psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (ha!)
Took the cabbage pH indicator/vinegar&baking soda show on the road while babysitting a young friend. Young friend & Q mostly saw it as a fun water-pouring activity in which things sometimes happened (color changing, fizzing) but Junie was able to figure out, in a solution where there had already been fizzing, but now the fizzing had died down, that she needed to add more acid rather than base to get it going again, based on the color being greenish rather than pinkish. I mean, I had to walk her through the reasoning, but she reached the conclusion herself. Baby's first titration! (Okay, no, I guess technically a titration is quantitative. But almost!)
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (ha!)
Project: What Soaks Faster?
Materials: yogurt cups, paper towel, water, olive oil, maple syrup, ketchup
Explanatory details: The other day Junie requested more syrup for her waffles. "But you've already poured on tons", Josh pointed out. "But I can't see it," Junie argued. "It soaks in," Josh explained. "But when I put on ketchup I can see it," Junie argued. And thus we formed a hypothesis: syrup soaks in faster than ketchup.

Does syrup soak in faster than ketchup? We measured a tablespoon of water into a (clean, dry) yogurt cup. Then we dried the spoon and measured a tablespoon of oil into another cup. Then we eyeballed a similar amount of syrup and ketchup into the remaining two cups (rather than have to scrape out the spoon). Junie cut a paper towel into four equal strips, and we put one into each cup.

How did it go: Good! We checked our experiment after ten minutes. The water had soaked all the way to the end of the paper towel. The oil had soaked up partway. We decided that we should measure with a ruler how far up the paper towel had been soaked. The water had soaked 6 inches to the top. The oil had soaked up 3 inches. The ketchup had soaked up 2 and a half inches, and the syrup had also soaked up 2 and a half inches. So, the syrup had not soaked any faster than the ketchup!

We decided to do a second experiment. (Where by "we" I mean "me", Junie had wandered off to do some painting by then. But I showed it to her and she looked briefly and we talked about it.) I dipped the end of a straw into each liquid and then dotted it onto a clean paper towel, and then measured how wide it spread out. The water spread out to 1 and a half inches. The oil spread out to one inch. The syrup and the ketchup each spread out to just under half an inch, but we could see something interesting: all of the syrup had soaked in, but the ketchup had a watery part that had soaked in, and a red goopy part that was still sitting in a little peak on top of the paper towel. We concluded that ketchup has a part that soaks in and a part that doesn't soak in.

(Could we separate those parts? I did a quick Google search on centrifuging ketchup and learned that ketchup does not separate under 13000g for 30 min. Then I tried to explain this to Junie and concluded that we needed to do some more science to explain centrifugation, as my explanation with materials I had at hand (involving waving around a shirt someone had left on the table) was somewhat lacking...)

Things we talked about: Well, we didn't really talk about this explicitly, but by measuring with the ruler, we turned our observation of what was happening into numbers.

What Junie got out of it: She thought it was fun to get to play with ketchup and oil and stuff. Also I feel like it was a good demonstration of the idea that you can notice something interesting (the initial question about ketchup vs syrup) and devise an experiment to learn more about it.
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (ha!)
We read What Floats In A Moat by Lynne Berry in which Archimedes the Goat experiments with making boats from full, empty, and half-full barrels. Obviously we had to try it ourselves. I filled the sink with water - I've always been weirdly reluctant to do this because it's so much more water than a bucket, but it's absolutely worth it for the kids not being able to spill it, plus we could get it nice and deep. We didn't have a barrel so we used an old plastic jar. I taped a piece of styrofoam on one end to (hopefully) reduce spin, in mimicry of the barrel ships from the book.

In the book, the full barrel sank, the empty barrel bobbed on the surface of the water and rolled the goat off, and the half-full barrel sank partway and floated and was stable.

Our "full" jar turned out to have a substantial air bubble in it, so it didn't quite sink, but it mostly sank. Our empty jar did indeed bob and roll nicely. Our half-full jar also rolled quite a bit, it wanted to float on a diagonal with the fin-end out of the water.

We were having fun floating things, so I made a little canoe out of a piece of aluminum foil. Which floated. But I didn't make it very well, so it started to fill with water and sink! I re-made it and it floated very nicely. Then I tried folding it flat (as per rose_garden's suggestion) and I guessed that it would sink and Junie guessed that it would float and... it still floated. I tried refolding it but I could not get it to sink.

