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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Get the Fruit Out!

In the past few months I’ve watched both Leo and Henry’s enthusiasm grow as we try out the fun Super Fab Lab investigations from Sid the Science Kid. When we first began I had to sell the activities a little bit. I was cautious of sounding too excited or “into it” because for some reason, my boys sometimes shy away from things that I am too jazzed about. And I kind of get jazzed about these investigations.
Lately, I’ve heard the boys asking casually, “When are we going to do our next experiment?” or “I wonder what Sid is doing in the Super Fab Lab today?” They’ve gone from passive participation in this science exploration to active instigators. I love it.
The boys were especially keen to freeze some fruit and find out what happened. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the Frozen Fruit Investigation is so much fun for the kids. I found that the activity provided us with a lot of choices and lots of ways for kid-driven exploration.
We started the activity before school by choosing fruit and dropping them into a small plastic cups. The boys decided on 1 blueberry, 1 grape, and 1 baby carrot. We wanted to add a veggie into the mix to see what would happen. I then let the boys use the water dispenser on the fridge to fill the glass. I am still trying to give the boys more freedom in the kitchen and the water dispenser is a BIG thing for me. They were both pleased and surprised that I let them fill the water. Then the cups went into the fridge. I asked them both to predict how long it would take the water to freeze. Henry predicted 1 day and Leo predicted 2 days. Note that I did not even have to define the word “predict” for my little scientists.
After school Henry and Leo made a beeline for the fridge. I hadn’t even put down my purse before they were exclaiming, “It’s frozen! It’s frozen! The fruit is frozen!”
We discussed their predictions as I grabbed two baking pans and told them to get the fruit out of the ice. They looked at me like I was crazy, and then the lights started going off in their brains.
Henry decided that he needed a plastic knife to start chipping away at the ice. Okay! I got them both knives and they set to work. After a little while Henry and Leo realized that this was going to take a long time and a lot of effort.
So, I asked them to think about the ice and not the fruit. We talked about ice as water and what makes water turn into ice. Then we speculated about what makes ice turn back to water. Leo thought that maybe we should put in the fridge. Henry disagreed.
“Make it hot,” Henry said.
“How?” I asked.
Henry and Leo thought it over and choose to use hot water. We moved our investigation over to the counter by the sink. I provided hot tap water for their pans and the boys told me when to add more or stop. Both boys yelled with excitement as the ice began to melt and they were able to get at the fruit. Henry noticed that although the grape and blueberry were delicious, the carrot was still frozen on the inside. Leo just wanted more fruit. Healthy snacks!
We talked a bit about reversible change and I reminded Leo about our applesauce investigation from a few months ago. Both of them were so engaged. For this busy mom, the time and effort on my part was minimal. But the effect lasted for days. Henry keeps coming up with new ways to melt the ice: use the microwave, build a campfire, put the ice in the sun, hold it in your hands for a long time. I admire his problem solving dedication. Today, after preschool, Leo asked me if we could freeze fruit again. So we did.
How do you find ways to give your children choices throughout your day? Have any of the Sid activities you’ve tried generated ongoing discussions? Please share!

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