October 9, 2012
Fall Science

The experiment shown below is pretty neat in theory, designed to show how chlorophyll covers up the other colours in a leaf. Elizabeth enjoyed the experiment very much (collecting leaves! cutting leaves! covering leaves in smelly smelly rubbing alcohol!). But the alcohol did not turn black as promised and there were no yellow or red coloured lines that appeared for the green leaves. Did we use insufficient leaf quantities? Did the leaves need to be ground up more finely? Should have we used bleached coffee filters? No idea. But maybe this was to be expected...


We do a fair number of random science experiments off the Internet in the name of education, but a surprisingly high number totally fail to show what we expected them to show.


For instance, we've taught Elizabeth that a toothpick stuck in a marshmallow and positioned on your arm does not do anything interesting (it's supposed to vibrate to your pulse). Salt on an ice cube just melts (this is the famous pick up an ice cube with string and salt one - we did eventually get this one to work but it took quite a number of tries) And do not talk to me about pupating caterpillars! The Internet claims that caterpillars are actually ideal pets because all you do is feed it greens for a couple of weeks and then let the resulting butterfly go free. HAH! Someone forgot to mention the parental trauma associated with dead caterpillars when you apparently fail to get the humidity levels right, nor did it mention that some species pupate over the winter and therefore need to be kept alive for months and months with very little indication of whether the grub is still alive or not.


Perhaps it's just as well that I did not choose a career in research...

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