Scientists in the making

Our eldest son was quite excited last week, as the science kit he’d ordered through his school Book Club had arrived. The kit has instructions for 12 simple experiments which use basic household ingredients, most of which end as some sort of slime/gloop/goo. We’d promised him that we’d do a couple of the experiments on the weekend, so we cleared the kitchen bench and got to it.

The first experiment involved creating a “goo” by adding water to the “diaper dust” provided in the kit. This is the stuff in nappies that absorbs fluid, and it swells up quite a bit. It was interesting stuff once it had absorbed the water – it looked wet but didn’t feel wet at all. The second experiment involved reversing the absorption by sprinkling salt over the goo. This bit didn’t work as drastically as the instructions showed. After leaving it for 10 minutes as instructed, there was a little bit of water visible and the goo felt wetter than before, but there was no puddle as shown in the instructions. This was a good lesson for the boys to learn – that sometimes experiments don’t work out as planned.

 

Just add water!

Just add water!

We have goo

We have goo

The third and final experiment we carried out was to make “sticky slime” out of cornflour and water. This was another experiment which didn’t really turn out as I expected. I had to keep adding cornflour to try and get the mixture to be sticky, and even then it was still pretty runny. Another lesson learnt.

Sticky slime

Sticky slime

I’m glad that the boys have an interest in science. When they learned that I’m a scientist (due to my undergraduate degree in chemistry) they were very impressed. At the moment their interest is wide-ranging, taking in astronomy, palaeontology, zoology, and botany, as well as being generally creative and inventive. Thomas wants to be an inventor when he grows up, and will come up with very detailed description of the amazing inventions that he’ll come up with. Hopefully we can nurture that inquiring, creative, and inventive spirit as they grow up.

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About Andrew

I'm a health librarian in Sydney, Australia, who also happens to be a geocacher.

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