Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Science At Home

Something very cool is happening right now which won't happen again for one hundred and five years.  Venus is crossing over in front of the sun, making the planet visible as a tiny black dot against the sun.

Obviously, you can't look directly at the sun to see this but we rigged up a homemade viewer by putting binoculars on a tripod and holding up a piece of white paper behind.  We could see this tiny little dot in the circle of light and it was incredibly awesome to know that it was a planet.

Here's a picture of it:

I like it when we can bring science into our home.  When I was a child, "science" was something that really smart people did with incredibly expensive machines in remote locations.  It was something to be admired and respected, not participated in. 

I'm trying to give my boys a more hands-on approach.  We've done experiments with water and cornstarch to make goop, a fluid which turns hard under pressure.  We've shown the explosive reaction of Mentos and Diet Coke.  We've done kinetic experiments, anything I can think of.

I want them to think of science as a way for them to understand and explore the world around them.  Maybe they'll find it more accessible than I did.

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