Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Experiment - Floating Candy

Some candy will sink and others will float. Did you know that?  I figured it would all float, but no. 

Not surprisingly, a Three Musketeers bar will float because of the air trapped in the candy making it less dense than water. 

What else will float or sink?

Toss a few of those lingering Valentine's Day candies (or those Halloween treats lingering in the back of the drawer) in water and let us know what happened.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Book Review: Sid the Science Kid: Why Did My Ice Pop Melt?

This is a simple retelling of a time when Sid had his ice pop melt and how he figured out that sometimes solids can change state in become liquids again. Along with his friends and family, he also discovers that this is a reversible change and he makes ice pops again.

I always like Sid the Science Kid shows - they reinforce real science at a preschooler's level without babying them. If you like the show, this book will appeal to you. It looks just like the show but without the singing and silly jokes.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tools: droppers

Using a dropper can be quite tricky at first but, once master, will lead to lots of fun science. Using a dropper requires not just finger strength and dexterity. It also requires a certain amount of patience - not something most preschoolers are known for.

Scientists use droppers but call them pipettes. Pipettes come in many different sizes and styles but they all do the exact same thing: suck up a liquid and release it on command.

To use a dropper you have to pinch the bulb, put the tip in the liquid, release the bulb so it can draw in the fluid and then remove the tip and squeeze the bulb again. That is a lot of steps. With practice kids can get pretty good at it.

So now your child has mastered the dropper. What can they do now?
Try dropping paint from different heights to see the splatter pattern
Try dropping water with food coloring into a clear cup of oil (from above and below the surface)
Try putting different drops of colored water into a single cup to see them mix
Try putting chocolate syrup into your milk (this might need to be thinned a bit, test first)
Try putting syrup into squares on your waffles

Share your experiences with droppers below!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Book Review: It's Science Solid, Liquid, or Gas?

There are dozens of books titled Solid, Liquid, and Gas or some variation of that. This one, Solid, Liquid, or Gas by by Sally Hewitt is available at the Millbury Public Library.

There are some really nifty parts of this book and some spots that miss their mark. First I really like the discussion of materials and their origin - man-made or natural. There are also accessible discussions of the properties of  various materials.

Where the book misses is the discussion of gases. For being a third of the title, the book spends a mere two pages on them. I think for preschoolers there are some pretty nifty things they can discover about gases and Ms. Hewitt didn't include them.

I would give it 3/5 starts.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Solids, strangely, are sometime difficult to describe without comparing them to some other state of matter. Essentially solids hold their shape regardless of what sort of container they are in. Their molecules are tightly packed so they don't really move around a whole lot.

Talking about solids with a preschooler is really kind of boring - they get it. Totally and intuitively understand that the block, ball, or lego just isn't going to flow into the container no matter what container you put it into.

That's were oobleck comes in. And this is where the mess comes in.

Oobleck is a substance that isn't really a liquid and isn't always a solid. It is called a Non-Newtonian Substance. And if you want to really get your geek on, check this out. It is a good explanation of how this sometimes fluid works and does so in an accessible way.

But, wait, there's more!

This is the COOLEST THING EVER - and I don't say that lightly. I am so jaded when it comes to cool science tricks and this one totally rocks. The fact that I love the blog and kids do the experiment doesn't hurt. What they did was put oobleck over a subwoofer and watched it dance.

Why is this cool?
This was a great demo of the fluid characteristics of oobleck.
You can visualize the sound waves.
And they mixed color.

Coolest thing ever.