I’ve talked before about how great T2’s school is. In science class they are studying the various forms of matter. The unit, and I suspect the manner of the way it is being taught to him, has really struck a nerve and so right now T2 is all about science. I think it helps that we recently watched Ghostbusters, which neither of the boys had ever seen. T2 dug the fact that the heroes were scientists. He walked around for several days randomly saying “If someone asks you if you are a god, YOU SAY YES!”
Early last week he started experimenting in the kitchen. I don’t mean he was using truffle oil or foam infusions but rather writing up and then performing science experiments. We made a sign which we taped to the wall which designated the kitchen an official Science Lab. He would heat water up (or rather, I would heat water up under his direction) and then he would drop ice cubes into it and track how long it took for them to melt. Our tea kettle got a workout, as we suddenly needed steam. He was all about gathering and recording data. We took one of his little notebooks and ripped out all of the non-science materials, pages filled mostly with drawings of robots and lists of things he was going to do on days he was devoting to being lazy, in order to make a Science Notebook. The capitalization is his, he refers to everything associated with our science activities as Science Whatever and you can hear the upper case letters in his voice. I was tasked with using our label maker to make sure there was no question as to what the notebook’s purpose now was. The cover now has fancy black and white labels that read:
Authorized Personel Only
Doctor (T2’s Full Name)
Data and Science Notebook
And yes, personnel is spelled that way because it is a word I don’t know how to spell.
On the way to the bus stop on Friday he asked if we could get a microscope. I’m pretty much a national spokesman for Amazon Prime at this point, so I went home and ordered a microscope, 25 slides preloaded with stuff and 75 blank slides. When he got home from school he asked me if I had ordered the microscope and if it had come in yet.
Friday night was spent learning how the stove works. He put on a pair of non-prescription framed glasses (Science Glasses) and an Ove-Glove (Science Gloves) because scientists wear safety equipment. I explained and demonstrated how our gas range worked and he asked questions and took notes in the Science Notebook. None of you are technically Authorized Personel, but I’m going to share the page in question anyway.
how the oven works? 11/18/13
So The gas comes out of the pipes and there’s a spark when the gas comes out, and turns it into fire. and the fire comes out of tiny holes on the sides. And the pan gets hot and warms the food. when we clean the stuff we have to be safe, because that could cause fire.
That actually makes more sense that a lot of instruction manuals I’ve read recently.
We also did a relatively sophisticated experiment where we took some moss, measured how much moss we had and then added water slowly and in measured amounts to determine how much water the moss could absorb. I won’t put the whole page of notes here, but I will show what he wrote down as his conclusion.
So moss holds less than 5ml, whoa!
On Saturday morning, in anticipation of the microscope’s arrival, we went on a Science Walk. He put a bunch of Tupperware containers and ziplock bags into the bag he usually hauls around his basketball equipment in, thus making it his Science Bag. We went to the park and gathered samples.
We got more moss, water from the pond, pine needles, and various and sundry other bits of things including what he insisted was squirrel DNA but which looked to my unscience minded eye to be tree bark.
Amazon Prime is amazing ,so the microscope came that afternoon. There was much rejoicing.
After a few minutes familiarizing him with the microscope worked we were off to the tiny, tiny, but magnified by 400 times races.
We looked at the premade slides and took notes. Onion skin and dog stomach were his two favorites. Each individual slides has a page of observations in the Science Notebook devoted to it, headed with the name of the sample and then an exclamation point. “Onions!” and “Pine Leaf!” for example.
We took our samples from the park and made our own slides, spending about forty minutes on moss alone. Every time he would look through the microscope at a new specimen he would yelp, “HOLY SMOKES!” and then “Mom! T1! Come here! Look at this!”
It was a very good investment. Since then the microscope, which sits at the far end of the kitchen table (Science Lab), has been used to examine parts of everything we have eaten. We have another Science Walk scheduled. Plus, I’ve got a new job.
“You are a very good apprentice, Doctor Patrick” said T2.
“Well, thanks Doctor T2,” I said, “but I think you mean assistant.”
EDITED TO ADD: Apparently, judging by the emails and facebook messages I’ve gotten, people are shocked, just shocked, that the boys hadn’t seen Ghostbusters until now. You know, the movie that came out almost thirty years ago.
Since posting this I have been informed by C that the boys HAD seen Ghostbusters previously, they were just younger and didn’t remember. So your long, national nightmare is over, America.