Monday, September 03, 2007

mad science

That post below about me being air-headed? Ok, keep that in mind...

So, we did our first science experiment kit last Wednesday. I love science. It was always a favorite of mine in school. Maria loves science too, especially science experiments. We have really bad luck with science experiments...they just don't seem to do what they are supposed to do. But we persevere anyway. Our current science series, which we will be using for the next three years, doesn't have a lot in the way of experiments, though it is a very good series. It was written for "real school" and so I think it must come with a separate lab component. Anyway, we simply cannot have a deficit of science experiments. So, I subscribed to these nifty "come in the mail with all the supplies you need once a month" science programs. The first one was all about recycling, first experimenting with making compost and seeing how quickly different pieces of garbage break down in soil, that kind of thing. Then we made homemade paper out of recycled materials...and well...a picture is worth a thousand words...

Here's Maria shredding up colored paper to add to our recycled materials for added "wow" factor.

Then we whizzed the mixture away in the blender. This particular brew is toilet paper and half a sheet of blue paper. Smoothie, anyone?

Here's Maria straining the pulp over a screen rubberbanded to a mug. And sticking her tongue out at me. Ain't she sweet?

And now she's squishing out more water with a sponge...

...and rolling out still more with a rolling pin...'s the finished product. There's the pretty toilet paper paper. The top one is brown paper bag. The bottom two are newspaper with orange paper added for "wow" factor. They dried for a while on the stovetop until Mom decided she needed that for cooking,,,so she had the brilliant idea of moving the still-damp paper into the oven so they could dry on the racks. Anyone wanna guess what happened next?

This last picture shows an unexpected turn in our experiment. Maria's birthday was Saturday. Friday night I went to bake a cake. I don't use my oven much in the summer, and yes, it's still summer in the south. While the oven was heating, I caught the unexplainable smell of something burning, and while moving, puzzled, into the kitchen to investigate I suddenly remembered the paper. When I opened the oven, there was a dramatic display of smoke and shortly thereafter the BEEEEPBEEEEPBEEEEP of the smoke alarm, followed by several minutes of BEEEEPBEEEEPBEEEEP from Kain as he ran around the house imitating the smoke alarms until I finally had to send him to his room for his own safety.

Conclusions- We concluded in our experiment that orange "wow" and gray newspaper pulp makes brown pulp that looks just like the paper bag pulp. We also concluded that if the only paper bag you can find has been colored all over, and you decide it doesn't matter because you are going to pulp it anyway, the crayon will rise to the top of the blender pulp in little orange and red waxy flakes and stick all over your blender. Oh yeah, and newspaper paper burns more quickly than toilet paper paper, which burns more quickly than paper bag paper. We are working on an article for publication.

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