Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Sunday science experiments

We discovered a whole new way of playing with the kids. We have to credit Evan's dogged insistence that we do this experiment. He has recently got it into his head that he wants to become a scientist and loves the idea that scientists spend all their time doing experiments. And once, in a supermarket, he picked up a Coca Cola can and shook it. That elicited great chiding from both Packrat and myself with the warning that the can would explode.

That got him hooked. He wanted to see the Coke can explode. I did a mini version of it with them one rainy day with some Mentos sweets. He didn't stop talking about it and in his own way, he was always investigating and testing his hypothesis (that Coca Cola was the most explosive drink ever), asking us, every time he saw a canned drink on a billboard whether it was more or less explosive than the Coca Cola we fizzed and foamed.

So Packrat and I promised the experiment on a grand scale. It required a trip to the supermarket, the stationery store and drawing up some data record sheets. All this while, the boy couldn't sit still and his infection bled off on his not so investigative sister. 

By the time we were ready, we had
1. 5 bottles of drink of varying fizziness.
a. Coca Cola (Original)
b. Sprite
c. 100 Plus (the boy was most displeased because he wanted H20)
d. A&W Root Beer
e. Fanta Grape.
2. 3 tubes of Mentos minus one because Mommy was hungry.
3. Data sheets which required them to
a. Write down the name of the drink bottle
b. Circle 1-5 to measure how much it exploded (1 being small explosion and 5 was volcanic)
c. State at the bottom after everything was done which one had the biggest explosion.
d. State at the bottom after everything was done which one had the smallest explosion.

We did it on Sunday, with JED's cousins so 5 kids, each got to pick a drink bottle and Packrat would drop 3 mints into the bottle.   

Chief Researcher and Assistant

Our hypothesis was that Coke would fizz and explode the most with 100 Plus being the most pathetic. We were right. But we were surprised by the in between results, that Sprite gave Coke a really good fight and Fanta and Root Beer were a notch less fizzy than the leaders but way more than the paltry 100 Plus.
The children loved it, were very earnest about collecting data although Evan had preconceived notions about the number he wanted to allocate the drink regardless of how much it fizzed. That, we will need to convince him to shrug off before he becomes a real scientist.

What surprised us was Jordan. While she was muted in her excitement, she was very conscientious about recording her data and making sure that it tallied with what she saw.
Making observations
Data collection

Even the little ones had fun. The little cousin called it volcano explosions and Muffin kept shouting every time the bottle foamed and clapping his hands with glee. We think this might become a regular feature. The twins haven't talked about it and Evan has gone on to imagine his next experiment. And for the times when we can't figure out what to do, I'm ordering this book!

The helpers in the house were the only ones who were tsk-ing away, not so much because we made a mess; we made the children flush out the garden patch that got over the overflow. It was more that we were wasting precious drinks that they loved. So they took the remaining half bottles, even if it tasted a little bit minty and we gave them the remainder mints to mollify them!

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