Sunday, December 28, 2008

Science Experiment Woes..


Science experiments aren't always a success, in fact growing up we had less success with science experiments then we had success. Which may be part of the reason Mom signed us up for Science By Mail, which I still remember and am highly dissapointed to see they discontinued the program a few years ago.. Anyway, my kids LOVE science. Friday is science day in our house, and they look forward to science experiments like most people look forward to their birthdays. So it shouldn't come as a big surprise that we bought Morgan a science experiment kit for Christmas. This child has several kits on his wish list. Ordinarily we buy him one of the many Ein-O kits. They are a lot of fun and usually have more then one experiment in it. However, while looking for one that he wanted, and not being able to find it. I found this nifty "make your own bouncy ball" kit. I thought it would be loads of fun for him. This isn't a brand we'd used before, but considering how well the other kits we've used previously worked I wasn't worried about it. 

Last night we pulled it out and the guys sat down to work on the balls. Now, first off, that picture to the left, which is also on the outside of the box is VERY misleading. You only get TWO colors to work with, pink and blue. They read the instructions through and set to work. Problem number two arose minutes later when we realized the directions required you to fill the molds to a fill line. There is no fill line clearly marked on it. We had to "eyeball it" according to the picture. Science experiments and eyeballing are often a bad combo, trust me.. This was no different.

They sunk them in water for the desired time, let them sit in the molds for the desired time and then we opened them up. Enough water hadn't gone into the molds so there was just a shell of a ball. We started over, filling the molds a pinch less. We still had issues. We have one semi complete ball, and one deformed looking ball, and enough crystals left to attempt this one more time for each child. Not sure we'll bother though. What a disappointment! In actuality it SHOULD have worked.

We saw the crystals expanding in the mold, but the water wasn't getting to all the crystals, even with a double soaking time. Which led to dry crumbly balls, that obviously weren't going to bounce. To get our semi complete ball, we had to do a double soak time up front, pull the mold apart (very carefully) press part of it back together and add more water, then close the mold up and let it set. Morgan hasn't complained, but his disappointment was a bit obvious when he asked if we knew where the other bouncy balls were.

I bought, at the same time, a second kit by the same company. It's the CSI Detective kit for our upcoming Spy unit the kids want to do. I'm crossing my fingers that one will work for them. Considering it's just for lifting fingerprints surely we'll have some success?