We failed to actually talk much about any of this or use the word "displacement", science took a backseat to stopping Q from chucking other things out of the drying rack into the sink.

I think next time I'm going to challenge Junie to try to make a foil boat that can hold a small toy and see if we can do it, she really liked the foil canoe thing.
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (ha!)
What do you do with a snow day? Snow science! We filled one bucket of the bucket balance with snow, and one with water, and guessed which one would be heavier. Then we left them on the counter to melt, and saw that the snow melted down to just a little bit of water. Then we re-froze it (outside, just in case being outside made a difference) and saw that it turned into ice, not back into snow.

It's very hard to say how much of this Q is following; he was sad to not get to dump out the buckets. Junie, interestingly, guessed wrong about the balance (she thought they might weigh the same) but did recall enough about doing this before to be dubious of the idea that putting the melted water back out in the snow might turn it back into snow ::grin::.

We also tried some make-your-own-sno-cone culinary experimentation; snow with orange juice on it is too cold and sour, snow with maple syrup on it *I* thought was disgustingly sweet but the kids liked it.
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (ha!)
A trial run of an activity I may go in and do with Junie's preschool class, done with a younger friend. Two separate but related parts.

Project: Making Layers
Materials: glass jar, salt, rice, lentils (or other such cheap pourables, you could use sand, etc)
Explanatory details: We took turns and poured things into the jar - salt "from an ocean", rice "from plants", and lentils, representing lava, "from a volcano", and then looked at how they made layers.
How did it go: Fine.
Things we talked about: Different things can make different layers of rocks. The oldest layer, from something that happened first, is on the bottom, and the newest layer, from something that happened last, is on the top.
What Junie got out of it: I think she got the oldest/bottom, recent/top thing? And liked looking at the layers?

Project: Sampling Layers
Materials: playdoh in multiple colors, clear plastic drinking straws, paper
Explanatory details: I put four discs of playdoh in different colors and different thicknesses together and wrapped paper around the edge. The kids stabbed drinking straws down into the playdoh and looked at the resulting core sample to see how they thought the layers would look. Then I unwrapped the playdoh so we could compare it to what we saw in the straws.
How did it go: Great!
Things we talked about: If you're standing on top of the ground, you can't see rock layers from the side (I had us look down into the top of the jar), so you don't know what they are, so you can find out by taking a core sample. From the top, we could only see blue playdoh, but in the straws we could see what colors were underneath it.
What Junie got out of it: Junie really liked stabbing the playdoh.

(The latter is a variation on an activity I had learned years ago, with cupcakes made with different layers of dyed batter, with kids at a science daycamp I was assisting at.)
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (ha!)
The duck floats! The rock sinks! The water goes sploosh all over the floor, and mama says funny words, and then we get to soak it up with towels! That was Quentin's favorite part, getting to mop up.

Anyways I have officially embarked upon Science with thing two here. Will be interesting to see how it's different, and how it's the same.
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (ha!)
Backdating this, posting for my records:

Project: Will Pea Seeds Sprout In Vinegar?
Materials: pea seeds, ziploc bags, paper towels, water, white vinegar
Explanatory details: My favorite experiment in 11 Experiments That Failed was the growing of the seedlings in stinky perfume, because it had a control group. I don't have any stinky perfume but we agreed that vinegar was a good substitute and set them up as per prior sprouting experiments.
How did it go: Great! Pea seeds do not sprout in vinegar (but they do in water).
Things we talked about: We each formed a hypothesis before we did the experiment - Junie thought the seeds would sprout in both water and vinegar, I thought they would sprout in water but not vinegar.
What Junie got out of it: She stated a hypothesis and tested it! So awesome! Also sprouting seeds is always exciting. (It really is - recently (late April, when I am typing this up - we have been planting our garden and testing the germination of the seeds we plant and Junie is asking good questions like "why do pea seeds look like peas but carrot seeds don't look like carrots".)
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (juniper)
We tried the snow-melting thing, more or less, only the really exciting thing now is that she's learned the word hypothesis from 11 Experiments That Failed, so first we agreed on the hypothesis that the snow would all be melted by the time Junie got up from her nap, and then it wasn't, so my new hypothesis was that it would be done by bath time, and Junie's was that it would take until the next morning, and the experiment turned out to support my hypothesis over hers. Hypothesis hypothesis hypothesis! I feel motivated to do more science again, except that all she ever wants to do is draw.
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (Default)
Project: Can We Change A Hydrangea's Color?
Materials: fresh and dried hydrangea flowers, white vinegar, saturated baking soda solution
Explanatory details: Hydrangea color has something to do with soil pH, right? So is the flower color reactive to pH? We tried submerging petals in acidic and basic solutions and also setting up vinegar and baking soda vases so that the solutions might be drawn up into the flower over the course of the day.
How did it go: The flowers left in vinegar were brownish by evening, nothing else seemed to have much of an effect, and further reading suggests that soil pH affects aluminum uptake by the plant and aluminum forms a complex with the blue pigment and I probably shouldn't actually sit here reading journal abstracts about this, sigh.
Things we talked about: Vinegar and baking soda are "opposites" so they might have different effects on the flowers. (Also we reiterated some of the things we've talked about before when playing with vinegar and baking soda, like "vinegar+vinegar won't fizz, it has to be one+the other".)
What Junie got out of it: Junie loves doing "fizzy science" and had great fun pouring scoops of the two solutions together. She also loves ripping up flowers and playing around with them. So she had a great time getting to do both these things at once.


