Monday, April 4, 2011

Glimpse Of A Toddler Science Sunday

I have a 3 years old daughter who has taken a bit of an interest in science. I started this blog after reading the back cover of the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. I thought that the book advocated a very bad way to teach science and math to kids. My first post had a lot of ranting, but not a lot about the simple science projects that my daughter has been doing. In this post I will show a glimpse from last Sunday's science project.

From Party Girl To Science Girl

I had expected my daughter to be an introspective, nerdy kid, but for a while she got the nickname "party girl" since she loved to climb and run around. We started Sunday in a park in Tribeca with a great jungle gym. She still loves to climb.

Lately we have had a hard time getting her to take her midday nap, which generally means grumpiness and wildness later. She took a short nap and when she woke up she asked to do a science project. I was exhausted, since I did not get any break, but we started a science project.

First Experiment Mixing Oil And Water

The first experiment was mixing oil and water. This illustrates that water molecules and oil molecules have different chemical properties, water being polar and oil being non polar. This was first time she tried this experiment. 

Mix water and oil, see that they separate

Add soap

Now oil and water mix to an emulsion

The Laboratory

I bought 2 small science kits. They look like a pile a plastic junk, but they are actually a good way to get started with simple science projects.

The Laboratory

Archimedes Revisited

We had already made an experiment with putting clay in water and seeing that it sinks, then turn it into a boat shape and see that it floats. She tried that one more time.
Building a clay boat
Everything was going great, but slowly her attention span was getting worse. 

Stomping on clay

Next thing, the mild mannered science girl had turned into The Hulk stomping on the clay to flatten it. This worked pretty well, except that the clay got stuck to the floor. We abandoned Archimedes.

Planting Seeds

She also repeated the seed planting experiment. Since the cup with the plants from the last seed planting experiment got knocked over.

Planting seeds

This went well but her attention span was getting worse again.

Cute is turning into wild
We tried to continue, but jars from the science kit were now flying around the laboratory. Maybe we should quit while we are ahead.

Toddler on a rampage and olive oil on camera lens
Time to run her out of the house. We took her to a bar to see some live acoustic music and let her run around and dance. She proceeded to rediscover slam dancing; while one of her little friends was dancing the pogo, a punk dance from the 1970s where you just jump up and down with a stiff torso.

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