting places, sometimes at personal cost. My mom would lose it at the thought of worms in her fridge. When I think about it, however, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What craziness have you done in the name of science (or other course) education?