Feb 12, 2009

Rigged Science Experiment

2/12/2009 — cori

This week was "W" week for Chloe in school. We always do an activity related to our letter of the week. For once, I was ahead of the game and actually had an activity already planned out. I was very proud of myself (you see, normally my brain is scrambling for an acceptable activity right before its time to do it). I was so excited to tell Chloe that her "W" activity this week was going to be about water and incorporate her very first science experiment. Only problem was, I didn't have part of the experiment...I still had to go to the store to get it.

Before I go any farther, let me explain the deep, scientific concepts involved here. First, you get a cup of water and fill it with a few drops of the food coloring of your choice. Then you insert a white carnation. Then you watch as the water flows through the flower and turns the carnation's petals the color of the water. It's almost like magic...especially when you're 4.

So...we're at the store and lo and behold, guess what type of flower they're completely out of?! Of course there were no white carnations to be found. So, me in all my wisdom decides that if this experiment can be done on a carnation, it can certainly be done on any old flower as long as its white. We find a perfect bunch of white mums and head home to conduct our scientific research.

We barely make it in from the garage when the kids are begging to start the experiment and are already searching for the food coloring. We don't even have time to unpack the grocery bags. We simply grab the mums, cut a few off and stick them in the jelly jar. Chloe has chosen a beautiful shade of purple while Bennett goes with blue water. I told them to be sure and check back often and find out what was going to happen to their flowers. I made the build up so huge, that they kept coming in from playing outside just to check on their flowers.

This experiment doesn't take long. Within a few hours, the petals should have turned colors. Notice the words: should have. These darned mums weren't turning any colors...they just sat there being all white and mum-like the whole rest of the day and into the night. Great! I cannot have Chloe's first science experiment end in failure...this will traumatize the rest of her scientific endeavors for years to come. I know the experiment works...I've done it before. Evidently, the flower is an intrical part of the whole procedure.

As luck would have it, I was up in the middle of the night getting some headache medicine when I noticed those flowers again. I knew I wouldn't be able to fall back asleep with white flowers still staring back at me. So I did the only other thing that made sense. I went and found the same food coloring the kids used, dropped plentiful amounts onto the mums, grabbed a paper towel and started rubbing the color into the petals. There...now we have a nice purple mum and a brilliant blue mum...with dots on them. You see, the food coloring didn't rub in all that great. But what the heck, it's 2 am and I'm not about making things look perfect or 'believeable' at this time of the morning. All I want is for my headache to go away and the flowers to change colors. Is that too much to ask?

The kids were beyond thrilled when they woke up and ran to check their flowers. In their eyes, the experiment worked. However, they were surprised that the color showed up in dots. Hmmm...me too. I quickly and discreetly disposed of all signs of the experiment before any questions could be asked.

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