(ETA: after leaving them overnight, the vinegar flowers were notably pink where they weren't brown, so maybe there is something worth playing with here. Not interesting for tinies, but maybe for bigs, trying a more dilute vinegar solution.)
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (Default)
(We did this a couple of weeks ago, posting for my own records.)

Project: Sprouting Seeds
Materials: chard, pea, and lettuce seeds, ziploc bags, paper towels, water
Explanatory details: Everyone knows this one, right? Paper towel in bag, add water, seeds between one side of the bag and the paper towel, press, hang on a bulletin board or similar, wait for seeds to sprout.
How did it go: Good. I liked doing it with a couple of kinds of seeds at once to show how seeds come in different shapes and sizes.
Things we talked about: We set up the bags at the same time as we planted most of our seeds in pots. We talked about how what we could see happening in the bag is the same as what the seeds were doing in the dirt - growing a little tiny leaf up, which we could see in the pots, and growing a white root down, which we can't see because it's under the dirt.
What Junie got out of it: She liked playing in the dirt to plant seeds, but her real favorite part is watering them with the watering can. She was interested in looking at the bags. There are a lot of ways we could elaborate on this next year - bags with different conditions, turning them to watch the growth reorient, etc.
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (Default)
Project: Can We Unmix Colors Better?
Materials: paper towels, food dye, binder clips, skewers, drinking glasses, water
Explanatory details: A second try at the chromatography experiment, spotting the dyes onto paper towel strips suspended in drinking glasses via binder clips hanging from skewers.
How did it go: We did see action more quickly than with the construction paper, but the actual separation wasn't nearly as good. Lots of sideways bleeding, and a weird effect from the binder clip where the sides of the blot were moving faster than the part directly underneath the clip. This could *maybe* work with a *really small spot* - I'd been dropping the dye directly onto the paper towel, but putting a drop onto some other surface and then dipping something in it to transfer a much smaller amount could work (ah, for a micropipette).
Things we talked about: We did talk this time about the idea that the water is carrying the colors and as it moves up the paper, some of the colors can go faster than others.
What Junie got out of it: She was intrigued by the skewers and really enjoyed helping to set up the clip/skewer/glass assemblages. She squinted with interest at the water as it started to move up the paper towels and encountered the dye and happily came back with me several times to check on how they were doing. So, not bad, but I'll probably set this one aside for awhile and work on other experiments with more action for her.
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (Default)
Project: Why Does The Moon Shrink And Grow?
Materials: playground ball, flashlight, dark room
Explanatory details: We've been reading Eric Carle's Papa, Please Get The Moon For Me, which talks about the moon getting smaller and bigger, so to explore that further, we took the playground ball into a dark room and shone the flashlight on it from various angles to see how it could look fully lit or half-lit or dark, etc.
How did it go: Good; a few minutes of entertainment and an introduction to thinking about the moon as a 3-D object.
Things we talked about: The moon doesn't actually shrink and grow, but moving the light changes how much of it we can see, because we only see the parts where the light is shining.
What Junie got out of it: Well, she had great fun aiming the flashlight at the walls and rolling the ball (normally Not An Indoor Toy) around the house. I think she did get the basic idea - at one point I asked how much we could see now and she said "a sliver" which was something from the book. Some risk she's gotten the impression that the sun orbits the moon (because it was going to be way too complicated to do the thing properly, moving ourselves and the ball around the flashlight) but I'm sure we'll sort that out later. (Maybe the younger sibling can be a useful third pair of hands someday...)

