There is one thing that my daughter loves more than anything else – science experiments. She is approaching the age when she can actually apply the steps of scientific inquiry to the experiments – pose a question, formulate a hypothesis and then validate it. Of course, she still gets too caught up in the thrill of an experiment to remember to change one variable at a time – it’s a lot more exciting to switch to let’s see what happens if we mix all this together plan.
I pick experiments based on Anna’s interests, but we also have several different books at home. One that I particularly like is 175 Science Experiments that I picked up at the library book sale. Some of the activities in the books are rather tricks and not real experiments but there is a scientific explanation that comes with each activity. They are divided into water, light, air and movement, and so far we are enjoying water and other liquids.
We finally got to use our fancy balance scale in one of our experiments. I asked Anna what is lighter – oil or water. She was convinced that water is lighter and was quite surprised to see the result. After she saw that oil is lighter, I asked her to predict what will happen when we mix oil and water. She predicted that oil will make pretty shapes in water. She was partially correct since oil did make a lot of bubbles coming on top of water and settling there. She learned that liquids behave just like solids – a lighter liquid can float on top of a heavier liquid. This was a true revelation – and she spent a good hour mixing water and oil to her heart’s delight. Add some food coloring, and you get instant little scientist’s paradise .