There are two important facts you have to know: One - Although I have led many groups in scientific exploration, my own children are not often among them. Yes, just as the shoe maker's children have no shoes, the engineer's children have no concept of the scientific principle (I am so ashamed!)
and Two - Friday was the second snow day IN A ROW, Thurday being more of an ice day, which meant NO playing outside and no driving to any sort of activity. Just lots of fun togetherness. I let the boys celebrate by playing electronic games, watching TV, then playing more electronic games, with the expected result that they ended up being both catatonic and hyper. Yes you can be both, if you don't believe me, come for a visit.
So morning of the SECOND snow day, I made an announcement, "No electronics, this means (and you have to be specific here), no TV, no Computer, no Cameras, no playstation, no Wii and no gameboy, nothing that plugs into a wall or runs on batteries." At this point they began to thank me for taking an interest in their lives and ran to get the board games, paper and crayons for crafts and we had an old fashioned morning. It was blissful. NO wait, that was when the wailing began, if it bothered you in your part of the world, let me apologize now.
And to make my children's lives even worse, I made a list of things we were going to have to accomplish before we could even consider electronics. Terrible, horrible things like Make Bed, Eat Breakfast and (please don't report me) Read twenty minutes. Yes that was the second set of screams you heard. I also included Do Science Experiment. (Why do I have to do a science experiment, it's not in my homework, I won't do it, why can't I just watch tv, etc....)
After expending enough energy complaining, energy that could have used to complete the list twice over, the boys resigned themselves to the horrible fate before them. We proceded to move through our list, checking off clean room, practice piano/ drums, etc until I began bringing out the items for our experiment and the camera to document the procedure and results. When we got to the part of the procedure where you had to wait for five minutes, things began to unravel a bit.
Luckily (or unluckily depending on your view) we had vinegar and baking soda on the table. My boys were aware that the combination of these would do something, they weren't sure what, maybe explode. Finally they were showing some genuine interest. Like any good mother and engineer (both problem solving professions) I sensed the need to change directions.
That is were the mixing of baking soda and vinegar, and a study of acid and bases began. We progressed to mixing lemon juice and baking soda (to discover that lemon juice was also an acid), we then mixed date vinegar and baking soda to discover some acids are stronger than others and give a much better reaction. We mixed vinegar and baking soda in a closed container and watched the increased pressure within blow off the top of the container. (Full disclosure means I have to tell that the boys went screaming into the other room, diving behind the couch, waiting for the explosion!)
Here are the videos of the "explosion". I am holding the two ingredients separate, the vinegar in the container and the baking soda on the lid. The plan is to close the lid, combining both ingredients, as the reaction occurs, carbon dioxide is formed, increasing the pressure inside the container until the container "explodes".
Note to self: Find a steady camera man with nerves of steel.
But all is well that ends well and the boys were so excited, they decided to produce their own science show. Oh and the boys told anyone that they talked to that day, we did a cool experiment today. SUCCESS!!