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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Science Experiment #23 and #24

My husband mentioned to me last night that I "haven't posted anything in a while" and he's right.  In an effort to catch up, I am going to post two experiments at once.

I am sorry to report that experiment #23 was a flop.  The idea was to demonstrate solar power by using the hot summer sun to melt old crayon bits into one new multi-color crayon.  
 I found the idea on some blog or other that I happened upon, but I don't remember where or when, so I can't give them credit.  They don't want credit from me anyway, because clearly the person who wrote the blog lived in the middle of Death Valley or much nearer to the equator or in some other place (like the planet Mercury) where the sun shines much more warmly than in the Midwestern USA.  Anyway, the process goes like this: Step 1) unwrap wax crayons and break them in to bits,
 Step 2) put the bits into foil muffin papers (which I didn't have so we used aluminum foil pressed into a mini-muffin tray),
 Step 3) place in a sunny location and let the solar energy do its work.  Except that here in the Midwest we are experiencing Global Cooling or Climate Change or a  Local Ice Age or July or something and despite 3 days of full sun exposure we didn't get even one softened crayon piece.  Oh well, you win some and some flop.

Experiment #24 was more successful, mostly because it was more observation and less experimentation.  It's pretty hard to mess up looking at stuff.  After searching for mushrooms several weeks ago I discovered last Thursday that the Wisconsin Explorer book that Ian and Brynn were doing had a section on mushrooms.  Since our mushroom crop was still doing well (perhaps because of the Global Cooling?) we spent some time in the backyard doing a Fungus Survey.
 We learned that some mushrooms have gills and some are spongy underneath.  The kids enjoyed stomping puffballs.  We also found some Cup Fungi, which I realized has been growing in my garden all along, disguised as "soggy junk" that I was ignoring and hoping would disintegrate.  In all we found five types of fungus.
At the end we made a spore print.  We picked the caps of two mushrooms and put them gill-side down on black construction paper.  We covered them with a bucket overnight, and in the morning we had this:
Pretty cool, I thought.

Happy science, everyone!

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