(Regarding the frantic pace of Activities here lately: it's keep busy or go crazy here, man. Let's just say I was really looking forward to her being in school today. (She isn't.))
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (Default)
Project: Can We Unmix Colors?
Materials: water, art paper, construction paper, food dye
Explanatory details: This experiment is a work in progress! Today was a partial success but I definitely want to run it again and improve it. For our first try today, I spotted food dye in four "neon" colors onto strips of two different kinds of paper, construction paper and paper from a drawing pad labelled as suitable for sketching or watercolor. I bent the strips to hang them over the sides of a four-chambered former hummus container, so that each color of food dye had its own compartment, which was good because right away one of the pinks fell in and dyed the water red, and not long thereafter the green-dye construction paper soaked up enough water to pull *it* down into the water and dye it green.
How did it go: The "art paper" turned out not to wick at all, but the construction paper did - slowly enough that Junie had long since lost interest and been provided with ducks, but we reconvened to inspect our results. And in fact as the dyes had spread out up the paper, they had successfully separated somewhat! We could tell that the blue had just one color in it, blue, but the red seemed to have two parts, a red part that had moved quickly and a more magenta part left behind, and, best of all, the purple seemed to have *three* parts, the fast-moving red, blue behind it, and the left-behind magenta.
Things we talked about: We can see how the purple dye is made of red and blue dyes, which makes sense, because red and blue make purple.
What Junie got out of it: This one was definitely more for me than for her. She enjoyed seeing the water turn colors when the dyes got into it, and she gamely looked at the strips and discussed what we saw, but I didn't even try to get into an explanation of what was going on. Maybe next time? I'm curious to try it again with paper towels, to see if we can speed it up while still getting separation, and to try hanging the strips in a more secure fashion, maybe from paperclips in glasses.
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (Default)
Project: Which Weighs More?
Materials: bucket balance, various things
Explanatory details: Aunt Chaos gave Juniper this excellent bucket balance for Christmas, which Juniper has been playing around with, but we had not yet tried using for more purposeful experimentation. We started out in the living room, determining such things as the plastic onion is heavier than the plastic pepper, four wooden cookies weigh more than three cookies, etc. Then we moved to the kitchen and got out the dried rice&bean tub, and found that a big scoop full of the rice mix weighs more than the little scoop, a big-scoopful of water weighs more than the big-scoopful of rice mix, and two ducks are heavier than the little rock but the big rock is heavier than three ducks (because all science eventually turns into ducks if permitted).
How did it go: Great. I think this is a tool we'll be using for a long time, in increasingly sophisticated ways.
Things we talked about: This time around, I was mostly curious to see whether Junie got the basic idea that the bucket that went down was the heavier one (which she did) and whether she expected that more of a given thing (whether countable like cookies or mass like rice) would always weigh more than less of it (I *think* so? She didn't really want to guess-then-test, she wanted to chuck stuff in there.)
What Junie got out of it: My favorite moment of the whole experiment was when we had something in both buckets of the balance - the pepper and the onion, I think - and she very deliberately took them both out and put them back in on the opposite sides of the balance, confirming that it was the bucket-with-the-onion that went down and not the left bucket. That was SCIENCE!, right there, and it was all her.
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (Default)
Project: Salad Spinner Art
Materials: an old salad spinner (or one you don't mind scrubbing), somewhat thick paint (we used Crayola Washable Fingerpaint because it's the paint we have and use for all paint-craft needs), paper
Explanatory details: Junie traced around the bottom of the spinner basket and I cut out the circle, then we put it in the bottom of the salad spinner. I squeezed out paint directly from the tube, with Junie suggesting where I should (try to) put it and when to stop and change colors. Individual drops seemed to give more dramatic results than longer blobs or lines. She got the spinner started and then I cranked it up to full speed.
How did it go: Great fun! She wanted to do it again and I think she would have kept on for more than three times if I hadn't needed to sit down. We talked about how the spinner made the paint run out to the edge of the paper and looked at how paint had splattered out through the basket all around the bowl of the spinner. (This could easily be a science activity if you wanted to talk more about What Is Going On Here and less about Ooh Pretty.)


