"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Science, the Fun Way

 So much can be learned through "playing."  I think we underestimate the value of play these days.  And one of the most valuable lessons the kids learn is to solve problems on their own - critical thinking, if you will.  There is such value in trying something that doesn't work.  I have really been making an effort to stop myself from saying "that's not going to work" and telling them what will.  What I need to do is give them time and back away so they can explore the issue on their own.  I'm trying to limit my input to asking questions such as these - "What do you expect will happen?  What's causing that to not working right? What needs to happen to change that?  How do you think you could fix that?"

 In the latest experiment, the ten year old wanted to see if he could create a parachute that would safely deliver his Lego pirate ship to the ground, without anything breaking.

 He cut the bottom out of a garbage bag and attached it with yarn.

 It did pretty well, but he wanted the parachute to stay open from the start without his hands holding it open.  He found it difficult to release it with his hands stuck inside.

 So his first attempt at fixing it looked like this - a lego structure I knew would do nothing for the parachute, and just break off when it landed.  This is where it was hard to shut my big mouth and let him try it... and fail.

 The next attempt was a structure more like tent poles inside the parachute.

It worked okay, but his hand accidentally hit the ship on the way down and had the effect of throwing it down.  It broke, and he had football game to get ready for, so he didn't get to try it again that day.  But the point is, it was fun, and he learned a lot about physics principles.  And next time he tries this, he'll have a much better chance of succeeding.

I also like to give the kids an idea and see what they do with it.  I'm thinking as I write this, maybe I'll ask him what would happen if he used a whole garbage bag and a hair blow dryer.  Hmmmm.  But that will have to wait.  Today we're off to Bugga's to watch the Wyoming football game, and then chop and stack firewood.


  1. Tell him Galileo "got his start" the same way!

  2. Interesting! Sounds like it's time to check out a biography of Galileo :)

  3. Some of his experiments dealt with dropping items from heights to prove that something heavier didn't actually fall faster. But I bet he didn't have as much fun as y'all did!

  4. Interesting! Sounds like it's time to check out a biography of Galileo :)