For Christmas the boy got this science experiments book, which is better for his age group than the one that I mentioned in the earlier post. The experiments and concepts are tailored more to a 6 to 8 year old, but many of them are still fun to do even if he doesn’t completely understand the science behind everything.
First you find “dirty” pennies. The boy made it his personal challenge to find really really dirty ones. Mix vinegar and salt together to create a weak acid. You really should use white vinegar so you can see the bubbles easier, but all I had was apple cider vinegar, so that it was. This is very stinky unless you love the smell of vinegar.
Drop them in…
and see what happens after they take a bath!
If you leave them out to dry without rinsing, they get all crusty and blue.
We then took a few nails and dropped them into the vinegar and we forgot about the experiment for a few days as work and school took precedence.
When we wondered why the house smelled like vinegar and remembered about the experiment, the nails had a slight copper sheen to it, as you can see on the 2 left nails. I wouldn’t recommend this as a method to plate your metal jewelery, though.
Here’s a page from the Exploratorium (my all time favorite place to go in the entire world, which completely solidifies my standing as an absolute and total NERD, as if you didn’t already know) that describes the experiment that we did and the science behind it.
Obviously, the boy is too young to understand about acids and ions and things like that, but he sees the change happening and it’s the first time that he can see the effects of tiny little things that he can’t visualize firsthand, and I’d like to think it stretches his mind. The fun is in seeing how the world around you works, how you can manipulate it, and beginning to get the gears turning.
Pretty cool, no?