Feb 14, 2011

He Blinded Me with Science!

Brown Eyes rolled into double digits this fall.

He's my quintessential middle son. After I wrote that, I had to do a quick search to make sure that I knew what all I was including in that statement. The website I was checking out says that there are two types of middle children...Brown Eyes would be the quintessential Middle Child #2: outgoing, friendly, loud, laid back, and patient. And loud. Did I mention that one already?

Anywho, he is the most tender-hearted kid I know. And I don't mean that in a wimpy, thin-skinned kind of way; I mean he has more compassion and tenderness than should fit in his little body.

So I'm getting off track...he turned 10. And he's sweet. So I wanted to do something special for his birthday party. He also loves science, so rather than trying to find some awesome party-in-a-box thing, we got creative.

I observed that we should have areas in which we could analyze as many areas of science as we could. So here's a sample of what we did to construct his day in a Weird Science kind of way:

So of course we had to activate the thing with some solidified carbon dioxide (a.k.a. dry ice)...

...and some creepishly huge insects in jello lab jars in the windows...

...eyeball beakers were certainly in order...

...as well as a petri dish cake. Complete with multiple bacteria and lab rats.

We had a substantial collection of experiments to investigate, and we initiated the plan with a scavenger hunt Data Discovery game.

Hopefully, you've noticed by now how much linguistically scientific I have become since this party.

Ummmm....yeah. Anyway. Back to discovering data....

I wrote clues with a lemon juice and corn starch composite on regular paper, and classified a set for each team. One clue connected with the next so that the team collectively determined what clue they were to find next. Can you guess what picture they were to find based on this clue?

Once they evaluated and understood the clue, they had to search for a picture of that clue that I had hidden in the yard. At that point, they opened up the paper to reveal the next clue. (I had a separate line of clues for each team.) Watching them run around the yard trying to be the first team to find all of their clues was the best part of this game.

Once they had discovered all their clues, this was the specimen they found...

And now that they each had their own set of protective eyewear, we were ready for some experiments...

We concocted a silly bandz lava lamp using oil, water, food coloring, alka-seltzer, and of course, science-shaped silly bandz!

We interblended white school glue, Borax, and food coloring to make the classic Gooey Gunk, which many of the boys had never handled before. If you've got boys and have never made this, go here for the recipe. It's a good dose of awesomeness for a kid.

Lil'bit's face cracks me up in this one...

We also put a penny inside (almost) clear balloons, blew it up, and then shook the balloon in a circular motion to illustrate centripetal force.

We performed a couple of other small experiments before going inside for cake and ice cream, but I have to say this picture just beats all...the moment the best friend of the birthday boy realized his beaker was staring at him...

And last, but not least...we burned off a little steam with an explosion of epic proportions...mentos and diet coke.

We tested several of these explosions, but this was the best picture recorded...and the very first one we launched. We estimated about 30 feet of diet coke lift.

Incidentally, if you are ever in need of either 1) all kinds of science-related equipment or accessories; or 2) wasting a profusion of time unnecessarily, you must visit the American Science and Surplus website. I haven't laughed that hard from shopping in a really long time. The product titles and descriptions are hilarious!

My personal favorite: the product title for temporary tattoos = Rebel without a Commitment

Have fun!