ETA: If you really didn't want to put paint in your salad spinner, you could try doing it with condiments - I bet ketchup or yellow mustard would smear out nicely, although it would be less suitable for saving and hanging up afterwards.
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (Default)
Project: Light: Will It Bend?
Materials: laser pointer, mirror, prism, cup of water
Explanatory details: I turned off the lights and showed Junie the laser pointer and she tried it out (pointing at the wall). Then I showed her how we could reflect the beam with a mirror or bend it with the prism. I was hoping we could bend it with the water but it was harder to tell if anything was happening there.
How did it go: Fine.  Junie was not super-fascinated, nor particularly able to aim, but it held her interest for a bit.
Things we talked about: The light goes in a straight line, but the mirror or prism can bend that line.  (We also talked about not aiming the laser pointer at anyone's face.)
What Junie got out of it: She was primarily interested in the way aiming the laser pointer into the water made the water glow red.  Then she realized she had water and demanded ducks.
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (Default)
Project: Which Dissolves Faster?
Materials: cornstarch packing peanuts, five cups/bowls, water, vinegar, baking soda, salt, cabbage pH indicator because we had it
Explanatory details: We compared the dissolution of cornstarch packing peanuts in five conditions: cold water, hot water, vinegar, baking soda solution, salt solution.
How did it go: Good! The set-up was half of the fun, labeling our containers, stirring the salt and the baking soda, and adding a little purple cabbage juice to the vinegar and to the baking soda to see the color change (and help us remember what was special about those dishes). The packing peanuts started to dissolve promptly enough for the scientist's attention span and we did some more stirring to help them come all the way apart. Hot water was faster than cold water, vinegar was faster than baking soda, and salt water was the slowest of all (hot, vinegar, cold, baking soda, salt, I think, although see below for further comments).
Things we talked about: These special packing peanuts are made to come apart in the water into tiny bits, which is called dissolving. Changing the water can make it go faster or slower.
What Junie got out of it: They float! And then they come apart!
Ideas for older scientists: We did not control for the temperature of our vinegar (room temp) vs our baking soda solution (tap water temp, thus colder, which we know makes a difference), and we dropped our peanuts in one by one rather than simultaneously so some of the dishes had a little jump on others. A more careful scientist would want to pay attention to these things. It's also possible that by a casual eyeball the peanut in the salt water was floating slightly higher than the peanut in the plain water due to the greater buoyancy of salt water, reducing the surface area exposed to the water and slowing the process of dissolving. It might be a good followup experiment to try trapping the peanuts fully under the water with a spoon or something to see whether this affects the result.
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (Default)
Project: Is There Air In There?
Materials: large-ish clear plastic tub, clear plastic cup, paper towel, food dye
Explanatory details: Taken from Air Is All Around You. We filled the plastic tub with water and added a drop of food dye to make it easier to see. We looked at the paper towel and agreed that it was dry, then stuffed it into the bottom of the cup. If we put the cup in the water, would the towel stay dry? Junie thought it would get wet, but we pushed the cup straight down in the water upside-down and took it out again, and the towel stayed dry. Then we put the cup in again and looked at how the water couldn't get in there, then tilted it to make bubbles go blurp out the side, until we could see how there was water partway filling the cup. We picked the cup up partway out of the water, and saw how the water came up with the cup.
How did it go: Good. Junie was eager to get to the part where she could play with the water, but she looked with interest at the things I pointed out.
Things we talked about: The cup looks empty, but it has air in it; if some air gets out, some water goes in, and the water has to stay in if air can't get in instead.
What Junie got out of it: She really liked getting to mix in the food dye, and when the bubbles went blurp. She saw how sometimes we can do science by following the instructions in a book.
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (Default)
Project: Can We Blow It Pink?
Materials: color-changing cabbage liquid (see first cabbage experiment), drinking straw and glass
Explanatory details: I wanted to see whether blowing into the cabbage liquid would dissolve enough CO2 into it to get a color change to pink. I put maybe 1/3 cup of cabbage liquid into a glass and blew into it with a straw for several breaths, and then Junie did also.
How did it go: We made a lot of bubbles but it stayed purple. We did not get any color change.
Things we talked about: We didn't really talk much about it because I was waiting to see if I could get it to work.
What Junie got out of it: Blowing bubbles is fun!

