Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Looks like I should keep my day job...

Zachary had a science experiment/project that was due a few weeks ago. After much discussion/internet surfing, we (meaning me) decided on the topic evaporation. It sounded totally awesome, and more importantly, do-able.

In a nutshell, we had cups of water sitting underneath different wattages of light bulbs. Our hypothesis being more water would evaporate when exposed to more heat/energy. So much better than germinating seeds! His teacher would be so impressed!

I gathered up our supplies. I went to OSH ("The answers are out there. We'll help you find them") and asked someone there how to wire up what I needed. No problem.

Our supplies all ready for us. I had to connect the light bulb socket with the power cord. OSH man said to strip the wires and twist together. Done.

It worked great! We carefully measured out the water and placed in directly under each bulb, and in an empty "control" box. We waited 24 hours and measured how much water was left in each cup. We repeated the experiment so we would have 2 sets of data.

It went great! We actually got through it without any of the younger kids knocking anything over or turning off the switch.

We put together the poster board that was to be displayed at Open House. We brought one of the box set ups to school to display along with the board.

His teacher went to plug it in and a huge arc of sparks shot out of the connection, leaving a little burn mark on the box. Oops. One of the dads saw it and pointed out that I had left something exposed when I connnected the socket to the power cord. After 2 more people pointed out how dangerous it was, we left it unplugged.

We wrapped the wires with electrical tape (I figured that had to be the correct tape to use, right?) so that Zach could plug it in when he presented to the class the following day. I wasn't there but Zach brought the contraption back with one of the plug prongs melted. I guess the tape didn't work. I didn't ask for details.

I have no idea what went wrong with it. It also freaks me out to think I had them plugged in the house for all that time. Thankfully Zach and I didn't burn the house down! I have 3 years before Joey has to turn in a science project. Maybe I will stick with the germinating seeds.


Suzanne said...

I would have thought electrical tape the way to go too. Despite the sparks, it looks like Zach got all the details of the real experiment down on his presentation board. Cool idea!

Laura said...

I can't do 2nd grade math. Don't feel badly.
And I like seeds. Nothing wrong with seeds.

Aunt Becky said...

I'd opt for the culturing stuff on petri dishes. But that's just me.