Thursday, May 15, 2008

Science Rules!

Alonzo and Colin participated in their very first science fair tonight. Science Rules!  They decided to do their project together. (Or rather Mom decided that one project was enough work for her so if they wanted to do this, they better do it together!!)  After I ruled out any ideas related to blowing up anything or creating really bad smells, they settled their favorite messy goop, Oobleck.

Much to the boys irritation I made them go through all the motions of getting ready for the science fair. They had to read about how to make it, why it works, and actually make some observations of solids, liquids and oobleck. Mostly they just wanted to get to the part where they could play with the icky goo. Colin learned that oobleck is a liquid that sometimes acts like a solid.  Alonzo learned this kind of liquid is called a non-Newtonian fluid.  LOL!  Yeah Right! What Colin really learned is you can roll it into a ball, but as soon as you stop rolling it will "melt" and drip through your fingers. Alonzo learned that even though it is a liquid it will not splash when you hit it. Seriously, no splashing!

Actual scientific value aside, I count tonight as successful experience. For almost 2 hours Alonzo and Colin didn’t fight!  Miracle!  They took turns looking at other experiments and watching over their own station. More importantly they talked about, explained and demonstrated oobleck to every passing science enthusiast. Not a shy bone in their wiggly little bodies!  Their station turned out be one of more popular mostly due to boys own enthusiasm for playing with the oobleck.
"You can touch it, Really!"

Colin explains to a passing grown-up that Oobleck is a liquid AND a solid.

One group of people learned a lot about the properties of Oobleck. The poor cleaning crew! The school covered the gym completely with blue tarps to protect the floor. Even with that precaution in place, the janitorial staff quietly circulated cleaning up the inevitable messes almost before they even happened.  The one thing resistant to cleaning? Oobleck! If you wait until it is dry, it will sweep right up.  If you try to sweep or mop it while it is still wet it doesn't spread out like you would expect a liquid to do, it just sits there in a blob. In fact the more pressure you apply trying to sweep or mop it, the harder it becomes to move. At one point we had four guys all trying their hardest to clean up the mess. It just wasn't working for them. I don't have enough Indonesian to explain that wiping softly instead of scrubbing would be much more effective. I had to walk away before they realized I was laughing at them. Eventually all of them left except for this guy in the picture he stood by all evening trying to  keep the mess under control. I hope they got paid overtime for tonight because the sure deserved it!


Terio said...

COngratulations Colin and Alonzo on your first science fair! I can't believe mom and dad would not let you do an experiment about blowing things up! Uncle Joey let you both make a firecracker and we sure did blow it up, didn't we! We might have to do some experiments when you all visit in July!

Jae said...

That is so cool and fun! :) I didn't know it was called Oobleck, but we've made that too - at MDO and home. It's got the coolest texture! :)

Congrats to Alonzo and Colin!