I may try this one more time with warm cabbage liquid - we used it pretty much straight out of the fridge where I've been storing it, but warming it should promote CO2 going in. I'm also not sure we blew for long enough; I don't really want to do a lot of prolonged blowing at this time (my notes from my previous pregnancy mention a dizzy spell after some nose-blowing right around this time) but maybe getting a couple of people involved and taking turns would do it.

Project: What Else Changes The Color?
Materials: cabbage liquid, vinegar, baking soda, milk, cranberries
Explanatory details: Of course once we had the cabbage juice out we needed to do some more experimenting with it! In addition to vinegar and baking soda solution we tested two new things, some milk and some fresh cranberry juice (I sliced up a few cranberries and mashed them in a little bit of water with a fork).
How did it go: Good! Milk did not cause a color change but the cranberry mash did.
Things we talked about: Cranberries taste sour, and so does lemon juice, and they both turn the cabbage juice pink.
What Junie got out of it: Yay more mixing! Partway through she decided she was making pizza pies, and she definitely lost interest in the whole thing more quickly this time than the first time. I could probably amuse myself indefinitely pH-testing things in my kitchen; Junie is not yet at the point where she thinks things like "what else could I try this with?". Which is kind of useful for keeping mess down; I'll be curious to see at what age she does start doing that kind of brainstorming extension-of-the-concept.
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (Default)
Project: What Will The Color Be?
Materials: Color-changing cabbage liquid (boil red cabbage in water for about ten minutes, let cool, strain, keeping liquid and discarding leaves; I used about a quarter of a cabbage and 2-3 cups of water), white vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda solution (put a few spoonfuls of baking soda into half a glass of water, microwave briefly to warm, stir), experiment vessels (a white or clear molded plastic tray from a box of candy makes a terrific well plate, with lots of small compartments for repeating your experiment - keep your eyes open during the holiday season when there's lots of candy going around. you can also use a muffin tin, an ice cube tray, or just lots of little bowls)
Explanatory details: Junie spooned out purple cabbage liquid into the 12 wells of the tray. I helped her add water to one (no color change), lemon juice to one (turns bright pink), vinegar to one (bright pink), and baking soda solution to one (turns blue-green). Then I let her try a bunch of repeats on her own. Once every well on the tray had been used, we tried adding vinegar to a green well and baking soda to a pink well to see if we could turn them back to purple, and she messed around with that some more.
How did it go: This was *great*. We had just done some fizzy science recently, testing water, vinegar, lemon juice, and milk with baking soda, so we were primed for looking for same and different reactions, and we (sort of) knew what was going on when we added vinegar to a green (baking soda) well and it started fizzing! (Fizzy science is our third-most requested science activity, after duck science/icecube science (chucking things into a tub of water) and flashlight colors.) The cabbage liquid was super-easy to make and the colors were nice and bright and obvious on our white tray. I had put small amounts of vinegar, water, etc into little dishes and felt comfortable letting Junie spoon it out herself, which she did quite carefully with a minimum of countertop mess; I did remind her a couple of times to keep her fingers out of her science. We have tons of cabbage liquid left and will definitely do this again - I'm going to see how well it freezes for future use (and will report back on that).
Things we talked about: The cabbage liquid is a pH indicator - I briefly caught myself starting to use the words "acid" and "base" and had to back up and rethink my approach. Junie only listens to about one sentence of explanation at a time, so I think at this age "acid" or "pH" would just be nonsense words, what I wanted to emphasize was:
- a given thing (vinegar, baking soda, water) gives the same color every time you add it to a fresh well.
- vinegar and lemon juice are the same, they both turn it pink.
- baking soda is different, it turns it green.
- baking soda can turn a vinegar well back to purple. vinegar can turn a baking soda well back to purple. vinegar and baking soda are opposites.
- adding water doesn't change the color, whether it's purple, pink, or green.
What Junie got out of it: She loved it. She enjoyed helping me rip up cabbage to put in the pot and was very pleased to get to spoon out purple liquid into the wells. She was fascinated by the changing colors and got particularly interested in adding more things to the same well to try to change the color back and forth or back to purple. One thing that was interesting was that I hadn't labeled the dishes with the vinegar, baking soda solution, etc, but had put them in different kinds of bowls so that I could keep track of which - Junie definitely wanted specific ones to try next and would check "is this the vinegar" etc. I think next time I do it I'll try putting masking-tape labels on with a letter V for vinegar, BS for baking soda, etc, so that she can more confidently know which is which (and because it's a good idea to start teaching her to always label!).

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