So Junior and his little brother showed up on my doorstep around 5 this afternoon.
"Can you help me with my science fair project?" Junior asked.
"When's it due?" I asked back.
Of course. Well, let's hear it for the Internet--a little web surfing produced a project we could actually do in a little more than an hour. I tried looking for a quick save-the-rear-end project last Friday, when Peter Pan asked me, but everything I found on that web tour required equipment I didn't have in the house.
Today I had better luck. I found an experiment that investigated how well popcorn pops in the microwave starting from different temperatures. We kind of skated between two different versions of the experiment I found online. Junior had to count out 100 kernels of corn three times, putting each 100 into a different Ziploc bag. One bag went in the freezer, one in the fridge and we microwaved the third batch right away at room temperature. The fridge and freezer batches were left to chill for an hour.
We predicted the freezer bag of kernels would have the most unpopped kernels, but for us it was actually the fridged bad that had the most. We took lots of digital photos of Junior counting kernels and putting the bags in the fridge/freezer. We also took pictures of the results--each batch of popcorn, labeled, in two bowls: one for popped and one for unpopped kernels. They were pretty close in amounts, between 42 and 55 unpopped kernels, so you probably won't be able to see the difference in the photos. But hey, we tried. At least he won't get an F.
If anybody happens to have leads on other science fair experiments you can do with stuff in your kitchen reasonably quickly, let me know. I should start keeping a file, and I should really start keeping useful equipment around. Here are some things I spotted that I don't have in the house but should:
cloth tape measure
empty spray/spritzer bottle
I saw a couple of experiments I liked about diffusion. In one, you test how quickly different types of food coloring diffuse into water. In another, you test how quickly different scented liquids (perfume, essential oils, whatever) diffuse into the air. The other experiment I liked was having different kinds of people (ages, gender, whatever) see how far they could blow up a balloon in one breath.
Anyway, suggestions are welcome. I'm getting a rep as the last-minute science fair bailout center, so I might as well have the resources to do the job right.
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