Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Science Corner: Experiments, but I don't have everything I need...

...so I can't do the experiment, right? It happens to me all the time, I forget to look ahead in my plans and so I didn't get all the materials I needed for the experiment we are suppose to do. (I know that I'm not the one one this happens to!) So do we ditch the experiment all together, pushing it back till another week that probably will never come?

Heaven's no! As the Super Slueths do, we think, think, think. Here are some helpful hints for doing experiments with what you have on hand...
  1. See if you can substitute an ingredient: For example if the experiment calls for vinegar, try lemon juice. If you don't have a potato for your starch test experiment, try using a piece of bread or cooked pasta. For baking soda, well there just is no substitute for baking soda that I know of :). The internet and your cookbook are great places to look for "recipe" substitutions.
  2. See if you can substitute a material: For example, I use my meat thermometer for all our experiments. Don't laugh, there's no need to go out and buy thermometers for you to use in science when you have two of them sitting in your kitchen. I have used my oven and a heat lamp (they look like fans here) for the Sun. We don't get too many sunny days here, so when our experiments have called for the Sun, I've had to improvise! If you don't have a two liter bottle, make a mini-experiment using a one liter. The list can go on and on, but the basic idea is that you don't have to have the exact item, just something close to it :).

  3. See if you can subsitute the experiment: Take a look at your experiment book. They usually have several experiments for any given topic. If you don't have the supplies for the one that was scheduled and you can't make a substitution to make it work, go ahead and change the whole experiment. Your kids will still learn about science!

Hope that these tips give you some ideas about how you can continue to share hands on science with you kids even if you don't have all the materials. Trust me, it's worth the time and effort!

1 comment:

Rhonda said...

Very good post and reminder Paige!
My problem is that I too often am missing something that is suppose to be a "common household item." I am beginning to think that perhaps ours is not a common household, lol. That is a good reminder, however, to try to substitute something else!!