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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Henry, the Water Crusader

I was reminded of how verbal and sensitive my boys can be this week as we talked about the meaning of Earth Day. I didn’t plan a special activity but I did comment over breakfast that this was the day we celebrated the Earth. “What is Earth?” Leo wanted to know. Then the discussion began. Our conversation took us from planets, to recycling, to compassion, to littering, to pollution, and ultimately, to water.
Henry and Leo know that we try and conserve water. They often scold me for leaving the faucet on too long while washing dishes or run to tell us that one of the garden hoses is leaking. We talked a lot over the year since we moved to California about living in a dry climate and making sure we don’t waste water. It mostly started when we received our first water bills and understood the cost of keeping a green lawn. The talk has worked because Henry and Leo have taken up water conservation as their “cause” and I am not complaining. It’s a bit like a crusade.
So, even though we didn’t make big plans for Earth Day, I was sure glad to see that Sid the Science Kid website has a whole cycle of activities for us to choose from. Naturally, I chose the activity called Brush, Brush, Brush ‘Em Up. Basically, the kids needed to compare how much water they used if they turned the faucet off while brushing their teeth vs. the amount used if they kept the faucet on. Simple, right? Our investigation took an interesting twist.
I knew before we even started that both boys DO NOT leave the water on while brushing. We taught them from the beginning to turn it off and they have also talked about it extensively at school. The experiment wasn’t intended to teach them to do this…for us it was going to be a cool way to measure and compare.
Leo went first. We put a bowl in the sink to catch the water from faucet. Leo turned on the water to wet his brush, and then turned it off as he brushed. The bowl only filled a little bit. We talked about the amount and predicted how much the bowl would fill when Henry brushed his teeth with the water ON.
So Henry stepped up the sink. He put the toothpaste on, turned on the faucet, dipped his brush, and then turned the water OFF.
“Henry, you need to turn the water on for the experiment. We want to measure how much water you use,” I said.
“I can’t Mommy. That will waste a lot of water,” Henry replied.
“But sweetie, that is the point of the investigation. We want to see how much water is wasted if we leave the faucet running.”
“I know!” Henry exclaimed, becoming agitated. “I don’t want to waste all that water and I don’t want you to take my picture!”
Point taken, my little conservationist. I guess my kids didn’t really need this experiment. I liked the simplicity of the activity and I thought it would be fun. But to Henry (and then Leo by default) we were wasting water. And that was NOT okay, even in the name of Science.
As you can see in the photo above, Henry brushed his teeth with the water faucet in the OFF position.
How well do your kids understand the concepts of Earth Day and water conservation? What activities or tips can you share?

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