Thursday, September 13, 2012

Science experiments- an exercise in patience

This week marked our first attempt at science experiments and hands-on learning. What an exercise in patience this turned out to be!

Our first experiment was "making fog." To do this, take a glass jar (we used a glass), ice cubes, hot water, and a strainer. Heat up the glass with hot water, and leave some in the bottom. Put the strainer on top with some ice cubes, and behold! the magic of fog.

Or something like that. Six tries later, we finally got some fog. You would think this one would have been pretty easy. I mean, how hard is it to mess up fog? We made it happen though.

Today we tried the popular "suck an egg into a bottle" experiment. This one is designed to illustrate air pressure, and since we were talking about weather, it seemed like a good fit.

Take a minute and go to YouTube and search "egg in a bottle." I'll wait.

Find one? Looks pretty easy, right?

Uh huh.

Let me tell you the Saga of Sucking an Egg Into a Bottle. It starts with me, a mom trying to do something fun with her kids. Our supporting cast consists of my husband, a dad trying to support his wife and play with fire at the same time.

What could go wrong?

Our directions specifically said to use a bottle with a long, narrow neck. We chose a beer bottle because it has a long, narrow neck. (Side note, we did not drink the beer.) Thirty two matches later, we wondered if maybe the neck was just a bit too narrow.

Wishing we had maybe drunk the beer after all, off to YouTube we went. No one on YouTube was using a beer bottle. In fact, no one used a narrow-necked bottle at all. Sigh.

We went out to run some errands. We discussed going to Goodwill or the dollar store to find just the right shape. Finally, we decide on a Snapple bottle. The husband stops at the gas station, only to find there's no Snapple to be found. He makes a huge sacrifice for our learning and gets one of those Starbucks drinks in a bottle. The top looks a little big to me, but heck, what do I know?

We try again. We set fire to a paper napkin, drop it in the empty bottle goes out. So we drop three or four more matches in. They go out. I stick the egg on top anyway, and slowly...ever so slowly...the egg is sucked into the bottle.

High fives abound. The kids are a little confused at Mom and Dad's over-reaction of happiness. I mean, it's just an egg in a bottle, right?

Just an egg. Just a bottle. So much work for forty five seconds of fun. Oh, and learning.

Anyone else ever have this happen?


  1. yeah, I just skip science experiments! No expectations that way! LOL Good for you for at least trying!

  2. LOL...LOVE it! Ummm, I think it would be very educational for all us home school Moms who haven't gotten to this particular experiment if you and hubby would do it again and videotape the entire process....uh, strictly for educational purposes, of course! LOL...still rolling! ;-)

  3. We'll see if we can make that happen, Kim!