What's on my mind.

07 April 2008

Let's Get Chemistrying!

Friday before last Nettie brought over their Dirt Devil because my vacuum cleaner doesn't do my stairs very well anymore. And she brought over her chemistry set and microscope kit (Christmas gifts). I was in the middle of cleaning so I managed to mostly put off both. We did look at some pond water under the microscope, as well as several of the prepared slides that she has. She also caught a toad (Mr. Toady!) that we had to identify (Southern Toad). I told her to come back Saturday morning and we'd do some more. Saturday morning we saw toads mating (gross), collected toad eggs (cool) and made litmus solution (a.k.a. Experiment 1). The litmus solution, unfortunately, needs to sit overnight before being decanted into the little dropper bottle. So we didn't get to do any real experiments.

Thursday I invited Nettie over to check on her toad tadpoles. Then she announced that she needed to know what tadpoles ate since she was now their "mommy". According to wikipedia tadpoles are herbivores, so they should do fine with all the algae in the jar with them. Then we did the first set of experiments with the chemistry set. We turned litmus solution red, then back to blue. Then we tried the 4th experiment which is suppose to be a "wow your friends and family" one where you pour blue litmus solution into a test tube with Ammonium Sulfate in it and it turns red immediately. (The cartoon in the book shows a red solution with just a little blue right where the litmus is poured in.) It didn't work. We may not have had enough (NH4)2SO4 in the test tube. I looked over the next experiment and decided we needed to wash the test tubes, etc. Then Nettie spilled a beaker with litmus solution in it on the chair, her shoe, and the floor. That seemed like a good time to quit for the evening.

Anyway, she had fun. Well, right up until I was saying, somewhat loudly, "No it will not hurt you but it might stain the floor. Mop it up!"* (Will it stain me? Will it stain the chair?) Sodium carbonate is listed as an irritant in the book, this had her all worried because apparently she didn't listen the first time, when we started the experiments, when I said it might, in large amounts, make her itch.

I have a couple of complaints about how the book is set up, but mostly because it's not what I'm used. We'll have fun with it.

I don't know if it's her age or what but she has the slowest spill reaction of anyone I know. Doesn't matter what it is, she just stares at the water (or milk or soda or...) spreading across the table (spilling on to the floor, herself, wherever) while the adults around her say things like "where's your napkin?" and "Use your napkin to keep it from going off the table."

No comments: