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More science!

April 6, 2013
Warning! Science ahead!

Warning! Science ahead!

This is really taking bites out of my writing time, but so it goes–he only gets one first science fair.

Note the cunning use of the bird house as an ever-so-slightly angled platform, and the critical presence of the lump of black Play-Doh to keep the pin from shaking loose. Those are refinements from the early procedural work. The long fishing line means the person dropping the Mentos in is far enough away to not worry about safety glasses. The blue tape tags help us spot the otherwise hard to see fishing line.

The ongoing question with any grade school science fair project is, of course, how much the kid is doing and how much the parent is doing. Well, having worked in a lab, I can safely describe my role as “lab tech and project manager” and my son as “principal investigator.” He’s doing all the writing. I’m just making sure things don’t blow up until we want them to, and shopping. Power tools, mine. Pen, his.

The original hypothesis is turning out to be wrong, but we discovered some interesting data correlations along the way. We also discovered the importance of the details of camera operation, checking expiration dates on soda bottles, and other fun stuff.

This really is all the fault of the Mythbusters. They make science-as-process look fun, if  a trifle more explosive than it is in most fields. If it gets my son writing up experimental protocols in a lab book, I’ll live with the explosions.

On TV.

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