Friday, September 16, 2011

Snoopy and the Big Bag of Science

I love that Nourit is excited about science, because I never was...

...until today!

She's been begging for the Big Bag of Science since she saw it in a catalog last winter, but I bought her a little chemistry kit instead, which was interesting, but not super exciting (to me). So I've been prevaricating every time she asks to do more experiments. I should also say that, in general, my kids don't ask for much, which is a huge relief. (Aside from Avi and the Pillow Pets. It has been 2 years, so maybe it's time to give in to that, too.) I guess it's not really 'giving in' to get Nourit something educational. It's just that, like my mom, I needed to hear from at least 3 other people that it was worthwhile. Would she really be able to do anything besides the baking soda/vinegar volcano, or "see if it sinks or floats"experiments? After visiting a few homeschooling blogs, I was convinced, and I ordered the BIG BAG of SCIENCE which arrived yesterday.

This morning, with the bribe that we could 'do science' after she filled in her requisite handwriting worksheets, we were in investigative mode by 8 a.m., lab coats (I mean, pajamas) donned. After reading through the 70+ possible experiments, Avi chose the 'The Secret of the Diaper' and Nourit chose 'Glop' or 'Goop' or something like that. Wow. After pouring 4 ounces of water into the diaper powder stuff (there is a technical word for it, but I'm not getting up to find out), it IMMEDIATELY turned into gel. No liquid in sight. Which explains why I would sometimes find icky gel stuff in my kids' diapers (um, when I wasn't using the eco-friendly kind, which wasn't often. Honest.) So cool! Now I KNOW the evil that's happening in all those non-eco-friendly diapers. The next experiment was the gloopy stuff, which had something like PVA or TVA or ?VA, the name of which I made the girls memorize, and we combined that with something blue, shook it while counting to 60 (see? math!), and viola! GOOP! (or gloop...) Really, really fun and cool, and I can't wait for the next experiment!

Now, why was I never interested in science as a kid? Maybe because I had never read 'Charlie Brown's SECOND Super Book of Questions and Answers about the earth and space...from plants to planets!' And, I had never read the FIRST, either. This is a book we have been reading religiously since visiting Nanny and Papa and their bookshelf in the basement two weeks ago. Nourit loves this book (she calls it 'Snoopy Science' because there's a picture of Snoopy on the front)- and asks for it at every lull. She really impresses me with how much she retains. Honestly, she's more articulate than I am when describing gravity. And aside from the really boring cartoon strips, it's pretty straightforward and compelling. The problem is that it was written in 1977.

Now, I'm pretty sure a few things have changed since then. I explained that Pluto has been downgraded, and that satellites are now also used for cell phones, and (my favorite), the answer to "Will there be other women in space?" (besides the first woman cosmonaut in 1963) was, "Probably." (That was when I checked the issue date! Not very encouraging for a girl who talks about going to outerspace like it's Europe.) Her other favorite going now is "The Tiniest Giants" about a group of researchers who found teeny, tiny dinosaurs in Patagonia. Poor Avi. The only thing that remotely holds her attention in that one is the picture of dinosaur skin. It is a little more current, but I still need to find some more updated general science reads. Preferably with someone more √° la mode than Snoopy (but, please, no Spongebob!)

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