Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I bought Little Guy a science kit about light that I've bought at least once before, maybe twice. I like this particular kit because all the ingredients and equipment are included, and it has some fun experiments. Little Guy now knows the difference between concave and convex lenses, and between reflection and refraction. Yesterday he got to put on a pair of paper glasses with diffraction grating lenses. That was cool. I gave Little Guy and Snuggler (who also had a pair of the specs) the camera and had them take pictures through the diffraction grating.

This is Little Guy's booklight:

Snuggler snapped this pic of Little Guy in front of the window:

We also played around with a magnifying glass, figuring out how close-up you had to be to make it magnify, and how far away to make things turn upside down and backward.

Today we addressed a different topic. I cut several equal-size pieces of aluminum foil from Little Guy's treasure trove, filled a bowl with pennies, and put some water in the tub. The assignment was to make boats, and figure out which one could hold the most pennies. (No, I didn't control for pre-1982 vs. post-1982 pennies, though it does make a difference!)

Boat #1: small, round, and thick, held 62 pennies

Boat #2: triangular and thick, with higher and more even walls, held  92 pennies

Boat #3: round and too shallow, only held 29

Then he switched to making barges. The first barge was 11 inches long, and it held 109 pennies.

Barge #2 was 13 1/2" long and held a whopping 200 pennies

Surface area wins, provided the walls are high enough. Just as important as the scientific experimentation was the fact that the project was done without adult involvement. Free time obtained: 40 minutes.

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