April 29, 2011

Egg Science!

It was one of those fortuitous moments that mommas dream of.  Just yesterday I brought 2 science books along to the playground to browse through for ideas while the kids played.  The very first thing I flipped to was a guided observation of an egg.  I thought this looked like the most boring thing on earth, but what do I know?

This morning Hunter demanded (and I literally mean demanded) eggs for breakfast.  And while I prefer the convenience of oats, when you have 12 chickens, you really have no excuse to deny the boy his eggs.  I pulled out the giant container of eggs...

 Aren't they just a sight to behold?  So I'm still taking the lazy route and microwaving the eggs instead of hauling out the absurdly heavy iron skillet.  May I just digress for a moment and mention what super hero size muscles pioneer women must have had from doing all their cooking in iron?  It's crazy heavy.

Anyway, as I crack the eggs into the microwave egg cooker, Hannah Jane and Hunter start examining the eggs like never before.  Asking what different parts are and what the functions might have been if there had been a baby chicken in the egg.  I mention that I just happen to know a science book with an egg investigation in it, but that I left it in the van.  It was one of those cartoon moments where, before you realize what's happened, Hannah Jane grabs Hunter by the arm and they go flying to the garage leaving behind nothing more that a cartoon plume of smoke and dust to indicate just how very fast the vanished. 

Soon there was an egg in a tupperware dish, notebook paper had been passed around, and sketches were being drawn for what apparently were the beginnings of the all necessary lab book.  I mean, if the book says you need one, then you have to have it.  Right?

Hunter was unusually studious with this project.  HE even copied the words for every egg part on his diagram.  I'm talking about a boy who still can't write his own name without help, but he was oddly motivated by this lab book thing.

Haven's major scientific breakthrough was to realize that what he just drew on his paper was also what he was eating for  breakfast.  Can you see the little light bulb over his head?  It felt like an epic discovery!

Then he promptly called the hens on his banana phone and tattled on us for eating her eggs.

After drawing, identifying, and labeling the 3 major parts of the egg and discussing what their jobs are, we were asked a closing question.  "What else might you like to look inside of?  Make a list."

These lists were hysterical!  Hunters?  A gold fish (I asked animal or cracker and he said animal, to which I asked, "You know we'd have to kill it to look inside, right?"  to which he answered, "Yeah, but I really need to know if it's bones are orange."  Fair enough.), a different egg, an apple seed, and a bird (same Q&A, practically the same answers).

Haven's list reminded me just how little and innocent he is.  His first response was that he wanted to look inside an egg.  After explaining that that's what we just did that, I got the impression that he knew and suspected that it was the answer that I was looking for more than what he really wanted to look inside of.  I think that's pretty smart for a 3 year old to anticipate what he thinks you want to hear and then feed it to you.  His next item was a rainbow.  He wants to see inside a rainbow?  We talked about what a rainbow actually is, but he maintained that he wanted to look inside.  So we did...

Don't look at this picture and freak out that he's going to damage his eyes.  I got down there first and made sure he wasn't going to be looking straight into the sun or anything.  It pretty  much looks like plain white light when you're looking right up through the rainbow.  He couldn't believe how not magical it was in there.  I felt bad, like science had just deflated some whimsical fantasy land that he had built in his head, but I was just trying to help him realize his scientific desire of looking inside a rainbow.  Ooops!

Next, he wanted to look inside a pot.  "Seriously, little man?  A pot?  Well, okay.  Let's make that dream come true as well."  I pulled the red dutch oven pot that I won at Bunco off the stove and removed the lid for him to look inside.  Well that was a shocker for all of us!  I almost never use that pot, and at some point must have gone to clean it out with a wet sponge and then got interrupted, put the lid on it, and forgot about it.  I'd say that the fuzzy sponge that had fur connecting it to the wall of the pot was the most scientific thing we saw all day. So, his inquiry about the inside of a pot was well worth my time indulging!  Gross, but now I can clean it out before it gets worse!

Hannah Jane wrote down her list and then illustrated it with exquisite detail.  She then forbid me from photographing it, so my description will have to do.  She wants to look inside of a beehive, a computer, a CD player, and a cat.  Having heard my discussion about the goldfish and the bird with Hunter, she beat me to the punch and explained that sometimes innocent animals must die in the name of science.  I feel an investment in dissection tools in my future.  Would it be totally inappropriate and demented to let them cut into an earthworm at their ages?  Clearly they're curious in a way that Google images just won't satisfy!

It was just such a fun morning!  All of that in under an hour.  We were together, learning about the same things on our own levels, making strange science dreams come true, and the kids were over the top supportive of each other's strange inclinations for exploration with lines like, "Of course that makes sense!  I mean, what color are a gold fish's bones?"  and "Well a pot is easy enough.  Mom, get the pot and lets do this!"  So, it was a bonding experience.  Makes me want to start every day this way, but I'll bet the beauty was in the spontaneity.  I mean, there's no quicker way to squelch out curiosity than to schedule it.  Right?

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